TomTom XL 340 GPS unit
This TomTom GPS unit combines IQ Routes technology, advanced lane guidance and the EasyPort mount system with a widescreen display
- Slim, excellent UI, lane guidance, EasyPort mount, preloaded safety alerts
- No AC adapter included, TMC antenna optional, a little expensive
TomTom's XL 340 is a little pricey when compared to competing GPS units with similar features, but what you get is a great user experience. An excellent interface, lane guidance, IQ Routes technology and a slim design make this another great TomTom GPS.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
After refreshing its entry-level ONE GPS unit (now called the ONE 140 IQ Routes Edition), TomTom has also upgraded its widescreen model: the TomTom XL 340. This is the second low-end TomTom GPS unit to use the company’s new IQ Routes technology, and it also includes advanced lane guidance and TomTom's EasyPort mount system.
The only real major difference between the TomTom XL 340 and the TomTom ONE 140 is the screen size. The XL 340 possesses a 4.3in widescreen display, whereas the entry-level ONE 140 has a 3.5in display. The XL340 retains an all-black design, with a thin silver trim surrounding the display. Despite the widescreen display, the TomTom XL 340 is compact enough to carry around when not in use.
TomTom's EasyPort mount, first introduced on the ONE (4th Edition) and XL, is used again to good effect. The mount has been designed to be left attached to the unit and folded flat after use. The circular lock means it's quick and easy to attach, and the well-crafted design allows titling of the XL 340 in multiple directions.
The TomTom XL 340's interface has seen only a slight refresh, but this is a great example of "if it's not broken, don't fix it." General ease of use and features remain very similar to previous units, but the look and feel is slightly different, with smaller icons and a plain white background giving it a more professional feel. A faster processor compared to previous ONE GPS units makes browsing menus and loading maps slightly snappier.
Our usual gripe with adjusting preferences now has an explanation. According to TomTom, the reason why the interface returns to the map display after you adjust settings is for road safety — the settings aren't intended to be adjusted while driving.
The IQ Routes technology used in the TomTom XL 340 GPS unit is based on real-life user data rather than the traditional maximum speed method. It determines a route by considering all possible routes and then selecting the one that takes the least time, with the technology often trying to avoid main roads. We did notice a few of the routes used frequently during testing have changed slightly and the route calculation does take a little longer than previous models. In our experience, though, the XL 340 still preferred to calculate routes using main roads rather than backstreets that are often slightly quicker.
Advanced lane guidance is also included. On multilane roads, an icon in the bottom-left corner of 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.
One feature missing is live traffic capabilities. However, the XL 340 can connect to the SUNA Traffic Channel with the purchase of TomTom's TMC antenna, which is available for the excessive price of $249. The antenna itself is annoying to connect along your car window; we'd prefer the hardware to be built into future units, even if the subscription to use the service wasn't included.
The TomTom XL 340 has text-to-speech technology, which means that it speaks street names as you approach them. The pronunciation is fairly accurate, though it does struggle with longer names. Like almost all of TomTom's products the navigational experience is excellent. The maps are detailed, the voice instructions are clear and rerouting times are fast. The XL 340 also comes with fixed speed and red-light camera warnings out of the box.
The XL 340 supports TomTom's Map Share feature. 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. You can then share this information with other TomTom users, uploading the changes via the included TomTom HOME software.
TomTom's 'Help Me' safety feature is also included. This 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 includes first aid, traffic regulation, and repair and maintenance information.
Battery life is rated at up to three hours. TomTom disappointingly doesn't include an AC charger in the sales package, so you'll have to charge the XL 340 via the included USB cable or cigarette lighter adapter.
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