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July 14, 2008

TomTom GO 920T Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
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5. Turning on the TomTom GO 920T for the First Time

Powering on the TomTom GO 920T
Figure 32: Powering on the TomTom GO 920T

Press and hold the power button for 2-3 seconds to turn on the GO 920T.

Setting the Language Preference
Figure 33: Setting the Language Preference

The first time the GO 920T is powered on, the start-up wizard automatically begins. Before you can start navigating with the GO 920T, a number of setting and preferences must be configured, beginning with the desired language.

Confirming the Language Selection
Figure 34: Confirming the Language Selection

The GO 920T asks you to confirm your language selection before continuing.

TomTom Welcome Screen
Figure 35: TomTom Welcome Screen

Once the language has been set, the GO 920T informs you that it must set a few more preferences before it's ready to begin navigating.

Right-handed or left-handed operation
Figure 36: Right-handed or left-handed operation

Good news for lefties -- The GO 920T allows you to configure the device for either right-handed or left-handed use.

Setting the Unit of Measure
Figure 37: Setting the Unit of Measure

Choose whether you prefer to see distances reported in Miles or Kilometers.

One minor TomTom annoyance: when set to use Miles, the GO 920T reports smaller distances in yards instead of feet, which makes sense for much of the world, but feet would be more preferable here in the US.

Clock Display Preference
Figure 38: Clock Display Preference

The time can be displayed using any of the three formats shown above.

Setting the Current Time
Figure 39: Setting the Current Time

The time can be manually set using the up and down arrows, or automatically set by tapping the Sync button (this works only when the device is receiving GPS signals).

Selecting A Voice
Figure 40: Selecting A Voice

The GO 920T ships with a variety of male and female voices. Computer generated voices can announce actual street names using text-to-speech technology. Real human voices are also available to choose, but they can only announce generic maneuvers, such as "Turn left in half a mile".

The default voice selection is "Susan", for US English. Susan is a computer generated voice that will speak actual street names when announcing turn maneuvers. Notice that computer generated voices say "Computer" in the upper right area of the voice selection screen, as shown above.

Most users will want to make use of the text-to-speech feature of the GO 920T, and should choose a computer voice rather than a human recorded voice.

Computer vs. Human Voices
Figure 41: Computer vs. Human Voices

If you choose a computer voice (and you should if you want to take advantage of the text-to-speech functionality), the GO 920T notifies you that the voice might not sound as perfect as a human recorded voice, but in exchange the device will speak actual street names.

Speech Preferences
Figure 42: Speech Preferences

The Speech preferences screen, shown above, lets users customize how much or how little they want the GO 920T to speak.

the "Read foreign street names out loud" option is curious, and TomTom's documentation makes no mention of it (or any of the other settings on this page). I noticed no difference when driving in the USA with this option checked or unchecked, but I suspect this setting is more relevant in Europe, where you might want to suppress street name announcements when driving through a foreign country.

Speech Preference, Page 2
Figure 43: Speech Preference, Page 2

The GO 920T provides an additional set of speech preferences that can be customized to your own particular needs.

Select a Map
Figure 44: Select a Map

The GO 920T ships pre-loaded with both North American and European maps.

Selecting a Day Color Scheme
Figure 45: Selecting a Day Color Scheme

The TomTom GO 920T has a built-in light sensor that can automatically switch the GPS between "day" and "night" color modes. Day color schemes are bright and designed to be seen during daylight conditions, while night color schemes use darker colors and are designed to be easy on the eyes when driving at night.

TomTom provides four different day color schemes to choose from.

Selecting a Night Color Scheme
Figure 46: Selecting a Night Color Scheme

TomTom provides four different night color schemes to choose from. The blue scheme (top left) is chosen by default.

Would You Like to Set Your 'Home' Address?
Figure 47: Would You Like to Set Your 'Home' Address?

Next the GO 920T asks if you want to input your home address. The 'Home" address is a special saved address in your address book that makes it easy to route back to your designated home address with just a few taps on the screen.

More on entering the 'Home' address later in the review.

Would You Like A Brief Tour?
Figure 48: Would You Like A Brief Tour?

Now that all the start-up preferences have been set, the GO 920T asks if you want a brief tour on using the GPS and an overview of the features. If you're new to TomTom's GPS products, it's probably a good idea to take the tour (it only takes a few minutes).

Join Map Share
Figure 49: Join Map Share

Map Share is one of the most exciting and innovative features TomTom has to offer. Map Share allows you, and other TomTom owners, to correct mapping errors directly on the GPS, and then share those corrections with other TomTom owners. If you're driving around and notice an error on the map, you can note the error as well as the correction directly on your device. If you choose to participate in the Map Share program, your map corrections are shared with other users, and maps are automatically updated each time the GO 920T is docked with the computer.

The level of map sharing can be configured to accept all corrections, or only those verified by TomTom.

Even if you choose not the participate in the Map Share program at all, the ability to change the mapping data directly on the GPS device is a powerful feature. Though you'll likely want to participate in Map Share.

Just how powerful a feature is Map Share? According to Harold Goddijin, TomTom's CEO, "on average, by the end of 2008, if you drive anywhere for one hour with a Tele Atlas map enhanced by Map Share feedback, your route will be influenced by more than 20 corrections."

If you decide to join the Map Share program, mapping corrections will be automatically downloaded to your GPS each time the GO 920T is connected to your computer. You'll need to install TomTom's HOME application on your PC/MAC in order to take advantage of Map Share, but you'd need to install HOME anyway in order to download software updates from TomTom.

Final First-Use Wizard Screen
Figure 50: Final First-Use Wizard Screen

The initial start-up wizard is now complete. Tapping on Continue completes the first-use wizard, and the GO 920T is ready to begin navigating.