TomTom Go 950

Top of the range it may be, but features-wise it's a mixed bag — props for the excellent windshield mount, boo for the deleted FM transmitter and MP3 playback, and missing traffic capability. Indeed, with its collection of Australia, NZ, European and North American maps, it's best for frequent flyers.


7.5
CNET Rating
5.3
User Rating

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About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Design

It was always a mystery to us why last year's Go GPS models — the Go 730 and Go 930 — didn't come with a redesigned windshield mount, when their cheaper siblings — the fourth-gen One and second-gen XL — came equipped with the company's devilishly compact EasyPort mount. Although it wasn't without its flaws, at least it had a ratcheting suction cup which would keep the GPS firmly affixed to the windscreen regardless of the passing road acne. Well, at last, the Go range has a windscreen mount that will, with the aid of a chunky rotating rubber lever, stick firmly to the glass.

As far as style goes, the Go 950 is distinctly on the chunky side with its gently rounded corners, curved back and large windshield cradle. The rubber coating on the unit's derriere, its midnight black hue and the metallic speaker grille give it an air of class, though. A rather superfluous computer docking base is also provided as part of the package.

The Go 950 features a 4.3-inch touchscreen boasting a bog standard resolution of 480x272. Aside from some nice zooming and sliding animations, a clutch of recoloured icons and backgrounds, and greater prominence for mobile phone functions, TomTom's menu system remains pretty much unaltered. Destination entry is a simple task with an on-screen QWERTY keyboard enabled by default.

Style mightn't be a strong suit, but legibility is high.
(Credit: CNET)

While the map screen mightn't win any awards for pizzazz, it's effective and clear. As can be seen above, TomTom has split the information boxes at the bottom into three lots. Tapping on each of the boxes yields a quick shortcut to a popular function; from left to right: volume, switching between 2D and 3D view, and route overview. Drivers can also configure shortcut buttons that appear on the left-hand side for functions, like voice commands and phone manipulation.

Features

It's price may be some AU$200 less than the Go 930 at launch, but along the way the Go 950 has had to shed some features, most noticeably the FM transmitter and MP3 player. Helping to assuage the pain are Bluetooth hands-free, dead reckoning, text-to-speech, speed and red light camera alerts, voice commands, lane guidance and junction view, map correction and sharing, and detailed maps for 39 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Canada and much of Western Europe.

We had no issues pairing the Go 950 with a number of phones via Bluetooth. Hands-free call quality was suitable for a quick conversation, but you probably wouldn't want to discuss the works of Jean-Paul Sartre with it. Although text-to-speech for spoken street names is present it's annoyingly not enabled by default. It's not terribly proficient at pronouncing words of Australian or Aboriginal origin, such as Bourke and Parramatta. There's also a slightly awkward pause in the middle of some words.

Speed and red light cameras are heralded by an attention grabbing, but not too annoying, audio alert. Unfortunately, the accompanying visuals aren't anywhere near as prominent — a flashing icon on the map and a small warning in the top left corner (see screen capture above). It also doesn't work as intended, with some cameras AWOL when approaching from certain directions, while other warnings don't blare until after you've passed the camera or intersection.

Learn this list by rote, otherwise voice commands may not work as planned.
(Credit: CNET)

Voice commands allow the driver to use the Go 950 in a largely hands-off manner, although you'll still need to tap the screen to put the Go into listening mode. The system works quite well and has a fairly good hit rate when you're uttering street and suburb names. Oddly you can't enter a point of interest via voice, but, like many similar systems, the biggest drawback is that you have to utter the correct phrase. For instance, you have to know that it's not "mute" but "turn sound off". And although there's a list of correct commands (above), uttering them perfectly still won't guarantee that the unit won't decide to spit watermelon pips in your eye instead.

Performance

The Go 950 starts up in a not particularly speedy 10 seconds and route calculation times are acceptable — interestingly, the Go 950 is about 8 per cent slower than the bottom-of-the-range TomTom Start that we're currently putting through its paces.

Without any form of traffic messaging, the Go 950 relies on the company's IQ Routes technology that hoovers up anonymous street by street average speed data from TomTom users. While the routes generated by the Go 950 are a smidge better than its rivals, there's still a lot of scope for improvement. More often than we'd like to recall that we were asked to perform nigh-on-impossible right-hand turns, drive through clogged intersections or sit patiently on streets that are parking lots for 18 hours out of 24.

