It’s all useful stuff, but switch it on and the XL begins to look more familiar. The maps are the same slightly old-fashioned-looking ones that the rest of the TomTom range boasts. There’s no anti-aliasing on the road graphics, which gives them a jagged, unsightly look, but they’re readable and clear and that’s what really matters. The 480 x 272, 4.3in screen means there’s plenty of room, after the status bar, for the map to breathe and a welcome lack of clutter too. Behind the main map screen, the interface is again the same as the rest of the range, and just as easy to use, with large, clear icons arranged in a six-by-two grid and address entry very easy to get to grips with.
In testing, I found the screen update to be smooth, while audio instructions were delivered in a timely manner; well in advance, just in advance and just before the turning. I was never unsure as to which turning to take, especially with that crisp and clear speaker. I wasn’t able to catch the XL out with any of my test routes either. In fact, the XL appears to be just as good a navigator as the Go x20 series was, and the x10 range before it. You even get the fancy Mapshare feature that was introduced with the x20 range, which allows you to correct errors you spot in the map, upload them to TomTom’s servers and share others’ corrections to keep your maps up to date.
So, given that it’s considerably cheaper – at the moment it’s available at around £225 for the TMC-enabled European maps model compared with around £300 for the UK-only, non-TMC GO 530 – why would you spend more? It’s a tricky task, but I’ll give it a go.
First, you don’t get the luxury extras that you do with the x30 range: it doesn’t have the Bluetooth hands-free features of the more expensive models; it doesn’t have a music player; and there’s no FM transmitter so you can listen to instructions and music through your car stereo. If you look around the edges of the device you’ll find that there’s no SD card slot – no big loss given the lack of music player – and no 3.5mm audio output jack either.