The next turn and other information, such as ETA and distance to destination, is displayed in a panel that stretches the full width of the screen and occupies almost a third of its height, which seems a bit of a waste especially as a large chunk of the panel is given over to a largely useless signal strength indicator. In practice, fortunately, this doesn’t really get in the way too much and the driving instructions are as easy to follow as the user interface is to use.
The voice instructions are exceptional providing plenty of warning of the next one, or even two turns if they’re close together, and they’re repeated as you approach to make sure you get the message. Route finding is very good as well. I took the One XL on a trip to Snowdonia in Wales and the XL hardly missed a beat. Once it told me to take the second exit rather than the third exit on a roundabout when the third exit was clearly indicated on its map, but other than that the route was perfect. It didn’t take us on any weird wild goose chases.
Trips around my house in north east London and through the centre to south west London proved the route finding to be almost as good in town as in the country. Again the odd instruction didn’t quite tally with what was on the map, but these occurrences were few and far between.
Of course TomTom’s strengths don’t end there and there’s a whole raft of other stuff that makes buying one worth it. The software interface, like iTunes with the iPod, works seamlessly with the One XL. It’s easy to use and understand and provides a central hub for buying and installing updates. The One XL has Bluetooth so you can use it to receive traffic information over the GPRS link in your phone – an effective tool that works much better than the TMC system included with other sat-navs. It can also do weather updates over GPRS and, if you make enough space, you can install something called QuickGPSFix, a database of satellite locations which speeds up the process to lock.