TomTom GO 1050 GPS unit
TomTom GO 1050 review: The TomTom GO 1050 has a large, 5in capacitive touchscreen and a redesigned interface.
- 5in capacitive touchscreen, slick design, redesigned interface, excellent performance
- Not notably faster at recalculating routes, no traffic capabilities, no Australian text-to-speech voice, half-backed MyTomTom software at time of review
The TomTom GO 1050 is a GPS device equipped with a large, 5in touchscreen. If you will not be using your GPS unit frequently, you might be better off with a cheaper model, but the GO 1050 is slick, functional and very well designed. Its only flaws are incomplete software and hit-or-miss voice commands.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
TomTom's high-end GO GPS range now includes a model with a 5in, capacitive touchscreen. The TomTom GO 1050 features the same revamped design as the smaller GO 1000 GPS unit but with a larger display. It also comes with Bluetooth hands-free and voice commands, making it one of the best-equipped navigation devices on the market.
Read our guide to the best TomTom GPS devices.
TomTom is well known for the simplicity of its GPS devices, and the GO 1050 continues this tradition. Its only physical control is a power button in the top-left corner; this doubles as an indicator light when the unit is charging. The latest GO GPS units include a brushed aluminium rear that houses the external speaker. The key features remain the same as all TomTom units — the GO 1050 uses an interface that's controlled by a finger-operated touchscreen.
One of the best features of the TomTom GO 1050 is the Easy Click magnetic mount, which held firmly on even the bumpiest roads and is effortless to mount and remove. The locking mechanism is sturdy and easy to apply with one hand. An even bigger plus is the use of a capacitive touchscreen, a first for a TomTom device. Dubbed "Fluid Touch", the GO 1050's screen is more responsive and accurate than displays on previous TomTom devices and its benefits are especially evident when entering text via the on-screen keyboard.
TomTom has also updated the user interface on the GO 1050. It's more of a slight revision than a complete overhaul, but the changes are generally positive. The overall look and feel is more modern, with rounded edges on selection boxes the main highlight. Though there was nothing especially wrong with the previous look and feel of TomTom's UI, it was starting to look a little old and the new changes are definitely welcome. One of the best is the ability to make your own customised "menu" — here you can choose to pin certain functions to the display screen, such as a parking, voice control, call, and help me icons. If you select more than two buttons, you can tap the arrow button to see all the shortcuts you've added. TomTom has also revealed that the new UI will support third-party widgets and applications from next year, though further details aren't available yet.
Usability hasn't been compromised and in many cases has slightly improved. The GO 1050 is as easy to use as any TomTom sat nav thanks to a well laid out main menu and an excellent on-screen keyboard for text entry; the large display is particularly beneficial when entering text. You can also navigate to a destination by using voice control, which allows users to access core functions of the TomTom GO 1050 by speaking. There are more than 140 commands available; in addition to navigating to an address you can also avoid a roadblock, zoom in and out of the map, increase the volume, and add a location to your favourites. The voice command function is available by tapping the microphone button on the home screen. Simply tap the button, say a command and the GO 1050 will react. Like most voice recognition technology, it is far from perfect; we found it often struggled to understand our commands, and you need to speak relatively closely to the built-in microphone on the unit for it to work effectively. In most cases, we found it quicker and more efficient to enter a destination manually, so it’s a feature that needs plenty of work.
In addition to a regular address, the TomTom GO 1050 GPS unit can navigate to a recent destination, a point of interest (POI), a saved favourite, a point on the map, a specific GPS coordinate or even the position of your last stop.
Once you've selected a destination, the TomTom GO 1050 displays a redesigned summary screen. Here you can see the fastest route available using IQ Routes with the time and distance to destination displayed. You can calculate an alternative, avoid a roadblock or travel via a particular point. Conveniently, if you decide to change your route the summary screen will show both the new route and the previous one.
The IQ Routes technology used by TomTom is based on real-life user data rather than the traditional maximum speed method. Like most GPS units, we found the GO 1050 still preferred to calculate routes using main roads rather than backstreets that are often slightly quicker, and it still missed a few 'no right turns' along common testing routes.
The TomTom GO 1050 has text-to-speech technology, which means that it speaks the names of streets as you approach them. The unit tends to struggle with longer street names and can only speak them using a UK voice (there is a male Australian voice but this doesn't announce street names). The voice is loud and clear; the GO 1050's speaker is one of the loudest we've heard on a GPS unit.
Bluetooth hands-free capabilities are included and this function has improved compared to previous models, with a louder speaker and better range for the microphone. You'll still get better sound quality from a dedicated Bluetooth speakerphone, however. TomTom is no longer providing live traffic updates on any of its GPS models.
Advanced lane guidance, fixed speed and red light camera alerts, school zone warnings and an over-speed alert are all part of the package, but we found the unit is missing quite a few known red light cameras. These can be added manually by connecting the GO 1050 to your computer and accessing the MyTomTom software (formerly called TomTom HOME). At the time of review, this new software was limited to updating the GO 1050's firmware, with no option to make changes to the maps.
Lane guidance is very useful on freeways and motorways — an icon on the map screen highlights which lane you should be in, depending on your destination. At busy highway junctions this is enhanced by arrows indicating the lane direction combined with a static image of road signs. The signs are the same colour as the ones displayed on the road, in order to minimise confusion.
The GO 1050 also includes TomTom's Map Share and the 'Help Me!' safety portal. In addition to corrections and improvements to the maps being uploaded every month by other TomTom users, Map Share allows you to make adjustments to maps through the unit itself. Users can add their own POIs, update road changes, edit phone numbers and add new streets. The Help Me! safety function displays information and allows you to navigate (either by car or on foot) to a multitude of services including police stations, hospitals, mechanics, public transport and pharmacies. It also has first aid, traffic regulation, and repair and maintenance guides.
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