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TomTom Start 20 - Features and Interface

By James Morris



Our Score:


Entering a destination offers the usual range of options, with the ability to enter an address via the traditional city-street-house number sequence or via postcode, although you can't search for a keyword here so will need to know which town a street is in. The Points Of Interest (POI) database does let you search by name, or you can use the traditional method of drilling down by category. You can also save a Home location and list of Favourites, as well as navigating to a point on the map, entering latitude and longitude coordinates, and your last known location. This usually means where you turned the device off, so can help you find where you parked your car and headed off on foot. You can also plan a route with multiple destinations.

TomTom Start 20

The Start 20 offers a comprehensive range of routing options, including the usual fastest and shortest, plus walking and bicycle options and TomTom's assessment of the most economical. The IQ Routes system is used for calculating, although you can turn this off if you want a less accurate idea of your journey time! For those who are not familiar with IQ Routes, this uses a database of historic traffic speeds, which also takes into account the time of day and day of week. So, barring unusual incidents or roadworks, the estimate of journey time should be much more realistic when enabled. We've tested IQ Routes-based sat-navs for a few years now, and can confirm that it's usually very close to correct, unless you drive noticeably faster or quicker than the average person.

The Start 20 is ready to receive traffic updates via RDS-TMC. You need to buy the receiver, which comes with a lifetime subscription, to activate this. This will set you back £49.99, which does start to push the price of the Start 20 perilously close to higher-end TomTom models. There's the facility to report safety camera locations and make a note of any errors in the map via the Map Corrections system, although this information will only be uploaded to TomTom when you next connect the device to a PC running the Home desktop management software, unlike TomTom's mobile data-connected LIVE devices. You can make entering this infomration easier by placing an icon onscreen for direct access, using the Make your own menu system, which can also be configured with options like nearby car parks and taking you directly to postcode entry. If you add more than one option here, however, the onscreen button takes you to a submenu containing your choices, which isn't quite so convenient.


July 13, 2011, 4:49 pm

Nice review :)

What's the cheapest TomTom with integrated RDS-TMC?

Dave Hughes

September 22, 2011, 2:56 am

Crap machine - why? - the mounting bracket is only about 0.5" in length which means that it has to be mounted either close to the top of the windscreen or too far away at the bottom. It is impossible to mount this on any side window as far the mounting bracket is too short. Not everyone wants this at "above eye level" when driving as removing your eyes from the road can be dangerous. Similarly on cars with raked windscreens - Picasso - it simply is a non starter. Does it work - don't know - didn't even get to that stage.

Dave Hughes

October 9, 2011, 4:33 pm

In order to get this to fix on my Picasso I have been forced to buy a Tom Tom goose neck mount - to give stability - not that stable - falls off the windscreen at every available opportunity - £25 worth. Tom Tom customer services poor and totally useless. The Start 20 cannot at this time accept any "new" voices though T/T say they are working on it. Overall the T/Tom is OK but be aware that there are hidden costs involved in mounting on certain vehicles. I have recently updated my maps and to date I am not certain whether some local roads that have been with us for 2+ years are included on this. Time will tell. My old el cheapo sat nav (£45 - a few years ago) did all this and had they still be available I would have bought another. Don't know if I'd buy another Tom Tom - certainly not based on their customer services.


February 3, 2012, 7:04 pm

Beware! Although this unit has an SD card slot, it is not enabled. TomTom have been promising a software release since summer 2011 to make it functional but as of today it has still not been done. Withiout the functionality of the SD card slot you will not be able to use SD cards. As the maps of some countries are too large to fit on this device 's internal memory you would need SD card functionality as additional storage. The Europe version does have bigger internal memory than the UK&I version but you would still have to remove the pre-installed maps to fit some other countries' maps onto the internal memory. I was dissapointed to learn all this after I had bought the device as I will not be able to use it in the USA. Garmin's apparently do have their SD card slots functioning so I wish I'd bought a Garmin instead.

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