TomTom Where are You? CodeUnit 29 DEC 2008

TomTom ONEThe awesomeness, the awesomeness, the awesomeness. Oh where do I begin I ask you? So for those of you who don’t know, this year for Christmas, under the leadership of Chantelle, the combined Lotter and Montgomery clans all pooled together and bought for me my very own GPS unit, the TomTom ONE (series 3).

This little handheld unit of pure magic must surely be one of the most awesome of gadgets ever made by man I tell you! Compact, ingenious in design, intuitive and simple to operate, amazing satellite connectivity, customizable and just so damn cute, my little TomTom has now become my number one friend, ensuring that I, Craig Grant Lotter shall no longer get lost… EVER AGAIN!

TomTom itself is a Dutch-based company that started up in 1991 already and have since gone on to win a number of consumer awards for their easy to use GPS systems and pretty damn good navigational algorithms, as well as their pretty affordable pricing schedules across most of their product line. Add to that their clever community-based focus and HOME project that allows for a centralised manner of updating one’s overall map as well as adding user-submitted POI and miscellaneous items such as traffic camera locations and minor map updates, the product certainly has a pretty solid base to stand on.

My first action after opening the box was to hook the unit up to the PC, where it self-installed its required software package and then guided you through the various processes of updating your unit to its latest version, including latest GPS software and firmware as well as the latest copy of your local map. A clever little trick also is its weekly-updated QuickGPSfix service that essentially allows your unit to estimate where the closest satellite will be on any given day of the week, meaning that satellite signal acquisition is just SO much quicker!

From there on it was straight into playing with the unit itself and I am absolutely amazed at just how many settings and options one can twiddle with to produce the customised results that one wants at times. All the usual GPS options are available and the TomTom comes preinstalled with a number of nice voice and POI selections as well.

The actual unit itself comes across as fairly rugged and fits into the palm of one’s hand pretty comfortably – which could come in handy if one ever wants to use its built in ‘walk to’ functionality. Similarly, the sucker cup attachment for the car window works like an absolute charm and the GPS unit fits pretty snugly and without hassle on it. The device comes bundled with car charger adaptor as well as a USB connector cable, meaning that you don’t need to still go out and buy all these things extra, though there are the usual array of extras such as carry pouches and more advanced car mountings that are available for purchase directly from TomTom itself.

So far after a couple days worth of use, my little TomTom ONE has yet to let me down, leading me directly to the spots I’ve inputted and then safely navigating me home. Honestly, what more could one as direction-bemuddled as I ask for? :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.