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July 14, 2008

TomTom GO 920T Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
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11. Canceling the Route

Main Menu 3 of 3
Figure 84: Main Menu 3 of 3

To cancel navigating to a destination, tap the map screen to bring up the Main Menu, then tap the lower-right arrow to scroll to the third menu page (Main Menu 3 of 3), and tap "Clear route".

I'd prefer to have the button to cancel navigation right up-front on the main menu screen, instead of three pages deep.

Clear route?
Figure 85: Clear route?

Confirm that you want to cancel the current route by tapping "Yes" on the "Clear route?" screen.

12. Voice Input

The GO 920T has limited speech recognition capabilities that can be used to enter an address using your voice.

Most other Voice Recognition (VR) enabled GPS devices I've tested utilize some form of a wake-up command that tells the GPS to "listen" for a verbal command. Magellan's VR-enabled Maestro units "wake-up" when a specific word is spoken, while Garmin's nuvi 880 includes a remote control with a "wake-up" button. TomTom's GO 920T, on the other hand, uses a combination of touch-screen and voice input, creating a less-than-optimal solution.

Let's take a closer look at the speech input features on the GO 920T:

Main Menu 1 of 3
Figure 86: Main Menu 1 of 3

Begin entering a destination by tapping "Navigate to...", just you would when entering an address or POI without using speech.

Navigate to...
Figure 87: Navigate to...

Tap "Address" to enter a destination address.

Spoken address
Figure 88: Spoken address

Two methods are available for entering an address using voice recognition:

  • 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.

Since I want to test all speech recognition features the GO 920T has to offer, I'll tap Spoken address (dialog).

Preparing Speech Recognition
Figure 89: Preparing Speech Recognition

There's a brief 2-3 second delay while the speech recognition loads.

Listening
Figure 90: Listening

When the GO 920T is listening for verbal input, the speech recognition icon is displayed in the upper-right corner, and "Listening..." is shown in the upper-left corner, as shown above.

Select a city
Figure 91: Say the city name

When you say the city name, the GO 920T produces a list of six names that (hopefully) match what you said.

If the correct city name is already highlighted, say "Done" or "OK" or "Yes" or "One" to select it. If the correct city name is one of the other six choices on the list, say the line number of the correct city.

If none of the six choices are correct, say "Back" or "No" or tap the Back button to return to the previous screen and try saying the city name again.

Say the Street Name
Figure 92: Say the Street Name

Next, speak the street name.

Select a street
Figure 93: Select a street

If the correct street name is already highlighted, say "Done" or "OK" or "Yes" or "One" to select it. If the correct street name is one of the other choices on the list, say the line number of the correct street.

If none of the listed choices are correct, say "Back" or "No" or tap the Back button to return to the previous screen and try saying the street name again.

Say the House Number
Figure 94: Say the House Number

TomTom says numbers should be spoken as one continuous sentence. For example, "one hundred and thirty five". "One three five" also worked for me, as did "one thirty five".

Begin Navigating to the Destination
Figure 95: Begin Navigating to the Destination

Once the address is fully input, the normal routing options screen appears. Tap "Done" to begin driving to the destination address.

Voice Recognition can be a powerful features that makes GPS navigation both easier and safer, allowing the driver to control the GPS without taking his or her eyes off the road. Unfortunately, TomTom's relatively limited Voice Recognition implementation feels like a work in progress, and is of very little value until more functions are supported.

The biggest problem with TomTom's speech recognition is the limited functions it supports, and the spotty accuracy. There's no way to fully input an address without having to touch the screen at least twice, nor is it possible to use VR for hands-free calling or any other Bluetooth features (such as dialing a phone number, viewing the address book, reading an SMS, etc.).

You also can't use voice commands to control on-screen menus, nor will the GO 920T recognize any verbal shortcuts, such as "Find nearest Starbucks" as Garmin's nuvi 880 supports.