TomTom Go 300
At a Glance
Our top pick in our recent roundup of GPS devices, TomTom's Go 300, is an impressive package, from its extensive features to its smooth and streamlined maps and menus. At around $600, it's also pricey for an SD Card-based unit--though its built-in Bluetooth may account for part of the higher cost. With a Bluetooth-equipped GSM/GPRS cell phone for connecting to the Internet, the Go 300 can download traffic and weather reports and other data (including comic voices for directions). These TomTom Plus services are free now, but they'll be offered by subscription beginning in 2007, the company says.
TomTom's maps are cleanly designed, the menu system is easy to use, and the unit is replete with extras such as the ability to tie speaker volume to your car's speed. Other pluses are a robust, flexible mounting bracket and a built-in help system.
One annoyance involved searching for points of interest: I couldn't look up a local Home Depot by simply typing in the business name. I had to input the category and go through a long and frustrating search. Fortunately, as you choose a category or address field (such as city or street), the Go 300's dynamic menus display recent entries or selections for that field, which can speed things up.
As a real-time navigator, the Go 300 is capable but not perfect. It delivered turn-by-turn prompts clearly and quickly, but also routed me along a slow path through town in my streets-and-highway test.
Slick design and good performance make the Go 300 a slam dunk, especially if you have a Bluetooth phone and are willing to pay for up-to-date traffic and other information--but local business lookups can be irritating.
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