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TomTom Navigator 2 Preview

Date tba

 Review by Dave Burrows

  

This preview is aimed at existing TomTom Navigator 1 users.  A complete TomTom Navigator 2 review will be along shortly.  

 

As many of you know I predicted a new version of TomTom Navigator (a successor) for around June 2003 the latest.  TomTom have been very hard at work with TomTom Navigator 2 and have released it earlier than my prediction.

 

Now something that you need to realise is that although TomTom Navigator 1 had it's faults, it appears to have the market share in the UK and in some European Countries, and certainly a high following from Pocket GPS users.  So with all it's shortcomings, it obviously is a very good piece of software and one liked by thousands of people all across Europe and with that in mind, how do you make a good piece of software better ?

 

POI Data

In the initial review of Navigator 1, our main complaint in our review was the lack of POI data.  It's really good to see that TomTom and TeleAtlas have listened to our requests and this has been addressed, and 21 new POI groups have been created in addition to the existing groups in Navigator 1 which include:-

  • Amusement Park

  • Beach

  • Camping Ground

  • Car Dealer

  • Car Repair Facility

  • Cash Dispencer

  • Company

  • Convention Centre

  • Embassy

  • Mountain Pass

  • Mountain Peek

  • Museum

  • Nightlife

  • Opera

  • Park And Recreation Area

  • Place of Worship

  • Rent Car Parking

  • Shop

  • Theatre

  • Tourist Attraction

  • Yacht Basin

 

On Screen Keyboard

Something some of you may remember us mentioning when TomTom Navigator 1.50 came out.  TomTom were working on a full screen keyboard and this has now been incorporated into Navigator 2 with support for ABCD, QWERTY or AZERTY layouts.  This aids typing with nice large key buttons allowing you to use your finger rather than stylus.

 

Pocket Outlook Integration

A welcome feature for many will be the Pocket Outlook integration.  This initially took me a while to find, as you don't see anything in TomTom Navigator 2.  What you will see however is if you run up Pocket Contacts, tap and hold a contact and you'll see two new options.  One option is Navigate To which will then jump you straight back to Navigator 2 with the correct information allowing you to modify or OK the data.  The second option is Show TomTom Map allowing you to see where the contact is on the map.  Both very good features, and it's nice to see how well this has integrated into TomTom Navigator 2.

 

Postcode Routing

Postcode routing is enabled in TomTom Navigator 2, but it's not what you might expect.  When planning a route using A to B, if you enter the city, then instead of entering the street name, enter the first part of a postcode, eg BH12.  This will then jump to the first street name in alphabetical order that has BH12 listed next to it.  Now although this is a good feature, it really should have been implemented a little better in my opinion.  The reason I say this is that street names are sorted alphabetically, and postcodes are not so the next street name could be a BH4 or a BH5.  Unfortunately if you want to use postcodes you have to still scroll down the complete list of roads within the City which really doesn't make it easy.

 

3D Map

One of the hottest new features of TomTom Navigator 2 is the 3D map mode.  The 3D Map is incorporated into the Navigator screen, following on from what we've seen in Destinator 2.  The maps are clean, and very colourful.  Look at the horizon and sea on the third screenshot!  

 

3D/2D Map Comparison

Here's a couple of motorway screenshots to show what the difference between the new 3D look and the conventional 2D look.

 

I know half the Navigator users will like this feature, and I'm sure there'll be equally the same amount that will think it a gimmick like with Destinator 2's 3D view, but I must say I do like it.  The large pointer I think could be reduced in size a little.  It's fine for motorway driving, but when driving small town roads, it does look way too large.

 

3D Map

 

3D Map

 

3D Map

 

2D Map

2D Map

2D Map

 

Navigator Screen

Now this is a screen you must all be accustomed too.  Nothing really has changed much here.  Apart from every feature you see on this screen can be toggled on or off, or moved to a slightly different location.  

 

One thing you will see is a new screen when you get an unreliable GPS position or when you first switch to the Navigator screen which shows a road with other vehicles on.

 

London Congestion Area

We're amazed to see this made it in, in time, but the London Congestion Area has been added to TomTom Navigator 2 giving you two very neat features.  One to be warned that you are going to enter the congestion area, and another feature to avoid the Congestion area altogether.  I have only been able to test this in Demo mode.  You will be warned if you try to plan a route into a congestion charge zone.  I have also tried the route around congestion charge zone and this seems to work well providing your destination isn't within the congestion zone

 

Memorize Position 

There's a new facility called

 

Memorize Position which allows for a quick favourite to be placed on the map and in your favourites list by selecting this option.

