My first Satnav purchase was the 'original' TomTom Go about 5 years ago. I paid around £400 for the unit and was just blown away by it. Even as the years have gone by I've been happy to keep using it.
But now that prices have come down so much and there are some really useful improvements, it was time to look for an upgrade.
There are SO many different TomTom models that I literally couldn't work out what to go for. I didn't simply want a newer, slightly better version of what I already had - that seemed pointless. I rapidly started to end up in the £200-£250 price range to get the kind of features I liked the sound of.
And that's when I started to stray over to the dark side. OTHER Sat Nav manufacturers!
My needs were clear to me. A bigger screen, enhanced services and features, easy to operate (as I won't be the only user) and a slim size.
And basically, the Navman/Mio Spirit 500 Traffic started to tick a lot of those things off. The maps are very clear, the voices are clear and loud, routing is fast and the GPS signal is picked up very
quickly. On top of that, this unit has the TMC feature (detailed Traffic information provided via RDS radio signals) built in to provide traffic problem information and re-route where appropriate.
The unit is very light, very slim and has a modern, if simple, style. Operation is simple but some key presses on the menu do need to be given a brief moment to work. You can also re-arrange the menu icons with the PC software which I like in particular.
Having owned a TomTom for so long, it's impossible not to make comparisons. I found though that the Navman unit has some advantages over TomTom despite being inferior in other ways.
Adding new addresses/locations to 'My Places' (i.e. TomTom Favourites) initially seems overcomplicated but it's simply a different way of doing things. That's generally the theme, it's basically the same end result, done in a different (and sometimes better) way.
The best way I can compare it is if you've had a SonyEricsson mobile for 5 years and then switch to a Nokia. You'll initially get annoyed that they do similar things in different ways but no doubt will prefer some of them whilst missing others.
For the money, this is a fantastic unit. On a journey this morning I was alerted by the TMC to an overturned Lorry which helped me to change my route (eventhough I was only in queued traffic NEAR the problem - technically the incident wasn't on my planned route but I could see what was affecting me very clearly on the unit's display).
The unit can include street names in instructions but I found the voices WAAAAY too robotic and the pronunciation isn't usually quite right. I now use one of the 'normal' voices which are similar to TomTom but I found they're clearer and louder whilst adding a few subtle changes to the info provided.
Slim & lightweight design, (Free!) Traffic Updates, clear mapping, overally features for the price.
The not-so good:
Robotic 'place names' voice, POIs slightly more awkward to work with, PC Software not as intuitive as TomTom Home.