Pros: Fantastic performance on the road; wide range of extras; extremely customisable
Cons: Expensive; improvements don’t add a great deal
Bottomline: The best performing navigator money can buy, but it's expensive and we weren't totally impressed with the new features
Tomtom has made a big deal of its latest line of sat navs, with new technology such as Iqroutes and Advanced Lane Guidance aimed at improving the effectiveness and clarity of route planning and navigation.
The 930T offers both, along with pretty much every additional feature and service Tomtom has to offer.
It’s a stylish and portable device with a just a simple on/off switch on the exterior. The lack of any other external controls isn’t really a problem thanks to the well-designed interface, which makes the massive range of features on offer, along with common tasks such as volume adjustment and itinerary information, easy to access on the move.
The bulk of the features are similar to the high-end Tomtom Go 720. You’ll find all of the extras that have made previous devices so popular, such as the Mapshare technology, personalisation options and community services.
There’s also a media player, iPod control, text-to-speech instructions for reading out road names and locations, and Bluetooth for pairing your mobile phone. You can also use voice address input to speak the name of a location out loud when plotting a route, while a TMC traffic receiver supplied along with a speed camera database.
We were also very impressed by the customisable nature of the interface, which allows you to choose from a range of journey details to display on-screen, along with a customisable shortcut menu that you can populate with your favourite applications or features, putting them just one click away from the main map.
Plotting a route is straightforward with a short time to first fix of under a minute and the impressively sensitive GPS receiver found satellites quite comfortably even when we were indoors.
Once on the road we found the clarity and accuracy of the voice directions to be excellent, offering just the right amount of detail in terms of preparing for an upcoming intersection and getting into the right position on the road for a subsequent turn-off. The Advanced Lane Guidance is supposed to make this even more effective, but in practice we noticed that it only kicks in on motorways and major roads. When relevant, the information bar at the bottom of the screen will show lane-markings for your current road, confirming which you should be in along with a representation of the road signs you should be following.
The new Iqroutes feature, which helps to predict a more accurate journey time by basing calculations on actual speeds on the road rather than sign-posted limits, is also included. This collates real data from millions of users covering billions of kilometres of road, taking into account factors such as traffic lights, roundabouts and speed bumps.
We tested the Iqroutes feature by planning some known routes using the 930T and a range of rival devices and, although results varied, in most cases we noted a shorter journey time of 10 per cent or so with the Tomtom and overall more accurate predictions. One potential issue we have with this feature is that we weren’t convinced at how effectively it takes the time of day and factors such as rush-hour into account. Though you’ll be able to shave some time off your journey by taking an alternate route on occasion, we don’t think Iqroutes will be a deal-clincher for the majority of users.
There’s no doubt that the 930T is an extremely impressive navigator and one of the best on the market. However, it's also very expensive and, since we weren't bowled over with the new features, some of the cheaper and equally capable devices start to look more attractive.