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★★★★☆

“TomTom XXL - at last a navigator that does Itinaries”

Written on: 29/05/2013 by Duke_Nukem (12 reviews written)

I wanted a navigator to replace a seven year old Blue Media Destinator, and at first assumed that things could only have got better and more featureful since then. Unfortunately, I had overlooked the modern trend for minimalism and to dumb things down, and the first replacement I bought (a Mio, reviewed elsewhere) was totally inadequate, and I sold it on eBay.

Then after much research, I got the Tom Tom XXL, which seems to be as good as you can get in the sub-£100 range.

The main feature I wanted, which the XXL has and most other navigators do not, was to be able to set what I eventually learned is called an "itinerary". ( It was a "trip" on the Destinator) This is the ability to constrain a route to pass through "waypoints". Eg, when I go from from Bristol to Holyhead, I want to go up the M5 to near Worcester, then cut across passing near Shrewsbury and on to the A5 through Snowdonia. But without setting waypoints on the A5, most navigators would send me up to the dreary A55 along the North Wales coast.

The itinerary feature is not just needed for my route whims. I gather that eg some fleet managers of delivery lorries like to set up daily itineraries for their drivers. Yet it was extremely hard to find out if the XXL (or any other) allowed itineraries, and it is buried deep in its menus and non-intuitive. And the attitude of eg the Cwmbram Halford's salesmen to itineraries (a concept I needed to explain to them) was "If you know the route, why do you need a navigator?" Indeed I know I the route in terms of waypoints, like Shrewsbury-Llangollen-Holyhead, but I still need the navigator to tell me detail like to "Take the next right in 500 yards".

So a plus for the XXL there, and an advance on my old Destinator is to give the road name or number to follow when instructing for the next junction. A downside though is that there is no verbal confirmation when you start a journey that you are in the right mode and its navigation has begun, nor that you have passed a waypoint and it had picked up the next leg; not until the next change of course anyway. My Destinator used to say "Drive safely" when you started or passed waypoints.

I never look at the navigator in use ( it surprises me that others do) so their comments on the display and bracketry are over my head. I wedge it in a cloth pouch down at the bottom of the windscreen and follow the verbal instruction. I find the XXL fine for the verbal instructions.