Great Features and Great Value
Voice commands, Driver Voice activation, Blue Tooth, Good Screen Size, Built-In Suction Cup
The Bottom Line:
We recommend this unit for its many safety features and its reasonable cost.
My husband had a 4 year old Pharos GPS. While we were away and using a rental car, it fell off the dashboard one too many times and that was the end of that. So began the hunt for a new GPS.
While the Pharos was fine for the most part, it seemed like this brand was no longer available. Tom Tom and Magellan were widely used so we started reading reviews and learning about features. There are many different models out there.
The first requirement we had was get voice directions. Next was lifetime maps and traffic updates. It would also be nice to have a larger screen.
For every model, there were reviewers who loved it and those who had trouble and didn't recommend theirs. It was daunting.
We finally had to just go for features and hope for the best.
So here's our experience.
Out of the box, the unit was immediately usable and there was no need to connect to the computer. It takes less than a minute to connect to the satellite.
The unit has to be registerd on the TomTom site for lifetime maps. The code that was included in the box was immediately recognized and registered.
The next step was to connect the unit to the computer to check for updates. This was a big area of concern in the reviews The unit connected with no trouble and found that updates for traffic cameras and maps. We downloaded the traffic camera update with no trouble. We then started the update for maps and since it indicates 90 minutes to complete, we left the room.
When my husband checked back, the update had stopped after only downloading 10%. With some trouble, we got it to start again, left and came back to find a larger portion downloaded, but still not complete. This went on for several attempts until we realized that the download stopped each time the windows 7 computer went to sleep due to "inactivity". We changed the windows setting to sleep after 2 hours rather than the 10 minutes, started the download again, and when we came back to check, it was complete.
On our first trip, the unit rerouted to avoid traffic and that seemed to be a very nice feature. There is a setting to take quickest, shortest, avoid highways and this works well.
The voice commands feature is great for safety, avoiding fussing with the unit while driving.
There is a blue tooth feature that allows you to make phone calls while driving and that's been very handy. The voice on the GPS does not announce turns while you are using the blue tooth, so be aware of that. The screen continues to display the route.
There is a speed limit feature and it shows red when you are driving over the limit in an area.
There is advance notice of a lane change and when approaching an exit ramp.
The larger screen is a very good feature and safer too.
This unit has a suction cup built into it rather than installing the suction cup on the window. So when you leave the car and take it with you, you are not leaving a tell-tale suction cup on the window. It will be handy in a rental call too because we will no longer have to worry about it falling off the dashboard.
Overall my husband likes his new unit and recommends it as a good value for the money.
He purchased this at Amazon.com near the end of December. Their cost was about $108.
Note that the prices on the same unit varied from day to day on Amazon depending on whether you were looking at Amazon itself or one of its many vendors.