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REVIEW COMMENTS: TomTom Navigator 3
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OJoe
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The silence is deafening! 8O What's going on?

We haven't thrown our toys out of the pram, have we? Laughing
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DavidW
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you list the serious flaws, maybe you'll draw some kind of response.


There are two significant issues that come to mind. One is the address lookup, about which I wrote the 'open letter' and about which TomTom have promised, not entirely convincingly, that they will do something about. To an extent, this is an issue with all systems that use TeleAtlas geodata.

The second issue is problems on an iPAQ 2210 using a Bluetooth GPS - for which there now seems to be the work-round of hiding POI.

There's also the usual spate of map and database errors that blight any navigation product. There are a few that are a little hard to explain - but the map data is good enough for me to use regularly.


No navigation software product is perfect. TomTom Navigator 3 is pretty good, in my opinion, not least in the way it compares to the competition.

In any case, the address lookup problems are arguably more TeleAtlas' than TomTom's (though TomTom could have taken measures to help the situation - see the 'open letter' thread for more details). Navteq based products seem to have other issues (Navteq based packages seem more likely to suffer from routing issues than TeleAtlas based packages) - it's not a case that a switch to Navteq geodata for a future version of Navigator would immediately solve TomTom's problems in this area.

The iPAQ 2210 / Bluetooth GPS may well turn out to be TomTom exciting a bug in software, firmware or hardware for which they are not responsible. The issue doesn't seem to show with Bluetooth GPS on any other hardware, including other iPAQ models. I've written at more length about the rights and wrongs of this situation elsewhere.


OJoe - you haven't posted anywhere in the forums that I can find (and I have searched your old posts) why you regard Navigator 3 as 'seriously flawed' and why you feel Dave should change his conclusions. You are asking an experienced reviewer to change the conclusions in a review that's been on the site for some time, and on which extensive public discussion has taken place. Dave has reviewed a lot of products, and I trust his opinions, though like all human opinions they are fallible.

Without an explanation from you of your opinion that "the software has been demonstrated to be seriously flawed", I can't see how Dave is supposed to respond to you.


fleng has posted several times about entering into dispute with his credit card provider, and has posted that he takes TomTom agreeing to a refund in his case as an admission that the product is not of merchantable quality. I struggle to share that opinion, particularly as he or she has posted no details on what his problem(s) with Navigator 3 were.


Navigator 3 is not perfect, but I believe it holds its own in the market. Navigator 2 had problems at launch, too - but there were quite a few program upgrades that not only dealt with various glitches but improved the product. I suspect we will see the same happen with Navigator 3.

Of course, I wish there weren't issues with Navigator 3 - but it seems to be the most popular product amongst forum users, and the database / address lookup issues are also present to some extent in what is probably Navigator 3's major competitor in Europe - Navman's Smart St Pro 2, which also uses TeleAtlas data.


I have found serious errors in far more expensive software products about which the developer will do nothing other than eventually suggest I pay to upgrade to a later version that may or may not contain a fix. I'm talking here about various Microsoft products - primarily Office. My upgrades from Office 97 to 2000, and 2000 to XP were both prompted by bugs in Word, not because I had any need of new features.

As I have three machines to upgrade (which is really too few to get into Microsoft Open Licensing, but enough to make software licenses expensive), it's an expensive business upgrading Office version. I am aware of a few bugs in Word 2002 (Office XP) that I'm sure won't be fixed (in particular, booklet printing goes horribly wrong if you have section breaks where the number of columns changes in the document). That said, I am going to do my utmost not to upgrade to Office 2003, as the terms and conditions of the upgrade get ever less generous whilst the upgrade price gets ever more expensive. At the very least, I'd rather skip Office 2003, which really just adds yet more features I won't ever use, and wait for the version of Office that supersedes Office 2003 before upgrading again.

To upgrade my three machines would cost me somewhere in the region of 600 pounds. I'm sure Office 2003 will turn out to have plenty of bugs that won't be fixed until the next version of Office! Once a version of Office has been released, my impression is that only security bugs and bugs reported by major corporate customers whilst that version of Office is still the current one will be fixed - everything else waits for the next version of Office.


I trust TomTom to fix their bugs more than I trust Microsoft to fix bugs in Microsoft Office. Only one bug that I found when I first started using Navigator 2 (in the days when 2.02 was the latest version) still remains in Navigator 3 3.01.

