Tomtom Start 20 - Is it a good choice to replace your Phone GPS?

Recently we got a Tomtom device for our car and have been using it for 3 weeks now. I know it's early to say anything strongly about the device and it's usage, but this post will share initial thoughts about the device and how it can be used in the cities like Delhi. We haven't tried it for long drive but used heavily in the city. 

The day we opened the box and fit it in our car, we found it quite easy to put inside the car & use. Body of Tomtom GPS device is built by thinking about various usage patterns. I loved the way, it's locked with glass and can easily be taken out when needed. There is hardly any effort to put it on glass & remove, when needed. The screen can be rotated 360 degree and perspective can be changed in all possible directions. We have put it in the center of the front glass  and it's easily accessible by driver as well other person sitting on side seat. screen can be easily rotated, depending upon who is using.

Touch quality of Tomtom is not that great, in fact you will find it bad. It feels like you are touching a plastic surface with friction on it. While using it, you may have tap multiple times to pass the right command. Nowadays we are using high end touch devices like Nexus, iPhone, iPad or other Android/Windows phones, which have relatively great touch experience.

Initially device is confusing to use because it has categorized the way we have to navigate, which is not there in Google Maps. So it took some time for us to get used to this device. At times, it was very irritating when we couldn't locate right option to locate places in Delhi. Gradually we are learning and hope that things would be fine going forward.

At times, it takes lot of time to search places and we were surprised it failed to search places like 'Purana Quila', 'Old Fort', 'Andhra Bhawan' etc. We didn't update the maps, because I have very low expectations that updates will have much to offer after a month. 

What is biggest advantage of having such devices in your car? In my opinion, it saves lot of 3G bandwidth for you which is relatively expensive in India. There are pros & cons of both and we are yet to explore more on this front.

We were impressed with the way it suggests new route if we make any mistake in following the preferred route. It's quick to detect the mistake and help in correcting in best possible way. 

The other morning, my wife was driving from Noida to Gurgaon for a meeting at Pullman Hotel. She tried searching 'Pullman Hotel Gurgaon'. This device took exactly 8 minutes to complete the search and there was no such place found. Finally she had to switch on 3G on phone to use Google Maps. I can understand her frustration. Even if I give this device a benefit of doubt that we must be doing mistakes in doing things but 8 minutes for executing search in 2014 is like a crime. Finding all such places on Google maps is very easy and in fact you may expect location of some least known places as well. As a traveller, many times I mark some roadside tea-stalls on google-maps, which are accessible by anyone who searches. (and believe me, people also search such things :) )

Quick description of the device -

  • It has 4.3 inch LCD Touchscreen
  • Company offers lifetime free map updates
  • Device supports 13 Indian languages (which we couldn't try)

Till now, we haven't tried this on long drive and can't really comment on it's performance at the longer stretch. 

We should have more to share about the device from our own experience with device.

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