The core navigational features are classic TomTom quality. Most of the screen is given over to the map, with just the lower third housing a status strip, although you can change its location in the settings. The strip provides a range of useful information, including (by default) the journey time and distance remaining, current time and expected arrival, plus a readout of your current speed versus the road limit in the form 77/70. This can be set to flash in red when you exceed the limit for the current road, or so TomTom claims of course as we would never put ourselves in a position to test such a feature. The next turning is indicated on the left of the strip and the current road name along the bottom.
In all, a lot of information is packed into a small space, with minimal compromise of the all-important map display. Icons occasionally pop up to show the current speed limit when nearing a camera, or to indicate other alerts visually. Traffic information appears in a bar on the right. The roundabout graphics are a little small, and not as clear as on the latest Navmans. But the general sense is uncluttered and easy to read at a glance.
A simple tap onscreen calls up the menu, and here the TomTom GO 530 starts to get a little more complicated, although this is partly a sign of its wealth of features. The initial menu has 15 options spread out over three different screens, which will be daunting for the TomTom newcomer. Behind each one are yet more pages of options, covering virtually everything you can think. For example, if postcode and address won’t find your destination, you can even navigate to a location via latitude and longitude. You can set the 530 for walking and bike routes, rather than roads suitable for cars.
You can use voice recognition to dictate addresses verbally, and we found this worked surprisingly well, even with loud background noise. The avoidance system is comprehensive, allowing you to recalculate the route quickly when you encounter a roadblock, or choose a road in the route list to miss out. There are some useful extras like a built-in First Aid guide, and the ability to walk or drive to help, such as petrol stations, vehicle repair services, public transport, police stations, pharmacies, or doctors.
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