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Review - TomTom Navigator
Posté le 20 juillet 2003 à 23:48:14 par gpspassion.

2. Comparative Pros and Cons Analysis - GpsPasSion

This page will focus mainly on a discussion of what I see as the strengths and weaknesses of TomTom Navigator USA compared with the competition. To see a description of the features of the program, see the "hands-on" reviews in the following pages and the user manual linked in the "Links" page


Pros:
1. Wonderful User Interface (UI):
The UI caters both to the needs of to beginners who can rely on the default settings and to those of experienced users with the the wealth of advanced settings. It’s “everything and the kitchen sink” when it comes to customization: hardware buttons, navigation info, menus, voices, speed by road class, etc…

2. Very “Fluid” operation:
On top of being very well designed at the UI level, the program is very responsive. In “Navigator” mode, hit the screen with the tip of your finger and you’re taken to the menu and sub-menus in a snap. Route calculations are also fast.

3. Full Screen Colorful Display:
Everyone’s attention is caught by the unique 3D mode with its geo features, alhtough I only use it on the highway because I find it less accurate than the 2D mode in a dense envrionment (see Tip #2). You can use “skins” for the daylight and night modes and the Navigation screen (both the 2D and 3D) is displayed "full screen"

4. Route Calculation:
While there’s currently some concern (see Cons #3), route calculation is intuitive and fast (rerouting is very fast too) and offers quite a few options with alternate routes, roads you can avoid, or avoiding a stretch of road ahead of you in case of a traffic jam. A nice touch too is the rare "pedestrian" mode that will come in handy in town.

5. “Worldwide” Solution:
People who need GPS Assisted Navigation often travel both in the US and in Europe. TomTom is the only solution that makes that easy, as all you need to do when you head out to Europe is buy the European maps and use your existing US set-up.

6. Interim Updates:
Starting with v1 in Europe, TomTom has been very “good” at releasing worthwhile “updates” that fix problems and add a few worthwhile features here and there.

7. Low RAM Requirements:
To install, the programs requires about 6mb of storage space which is at the high end of the spectrum for navigation programs, but it makes a difference with RAM usage, by only requiring about 5mb regardless of the size of the maps you're using. This means that it says usable on
a 32mb device.

Cons:
1. Pre-defined Map Regions and Absence of Inter-Region Routing:
Unlike in Europe where TomTom has been able to fit one whole countries in a maximum of 220mb thus limiting the problem, they’ve had to define regions in the US. The fact that you can’t calculate a route spanning several map regions is clearly going to be a problem in some cases. See Tip #1.

2. ETA is inaccurate:
This is probably related to #3, with ETA being generally off by a good 20% and you therefore lose one of the main perks of GPS Assisted Navigation: knowing when you’re going to get there! Again, it’s perfect in Europe so a fix can’t be too far away. Setting the speed by road class can mitigate this, but is should work by default.

3. Quality of Routes:
At this point I’d call it a “bug” more than something that’s broken by design. As shown in the upcoming “Routing Shoot-Out”, in quite a few cases, TomTom’s routes are not very good by default, which is a problem when you’re relying on the program for your guidance needs. Since TomTom’s European routes are excellent and they use the same TeleAtlas maps as PocketMap Navigator that generally gives good results, it’s probably a question of time before this is fixed. The concern is that the app (v2.24) is the same in Europe and works well so it might require adjustments to the map data. See this thread in the forums

4. Lack of street names in Navigator mode:
Unless you tap on the screen, you won’t know what street you’re in, which can be confusing if you’ve lost your bearings and your GPS fix.

5. Instruction list not “live”:
The instruction list will stay as it is throughout your trip (unless there’s a reroute), meaning that you can’t just call it and see what the rest of your trip looks like in a blink.

6. Price is at the high end of the spectrum for navigation programs.


Preliminary Conclusion:
While the number of cons is nearly equal to the number of pros, make no mistake, this is one of the top contenders thanks to its wonderful UI. The quality of default routes is a concern at this point, but it will still take you to your destination, which is the main thing at the end of the day ;-)



Note: It’s probably worth mentioning that TomTom Navigator USA is the second generation of Navigator that was first released in Europe in the summer of 2002 and relied laregely on the existing CityMap application. This is important to understand that this program wasn’t built from scratch and explains some of the “cons”, i.e the map mode and instruction list limitations.


<< 1. Index 3. Hands on Review - Paul >>

 
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