Meanwhile, if I try, as an individual end user, to report a bug in Office to Microsoft, I'll probably land up being told to pay for a technical support incident first! The last time I did call Microsoft support, I had a terrible time getting a Windows XP hotfix for an issue described precisely in the Knowledge Base, which I had found (and figured out the less than brilliant work-round for) by myself before the Knowledge Base article was written.

I also remember taking Money 2001 back because there was a fundamental error in it (you could finish up with transfers between accounts where only one side of the transaction was showing). In my many years as a computer user, as well as work as both a system administrator and developer, that remains the only time I've ever returned software for a refund due to a fundamental bug (the issue, by the way, was fixed in Money 2003).



David
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tom9851
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmmmm.. Ojoe uses the words "seriously flawed" and DavidW uses the words "significant issues". I will use the word "problems" - the severity of these problems is very much a matter of personal opinion and I would hasten to add that I don't believe that any opinions or views expressed on this forum by any one user/poster are any more or less valid than the opinions or views of any other user/poster.

The fact is that the main problems expressed on this forum are to do with address look-up/missing places. To some people these are a minor irritation and to others a real problem and a real pain in the ass! In fact to some users who have the Digitools postcode application installed and use mostly full postcodes then these problems are not really an issue at all, and they could justifiably (again in my own opinion) feel that TTN3 was pretty well the dog's doodahs. To others who have to often (especially people involved in the logistics business) contend with "patchy addresses" often without any postcodes (partial or complete) then these problems DO manifest themselves as "serious flaws" or as a "significant issue" depending on which terminology you care to use! The omission of large conurbations such as Chelmsford and High Wycombe (to name but two) but the inclusion of tiny hamlets such as Kinlochewe (in the remote North West Scottish Highlands)
does, in my very humble opinion, beggar belief.

I read the TTN3 review and of course it didn't reflect these problems, presumably because the review was written as soon as a copy of the product was made available and the review really deals with the changes over TTN2 and it's useability etc. The problems that have been encountered by users and duly posted on this forum have been drip-fed as and when people discovered these over a period of time. The author of the review would obviously not have had the opportunity to thoroughly "road-test" TTN3 in order to expose any of it's weaknesses. Whether the review should be amended to reflect what is now known about the product is very much a matter for the author and not for me to comment on. The review apart, I feel there is more than sufficient information (some of it factual, some of it personal opinions) now on this forum to offer anyone contemplating purchasing this product to make a very informed judgement on the pros and cons of TTN3 and act accordingly.

If I had purchased TTN3 today for the full retail price (not as a free or discounted upgrade) then I, personally, would have found the product unacceptable and returned it to the retailer and pressed for a full refund. I have not found it too much of a problem to revert back to TTN2 (with it's own imperfections!) and for me this is the solution until TomTom DO (whenever) eventually provide solutions to the now, well documented, problems. I have no doubt at all that DavidW is quite correct in stating that this WILL happen. At which point I will be only too happy to reinstall TTN3 and await such an event with baited breath! For others they can happily motor along with TTN3 as it is and for others they will already have taken it back and demanded their money back.

Anyway, that's my take on this subject for what it's worth!

Tom
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OZ
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave W, you need to realise that there are other people with opinions here.Like Tom says these problems are more troublesome to certain people than others.
I dont have bluetooth so do i say how can one slag off TomTom about a crap product when, because this problem is not relevant to me, it does not trouble me.
In truth the problems are there and whoever takes the blame be it Tom Tom or tele Atlas or good ol' Dave at Gps, Tom Tom as the people responsible for the release of their product have a legal responsibility to make sure the product is fully tested and does what they claim it does.
Here lies the humungous grey area, in truth products are not tested fully with the customers interests at heart, products are rushed through to coincide with big trade conventions etc, and this is one time TomTom have come unstuck, whilst i personally feel the product is still acceptable, largely thanks to Niels postcode programme i believe it will take a long time for TomTom to recover from this, as it is not only the product getting coated but TomTom's whole infastructure, namely customer service, support,R&D, etc.
Again, on a personal level, yes i have had problems with the ordering of the upgrade, but an e-mail to the CEO which he personally answered fixed it for me, so perhaps it's not all bad.
We are funny things as humans, if we get the dodgy grape out of the whole bunch, then we tend to taint the whole bunch.
I do agree with some of Dave W's comments though and as a parting note i would say, yes there are undeniable problems but there are a lot of plus factors too, whether Navman or whoever have similar problems is irrelevant as we havent paid for that product and to be brutally honest i couldn't give a damn if owners of those products have problems, i'm sure they have a page in their forums.
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DavidW
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always tried to respect other people's opinions. In particular, I accept that for some, the issues in Navigator 3 make it unusuable for them - I've never tried to deny that. However, I believe it's possibly a step too far to suggest that Dave defends his review, particularly OJoe hasn't posted about what he regards as "serious flaws" or fleng about why he pushed TomTom to return Navigator 3.

