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TomTom's original GO could be credited with kick-starting the march of the personal navigation device into the mainstream, way back in 2004. But since then the GO has gone further upmarket, and even the TomTom ONE isn't exactly the most entry-level sat-nav on the market. So, at the beginning of 2010, TomTom introduced the Start, which slotted underneath the ONE to provide a cheaper alternative, with even fewer thrills. But scarcely a few months later, we have the second incarnation, the Start2.
Like the original version, the Start2 is intended to be fun and funky. So it's available in a plethora of colours, including yellow, orange, red, purple, green, blue, and if you're of more sober constitution you can even get it in black. The coloured bezel is also removable, so you can switch it for an alternative when the mood takes you. You also get a carry pouch in the box, which is colour-coded with the device, but subtly, so it won't clash with your outfit.
Like the ONE, the screen mount is integrated into the unit itself, although this can be removed and left attached to the car window if you wish. The car power adapter uses a regular mini-USB connection, so in theory any USB charger can be used with the Start2. However, here we encounter the device’s first new feature compared to its predecessor: RDS-TMC compatibility. For a touch under £50, an alternative car power adapter can be used that provides the necessary FM radio aerial and circuitry to receive the updates, which will then be fed to the map and routing functions in the usual TomTom manner. Not surprisingly, there are no LIVE service options with the Start2.
The other significant new feature is Advanced Lane Guidance. This is TomTom’s name for the full-screen graphic we have come to know and love, which pops up at complex junctions to make it absolutely clear which lane you should be in. A small icon already appears on the information bar at the bottom with a schematic showing the junction, but the new Lane Guidance is a realistic depiction of the lanes you will be seeing outside your car windscreen, and includes the appropriate road signs as well. It doesn’t pop up at every junction, though.
The final new feature is that street names are now spoken out loud as you enter them, so you don't need to look at the sat-nav whilst searching for a road sign. We didn’t find this chimed in as often as we would have expected, but could still be handy when the signs were partially hidden and hard to locate.
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