GPS systems have come a long way in the past 20 years. Though it's possible to use the GPS on your smartphone while driving, it's not always as convenient as using a TomTom GPS system. Not only are TomTom GPS systems designed to give you the best possible route, but also calls on your cell phone won't interrupt your directions the way they do on a smartphone GPS app. With a TomTom, you get the best of both worlds.
If you're in the market for a new TomTom GPS system, you're in the right place -- our useful buying guide can help you pick the perfect unit. We even included reviews of a few favorites at the end. Our top pick, TomTom GO COMFORT 6, is a great all-around unit made even more convenient by WiFi connectivity.
Considerations when choosing TomTom GPS systems
Basic functionality is the most important thing to consider when choosing a TomTom GPS system. While some people want all the fancy "bells and whistles" on their GPS unit, others prefer a straightforward, easy-to-use interface. Assess what you want to get out of your TomTom unit before making your final choice.
The most popular TomTom screen sizes are 4.3 inches, 5 inches, and 6 inches. Consider whether you prefer to have the biggest viewing area possible or if dashboard space is more important to you.
Keep in mind that not all TomTom GPS systems include worldwide map sets. The majority include U.S., Canada, and Mexico maps. If you plan to use your TomTom in other places around the world, opt for a model that includes worldwide maps. TomTom units all currently come with lifetime map updates, so you don't need to pay an additional subscription fee for them.
Your car model and your preferred line of sight dictate where you mount your TomTom system. Make sure the model you want to purchase will fit comfortably in the area you've designated. Some come with an active magnetic mount, and others utilize a suction cup mount.
While smartphones might not be the best primary tool for GPS navigation, they can be a great supplement to your TomTom unit. If you want this benefit, purchase a TomTom that includes Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. Most higher-end TomTom units include this feature. Once connected, you can use Siri and Google Now through your TomTom unit. You can also utilize the MyDrive app to control some of the aspects of your TomTom right from your phone.
A few TomTom models incorporate a voice command feature. Though not always the most accurate, this hands-free feature can be a lifesaver when you want to stay focused on the road ahead.
Some TomTom units include TomTom Traffic, a real-time traffic feature that can help you avoid those nasty traffic jams on your way to wherever you're headed. This is a major upgrade from original TomTom units, which only offer directions.
Most TomTom GPS systems cost between $100 and $250. For $100, TomTom units are basic models that usually only include North American maps. For $20, you can find models that may include a larger screen and TomTom Traffic. If you spend $250, you should be able to get a top-of-the-line TomTom GPS system with lifetime worldwide map updates.
What we like: Easy smartphone connectivity. Worldwide lifetime maps. Largest available TomTom screen at six inches.
What we dislike: Similar to other models with TomTom Traffic, the feature can be difficult to access.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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