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July 14, 2008

TomTom GO 920T Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
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21. TomTom Services

TomTom Services
Figure 138: TomTom Services

TomTom Services is an online subscription service that lets your GO 920T access real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, and more. TomTom periodically adds new services. For a full list of current services, visit http://www.tomtom.com/services.

Setup Wireless Data Connection
Figure 139: Setup Wireless Data Connection

In order to use TomTom's Services, you'll need a compatible Bluetooth enabled cell phone. Once paired with the GO 920T, the phone must be powered on, within a coverage area, and located within 15 feet of the GPS.

Compared to Garmin's MSN Direct equipped 12v power adapter (which provides power as well as various online services, including Traffic), TomTom's Services feel complex to setup, and require additional hardware (a cell phone).

TomTom Services 1 of 2
Figure 140: TomTom Services 1 of 2

TomTom provides a number of available Services:

  • Traffic - Costs $29.95 per year for real-time traffic information, $69.95 per year for traffic + safety camera information
  • TomTom Weather - A free service that displays local weather forecast information
  • TomTom Buddies - Provides instant messaging and location sharing information between you and other TomTom GO owners
  • TomTom Safety Cameras - Warns drivers when approaching a known speed trap
  • Fuel Prices - For $14.95 per year, this service lets you see local fuel price information, and find the cheapest gas.

22. Traffic

Main Menu 3 of 3
Figure 141: Main Menu 3 of 3

The "T" in the GO 920T's model number indicates that the unit is traffic enabled, and includes an RDS-TMC traffic receiver that works in Europe and North America. Note that traffic information is also available on the GO 920T as a TomTom Service, which uses a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to download updates instead of the included traffic receiver.

The GO 920T comes with 1 year of free traffic data using the included RDS-TMC traffic receiver, after which you'll need to subscribe at a cost of around $60/year.

To view traffic information, tap "TomTom Traffic" from the Main Menu, Page 3.

TomTom Traffic Main Menu
Figure 142: TomTom Traffic Main Menu

The Traffic menu, shown above, is home to the following functions:

  • Minimize delays - Re-plan the route to avoid all delays
  • Show home-work traffic - lets you check traffic conditions on your route to and from work
  • Show traffic on route - shows current traffic events along the planned route
  • Browse map - lets you browse the map with traffic events displayed
  • Change Traffic preferences - tap this icon to change traffic preferences
  • Read aloud traffic info - tap this icon to have the GO 920T announce any traffic events along your current route

Notice that traffic information status is reported in the lower-left corner of the Traffic menu. Figure 142 shows a full green circle, indicating traffic information is up to date. The following conditions are also reported:

  • Full green circle - Traffic information is up to date
  • 3/4th full green circle - Traffic information has not been updated for at least 15 minutes
  • Half green circle - Traffic information has not been updated for at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4th green circle - Traffic information has not been updated for at least 45 minutes
  • Empty circle - Traffic information has not been updated for at least 60 minutes
  • Empty circle with a red X through it - No connection is available between the GO 920T and your cell phone

Change Traffic Preferences
Figure 143: Change Traffic Preferences

The following traffic options can be enabled or disabled:

  • Automatically minimize delays after every traffic update - turning this option on will cause the GO 920T to automatically recalculate the route if a new traffic event is received that will cause a delay along your current route
  • Beep when traffic situation on route changes - enabled by default, the GO 920T beeps when a new traffic incident occurs along the current route
  • Tune manually by entering a frequency - lets you manually configure the FM frequency used in your area to broadcast TMC (Traffic Message Channel) alerts.

View Map with Traffic Information
Figure 144: View Map with Traffic Information

This is the map screen with traffic information displayed. The map centers itself on your current position, and any traffic incidents in the area are shown. Tap on any traffic incident to get more information.

Traffic Conditions Along Route
Figure 145: Traffic Conditions Along Route

When calculating the route to a destination, the GO 920T displays any traffic events along the planned route. Tapping "Minimize delays" will force the GO 920T to route around any traffic delays. Tap "Done" to begin driving to the destination.

Traffic Sidebar
Figure 146: Traffic Sidebar

When driving to a destination, if a traffic incident is received that will cause a delay along your route, the Traffic Sidebar will appear on the right side of the map screen notifying you of the upcoming delay. Tap the Traffic sidebar to view more detailed information about the delay, and re-route around the problem.

I do wish TomTom had integrated the traffic antenna into the windshield dock or 12v adapter instead of requiring an additional wire on the dashboard. Still, the antenna worked well, downloading traffic data quickly, and the GO 920T does an excellent job displaying traffic conditions on the map in an intuitive way that's easy to understand.