Remarkably, considering the price, the 300 also bundles live traffic updates. The Traffic icon lets you browse current alerts, but specific warnings will pop up as you travel, too. These will give you the option to reroute around a detected problem. The alerts come via the traditional RDS-TMC system using an FM receiver in the car power adapter, so have the usual issues associated with that service. In other words, updates arrive every 15 minutes or so and only cover a fraction of UK roads. So RDS-TMC is useful for avoiding jams on motorways and major trunk arteries, but not so great for more local routing.
The Points of Interest database has been augmented with travel information for key UK towns from WCities. You can access this via the Travel Book. So alongside the location of POIs you can read a brief description of each one and even opening hours in some cases, to help you plan tourist trips. The most frequently used POIs have their own buttons, however, so you can find nearby petrol stations, medical facilities, tourist attractions, restaurants, car parks and cash machines with a single finger press.
In everyday use, the 300’s map view provides a decent level of information. The interface has been pared back a little from Navman’s Smart ST, and now leaves most of the screen area for the map. Along the top is a bar indicating the next turning, and just beneath on the right is a box which can show your choice of details such as distance to destination or ETA. This is perfectly adequate for most journeys, although TomTom manages to fit virtually everything you could want into the same space, even if the end result is a little less aesthetic.
The map design is clear, although we found that the screen updates could be slow in heavily built-up areas. Paying close attention to suggested turnings meant we never missed our route, but it did make metropolitan navigation a little less relaxed than it could have been.
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