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Review of the TomTom ONE XL
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Review of the TomTom ONE XL Reply with quote

Written by Tim Buxton and Mike Alder

Hot on the heels of the ONE NE (aka ONE V3), on April 16th TomTom announced an addition to its ever-growing ONE range; enter the ONE XL (aka ONE V5). As with its smaller sibling, the XL comes in Regional and Europe versions. These will ship with the TeleAtlas 675 maps which are the same as those available for download from TomTomís website.

The ONE XLís name gives away its main feature, which is a massive 4.3Ē widescreen display. This is larger even than TomTomís range-topping GO910 and yet the XL is only 7mm wider and 5mm taller. At only 27mm thick, it is, however, less than half the thickness of the GO910 which measures 66mm. The XL weighs in at 208g which, while not as light as the NE compares very favourably to the GO910ís 340g.



The front of the unit is functional as opposed to decorative and follows the same pattern as the smaller ONE, with the exception of having a ĎChargingí indicator on the front in the lower left hand corner. Itís a pity that TomTom didnít expand on the information that this could have given regarding charge state. The top houses the simple On/Off button and at the rear is the speaker grille, an external antenna socket and a lanyard hoop.

On the bottom are the Reset hole, sockets for an SD card, the USB power lead which doubles as a data transfer port and finally, a socket to accept TomTomís TMC module.



In the box are the usual TomTom extras, such as multi-plug mains charger, car charger, screen mount, CD and documentation. The main thing for the regional version of the One XL is the SD card, though, and to get started it really is as easy as putting the card into the slot, applying power and turning the unit on and giving it a good view of the sky.
I did this and was rewarded with a fix within a few minutes, certainly less than the 15 or so minutes it can take.
The One XL containing European street level mapping is fitted with 1GB of internal flash memory with the application and maps installed, the SD card slot is still fitted for expansion purposes if/ when required. The SD card cannot be used to supplement the internal flash memory; you can use either the internal memory OR use an SD card.

The screen is nice and bright, measuring 480 x 272 pixels and using 64k colours. There have been many queries asking why TomTom have gone for an even wider screen. That puts a lot more lateral information on view when there are calls to expand the forward view instead. Personally I like the landscape view and went into partial mourning when TomTom removed the option on their Navigator software. Still, itís food for thought and while I donít know how difficult it would be for TomTom to put the information bar up one side instead of along the bottom, surely the option is worth investigating. One additional benefit is the status bar display, the numbers are considerably easier to see being that much larger, GPS Speed, ETA etc, but the over speed limit warning still flashes in red and is difficult to see.

The windscreen mount is similar to, but slightly larger than, the one supplied with the ONE NE. This is a simple push on/peel off affair unlike the convoluted design of the GO910ís mount. Of course, since nothing plugs into the mount, thatís all it needs. Iím a bit critical of this mount though.



The screen on my Jeep is fairly upright and still the arm on the mount isnít really long enough to allow clearance when removing the device from the mount. Perhaps this was in TomTomís plan; after all, we are all aware now of the need to remove the mount from the screen to thwart would be thieves. Donít forget to wipe away the tell-tale ring too, though. TomTom have an alternative mount on the accessories page which appears to have a longer arm and also allows the unit to be mounted on the dash as well as the screen. This new optional accessory mount appears to be compatible with the Herbert Richter range of holders and mounts so it has a pedigree background, and should make connection of the power and RDS plugs much easier due to the clearance between the device and the windscreen.

Another criticism that the ONE NE attracted was the power lead. Like the XLís it is as USB charger and it has a straight connector, meaning that the unit has to sit well over an inch off the dash to allow its use. The XLís power connector is a right-angled one but, since it angles to the right, it is less convenient for those countries which still drive on the correct side of the road, at least for those of us who like our units up against the A pillar as opposed to mid-dash. Perhaps a left-angle, if you know what I mean, can be offered as an option although this might cause other problems due to the TMC socket being so close? The TMC module also plugs into the bottom of the unit but at least this can rotate in its socket. I wonder why they still use the bottom, though. Isnít there enough room on the sides? Whilst we are on the subject of power a fully charged ONE XL will run for around two hours from its internal battery, bear this in mind if you leave the car charger cable at home.



The XL has Bluetooth V2 on board but, like the NE, this is only for GPRS data transmission and the XL does not double as a hands free car kit. Although TomTom provide an external GPS antenna socket, I have found that the Global locate ďHammerheadĒ GPS receiver is more than capable of acquiring enough satellites to operate satisfactorily in my wifeís athermic-screened Renault. Even on my lounge sofa, 10 feet from the nearest window I regularly get 4 or 5 blue bars. The new GPS chipset fitted also benefits from the QuickGPS system offering very fast time to first fix, its quite a radical departure from the tried and trusted SiRF-III chipsets, but this newer device has proven to be equally as good when placed in demanding conditions.

As with the NE, the power button on the XL needs to be held for a couple of seconds to turn it on or off. This is a welcome feature for the likes of me; many a time I pulled my iPAQ out of my pocket and tried to turn it on, only to find that it had a flat battery due to my having accidentally turned it on earlier in the day.

So, with the XL suitably positioned and the TMC module connected, itís time for a drive. The interface is standard TomTom fare without the extras of the GO910, such as Picture Viewer, etc.. There is no TTS on this unit either, although Jane is more than adequate for my needs and the volume is satisfactory in my diesel powered Jeep at 70mph on the motorway, even with a setting of 55%. The screenmount also performs very well in these conditions. There is no hint of vibration and (I know, I donít practice what I preach) the mount has steadfastly stuck to my Jeepís screen for the past fortnight with no sign of it coming adrift at all. Even when it is taken off, it hardly leaves any evidence behind.