If you look at my product recommendations, for example, you'll find that I recommend various systems, and try to answer questions, when I can, from users of systems different to mine. What works for me is clearly not right for others, and I always try to frame my suggestions in the most open possible way.


The address lookup in Navigator 3 is far from perfect, and makes the product pretty much unusuable for some people - hence the 'open letter' (which I will try to progress further with TomTom next week, not least as Oldie and I have a suggestion that we feel will make things much better than it is now, even without a map reissue - see the 'open letter' thread).

The various lockup problems are also proving very difficult for some. All we have at the moment are various work-rounds - solve memory card issue where they exist, and the rather unsatisfactory suggestion that those suffering from Bluetooth GPS issues on the iPAQ 2210 hide POI.

To add a couple of further issues, some people have problems with Navigator locking up on the safety screen, and some people are having problems with TomTom Traffic not managing to keep updating (this may be an O2 problem, but it is still a problem affecting TomTom users).


We do have open discussion on these forums of reviews, and anyone reading Dave's review has a chance to read through the various comments made in this thread as well as the rest of the forum. Dave is entitled to his opinion, whatever it may be, and I find that his reviews do tend to be pretty unbiased, drawing out both strengths and weaknesses.


I take OZ's point that we haven't paid for Navman - but surely it is significant that the address lookup issues are present to a large extent in their Smart ST Pro 2 product as well. If someone decides that the address lookup issues mean TomTom Navigator 3 is not for them, then going to Navman will not overcome those issues that well; all TeleAtlas based products seem to have address lookup issues. If better address lookup is needed, a NAVTEQ based system may be better (such as Navigon or Mapopolis).


I return to where I started - everyone is entitled to their opinions. Dave doesn't need me to defend him, but I will stick up for his right to hold the opinions he does.


The only other caution I would give is that it's unreasonable to expect these systems to be perfect. In particular, it is certain they will always contain mistakes in the mapping. That was the main reason for my reply to OJoe - if there was a clearly better system available, and TomTom were showing absolutely no interest in our Navigator 3 problems, then I'd be far more interested in seeing Dave change his review, but I think neither of those are completely true.

Your mileage may vary - not least depending on what navigation software you use!



David
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tom9851
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DavidW wrote:-

Quote:
The only other caution I would give is that it's unreasonable to expect these systems to be perfect.


I think we will have to agree to disagree on this sentence. As far as I am concerned if TTN2 provided the facility to input the name of a major town such as Chelmsford (not exactly a one horse town!) followed by the street name, then I for one do not consider myself to be unreasonable by expecting an upgraded version, TTN3, to at the very least, be able to provide this same facility. When we find that this "upgraded" version doesn't even recognise the town of Chelmsford then I would not think it unreasonable to rename TTN3 a "downgrade" and not an "upgrade".

I, for one, can never be accused of seeking perfection - I DO expect the product to be able to fulfil a basic requirement of searching for and routing to a street in a large UK town/city. Numerous examples posted on these forums show that this requirement is simply NOT being met by this product.

Tom
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DavidW
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By perfection I was meaning no map errors, always perfect routes, perfect hardware compatibility, full built in postcodes, error free address lookup, no interference with other software and probably making the tea as well.

Even if we remove making tea (though there was someone in the forums offering a free 24V kettle this week), perfection is always going to be impossible, even though some of these things can be added to Navigator - I would like, for example, to see full postcodes in Navigator 4.

