Solutions

REVIEW: Avoid traffic jams with the Tomtom Go 610 GPS device

An easy-to-use and intuitive road buddy which warns you of major congestions with suggestions for alternative routes.
 

Tom Tom illustration D

Illustration www.feminineillustration.com

THE BIG DIFFERENCE

“Live” traffic updates – that’s what sets the Tomtom Go 610 apart from other Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and smartphone maps. On the device, different colours (from orange to dark red) indicate how congested the roads are while icons show the possible cause, say, road works or accidents.

Tomtom says updates are collated from different sources, such as mobile apps, GPS installations and traffic authority data. “The traffic information sent is never older than three minutes,” it promises.

DID THE UPDATES WORK?

In the two weeks I used it, it pinpointed major snarls on expressways, and a closed-to-traffic stretch along Upper Bukit Timah Road. But it missed some minor jams: During a National Day Parade rehearsal, it indicated that Nicoll Highway was closed but I realised that nearby Mountbatten Road was also congested when I got stuck there. I was also held up by a two-car accident along Sims Avenue after work.

Also, the “live” traffic feeds tap on a Bluetooth connection and a personal hotspot from your smartphone, which can be draining on the battery.

WHAT WAS GOOD
• Before starting my journey, I can access maps on www.mydrive.tomtom.com from my computer or tablet, and check out traffic conditions.
• The large 6-inch touch screen was easy to use – just pinch to zoom in and out of the map. It was also sharp and clear, even against bright sunlight.
• It gives beeps to warn me of speed cameras ahead.
• With clear voice navigation and directions, it’s one of the best GPS devices I’ve used. It announces road names and anticipates the next turning, like: “At the end of Changi Road, turn left, then take the second right.” At forks, a pop-up window shows the correct lane to take.
• It shows the locations of car parks and petrol kiosks along the route or around your destination. I just had to tap on the icon to be directed there.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER
• The voice control function recognises certain spoken commands, like “drive home”. But it was fussy to use: I needed to tap on an icon to activate it, then shout to be “heard” – half the time, it misunderstood.
• Downloading and updating maps could be simpler. The device comes pre-installed with maps of South-east Asian countries but installing additional maps was a hassle.

Tomtom Go 610, $399, from Challenger, Harvey Norman and Newstead.


This story was originally published in Simply Her, August 2015.

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