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TomTom GO 500 - Features, Design, Performance and Verdict

By James Morris



  • Editors choice
TomTom GO 500


Our Score:


TomTom Go 500 - Design

The redesign of the device itself is more of an indication of the changes underneath, rather than significant in itself. The 5-inch widescreen is encased in a chassis with rounded edges, but otherwise uses similar materials to previous premium TomToms.

The mount works in a similar fashion to premium TomToms since the GO 1000 LIVE, too, with a multi-pin connector at the bottom and a magnetic system securing the device. However, the connector is now fixed, and the power cable uses micro USB to connect to the mount. The same cable is used for updating the device software as connecting in a car, with the GO 500 also including a micro USB connector.

The GO 500 has an unspecified amount of storage on board, but the unit comes with European maps pre-installed and lifetime updates, plus there's a Micro SD slot for adding maps as well. TomTom has even changed the look and feel of its navigational map view. The background map is subtly shaded, with the route in blue. The map screens also feel a lot faster to redraw and more responsive than previous TomToms.

The next turning and its distance are found at the top, with your current speed and the limit at the bottom. The estimated arrival time and distance to destination (although you can change this) are now on the top right above what TomTom is now calling the Route Bar, rather than in a strip at the bottom.

The Route Bar is a development of the traffic bar of previous models, but now shows you speed cameras as you close in on them as well as jams. The full-screen Advanced Lane Guidance graphic that pops up at complex junctions has been redesigned, too, and adds to the generally clearer design. These now also include 3D landmarks, although as with every other version of this we have seen only a few of the most notable landmarks are included – for example, Wembley Stadium and Neasden Hindu Temple in London.

Should I buy the TomTom GO 500?

Yes. If you drive enough to justify buying a dedicated sat nav and need live traffic, it's the best sat nav at this price around and a big leap forward over previous TomToms. The new menu design will be an acquired taste for some, but we think it's a bold and successful move and the lifetime traffic updates are a massive plus.

Its most obvious competitor, the Garmin nuvi 2598 LMT-D, is an excellent sat nav but the TomTom's superior live traffic and great new design edges it. The Garmin only supports Bluetooth links with Android phones, too, which means the TomTom wins by default if you want traffic updates and own an iPhone.


After a few years of riding on the laurels of GO 1000 LIVE and its derivatives, TomTom has delivered another ground-breaking sat-nav. If you have £200 or so to spend on decent sat nav, spend your money here.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 9
  • Design 10
  • Features 9
  • Performance 10
  • Usability 10
  • Value 10

alex mason

July 11, 2013, 9:31 am

capacitive touch screen on these things yet? Many still use resistive which in this day and age, when you can get a capacitive touch android phone for buttons, is unforgivable.

Tony Swales

July 18, 2013, 12:29 pm

yes it is capacitive with pinch to zoom




August 4, 2013, 6:34 am

Seems like a step backwards. I remember having to connect phones via Bluetooth. When it didn't work, TomTom always said it was the phone, the phone manufacturer always said it was TomTom. No thanks, I'm not going down that road again.


August 6, 2013, 11:24 pm

In my opinion, the device in its current stage of development is behind the previous generation of devices. For example:
- Navigate using gps coordinates absent (really bad omission for me),
- Clock display not prominent
- Font Size (its tiny),
- Easier "Recent Destination" to "My Places",
- Easier way to store current location in "My Places",
- Edit Names in "MyPlaces" absent
- Customer POI's don't exist
- "Block Road" feature absent
- "Closed Road" doesn't seem to work
- Better "Avoid Tolls" implementation

The Traffic update works very well via Bluetooth, & excellent display.

For removing features that were present in last gen devices, 10 is too high a score for now.


August 23, 2013, 4:33 pm

Did you actually use this thing?

I bought one and it's not bad. If you ignore the the suggested "live" reroutes (which added 2 hours to my first "should have been" 4 hour journey), and the fact the connection drop outs between the device and phone it's a fairly good but very basic SatNav.

Maybe I'm odd but I didn't have much of a problem with the old menu system, and in some circumstances find this worse. The (projected arrival time/miles left) is very hard to read, and you can't have both at once. Also I found locating speed cameras a bit hit and miss and when downloading the latest cameras it always seems to fail a few times before actually completing.

Searching for destinations that are a pub or restaurant also seems to be pretty lacking. I've already encountered one pub I wanted to go to that doesn't exist according to TomTom but Google happily finds it (Spotted Dog, Dunmow).

For the price and with all the missing features (see Gerry's comment) from old TomTom devices I really cannot fathom how you concluded this was a 10/10 device. Not being able to route around a road block is unforgivable IMHO.

Are you being sponsored?


September 1, 2013, 9:28 am

10/10?! for a GPS device that doesn't take latitude/longitude coordinates like every other previous model? for a GPS device that doesn't even support door numbers? are you kidding? i bought one and i'm returning it today to the store. It's unconceivable that the software on the recent tomtom models doesn't support something as simple as latitude/longitude! instead, when someone gives you a location in lat/lng, you have to open google maps, search for a street name close to the location, then enter the street name on the go 500, then navigate its map to search for the same point, and then click it to finally make it your destination. Really easy and intuitive, right? From TomTom forums, the only official response to this huge fail is something like "oh yeah, sometime in the future we are thinking of updating the software to have latitude/longitude support again. Till then, use mapcodes, a way of referencing places that no one uses, so you have to go to a site that translates lat/lng into mapcodes and then use it....oh, btw, we were kidding. the new devices also don't support mapcodes. so wait for a software update that no one knows when or if is coming"


October 14, 2013, 3:04 pm

Not sure why you think it doesn't support street numbers. Bought one on Friday and it supports them fine. Maybe there's been a software update since you wrote your comments?


November 3, 2013, 9:58 am

Disappointed, the ability to make a map correction feature of older models has gone. Even after entering an address for a "My Place" the device seems to opt for the nearest cross street when creating a route. The ability to choose screen colours has been removed. Even with the latest map loaded the device still chose non-existent road as part of the route.

Heather Mills

November 5, 2013, 10:03 pm

Latest update released 5-Nov-2013 now includes ability to enter latitude/longitude coordinates


December 19, 2013, 3:48 am

Nice idea to update traffic via a smartphone but why oh why only allow tethering via Bluetooth? this rules out a whole lot of current phones using WP8. On the box it says "Traffic via Smartphone" only a half truth tom-tom! very disappointed, BUYER BEWARE!!


March 3, 2015, 3:48 pm

I am interested in updating my satnav and read the review here. This
site gives it 10/10. I was just logging in to pay for one after reading
this "Trusted Review" when I had a look at what others who had purchased
this satnav had said on Amazon. Thank goodness. Before you buy, read
those, I think they are more trusted than here. I wonder how long this
comment will remain on this site.

Ron Young

February 27, 2017, 11:54 pm

I bought a TomTom Go 500 from PC World at Currys last year. The salesperson there told me that I could update using my home PC connection, which I find is difficult (I never use internet connection on my phone - not worth the expense or trouble)

If I ask for a route, even when set to ignore motorways, it will tend to use dual carriageways that add about a couple of minutes travelling time. When the "use motorway" option is selected, it will recommend an 8 mile trip down the M1 from J30 to J29 to get to Chesterfield, adding about 8 mile to the trip and, on a good day, a couple of minutes travelling time.

Wouldn't recommend it at all.

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