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Second thoughts on the TomTom One New Edition

Date 1st October 2006

Article by Lutz Bendlin

 

A couple of weeks ago TomTom USA introduced the new TomTom One for the US Market. Then, at the time of the European launch we got our hands on some review units. You have seen the first impressions in this review. Now let's take a closer look under the hood of the TomTom ONE, so to speak.

 

This present review focuses on some of the design details of the new TomTom offering. We will try to help you decide if the ONE v3 is the device for you or if your expectations of a Personal Navigation Device (PND) need to be met by a different device.

 

Why am I calling it v3? Because that's how the device (or to be more precise the preloaded SD card) announces itself in the file explorer... Of course this opens the door for speculations what the ONE v2 was like and if it would have had a better design etc. Feel free to add your own theory in the comments section.

TomTom One new edition

The underside

The one thing I don't understand about this device is the position of the SD card. Haven't they read the SD slot specifications? There is nothing (apart from a little friction) stopping the SD card from falling out.

 

Try it for yourself, pull the SD card out of your device without pressing it in first. Easy, wasn't it? There is a good reason why SD card slots are normally on the top side of a device!

 

If you plan to use the ONE on the windscreen mount you better secure the card with some clear tape. Because if it is falling out (and according to Murphy it will do so, and at the most inappropriate moment) the ONE will reboot instantly, leaving you without navigation instructions when you may need them the most.

 

 

TomTom One new edition

The Power of standards...

The socket to the left of the SD card slot is worth mentioning. For the first time ever TomTom are using a standard Mini USB connector, both for power and for data transfers.

 

That's a good thing. The position of the connector isn't. In simple terms it means that you cannot rest the ONE on the dash while having it powered from the cigarette adapter.

 

On the other hand you need to keep in mind that the current windscreen mount is purely passive. This means you have to plug and unplug the power cord each time you place the ONE into the mount and remove it again.

 

Wait a second, did I say dashboard? Now the position of the power connector does start to make more sense. Because it is at the bottom, third party device holder manufacturers like Herbert Richter or Brodit can offer an active slide-in mount that can be fastened either on the windscreen or on the dashboard where the device is closer to the user.

 

Keep in mind that the GO v3 does not work with a TomTom remote control, so you need to have the device closer to your arm's reach.

TomTom One new edition

TomTom One new edition

The sucker...

 

The only thing that is really new with this device is the suction cup mount. TomTom seem to have come up with a really good solution here, and it is surprisingly low-tech. No more levers to produce the vacuum - instead the plastic tongues are pretensioning the suction cup, and they are able to compensate for loss of vacuum to a much larger extent than the old system was capable.

 

I have no idea who produced these suction cups (no logo anywhere), but they are truly innovative. The flexible plastic tongues can adjust to the shape and curvedness of the windscreen (something the old construction did very poorly). The fact that the plastic is see-trough will also help to keep the vacuum under direct sun impact.

 

The latch for the suction cup looks overly big, but experience shows that you really need something solid to hold onto to break the suction when you want to remove the cup from the glass. I have tried pulling the mount off the glass, and while that was possible very easily on the previous mounting solutions, here all it did was ripping the device holder off the ball joint. The suction cup stayed put solidly.

TomTom One new edition

Looking at the base of the TomTom One you can see the memory-card slot, a small hole to reset the device, and the USB power and data transmission socket. You can also see the molded grooves for the mount holder.

 

The power is supplied through a straight cigar lighter to USB power adapter. When I say straight I mean that the connector to the TomTom One is straight and protrudes about an inch below the GPS. this can make it difficult to position in the car.

 

You can also see the Bluetooth certification logo to the right. As with other TomTom devices you can use Bluetooth to communicate with a mobile phone and access online services provided by TomTom.

The software in the provides facilities for data transmission and reception, but not voice calls. This means that you cannot use the TomTom One NE as a handsfree carkit.

 

If you have a car with a coated windscreen it can be impossible to obtain a clear view of the sky to receive the signal from the GPS satellites. If there is a block between the TomTom One and the satellites then the devices will not be able to determine where you are and consequently will be unable to navigate. The picture to the left shows the socket for an external antenna which can be positioned away from the coating with a clear view of the sky.

