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TomTom Start 20 review



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  • 4.3in widescreen
  • Same menu system as higher-end models
  • 4GB memory


  • The RDS-TMC receiver add-on is expensive
  • 5in models now available for same price
  • Integrated screen mount

Review Price £109.95

Key Features: 4.3in widescreen; UK and Ireland maps; Full UK postcode entry; RDS-TMC traffic ready; European version also available

Manufacturer: TomTom

If you're on a tight budget, you used to be confined to a 3.5in non-widescreen sat-nav. But with 5in models falling inexorably in price, and the Mio Spirit 685 in particular costing around £100, the 4.3in widescreen models have had to follow suit. TomTom's Start used to be the 3.5in model, with the XL offering the 4.3in display. Now the Start 20 brings the larger screen size to the budget end of the market, and this offers 480 x 272 pixels of resolution, the same as TomTom's high-end GO LIVE 1000.

But the bigger display is not the only enhancement. The mounting system has been upgraded to the one used on the Via Live 120 and GO LIVE 825. Instead of a detachable ring, which was always a little fiddly, a permanently attached ball-jointed arm is used. This still folds relatively flat, so the Start 20 can be carried in a pocket from car to car if required. The car power cable is now TomTom's standard two-piece affair, so the wire can be separated from the plug and used to hook the Start 20 up to a PC for downloading extra maps and updates. The Start 20 comes with 4GB of internal memory, regardless of whether you get the European or UK and Ireland-only model. So a full set of Western European maps can be stored on the device unlike Mio's Spirit 685.

TomTom had chosen to simplify its menu with previous Starts. This was really rather complex for the newcomer to sat-navs or occasional user. But the menu introduced with the GO LIVE 1000 and Via Live 120 is a lot more streamlined, so it made sense to bring this to entry-level devices as well. Touching the screen in map view takes you to a simple six-icon main menu, which then takes you to further submenus of extra choices.

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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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