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While many of us are using a Maps app on our smartphones these days, there is still a compelling argument to be made to use a dedicated GPS device such as the new GO Comfort device from TomTom. When or why you might ask?
- A dedicated device for GPS means not having to worry about smartphone battery life and trying to double your phone as a navigation device. The phone can be for phone usage. (Using voice controls or speakerphone while you drive, playing your favourite music & more)
- They work offline. You can literally use a TomTom GPS device anywhere in the world where there is a GPS signal without having to worry about roaming charges, so great for those who travel. Newer models are Wi-Fi enabled and can be updated/maps downloaded quickly and easily.
- Paired with the TomTom smartphone app, routes on the GPS device can be planned and ready to go from the comfort of your home the night before or morning of, for a seamless start once you get into the car
With that being said, we were curious to see how GPS devices have evolved over the past few years so we recently tested out the TomTom GO Comfort.
Design & Hardware
The TomTom GO Comfort has a 5-inch resistive touchscreen (there is also an option for a 6-inch model) with a rounded corner design and a plastic build. The back of the device has a reversible mount with a suction cup, so you can place the GPS on your dashboard or on the windshield.
Installing the TomTom GO Comfort on the windshield with the suction cup was fairly easy and it stayed in place well. There is also a small black disk that is included to mount the device on your dashboard, however I could not get that to stick on the dashboard of a 2014 Toyota Corolla or a 2019 Subaru Forester, probably because of the materials the dashboards were made of.
Having the GPS mounted on the windshield made it easy to look at directions while driving since it was within eyesight and also within arm’s reach.
The back of the device has a speaker grill and a microUSB port and even with the speaker on the back of the device, TomTom GO Comfort can get fairly loud which is helpful for hearing turn-by-turn navigation. The 5-inch model is now available for $229.99 and the 6-inch model is $259.99.
In the box, you also get a microUSB cable and a car charger but if your vehicle has a USB port, you can just plug the GO Comfort into that. There is a built-in battery which TomTom says can get you up to 1 hour, but I was able to use the GPS on battery for a few hours.
The TomTom GO Comfort’s interface is fairly easy to navigate with large icons for each of the main functions. The main screen has icons to features like Search, Add Home, Recent Destination and your Current Route.
There are arrows on the left and right side of the screen to get to more menu options such as My Places, My Routes, Record Route, Parking Lot, Gas Station, Report Safety Camera and Settings. You can also rearrange the menu options by pressing the pencil icon.
Since the TomTom GO Comfort has a resistive touchscreen, you won’t be able to swipe through the interface like you can on a smartphone (which uses a capacitive touchscreen). Because of this, I would constantly have to look where my finger was touching on the screen to make sure I didn’t press the wrong thing, which in turn would take my eyes off the road.
It would have been helpful if the TomTom GO Comfort had voice control to input addresses and places while driving, instead of relying on typing it in.
The interface can be customized by choosing your preferred theme colour and voice options from British to American to Irish and Spanish accents.
At the bottom of the display is the volume slider to adjust how loud the GPS is, next to the volume is a button for turning voice instructions on/off and making the display dim at night.
With each TomTom GO Comfort purchase, you get lifetime maps updates and a lifetime subscription to TomTom Traffic.
I would have preferred the screen to be brighter, as it can get difficult to see when in direct sunlight.
The top right of the screen has icons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Traffic and the MyDrive app. Since you can connect the TomTom GO Comfort to Wi-Fi, it seamlessly completes software updates. They did sometimes take a while to install, so best to remember to update the device when you’re not rushing out the door.
The TomTom MyDrive app for Android and iOS lets you connect your smartphone to your TomTom device.
The app also lets you set destinations, get notified about the traffic on your commute, search for places to your TomTom device. After connecting to the TomTom GO Comfort over Bluetooth, you can get smartphone notifications and take calls.
On The Road
Spending some time with the TomTom GO Comfort in the car gave me a good feel for how seamlessly the device worked.
Map quality is fairly simplistic which makes reading street names easy. You have the option to view the map in 2D, which looks a lot like Google Maps, or 3D.
The 3D option definitely makes it much easier to see upcoming streets and turns and generally provides a better perspective on where you are relative to buildings/landmarks on the streets. It’s often difficult to know exactly where you need to turn on 2D maps before it’s too late. You can also zoom in on the map with the buttons on the left side.
The device works very smoothly once you’re on your route, moving me along on the map without any hiccups. Whenever I would go off of the route the device was suggesting (which I did multiple times in an attempt to see how the device would react), it would recalculate a new, fast route in mere seconds to continue moving me on my way to my destination.
The real-time traffic data was pretty accurate in terms of upcoming delays on my route. The device shows delays from traffic, construction, accidents and more, and continuously updated as traffic conditions changed. The device also alerts you of red light cameras.
While I didn’t trek too far away from civilization, the device always had GPS signal and worked wherever I went.
Overall, the TomTom GO Comfort is a good device with some modern features like smartphone integration and Wi-Fi. I would have preferred the screen to be a little brighter though.