Junction view eats highway exits and intersections for breakfast.
(Credit: CNET)

In the suburbs positioning was pretty much spot on and thanks to its dead reckoning, the Go 950 remained fairly accurate inside tunnels. The flipside is that its CBD performance is worse than average as it often locks on to an incorrect position and then follows it blindly via dead reckoning. Fitted with Whereis' Australian map and optioned up with lane guidance and junction view, the Go 950 has lane information for most multi-lane roads, and full screen lane guidance and signage for highway on and off ramps.

Conclusion

Hero model it may be, but features-wise it's a mixed bag — props for the excellent windshield mount, boo for the deleted FM transmitter and MP3 playback, and missing traffic capability. Indeed, with its collection of Australian, Kiwi, European and North American maps, it's best suited to frequent flyers.

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JimVal
2
Rating
 

JimVal posted a review   

The Good:ease of use

The Bad:No traffic updates

For whatever insane reason, TomTom have decided to remove live traffic updates from all their new models, which relegates them to nothing more than an overpriced Gregory's street directory and are thus almost useless.

 

Max posted a comment   

I have it for 2 days and shall return it now to the seller:

- resets 2 or 3 times a day
- "touch" is not good enough

Quazar
5
Rating
 

Quazar posted a review   

The Good:Active Dock and IQ Routing

The Bad:Slow CPU and sensless customer service

Since 4 years I am using tomtom products because their GUI. Last year I tried Garmin 760 (as I remember) for a couple of months and didnt find usefull and sold it.
Finally I bought 930 by exaction and noticed same chronic Tomtom bads!
1-Extremely bad windscreen dock which can cause accident easyly by distructing driver as it was falling frequently.
In this model since 920 Active dock returned back so it good.
2-Very slow same CPU again. Lots of features coming but CPU still same!! Roundabouts and short turn still terrible and really wondering when they will consider to put proper cpu in it.
With faster cpu this device woudl be perfect but not yet.
3-Classic sensless customer service still there no comment about it.
4-Voice recognition needs to be improved, at least should better than previous model!!

 

Gio posted a comment   

Hi, I am trying to work out which to buy: GO 720 or GO 950.

I had an older model which I was happy with as I am not fussed about Bluetooth, Voice recognition or Maps outside AU, however definitely need a wider screen which both of these new models has.

I am looking for a TOMTOM model that has all the needed functions for me.

With the 950, please explain what the following means:
*No traffic.
*FM transmitter
*IQ Routes still more hype than reality

Finally, “Visual alerts for cameras too tiny” (can this be enlarged in the settings?).

 

Burtle posted a comment   

Can anyone tell me, with the GO 950, is the gps signal meter missing from the status bar down the bottom, or is it turned off by default?

 

Sasha posted a comment   

Hi Andrew,

use mapshare to correct that mpa issue you speak about in Mortlake. That will correct it straight away!

The roads are more of a "Whereis" problem than TomTom's as they provide the maps.

As you said, its more of a mapping issue than TomTom's and I think that the IQ routes work really well particulary in city areas where it has saved me up to 15 minutes by taking back roads at certain times of the day.

10/10 for me!

AndrewG2 Facebook
9
Rating
 

AndrewG2 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Voice Command, Bluetooth,Sound is Clear,Lane Guidance,Windscreen Mount

The Bad:Too many tapes to clear Route, Some very country towns unammed roads,IQ Routes ARE NOT QUICKER

Seems Very Very good GPS Overall.

I would Recomond to anyone. The Windsreen Mount is Exceelnt! this time (Just as well compard to 930 & 730)

Only couple Problems
Small towns in Australia like Mortlake,Victoria(West coast) does not name Dunlop Street!! The main street that has that name forever so why oh why does it call it Unnamed???

Has few roads in slightly wrong place like upto 100meters out.

I have also noticed it is missing lots of Address Numbers that is should have.

All in all all issues I have had have been Map issues not the GPS Unit itself.

I like the Speakers on this unit it is really clear and easy to hear. The Bluetooth Works Extremly well on my Nokia 6120.
The Windscreen Mount is Extremly Good I feel it's far better than even the XL's & One's so it really does stay on well.

Finally 9/10 score only drop score due to street issues due to maps not quite up with it.




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User Reviews / Comments  TomTom Go 950

  • JimVal

    JimVal

    Rating2

    "For whatever insane reason, TomTom have decided to remove live traffic updates from all their new models, which relegates them to nothing more than an overpriced Gregory's street directory and are ..."

  • Max

    Max

    "I have it for 2 days and shall return it now to the seller:

    - resets 2 or 3 times a day
    - "touch" is not good enough"

  • Quazar

    Quazar

    Rating5

    "Since 4 years I am using tomtom products because their GUI. Last year I tried Garmin 760 (as I remember) for a couple of months and didnt find usefull and sold it.
    Finally I bought 930 by ex..."

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