February 21, 2018

TomTom GO 520

This great-performing sat nav from TomTom works well, with easy installation and programming, clear audio guidance and cutting-edge features.

The poor windscreen mounting mechanism of old TomTom models has been addressed with the Go 520, which uses a much simpler and more effective suction mount.
Visual clarity is aided by the wide screen, with 16:9 aspect ratio, and the map zooms in to show the detail of on junctions as you approach.

Voice input and speech recognition enables ‘hands free’ route planning. This allows you to speak to the unit rather than having to type in your destination on the screen – very useful when driving and much safer than typing. The TomTom GO 520 understands the pronunciation of city and street names. You can also answer questions while driving with the combination of text-to-speech and speech recognition technology. For example the Go 520 asks: “Traffic delay now 12 minutes; shall I try to optimise?”, or “A new text message was received; shall I read it aloud?” The driver can then reply “Yes” or “No”. It also speaks back to you when giving directions, so instead of just saying “After 20 yards turn left” it will say “After 20 yards turn left, Church Road”

In an attempt to resolve the inaccurate mapping afflicted by previous models, the 520 utilises ‘map share’ technology. The aim here is that TomTom drivers can always have the most up-to-date maps at their fingertips. They can select the changes they want – for example, choose only those submitted by many users, or only those checked and approved by TomTom. Perhaps this feature has been designed to make up for the standard mapping’s inherent flaws.

While on test, the minor weaknesses of the unit still mainly concerned overall route accuracy. For example, on several occasions, it found the road opposite or near to the target destination. It also struggled a bit among closely-bunched, tall buildings. Intermittent signal reception sometimes caused confusion. But generally it did well in London and clearly identified the congestion charge zone in sufficient time to take evasive action if necessary.

Pros: Voice recognition, clear audio instructions, clear wide screen with good graphics and visual prompts, good instructions, easy to programme.

Cons: Takes slightly longer to install than some other sat navs.
Accuarcy of mapping still not up with the best.

Widely available on the high street and online.
Price £174.99 – from www.amazon.co.uk

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