- Review Price: £169.99
All-singing widescreen models may be the most feature-rich and interesting sat-navs to read about, but lots of people just want something cheap and pocket-friendly for the odd trip now and then. For this type of user, TomTom’s ONE has offered no-frills navigation for a keen price for a few years now. However, it’s not the cheapest model you can buy, so TomTom has recently added a few choice features from its higher-end GO models to create the IQ Routes version, offering more capabilities for a bit more money than the entry level.
Like the XL IQ Routes, the ONE IQ Routes builds in TomTom’s historical traffic database called (wait for it…) IQ Routes. This system aims to calculate your course in a more sophisticated fashion than is traditional for sat-nav devices. Instead of merely providing a choice of either the shortest distance or nominally fastest roads, IQ Routes uses historical traffic data to work out how fast you will really be able to drive on specific roads. Both time of day and day of week are taken into account. If traffic is normally heavy at rush hour on a road with a nominal 50mph limit so the true road speed is more like 10mph, a local 30mph road with no traffic might be a better option.
This isn’t quite as effective as TomTom’s HD Traffic system, as the information used is based on historical averages not the current real situation. But it’s a lot like the way people who know an area actually take alternative roads to avoid traffic. In our experience, IQ Routes has proven relatively effective, taking us away from regularly traffic-laden roads during rush hour, but choosing them if they are the quickest option when clear. It’s not an infallible system, though, and can still be topped by real local knowledge due to thin data for some infrequently used roads.
But overall IQ Routes is worth paying the extra for over a TomTom ONE Classic if you are a regular weekday driver – although a full live traffic system might also be a worthwhile investment here as well. This costs £48.93, with nothing more to pay as a lifetime subscription to RDS-TMC updates is included.
The IQ Routes Edition also cherry picks a feature from TomTom’s LIVE Services. When looking for nearby petrol stations, you can search for the cheapest fuel of a particular type, instead of just the closest pumps. However, where TomTom’s fully LIVE-enabled devices such as the GO 540 have a built-in mobile data link, so can update this information on the fly, the ONE can only get the latest prices when attached to a PC via the TomTom Home software.
You also only get a three-month trial of fuel pricing out of the box, after which continued updates cost £34.95 a year. However, this also bundles safety camera updates for the whole of Europe, so is actually better value than some manufacturers offer. For example, £34.95 will only get you UK and Ireland safety cameras for a year from Navman.
The ONE appears to have taken a trick from the current trend in Internet camcorders, and installs TomTom Home automatically when you plug its USB link into a PC, although the app is downloaded from the Internet so the PC will need to be online. You can then subscribe to map updates, download customised icons and points of interest, and participate in MapShare. This is the community-based system where users can notify TomTom of any mapping errors. The ONE has the built in facility to submit error reports as well.
The other feature the ONE IQ Routes has borrowed from its bigger brothers is the Advanced Lane Guidance system. This puts up a full-screen graphic when you approach a major multi-lane junction, showing you which lane to be in so you make the turning. This is a feature now adopted by all the major sat-nav manufacturers, in various forms. Considering how hard it can be to get across when you find yourself in the fast lane 500m from your turning, it’s a very welcome improvement.
As with recent TomTom ONEs, the EasyPort screen attachment is built into the device itself, making it twice as thick. However, you can still quite easily slip the whole thing in a jacket pocket, fulfilling TomTom’s aim of making a device for occasional use in multiple vehicles, although you still have to carry the power cable if you want more than a couple of hours of use. The mount does actually come off, but in nowhere near as elegant a fashion as the system used by TomTom’s x40 series devices.
In use, the ONE IQ Routes is as capable as other TomToms we’ve tested. The map view is essentially the same, only smaller due to the ONE having a 3.5in screen with a 4:3 format. A host of information is packed into the bottom of the screen; in fact everything you probably want to know about your journey, including both current time and time to destination, plus an unobtrusive display of current speed compared to the prevailing speed limit. Turnings are displayed clearly and in plenty of time, with easily understood verbal commands. The speaker volume can also be linked to car speed, so commands get loader as you go faster.
The TomTom ONE IQ Routes is not quite a budget model, and the version we looked at was the £20 more expensive Europe 42 model, which covers all of Western Europe and major roads in many Eastern European countries as well. If you’re just after cheap sat-nav for Continental journeys, Navigon’s 1210 remains the best-value option around, and Navman’s S30 3D is the best value for UK-only travelling. In contrast, TomTom’s ONE IQ Routes sits in a slightly less obvious slot above the entry-level. But if you travel enough to want the extra journey time savings IQ Routes offers, but not enough for a premium sat-nav, it’s worth considering.
Score in detail
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||3.50 in|
|General Features||Voice Prompt|
|Battery life (Hour)||3 Hour Maximumhr|
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