There'll be times when the underlying operating system will do something wrong. There's limits on both the processing power and storage space that are affordable and even available. It's not mathematically possible to work out the 'best' route - all the routing algorithms we have are compromises. There will always be some errors in our maps, both because humans compile them and because roads are changing all the time. There'll be the odd occasion when there's a Global Positioning System fault (some will remember the situation where PRN23/SVN23, which has incidentally now been decommissioned, started transmitting faulty data on 1 January 2004 and wasn't marked as 'unhealthy' for a good few hours).


There are, as I said earlier, 'significant issues' in Navigator 3 as it stands. I am very disappointed that the address lookup is worse in Navigator 3 than in Navigator 2 - I was hoping for better, as Navigator 2 wasn't perfect. Equally disappointing is that places that were in the Navigator 2 GB database aren't in the Navigator 3 GB one. I would like some firmer commitment from TomTom to doing something about address lookup in Navigator 3 GB, and will endeavour to contact them next week about this.

If you're going to hold out for perfection, you'll never be able to buy any of these systems. They are a useful tool even as they stand. To an extent, as they're all imperfect, it's a case of buying the least bad system, but that's rather a negative standpoint. I've used Navigator 2 and Navigator 3 to drive to places I've never visited before, and I've been routed quickly and efficiently to my destination.


Hopefully now that TomTom Traffic is launched, TomTom will be able to turn their attention both to what can be done about the address lookup situation and to some of the other crashes, lockups and malfunctions that people are reporting. There are a number of people for whom Navigator 3 is unreliable or all but unusuable, and they deserve some solutions.

My feeling about Navigator 3 is in line with Dave's review - overall fairly positive, though I acknowledge its flaws. For some, it's proved dreadful. I have tried to help people in that latter group as best I can, not least by writing the 'open letter'.


I hope those last two paragraphs are a reasonable summary of our various viewpoints.



David
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OZ
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough DavidW, sorry, i wasn't trying to give you a serve, but you have many valid arguments,however im with Tom on this one- to a point, i dont expect perfection, although it would be nice, but i do expect a product to perform fundamental tasks competently.
What makes this more frustrating is some of these bugs and errors were not present with version 2 and to the less technically adept this equates to "er, how can this be an improvement"?.
You are right David, we do have a very good forum here where some of you more proficient guys help us less abled guys a lot, and for that i am grateful.
As for TomTom, on the whole i do feel although we have a far from brilliant product,look on the positive side and think "how good will it be, when they do tidy it up"
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OJoe
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave W - Thanks for your extensive (!!) reply. At least I got some reaction.

Why do the "problems" or "flaws" have to be rehearsed over and over again. We know what TT3 will do and, increasingly, what it won't do. I find it rather worrying that the "won't do" column has grown since TT2.

If the reviewer of TT3 reads these forums (of course) then I would have thought it obvious that the review should be revisited and that some caveat should be included.

I upgraded and have had no problems other than the programme telling me I'm on the M3 when I was on the A303. A minor problem. But don't tell me that a bunch of disappearing towns isn't a problem.

It may well be a problem outwith TomTom's control but that doesn't mean it's not a problem and any DECENT review should mention these glitches.

It's the review I have a problem with. It's misleading. Best regards.

Joe
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OJoe
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and by the way Twisted Evil . The validity of people's opinions in these forums shouldn't be measured by the amount of posting they do. I have complained to TomTom about several things in the past and have asked them what they intend to do about TT3.

Just because I don't post ad nauseam about it, doesn't mean I don't feel strongly. You can't expect prospective buyers of TT3 who visit the pocketgpsworld.com site to read the review and then trawl through all of our garbage to understand what's going on.

An objective and full review would tell them. Not one that went off half-cocked. Best regards,

Joe
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a4ace
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, but do excuse when we make mistakes with names :D
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a4ace
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seriously though, i share the thought that the review should be updated. the m6 toll road was mentioned, even though it is considered a teleatlas issue. but maybe dave do plan to update but has not found the time. some of us have read here that he has some personal problems which is keeping him from checking the site as often as before.
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The_BFG
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am new to Sat Nav in that I once had a colleague who had it installed but could not use it!! So we sussed out a journey and whooosh off we went. A marvelous experience. From that time on I have yearned to have Sat Nav given my gift for getting lost!

