Modern luxury cars have started offering built-in navigation systems, some of which come as optional extras. In addition, the smartphones of today include GPS technology and free apps for navigation, putting pressure on the standalone GPS market. This meant that the respective companies had to change their strategy when releasing new products. TomTom launched a number of new products in South Africa in November 2012. One of the products launched at the event included its new flagship GPS device, the TomTom Start 60. The Start 60 features the biggest screen size of any of their other products, measuring in at 6 inches (15cm).
Included with the smartphone is TomTom’s new dual-mounting system, which allows the user to opt whether to mount the device on the windscreen or dashboard. Map and navigation updates are now offered free for life, and with a worldwide community of 21 million connected devices, you can be reassured that your GPS won’t easily provide wrong directions, roadworks or traffic camera notifications. Other software features include advanced lane guidance (especially for difficult junctions and turnoffs), improved IQ routes, parking assist (locates parking near your destination), TomTom Map Share, frequent destinations, as well as localised pronunciation of street names, which makes all the difference.
With the increased size of the TomTom Start 60, it makes it a lot easier to read while driving, even in bright light, as well as easier to use interface, which caused a number of issues on the smaller units when using the keyboard. In conjunction with the increased size, it is also slimmer, measuring only one inch in thickness. Route planning is quite easy, while offering a number of alternatives such as fastest or shortest routes, as well as the new economy route to save you the most fuel during your journey. Routing now also offers walking and cycling options, which although useful, may look a little ridiculous.
At the end of the day, standalone GPS devices offer a few more options than that provided by in-car systems and smartphones, with improved location services, businesses and points of interest, up-to-date maps and navigation (now free), and live traffic and camera notifications, something that hasn’t quite lived up to same standard on your smartphone. Stranger enough, it would be TomTom’s own smartphone app, at R400, which provides most of the competition, as it draws from the same database of its standalone products. At R2099, the TomTom Start 60 isn’t cheap, but offers more than enough to justify the price and still warrant it being noticed in the market.