- Review Price: £119.99
Like the original version, the Start2 is intended to be fun and funky. So it’s available in a plethora of colours, including yellow, orange, red, purple, green, blue, and if you’re of more sober constitution you can even get it in black. The coloured bezel is also removable, so you can switch it for an alternative when the mood takes you. You also get a carry pouch in the box, which is colour-coded with the device, but subtly, so it won’t clash with your outfit.
Like the ONE, the screen mount is integrated into the unit itself, although this can be removed and left attached to the car window if you wish. The car power adapter uses a regular mini-USB connection, so in theory any USB charger can be used with the Start2. However, here we encounter the device’s first new feature compared to its predecessor: RDS-TMC compatibility. For a touch under £50, an alternative car power adapter can be used that provides the necessary FM radio aerial and circuitry to receive the updates, which will then be fed to the map and routing functions in the usual TomTom manner. Not surprisingly, there are no LIVE service options with the Start2.
The other significant new feature is Advanced Lane Guidance. This is TomTom’s name for the full-screen graphic we have come to know and love, which pops up at complex junctions to make it absolutely clear which lane you should be in. A small icon already appears on the information bar at the bottom with a schematic showing the junction, but the new Lane Guidance is a realistic depiction of the lanes you will be seeing outside your car windscreen, and includes the appropriate road signs as well. It doesn’t pop up at every junction, though.
The final new feature is that street names are now spoken out loud as you enter them, so you don’t need to look at the sat-nav whilst searching for a road sign. We didn’t find this chimed in as often as we would have expected, but could still be handy when the signs were partially hidden and hard to locate.
Other than these new features, the Start2 is essentially the same as the original version. The main start-up interface has been simplified compared to more premium TomToms, and now only presents two icons. One simply leads to a 2D map, which you can browse to find destinations or examine the local road system. The other icon calls up the menu for finding a destination, which sports the usual options. You can enter an address via full UK postcode or by drilling down from city to street and house number. But you can’t search by keyword, as is now possible with devices from other manufacturers, most notably Mio with its Navman Spirit 500.
There is a keyword search available in the Points of Interest (POI) section, although this doesn’t stretch across an entire country. Instead, you can find POIs in a city, near your current position, near your destination, or along your route. This will satisfy most needs, and make it much easier to find a POI than having to guess how the sat-nav manufacturer is likely to have classified it. But it’s still possible to browse POIs by category in the traditional manner, if you’re just looking for any restaurant near your destination, for example.
It’s also possible to save a home location plus a list of favourites, and TomTom’s extremely useful recording of the recent destinations you have used is available. There’s a rudimentary route planner, which allows you to specify a start point and destination, and even lets you choose an alternative date and time for travel. This means TomTom’s IQ Routes system can call upon its database of historic traffic speeds to provide a realistic estimate of journey time, which varies depending on whether you’re driving during rush hour or at 3am on Sunday morning. But you can’t save routes for future use, although you can add waypoints to a route that is currently active.
There’s also a strip of secondary icons along the bottom of the main home screen. These provide rapid access to toggling audio and night modes, plus a sundry collection of other functions. The Help icon reveals details of your current location and calls up a quick listing of nearby POIs in a selection of key categories, such as garages and medical facilities. You can also browse the phone numbers for a similar list of POIs, including local police stations.
The Start2 even incorporates TomTom’s Map Share facility, where you indicate any discrepancies between the map and the real world. Your changes are uploaded to the server for checking when you next connect the TomTom Home desktop computer software.
In transit, the Start2 behaves like most other TomToms. The map is clear, and the route is recalculated relatively quickly when you deviate from the track. The screen is easy enough to see, and thanks to IQ Routes the roads suggested are generally sensible. TomTom’s characteristic information strip can be found along the bottom, providing virtually all the trip data you might need, such as current speed and limit, details about the next turning, estimated time of arrival, how long this will take, and the associated distance.
The TomTom Start2 is a capable sat-nav for a reasonable price. However, the new features, whilst welcome, are not that extensive, and the current street price is not much less than the launch price, making this still not quite the budget bargain intended. It’s good value, but if you’re after something really cheap there are less costly alternatives, such as Garmin’s nuvi 1240.
Score in detail
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