TomTom Start 50 Review - Navigation, New Map Screen and Verdict Review


TomTom Start 50 – Navigation and New Map Screen

Once the destination has been entered, the navigational experience is somewhat different to the previous generation. The screen resolution is one area where the Start models have usually been economised compared to TomTom’s premium models, and this remains. The Start 50’s 5-inch display has 480 x 272 pixels, although this is the same as the GO 40 we recently reviewed. It’s also a resistive touch screen, where the premium models use the more responsive capacitative alternative.
TomTom Start 50
However, the map has changed quite a bit with the redesign, and is now much simplified in appearance. TomTom claims this makes it easier to read, and we certainly appreciate the lack of clutter. The next turning is detailed in a bar at the top, with name of the road you are currently on at the bottom. But the journey information has moved from the bottom to the right-hand side, which TomTom calls the Route Bar.

The Route Bar began life as the traffic information on TomTom devices with this facility, and then acquired the full range of journey details. The Start 50 doesn’t offer traffic, so the Route Bar merely shows the estimated arrival time and distance to destination, plus icons for any petrol stations along the route and parking near the destination. The Route Bar is also where speed camera information pops up when you are approaching these. The Start 50 comes with a three-month subscription to updates, after which updates will cost £19.99 a year.

TomTom Start 50

Overall, the navigational experience is clear and easy to follow, with spoken information that adds useful prompts when turnings are approaching. There is also full-screen Advanced Lane Guidance at complicated junctions, which shows you clearly which lane to be in and the signs to look out for. This has been a common sat-nav feature for some years now.

The GO 50 can also contribute to and receive minor updates from TomTom’s user-generated Map Share, but only when you synchronise the unit for updates using a PC or Mac.

Should I buy the TomTom Start 50?

The Start 50 is a capable entry-level sat-nav. It’s easy to use and with the lifetime map updates could be all you need if you only make occasional journeys. However the TomTom Start 50 has the same £139.99 recommended retail price as the higher-end GO 40. Although the latter has a smaller screen, it also has the excellent TomTom Traffic service, which is not an option for the Start range. So we reckon the £119.99 Start 40 is the sweet spot for budget users, making the 5-inch Start 50 look relatively overpriced.


The TomTom Start 50 is a capable entry-level sat-nav, although the 4.3-inch GO 40 trumps it for sheer value.

Next, read our TomTom GO 40 review

Trusted Score

Score in detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Value 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 9
  • Design 8
  • Usability 8

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