 

The External antenna is a chargeable option.

TomTom One new edition

The top right of the TomTom One is the location for the power button. This needs to be held for a second or so to switch the One on and off. This is a good feature as an accidental knock in your pocket will not switch the PND on.

 

On the right hand side of the One is the attachment point for a lanyard or wrist cord. This is where the double D is. The wrist strap is an optional extra.

 

Just to the left of the power button is a small hole. I an not entirely sure what functionality this hides. I would expect it to be for a microphone, but as there is no handsfree function it remains unclear...

TomTom One new edition

Moving to the rear of the TomTom One NE you can see the top of the mount groove with a small raised portion to lock the One into the mount.

 

Above the grooves you can see the holes for the speaker. Interestingly these are arranged in an oval shape. Implying the same shape of speaker. (I have not had a chance to remove the cover and investigate yet.) Rough visual examination implies that the speaker is roughly the same size as that of the new GO X10 range. It produces a clear sound which is audible at motorway speeds over both road noise and the Rolling Stones blaring out on my car stereo. At full volume it can produce a little distortion of the spoken directions.

TomTom One new edition

The TomTom One sports a SiRFStarIII chipset. It is not clear which version of the chipset has ben used, but in the short test I did it proved to have a very sensitive and strong signal, pulling 11 satellites in the pouring rain.

 

The TomTom One also has an internal battery which according to TomTom will last for up to 2 hours. Not very long, but enough to get you back to your car.

 

One thing noticeable by its absence is a socket for an external audio device. This prevents it being wired into amplified implementations.

 

The shot to the right shows the mount grooves from a different angle.

 

 

Whilst on the subject of the mount and TomTom one holder is yet another new and revolutionary design.

 

The mount fixes to the windscreen using a rubber suction cup. The vacuum between the cup and holder is created when you push the cup into the screen. This splays the segments over the plastic cup creating a secure and rigid base for the mount.

 

There is a short linkage am terminating in a ball joint. This is rubberised providing a high friction surface. This is then connected to the mount with a socket.

 

Removing the mount is simply a matter of pulling the tag, which releases the vacuum.

 

In use I found this mount did not droop nor did it suffer from vibration. For the short 50 mile test drive I found the mounting system to be one of the best screen mounts I have used so far. However this was only a short test with no serious adverse conditions.

 

First Impressions in the Car

As mentioned above the mount is quite revolutionary and fits well to both the windscreen and the TomTom One. The whole setup was impressively stable with no noticeable vibration.

 

The software is the same as the GO x10 software supporting all the features we have come to expect from TomTom. This includes full 7 digit postcode support in the UK, automatic route re-calculation, POI support, including custom POIs (Speed Cameras), TomTom plus, etc.

 

Interestingly the mapping data is different depending which Edition you purchase. If you have the European Edition then you will have maps sourced from NavTeq, the Region Editions have Teleatlas data.

 

 

Having the Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone means that you can pair the two and access the TomTom plus services for additional content including additional voices, more maps, or more interestingly some of the dynamic services such as Traffic information, Weather and TomTom Buddies.

 

Managing all the additional features of the TomTom One NE has been simplified with the inclusion of TomTom Home. Home allows you to install new software, voices, POIs etc all controlled by a familiar windows based application.

 

 

Conclusions

A small, dare I say sexy?, SatNav system running TomTom Navigator software with a sub £200 price tag just has to be a winner. TomTom appear to have launched another sure fire winner here.

 

When I got home I showed it to my wife (who has a strange aversion to GPS in her car) and she suddenly became interested. The size was one of the appealing factors to her. She sees it a a device she can just drop into her handbag when she leaves the car. Now if Mrs B likes it then it must be destined to be a big success...

References

Manufacturers Website www.TomTom.com
Pocket GPS Contributor

Lutz Bendlin

Pocket GPS Contributor Website

www.Pocketgpsworld.com

   
Resources  

 

 

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