Lifetime TomTom Traffic
Lifetime world maps and safety cameras
Built-in Wi-Fi for updates
Requires smartphone for TomTom Traffic
Review Price: £189.99
5-inch capacitive widescreen with 480 x 272 pixels
World maps with lifetime updates
Lifetime TomTom Traffic via smartphone
Lifetime speed cameras
Built-in Wi-Fi for software and map updates
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The GO 520 may be the first satnav from TomTom to roll out Wi-Fi to the company’s mid-range. That is a 5-inch unit offering similar features to the GO 5200. The notable difference is that where in fact the latter includes a built-in mobile data connection, the 520 depends on your smartphone because of its Live Services.
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However, this omission means you pay £90 less, making the 520 a more keenly priced satnav – albeit still not really a particularly cheap one.
TomTom GO 520 – Mounting, Maps and Wi-Fi
Apart from the insufficient mobile data, that is still reduced satnav. So rather than the all-in-one mount that TomTom uses because of its budget devices, the 520 has a magnetic quick-release mount. This helps it be simple to leave the mount in the automobile and take only the satnav with you for safekeeping – even though some argue that even the mount can be an incentive for thieves, since so many persons simply lock their satnavs in the glove compartment.
Unlike devices of a couple of years ago, new models don’t expect you to spend dosh every year or two to update maps and traffic locations. The 520 includes a lifetime subscription to map and safety camera location updates, and to TomTom’s brilliant Traffic service.
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That’s where the Wi-Fi will come in. Once you’ve logged into your Live Services account and linked the 520 to your house Wi-Fi, it will look for updates whenever it’s turned on, and offer to download the updates wirelessly. I came across this surprisingly quick, despite having a complete map update of practically 7GB.
This huge update only took about thirty minutes to download and install, which theoretically means it will focus on battery, since that lasts one hour when fully charged. However, I’d always recommend doing any update with external power connected.
The 520, like 5200, includes a world map subscription as standard. However, only 1 region is preinstalled, which in the united kingdom means 48 countries in Europe and less detailed “connecting roads” for a couple more. There’s detailed traffic and safety cameras for almost all of those countries – although, of course, French law now signifies that you get only “danger zones” for the reason that country, instead of actual camera locations.
If you wish to download maps for other regions, you can certainly do that over Wi-Fi aswell, and TomTom’s available maps include Africa, Australia, the center East, New Zealand, SOUTH USA, THE UNITED STATES (including Mexico, regardless of the wall) and Southeast Asia. The machine includes 16GB of memory up to speed, which isn’t enough for all your regions, but are designed for a couple at the same time, based on which kinds you select. There’s a microSD card slot aswell, with support for cards up to 32GB.
TomTom GO 520 – Menu
It’s been a year or two now since TomTom completely overhauled its menu design, after quite a while honing the prior version. The existing TomTom menu targets the map, which is still obvious when you contact the menu, which contains a strip of icons along the centre of the screen.
The first four icons enable you to visit a new location, drive to a home or work location (if you’ve set these up), or browse recent destinations. You can swipe along using the capacitive touchscreen, which also supports some multi-touch gestures such as for example pinch-to-zoom. The display is relatively responsive.
Another menu section along lets you browse saved spots and routes, record your route, or contact the voice control system. When enabled, the voice control system can be activated by saying “Hello TomTom”. It’s a fairly capable system, powered by Nuance’s speech-detection technology, and may help you access most of the navigation features without touching these devices.
Further along is fast access to parking and petrol station sights (POIs), reporting new – or removed – speed camera locations, and the settings sub-menu. Finally, there are options to get help with using these devices or customise the menu appearance.
The primary destination search runs on the unified keyword system, which ensures that you can effectively just visit a road name or POI name and pick from the list. Roads are proven on the left and POIs on the proper. This has been designed for some time, and it’s so easier compared to the old system of experiencing to drill down from city name first.
A comparatively new feature is Destination Prediction, which allegedly learns your navigation habits and makes suggestions, although I’ve not seen this reveal during testing. Maybe it requires more regular use to trigger.
TomTom GO 520 – Navigation and Live Services
Once your destination is configured, navigation may be the usual slick TomTom experience. The 5-inch screen offers a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels, which isn’t specifically current smartphone standard but enough for the intended purpose, and it’s also pretty bright and simple to see – even in sunny conditions.
The map is clear rather than cluttered with extraneous information, although there are 3D buildings and landmarks when driving through town centres. It requires up almost all of the screen, with an information strip down the right-hand side. By default, this shows the estimated arrival time and distance to destination at the very top, with the existing time in the bottom.
Directly under the distance can be an estimate of just how much more time will be put into the journey because of traffic, and a bar schematic showing where in fact the incidents are along the way. Also displayed are near by POIs such as for example parking and petrol stations, to help you re-route to these if you need to.
As I’ve stated before on numerous occasions, TomTom’s Traffic is incredibly effective. In cases like this, you’ll have to pair your phone with the 520 via Bluetooth to achieve the live updates. However, I came across Traffic was also available when the satnav was linked to the internet with a Wi-Fi connection, so presumably if your vehicle includes a mobile hotspot that could work too.
Since it uses cellular phone data together with TMC information, TomTom Traffic is pretty accurate and timely. If an improved route is available as you drive, it’ll be displayed in green when you can a proper turnoff, showing just how much time will be saved. Or you’ll be voice-prompted to choose the new route, by using a simple “Yes” with the voice command system to help make the change.
Should I choose the TomTom GO 520?
The TomTom GO 520 offers almost all of the functionality of the 5200, in addition to the built-in mobile data, for a £90 saving over the latter. While regular commuters should probably avoid the excess faff of making use of your smartphone for data, but still choose the top model, now you can get the same excellent Traffic and features for a cheaper outlay. This makes the TomTom GO 520 a decidedly tempting option.
The TomTom GO 520 provides Wi-Fi updates and great Live Traffic, although you’ll have to add your own smartphone for the latter.