 

GPS Status Screen/Drivers

The GPS Status screen looks just like it did in TomTom Navigator 1.  It still has the standard Status screen, the GPS screen where the driver resides and the LOG screen allowing you to record and playback trips/logs.

 

There has been more support added for GPS drivers, TomTom do not lock their software to any specific GPS hardware so you will not have nay issues here.

 

In fact, TomTom have added extra support for Bluetooth GPS receivers as there will be more coming available in the very near future.

 

Third Party

Application Support

I'm really glad to say that I've tested the Pocket GPS Safety Camera Database with TomTom Navigator 2, GPSAssist and POI-Warner and all work like they did under TomTom Navigator 1. 

 

This is great, as you never know with new software updates what could happen. 

 

So if you decide to upgrade from TomTom Navigator 1 to Navigator 2, you won't even have to re-install your other applications!

 

Alternative Routing

TomTom have now added a nice new feature called Alternative routing into the Navigator screen 

as a button.  This is like the option that TravRoute have offered in CoPilot for a while now.  When selecting this option you get the facility to recalculate a route from Original, Alternative or Avoid Roadblock.  You also get the option of avoiding roads that are planned into the route which is a superb feature!

 

Searchable Places

One problem which Navigator 1 really fell short on for the GB edition was the database of searchable places.  People will 

remember places (very popular places at that) like Glastonbury could not be searched for.  We've taken an extensive look at these under Navigator 2 and most of these seem to now be in the database, so hopefully peoples complaints in the forums haven't gone in vain.  TomTom do listen to constructive criticism.
 

Database Problems Fixed

There are a lot of items that have been fixed, but equally a lot that haven't.  Most of the database problems have been fixed in TomTom Navigator 2.  The following places we've checked and are now in the database

  • Shepton Mallet, Somerset

  • Wells, Somerset

  • Glastonbury, Somerset

  • Street, Somerset

  • Bideford, Devon

  • Ilfracombe, Devon

  • Newton Abbot, Devon

  • East Allington, South Hams

  • Kingsbridge, West Somerset

  • Salcombe, South Hams

  • Bodmin, North Cornwall

  • Bampton, Eden

  • Cheddar, Somerset

Bridges Fixed

  • Britannia and Menai bridges to Anglesey are also fixed and you can route across these

  • M25 Exit 15 Northbound to M4 Exit 4B east bound, is now resolved for routing

  • M4 Junction 10 routing from Wokingham to Slough is now fixed

Database Problems still in TomTom Navigator 2

  • Combe Martin, Devon

  • Totnes, Devon

  • Dartmouth

  • Dorchester, Dorset (still listed as Oxfordshire)

  • Wareham, Dorset (listed as Warham North Norfolk)

  • Mawgan Porth (think it's still a problem)

  • Newquay is still showing the wrong area of Cornwall

  • Fleet (Hants) shown as Fleet (Harts)

 

Upgrading to TomTom Navigator 2

When you have paid for and received your TomTom Navigator 2 CD, there is no need to remove TomTom Navigator 1 from your Pocket PC, TomTom Navigator 2 will not however co-exist on the same Pocket PC as TomTom Navigator 1, but it will just overwrite it.  So after installing TomTom Navigator 2, you will not have access to TomTom Navigator 1.  When installing the upgrade over the top of TomTom Navigator 1, you will be asked to activate your copy with the supplied key.  This then locks the software to your Pocket PC.  The license agreement does state that you can use Navigator 2 on multiple devices providing it's only installed once, so you will need to contact TomTom if you upgrade your Pocket PC later or have a replacement Pocket PC due to loss or damage.  It's a shame that activation has had to restrict people in this way, as there are many genuine users out there that do not pirate the software, but I suppose on the other hand, there are also plenty that do pirate, and TomTom do have to look after their own interests.  Also when upgrading you will find that the new POI groups aren't enabled.  You will have to go in and manually tick these.  I also found the Safety Speed had changed to over 120mph so this is another option you may need to tweak back to normality.

 

Planning Routes Offline

One thing that everyone has cried out for is to be able to plan the route without having a GPS connected, and then to drive that route using the Demo mode.  Thankfully TomTom have included this into TomTom Navigator 2 and it really is a great feature!

 

Summary

As you can see, TomTom have been hard at work, and I'm sure you'll agree there's quite a few new features that have been requested in our forums here, so TomTom have been listening to you all!   The best of all I would say is really the 3D view, London Congestion Charge Zone, Alternative Routing, more POI data and newer maps!  The Map/geodata is updated from TeleAtlas as of December 2002 which provides a much richer set of data and a hugely enhanced POI database which will hopefully make TomTom Navigator 2 much more accurate.

 

Comments ?

Have any comments about this review ?  Post them here.

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