TomTom One LE
Street Price: $250
By Tyler Richmond
December 1, 2007
The TomTom One LE is an entry-level GPS device. There's nothing about it that will necessarily make the user go "WOW", but at the same time it's a nice little device that should get you from point A to B. Sporting a 3.5" screen, it's a relatively small device. It's small enough to fit in your pocket if necessary, but you probably wouldn't want to walk around with it all day. The unit doesn't have any physical buttons besides the On button, located on top. There is an SD card slot on the bottom, as well as the port for the power/data cable. The screen isn't the brightest, and it does get a bit of glare in direct sunlight, but it has only been a partial annoyance to me. Never was it completely unreadable. It comes with a suction-cup mount for your windshield, as well as a sticky disk so you can put the suction cup on your dashboard. Either work fine, but I prefer the dashboard just because it's closer to me and less in the way at the same time. Don't put the sticky disk on your windshield though. In my excitement, I didn't think and just stuck it right on... and it was very tough to get off. So obviously, it does a nice job of sticking to the dash.
Out of the box, the TomTom had a nearly full charge, so you can turn it on immediately and mess with the settings. That's one of the things I like about the TomTom. There are lots of settings available. You can change the color scheme, brightness, volume, voices, maps, etc. A handy option is being able to choose the keyboard layout. It defaults to the ABCDE style keyboard, but you can switch it to QWERTY. You can also do some random things like turn the screen upside down. There's not too much that you can't change on the unit.
However, performance is what separates the men from the boys. In this category, I'd rate the TomTom a teenager. It has a lot of potential, but sometimes it just doesn't get some simple things right. I've yet to find a road in my area that doesn't exist (but I have found 1 that isn't mapped right). Also, some of the maps are about 100 yards off target. I drove down a road that was listed on the TomTom, but the TomTom said I was off the road instead. After connecting it to my computer to get all the latest updates, the accuracy was a little better. Originally it thought my house was 50 yards away from its actual location, now it's only about 20 off which I'll give to the TomTom since the house actually takes up an area and isn't limited to a single point, and the fact that GPS supposedly has a 10ft leeway. However, that 1 street is still off. I've also noticed that on a highway right outside my neighborhood, a lot of the points of interest are shifted west. There are LOTS of POIs (5 million according to TomTom) but in some cases the street addresses just don't correlate on the GPS. I'd have to assume that this varies from area to area. They will likely have gathered data from more people and have more accuracy.
One of my favorite features of the TomTom is Mapshare. It allows you to make changes to the maps on the fly. You can submit almost anything from missing points of interest to incorrect speed limits and blocked roads. Maybe it's just because I like to be able to mess with this stuff, but being able to add missing stuff seems pretty crucial. When you attach it to your computer, the TomTom Home software automatically starts and downloads the latest updates for your TomTom, including other people's corrections from Mapshare and it uploads your own corrections. Speaking of Home, it's a pretty nice application. You can do anything to the TomTom from it, including buying new features and operating it on your PC. Operating it on your PC lets you use the keyboard as an input device, but I find it nice to be able to take screenshots as well.
This is an entry level device, so I can't compare it to the best of the best. It's got a lot of features and potential, but performance is far from perfect. I picked it up for $120 on Black Friday, so for that price I certainly won't complain. But with Mapshare and all, I think that they should be able to improve the maps and GPS accuracy if they put a little effort into it. But at this moment, I can only give it a 6/10
. Garmin has a device similarly priced that is probably more accurate out of the box, but with less extra features. If accuracy is imperative, you might be better off with one of those devices. But I was able to get this TomTom cheap, and I think it can possibly surpass the Garmin if TomTom works to increase the accuracy of the maps.
Note: The One LE is a Best Buy exclusive. It's nearly the same as the new 3rd edition, but it has an SD slot in case you want to get maps over 1gb in size and allows for itinerary planning (planning multiple destinations). Both the LE and 3rd edition can access traffic information, but the 3rd edition needs an optional antenna. The LE needs a bluetooth phone, but I've heard mixed reports of syncing phones with the device and it will incur whatever data charges your cell phone company charges.