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TomTom Go 930
You don't have to sacrifice excellent navigation features to get multimedia extras on a GPS product: The TomTom GO 930 delivers both. This slick-looking unit packs in almost every feature you could want, while still managing to find some of the best routes of any personal navigation system I tested.
The GO 930 uses TomTom's IQ Routes technology (also available in the less-expensive TomTom GO 730), which factors in real-world road speeds when planning a route. Most GPS devices let you choose between the shortest route (in actual miles traveled) or the quickest (based on set speed limits). TomTom's IQ Routes takes into account the speed that most drivers actually travel on the road at certain times of day as well as whether you are traveling on a weekend or a weekday. The data has been collected from users of the TomTom HOME service, who voluntarily submit anonymous travel information when they connect their GPS to their computer.
The results are top-notch: The GO 930 found the quickest routes from my house in the suburbs to Boston, easily navigating tricky roads that change more often than I can track. Routes are recalculated quickly when you veer off-course, and the directions are loud and clear.
TomTom's interface is easy to read and understand on the GO 930's 4.3-inch touch screen. Entering a destination is simple on this responsive screen; when your route is planned, you're presented with an overview of the entire course. This approach lets you get a look at where you're going--and make any changes--before you begin traveling. Many GPS products simply begin navigating without this extra step.
The GO 930 includes voice recognition technology that lets you speak the addresses that you'd like to navigate to rather than having to type them in by hand. This would be a great feature to use while driving--if it worked better than it did in my hands-on experience. The GO 930 only occasionally understood the address I spoke, and trying to correct it proved frustrating. Most of the time, I resorted to manually entering addresses on the touch screen.
TomTom bills the GO 930 as traffic-ready; you need an extra-cost $100 accessory to access the traffic service (the first year of service is free; $60 a year thereafter). You can also opt for the GO 930 T model, which includes a traffic antenna, but it costs $50 more than the GO 930.
The GO 930 includes lane guidance, which prepares you for upcoming turns, and offers realistic images of some tricky intersections to help you know which way to go. I found this feature especially handy while traveling through Boston's many rotaries and highways.
Among this model's myriad other features: an FM transmitter, which will play directions over your car's stereo; hands-free calling via Bluetooth; an iPod connection; SD card slot; TomTom's Map Share, which lets you share routes with other drivers; local fuel prices; an MP3 and audiobook player; and local weather.
All of those extras are nice, but they pale in comparison to the stellar IQ Routes technology. First and foremost, a GPS should get you where you want to go--and get you there quickly. The TomTom GO 930 succeeds at doing just that.
TomTom Go 930
This TomTom delivered some of the best routes we found; its lack of integrated traffic service is its biggest downfall.
- Lots of extras, including iPod controls
- IQ Routes feature lets you find faster routes
- Doesn't include traffic receiver or service