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July 14, 2008

TomTom GO 920T Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
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8. Finding An Address

Main Menu 1 of 3
Figure 59: Main Menu 1 of 3

The TomTom GO 920T provides several ways to navigate to a destination, but probably the most common method is to enter a street address as a destination.

To begin entering a destination address, tap the screen to bring up the Main Menu, shown above, and then tap "Navigate to..."

Choosing a Destination Type
Figure 60: Choosing a Destination Type

The "Navigate to..." screen, shown above, allows you to choose what type of destination address you want to route to:

  • Home - route to the saved Home address
  • Favorite - route to a saved address
  • Address - Enter a street address
  • Recent Destination - Route to a recently found address
  • Point of Interest - Search the POI (Point of Interest) database for a business (restaurant, hotel, gas station, grocery store, etc.)

In this example we'll be entering a street address as our destination, so we'll tap on "Address" to continue.

Choosing an Address Entry Method
Figure 61: Choosing an Address Entry Method

The GO 920T allows you to enter a street address in a number of useful ways:

  • City center - if you don't have a particular street address, and just want to drive to the center of town (useful for exploring small towns)
  • Street and house number - probably the method you'll most commonly use, this button allows you to enter a complete street address.
  • Zip Code - if you know the postal code for the destination address, entering the Zip Code can be faster than spelling out city names (and less error prone)
  • Cross street or intersection - allows you to enter two street names and route to a particular intersection
  • Spoken address - use this method to enter an address using both speech and by tapping the screen
  • Spoken address (dialog) - tap this button to enter an address using only speech. The GO 920T can recognize the following commands: Yes, No, Back, Done, OK, Crossing, as well as street names, place names, and numbers.

I'll tap on "Street and house number" to continue.

Entering the City
Figure 62: Entering the City

Be default the GO 920T lists the most recently found cities in the City entry screen, shown above. The on-screen keyboard is used to input the city name of our destination address.

Notice the New York State icon (the green box that says NY) -- as you type out the city name, results will be restricted to names within the currently selected State (New York, in this case). If you want to change the State, tap on the green State name box and choose a different State:

In this example we'll be driving to an address in New York City. After selecting NY as the State, I start to spell out New York using the on-screen keyboard. As I type (N-E-W Y-O) the GO 920T is constantly updating the list of matching names.

Once enough letters have been entered, I can simply tap on the correct city name from the results list. I'll tap on "New York NY" to continue.

Unfortunately, there's no way to search across all States for a given city or town name. You'll need to know which State your destination address is located in. This may not sound like an issue (after all, who doesn't know what State their destination is in), but when driving to an address close to the border between two States, it's not always obvious which State you're driving to.

Select Street Name
Figure 63: Select Street Name

As with the City address entry screen, the Street entry screen displays recently found streets, and filters the results as you type.

In this example I'll be routing to an address on Central Park West in New York, so I tap out C-E-N-T-R-A-L and the GO 720 produces a list of all streets beginning with the word "Central".

The on-screen keyboard can be hidden or shown by tapping on the triangle button in the upper-right corner of the screen (handy if you need to scroll through a long list of names and want to see more than 2 at a time).

I'll tap on "Central Park W" to continue.

Entering the House Number
Figure 64: Entering the House Number

Using the on-screen keypad, enter the house or building number of your destination address.

The GO 920T doesn't display the valid range of house numbers for the chosen street - a handy feature if you're not exactly sure of the house/building number. However, TomTom does provide a convenient "Cross street" option if you change your mind and want to enter a cross street instead of a house number.

Do you ned to arrive at a particular time?
Figure 65: Do you ned to arrive at a particular time?

A great feature unique to TomTom is the ability to specify a desired arrival time. Once set, the GO 920T can tell you how early or late you will arrive at your destination.

After entering the destination address, the GO 920T asks if we need to arrive by any particular time. Tapping "No" continues on to the route calculation page. Tapping "Yes" allows you to enter the desired arrival time. If a desired arrival time has been set, the GO 920T's map screen will show how early or late you'll arrive at your destination.

I love this feature. The ability to quickly see how early or late you'll arrive makes driving that much less stressful, and removes the need to manually figure out if you're remaining drive time will make you late or early.

As much as loved this feature, TomTom's estimated arrival time had a tendency to vary wildly based on short-term driving patterns. For example, on an hour-long journey, if I drove for 85 MPH for 60 seconds, the arrival time would suddenly show me arriving 15 minutes ahead of schedule. But if I stopped at a traffic light for 30 seconds, the GPS would report I'd be arriving late.

Nevertheless, the ability to set a desired arrival time and see how closely you'll arrive to that desired time is a great feature unique to TomTom.

Setting A Desired Arrival Time
Figure 66: Setting A Desired Arrival Time

Use the up and down arrows to enter the preferred arrival time.

Avoid Toll Roads?
Figure 67: Avoid Toll Roads?

If any tolls occur along the planned route, the GO 920T will ask if you want to find an alternate route that avoids the toll(s). Tap NO to accept the fastest route, even if there's a toll along the way. Tap YES to route around the toll(s).

Calculating Route
Figure 68: Calculating Route

With the address fully entered and route calculation finished, the GO 920T is ready to start navigating. This pre-navigation screen displays the entire planned route on the map, along with the total planned distance and drive time.

Tapping on the Details button allows you to view each turn along the route. Tapping on "Find alternative" allows you to modify the planned route, excluding certain roads or adding a stop along the way. Tapping on Done begins navigation.

Route calculation is about average in speed, typically taking less than 30 seconds to calculate the route for an average trip.

Finding an Alternate Route
Figure 69: Finding an Alternate Route

Tapping on "Find alternative" from the previous screen (fig. 65) brings up the screen shown above in figure 66. From here, you can calculate an alternate route, avoid a specific road, or insert a stop along the route.

Viewing Route Details
Figure 70: Viewing Route Details

It's also possible to browse through a list of all the turns along a planned route by tapping on "Details" from the route calculation screen (shown in figure 65).

Map Screen Shown While Navigating to A Destination
Figure 71: Map Screen Shown While Navigating to A Destination

Tap "Done" to begin navigating to your destination.