I read Dave's review and decided to go for the latest Dell Axiom5 GPS bundle with TT3 running on 128Mb flash card and the 400Mhz cpu. With warrenty and a soft leather case the lot was well under 500.

Waiting the four hours to charge the Dell battery for the first time was hell and I only missed that by about 2 hours before I loaded TT and got into The Old Boy to pop the holder and GPS in place. Well I should have waited for the full four hours since the Dell decided to die a death.

I thought that as the first link to the satellite would take approx 45 mins I would just load a route to the office and let it connect whilst driving the hour or so.

What a suprise when I had driven only about 400 yards when the voice kicked in and told me where to go (literally Wink ).

Problem No 1 was that although I have been in my New Build property for 4.5 years I am not on the map!!

Apart from that I have been very impressed with the speed the package recalculates when I move away from the given route. Mere seconds!!

I have now d/l the camera database together with checkpoint V2 and Neil's postcode database. So I will see how they all integrate. I particularly want the camera database since I can no longer use Snooper as the ligher socket is taken up with the gps kit.

I found the CD based manual of semi interest since it gave an explanation of the icons but not how to use them (eg add a Home address or Favourite) although I did find out via the onscreen help.

The car kit holder is different in design from the TT review. The cup is now very much a cup and the fit very snug to the extent when The Old Boyh is stopped in traffic the pda is bouncing around like a yo yo on heat but is still held securely in place. The gps cable fits to the cup itself and is powered from there. The whole looking very professional (although I do wonder at the length of the gps cable - it is about 6ft!!! not long enough to reach the back window (as suggested in the TT setup) but toooo long for the dashboard.

The Dell standard holder is a plastic wallet with a very hand looking belt clip. Had I realised it was soo good I would not have purchased the leathe wallet.

Well that is it so far, my first impressions are 99% favourable and the other 1% downside is the apparent outdated map.

I will now be monitoring the tips threads so I can get the most out of the device and maybe even contributing in time.

Once again thank you all for taking the time to post here and therefore helping Sat Nav newbies like myself.
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garygfx
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David, it's not just 2210 with Bluetooth that has problems. I have a new 2210 with a Haicom 303 CF card and TT 3.02 crashes now and then when plotting routes. Turning off POIs seems to have fixed the crashing issue but a modern satnav system without POIs? Really, that's not good.

Other unforgiveable issues I've mentioned elsewhere:
* The existance of several unnamed roads in Harrow that don't exist in real life. Very confusing and strange. Must be 100's more like this, I don't travel much and have only had TT for 5 days so far.
* Route to my local petrol station takes me to a dead-end road.
* Route to other local station takes me on a 10 mile journey up the A1 and back down it again and leaves me on an empty slip road.
* Can't plot a route using postcodes
* Lists roads 20+ miles away when you're looking for a road in a specific town.
* Can't specify preference for motorways or A/B roads.

I know TeleAtlas are part to blame but if Hewlet Packard launched their next iPAQ with a buggy and incomplete operating system then HP are at fault for making a bad choice, not the OS provider. If products are thoroughly tested first then consumers shouldn't see half the problems that exist.

Now that Tomtom's "Go" product has been launched I hope they'll concentrate on resolving the TT3 issues. The product is good but rough in places. A bit like a beta release, not a final product.

Nice site David, very useful resources. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:06 pm    Post subject: TomTom 3 on XDA?/Dell Axim X5 Reply with quote

Hi All,

I wanted some help, and wondered if anyone had upgraded to TomTom3 on the XDA? I was going to upgrade my XDA to the II version, but have given up with 02...

I am running TomTom 2 with no problems whatsoever on the last incarnation of the XDA I (32mb ROM/ 64MB RAM/ 128MB simpletech SD Card)... However I have been offered a "free" upgrade by TomTom, but after reading comments here I am worried about messing up a good system.

I have 3 questions:
1. Does the newer version use anymore processing power? (bearing in mind the XDA runs at only 200ishMHZ.

2. Is TomTom3 ok with a serial connection as most of the comments I have seen are based on a bluetooth setup.

3. My Business Partner has TomTom2 on a Dell Axim X5, and is considering paying for the upgrade as he has had his system for a longer time... are there any Axim owners who have upgraded and if so, any problems??

Thank You in advance for your replies!!!
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