TomTomís TMC module has come in for plenty of criticism and itís something that they have been working on. The new design is better but TMC reception is still very much a postcode lottery. The shot below shows that the unit is connected but is yet to find a suitable frequency for data supply which, in the UK, is provided by Classic FM.



The shot below shows me near Oxford on the M40.



Screen refresh rate is very fast with no perceivable delays to the actual vehicle position displayed on the map. Trip planning and route re-calculation are both performed very quickly, even planning trips across Europe are undertaken with ease.

Conclusion: Yes this is considerably more expensive than the ONE NE, but the additional screen size is worth the additional outlay in my opinion, you really need to try this in the vehicle to appreciate the benefits it offers to the sat nav experience. Look at the first photograph in the write up to gain an appreciation of the display size when compared to the 910 sat next to it.

A connection point for the TMC receiver is also a welcome addition and will be put to good use when the UK RDS-TMC reception problems are resolved.

One connection that is lacking though is an audio output, the speaker is certainly loud enough for me, but that extra connection would have been handy.

The mount could be better, itís too fiddly to connect the cables to the device in most vehicles I have tried it in Ė the accessory option looks the better choice in my opinion for a decent quality mount.

The inclusion of the flash memory is a major benefit, no more lost memory cards or memory card speed related issues Ė it is a shame the SD slot cannot be utilised to supplement the on-board memory though.

The fact it will fit in a shirt top pocket adds to the anti-theft benefit, you are more likely to carry this than a Go-x10 style device.

Further details on the ONE XL Europe edition can be found: Here
Further details on the ONE XL Regional edition can be found: Here
The new range of accessories to compliment the ONE XL can be found: Here
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mgibbs
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wondering, out of interest, why there's a discrepancy between the data displayed on the two side by side units.

Mark
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iPaq 2210, TomTom 5.21, Holux CF100 gps cradle, Holux GPSlim 236, 512Mb CF card, 1Gb SD card.
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davewhit
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also i am really annoyed that tomtom have added the TMC feature to the XL and not the ONE V2 which if i had known this i would have waited or it

dave
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most probably this is due to the different map versions the two devices are currently running, the other discrepancy is the time of day, I don't bother altering units for the summer time/ winter time switch.

GPS status, note the XL is quite happy with a far stronger signal reported, this was surrounded by tall buildings, the 910 was not quite as good - further proof the Hammerhead chip set does produce the goods under demanding conditions - Mike
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave you still have TMC available via your phone and GPRS, the extra connection for RDS-TMC is only useful IF the device can pick up data, as we said in the review the supplier is working on the problem with the receiver and trying to resolve this issue.
If you want reliable TMC data then the GPRS connection is the only viable solution in the UK currently - Mike
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uptowndisco
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 2:17 am    Post subject: 910 Fur Reply with quote

Why is your 910 wearing a fur coat Question Smile
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: 910 Fur Reply with quote

uptowndisco wrote:
Why is your 910 wearing a fur coat Question Smile
It gets very cold in the North during winter, joking aside the Velcro "fur" is for attaching the Glare Stomper hood to the device which improves screen visibility very effectively in bright sunlight - Mike
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Deviltronics
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought both the Garmin Nuvi 660 and the TomTom One XL for comparison this week.

I decided to go with Nuvi, the only reason being it being much easier to fit in the pocket plus it includes a mains charger and a carry case, which the XL doesn't.

Disregarding the case and mains charger, I did not really like the thickness of the top of the XL, why could they have not made it the same thickness as the standard One V2 but just wider??

The only advantage I really thought the XL had was being able to simulate your journey at 500%, which you can't do with Nuvi (very dissapointed, why would you want to see a simulation at real time).
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AlanCollier
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this "massive 4.3Ē widescreen display" have a higher resolution than previous models or is it just the same amount of information shown on larger pixels?

--Alan
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The XL's screen is 480 x 272 pixels which is the same as the x10 range, as the screen is larger the pixels must be bigger - not that you can notice this on the unit - Mike
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AlanCollier
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The XL's screen is 480 x 272 pixels which is the same as the x10 range, as the screen is larger the pixels must be bigger - not that you can notice this on the unit - Mike


Is that a higher resolution than the other ONE models?


--Alan
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other TomTom One devices use a screen size of 320 x 240 so the XL is considerably larger in Pixel count and actual dimensions - Mike
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AlanCollier
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mike.
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sweepdog
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re:
A connection point for the TMC receiver is also a welcome addition and will be put to good use when the UK RDS-TMC reception problems are resolved.

Does this mean they are going to transmit nationally on other stations? Is there any likely ETA for this? I was considering subscribing to TT Traffic via GPRS, but may wait if this solution is fairly imminent
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sweepdog wrote:
Does this mean they are going to transmit nationally on other stations? Is there any likely ETA for this? I was considering subscribing to TT Traffic via GPRS, but may wait if this solution is fairly imminent
All we know is TomTom are looking into a new design RDS-TMC receiver.

I imagine any additional transmitter stations other than Classic FM would be a subject for iTIS (the traffic data provider) and the radio stations concerned - I have seen nothing officially suggesting this is about to take place - it would be nice if it were to happen though.

Traffic via GPRS is still the best method to obtain traffic data in the UK, we will have to wait and see if the new hardware resolves the issues - Mike
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