Home Reviews Auto Review: TomTom’s US maps

Review: TomTom’s US maps

tomtom go 930
tomtom go 930

TomTom go series satnavTomTom calls it the Go 730. We prefer to call her Sally. So how has our friendly satnav handled things since we took her Stateside?

Well, first there was the all important update. Our European maps are good in London and Paris, but no good in London, Ohio or Paris, Texas. Thankfully, TomTom makes it easy to get your hands on the latest geographic information over the internet.

Splashing out £59.95 gets you full American access and the maps are added to your TomTom Home online account. Connect the satnav to your internet-enabled PC using the USB dock and the updates can be automatically installed. Our Go 730 unit only had a few hundred megabytes of space remaining so we popped in a SanDisk 2GB SD memory card to store our new routes.

So, what did we get for our time and money? Well, a few invaluable services, as it happens. As we mentioned in the main review for the device, the Go 730 has an excellent search function that can track down nearby points of interest (POI). This came in extremely useful when we were caught in a blizzard in Minneapolis and needed to find a petrol station in a hurry or risk running out of gas at the worst time.

The same POI service also includes such invaluable services as pharmacies and general stores (as these are sometimes not as obvious to track down as you might think on the road). However, our favourite search allowed us to access a database of motels and hotels that made it very easy to drive around an area and check the prices. Skip this function and you risk accidentally turning onto the freeway again and leaving all those motels behind.

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This review was posted using the IPassConnect global wireless and US 3G service. For more details visit the iPass website.

As for the general navigation? Well, our route took us back through New York and without the Go 730 and its US maps we’d probably still be there. Even a map expert would have trouble making the snap decisions it takes to navigate the twisting interconnecting commuter roads in the Big Apple and the fact the TomTom Go 730 pushed us straight through with no mixups showed its value.

For all our praise, we have to admit that extremely occasionally there is the odd blip. In a couple of cases a vocal "Turn right" changed to a “Turn left” at the last moment, causing us to backtrack on our route. These errors are one in half a million, though when you consider the thousands of miles we’ve travelled crossing America (7,728 so far and counting…).

In fact, the major error we encountered was down to dumb human input. America seems to have run out of place names very early on and a number of sites across the country often carry the same moniker. Our mistake should have been caught by the fact you have to choose the state you’re travelling to when you input the navigation details, but we failed to spot that we would be ending one state over and paid the price of a 170 mile error! Generally, TomTom adds a little information to show that the place name might not be that major town in the next state, so sharper eyes would have saved our mistake.

So, human error aside, is it worth bringing your TomTom on that American trip? Absolutely. The £60 price tag might seem a little steep but taking all the hassle out of the journey is well worth it.