TomTom GO 500
- Excellent search functionality
- Responsive screen
- Good overall navigation experience
- Safety alerts require yearly subscription
- Live traffic requires smartphone tethering
- Map Share not available, yet
The TomTom GO 500 has a new user interface that strips away the traditional address entry search process, and its capacitive touch screen is responsive. Safety camera alerts are an optional extra and you'll need to tether your smartphone to get live traffic information, but the GO 500 remains one of the best GPS units we've ever used.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The mid-range TomTom GO 500 is remarkably similar to the entry-level GO 300. Sporting the same (slightly bulky) frame, the same software and the same features, the two units are only differentiated by cosmetic software changes and Bluetooth handsfree support.
The GO 500 retains all the features we liked about the GO 300, including a large finger-operated LCD touch screen operation, clear audio instructions, Whereis Map Data Version 12 and extensive customisation options. For a detailed review of the navigation features of the GO 500, we recommend you read the GO 300 review, because the feature set is identical.
While the GO 300 ships with a 200MHz processor and 32MB of installed memory, the GO 500 doubles the processor to 400MHz but keeps the memory to 32MB. We didn't find any noticeable difference in the operating speed of the two units during our testing and both are reasonably fast. Other small changes are the inclusion of a remote control and an AC adapter with the GO 500--neither of which were included with the GO 300.
The GO 500 has the ability to pair with selected GPRS-enabled phones to download traffic and weather information and factor this into its routes--but a subscription to this service will cost extra and it is not expected to be available in Australia until late next year.
The GPO 500 also sports a handsfree kit for selected mobile phones. This feature allows users to pair their mobile phone with the GO 500 and then make and receive calls on the unit, as well as send and receive SMS messages.
We tested this feature with a Nokia 6230, and had the units paired in a matter of seconds using Bluetooth. While we were able to make and receive calls using the GO 500, we weren't able to copy our phone book over to the unit, so we had to type out numbers manually. Nor were we able to read SMS messages on the GO 500--although we could send them without a problem. A quick visit to the TomTom Web site revealed that these features are supported on the Nokia 6230, but require a firmware update on the phone first in order for them to be used.
Sound reception and quality was pretty clear on the GO 500 while making calls, but the microphone is actually built into the back of the car mount and our voices weren't particularly clear to those on the other end of the phone.
While the phone integration is a very convenient feature to include on a GPS unit, we're not sure it's worth the price premium over the GO 300, and those with the GO 300 should feel no need to upgrade.
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