I was in the market for a GPS to use in my 2007 Honda CR-V
. Last January 2010 a sale and a coupon made the TomTom XL-330S
the right GPS for me. What's in the Box
Aside from the TomTom XL-330S GPS, you will also receive a car charger, USB cord, a manual and an EasyPort mount.
The TomTom XL-330S
This TomTom has a 4.3 inch touch screen and text-to-voice directions. Back when I was researching GPS devices, I assumed all GPS systems had the text-to-voice feature. I was wrong! Not all systems have text-to-voice, so keep that in mind when you are searching for a GPS.
The bottom part of the main screen displays many features. I love that I always know the current speed limit. This is a great feature to have when I am driving in other states and am unfamiliar with the local speed limits. Some of the features are customizable. You can choose certain display features such as the approximate time left until you reach your destination and your current miles per hour.
Navigating throughout the TomTom XL-330S is for the most part straightforward. When you first take your TomTom out, I recommend doing the "guided tour" which can be found in the Preferences section of the menu. This will help you get accustomed to the system. Moving around the menu screens are quite simple and self explanatory. Within the menu is also a "Help Me" button. This has a first aide guide and can help you quickly locate local police and a hospital. I find navigating out of the main route screen to not always be completely intuitive. If I am on the main screen while following a route and I need to change the volume there is no volume button to push. I need to remember what section of the GPS to touch to lead me to the volume section. Even right now I am struggling to remember if it is the bottom left corner or right corner. The same goes for moving off the route to see the routes' text details.
Routes are displayed very clearly on the large screen, and the computer generated voice speaks rather clearly most of the time. When I am driving out of state in New Jersey and I have to go through toll booths, I love how the TomTom will tell me whether I should be in the left or right part of the toll booth so I can easily merge into the correct lanes after paying my toll. However, as far as pronunciation is concerned, it must be remembered that the voices are computer generated and mispronunciation can occur. Other times pronunciation is very literal. I have experienced both situations. I was headed towards the Verrazzano Bridge. My TomTom told me to head towards the Verrazzano B R. It spoke the actual letters B & R. After my mother and I both pondered what the device just said, we were able to figure it out.
I find the TomTom to often be slow to boot up and find my location. This gets a little frustrating, but since it normally happens when I first leave my house, I can overlook it since I don't yet need the GPS.
The TomTom comes with an EasyPort mount designed to mount the TomTom on to your windshield. Since I only occasionally use my GPS, I did not plan on permanently keeping my GPS accessible and therefore did not want to attach it to the windshield. I have not used the EasyPort mount and so I cannot comment on how the mount works. I instead use the Arkon Vent Mount
. TomTom Home & Calling Tech Support
TomTom has a downloadable program called TomTom Home. This allows you to purchase additional features for your GPS. There are other free features to obtain as well such as updated maps. I downloaded TomTom Home to my computer. I connected the supplied cord to the GPS and then connected the USB into my laptop. I turned on the GPS and it immediately recognized that I was connected to the computer. I proceeded to follow the on-screen instructions to download any updates. After completion, I turned on my computer only to see "No Maps Found". Of course panic set in and even using the TomTom on-line support I could not fix the problem. I had to call Technical Support.
Technical Support walked me through a series of steps and helped me correct the problem. I was informed that when downloading updates it is not recommended to use a wireless connection. That was my first problem - I was using my laptop through a wireless connection. It is also important to shut off your screen saver. Both of these situations are what possibly caused my error to occur during my TomTom device update. Maybe I missed those warnings, but I don't recall seeing this information prior to downloading my updates. But in the end, it is now, and still, working correctly and my maps are back. Technical Support was helpful and pleasant the entire time I was on the phone with them.
There was nothing in the box to register my GPS. Of course that made me worry about a warranty. When I called technical support I asked about registration. I was told to just keep the receipt, and if there are any problems they would check the receipt and serial numbers. Overall
I was always someone who claimed that I knew how to read a map and therefore had no use for a GPS. The GPS doesn't replace my maps, but makes getting to where I am going a whole lot easier, especially for out of state driving. It did take me a little practice to get accustomed to the TomTom, but for the most part it is easy to use. I found the phone technical support to be excellent and I will keep that in mind for any future GPS purchase I may make. Last January I paid $130 for this TomTom. As I am writing this review I am seeing prices as low as $74. What a huge price drop in almost a year. At that price, it makes this system an awesome buy and I definitely recommend the TomTom XL-330S