TomTom GO6100 review

By: Steve Atkinson

TomTom GO6100 review TomTom GO6100 review
TomTom GO6100 review TomTom GO6100 review
TomTom GO6100 review TomTom GO6100 review
TomTom GO6100 review TomTom GO6100 review
TomTom GO6100 review TomTom GO6100 review

It’s been a while since Steve Atkinson has reviewed a TomTom product. He finds out if things have changed for the better with the TomTom GO6100…

They’re right you know. It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to run my sticky bun laden fingers across the screen of an in-car navigator from TomTom. With regular tech-man Dave Lorimar otherwise engaged on other duties, I was tasked with finding out what improvements have eventuated over the previous couple of years.

When I last tried one of these units out, TomTom had just introduced ‘live traffic’ updates. Back then there was a fee to pay for the service and updating maps to the latest versions also required one to dust the cobwebs out of their wallet. Since then, we’ve been lucky that most manufacturers of these products got rid of those pesky fees and pretty much everything is free. Luckily TomTom also decided to play ball.

The GO6100 is the latest and largest offering from TomTom, and while it doesn’t look too different (other than its size) to previous models, there are a few changes tucked beneath the hood.

Measuring six inches across (I measured), like anything when placed in one’s line of vision it does contribute a not-insignificant blind spot to the windscreen, but then again; who would complain when it provides such a decent destination viewing platform?

So, what else is new?

Lifetime world maps

Install and update maps from around the world at no extra cost. A microSD card can be used to have those maps available all the time.

Lifetime speed cameras

This unit narcs on those revenue grabbing so-and-sos – nice.

TomTom MyDrive

This nifty piece of work enables the user to logon from their computer, smartphone or tablet and punch in details of their trip. The ‘live traffic’ system will check the flow of things (so to speak) and give you a heads-up on travel time.

Review time

So, instructions set aside, it was time to stick the little sucker to the windscreen and try it out for a few weeks. One thing that is really cool with these is the ease of which the unit can be removed from its mount and stored away out of sight. It’s not a new innovation for TomTom, but something worth mentioning all the same.

Operationally, I did find it difficult sometimes when punching in addresses while on the move as the buttons are a bit smaller than I would have liked. Yes, I know you should be stationary when you do this, but what guy would do that?

I also found some of the location names confusing, and a couple of streets in areas that I did know had strange suburb names attached to them. Again, nothing too major, but somewhat irksome.

One thing that TomTom obviously took my advice on a while back was the ‘drive home’ button. Once you enter your home location in the unit, thanks to ‘live traffic’, it will always find the quickest route home, no matter where in the country you are. For those of us that work in urban areas, this can mean the difference between a hot or cold dinner.

An issue I did have with the live traffic system is that the unit would place me on the fastest route home, even if it was chocka-block with traffic. The GO6100 did occasionally automatically present an alternative route, but it wasn’t as often as I would have liked and usually it was when I was already stuck in the middle of a traffic jam. Usually that route would have been a minute or so slower. So my question is: Why make me sit in traffic when a minute is all I would save?

The GO6100 does have an ‘Alternative Route’ button, but it takes a bit of finding. A better solution would be to locate that button smack-bang on the main screen. Who wants to see what’s happening on the top left (or right) corner anyhow?

I also noticed that the ‘live traffic’ system sometimes showed roads being ‘clear’ only for me to turn up and be sitting on the end of a queue. I do realise that no other device would have been uploading data to the TomTom servers along this stretch of road for a while, but it did make me wonder if the different manufacturers share traffic information. If not, then they should, as heavier a saturation of data providers would increase the quality of traffic feeds to everyone’s customers.

As most of you will have realised, these problems are primarily confined to those who dwell in the most populated parts of the country. However, lengthy drives I carried out around the provincial areas of the country resulted in me arriving on time every time, and to the original calculated minute.

One of the things that does compete with in-car navigators these days are phone apps. TomTom is also across this with its own smartphone app which provides a similar end result to a standalone in-vehicle model. Using a smartphone for navigating to one’s destination does mean that an inconveniently timed text from the girlfriend or wife may interfere with that crucially important turn; and to compare a phone app to the GO6100 or any other in-car navigator for that matter is not fair as they both provide different levels of user satisfaction.

The verdict

So, despite my occasional frustrations with ‘live traffic’ feeds, I still think TomTom is continuing to provide good progressive technology and user experiences to its customers.

My suggestion is that if you are needing to find destinations on a regular basis, or consistently wanting to find the quickest way home from work, then one of these puppies is the way to go.

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