TomTom Start 10

Simple, cheap and capable of getting you from A to B, the Start 10 does what it sets out to do. The inclusion of junction view and lane guidance improves things quite considerably.


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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

In almost all facets the new TomTom Start 10 is identical to its predecessor, the Start that goes sans appellation. The Start 10 has a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen, which is adequate for displaying all the information contained on the typical TomTom map screen.

The lack of diagonal inches, though, does make destination entry a bit problematic for those blessed with fat fingers or less than perfect hand-eye coordination; at least TomTom doesn't cripple the Start 10 with a non-QWERTY keyboard. In our experience, ripping the unit off the windscreen and using our fingertips is the best bet.

Its small screen and compact built-in windscreen mount allows the Start 10 to easily be relocated to even the most cramped glovebox or hidey hole in one's car. As far as the interface goes, the Start 10 uses a simplified version of the regular TomTom layout. The main menu has been cut down to two large icons (Plan Route, Browse Map) underscored by a line of five smaller buttons (Mute, Day/Night, Help, Options and Done).

Features

Sitting at the base of TomTom's range, the Start 10 is naturally never going to be the most fully specced GPS on the market. Top-end inclusions like Bluetooth hands-free, FM transmission, MP3 playback, traffic messaging, automatic day/night mode and voice recognition are all absentees from the features list.

Text-to-speech that allows for street names to be spoken as part of the unit's verbal instructions generally works well, but it does get tripped up by some names, particularly those of Aboriginal origin. The holes in the faux speaker grille on the Start 10's detachable, flip-able windscreen mount are all boarded up, meaning that the sound from the unit's speaker has a rather hollow, far away and cheap sound to it.

The latest Whereis map of Australia is installed, as are speed and red light camera warnings. Should you run into any errors, such as blocked streets, incorrect speed limits, traffic flowing the wrong way and missing cameras, these can be fixed on your device. Your corrections and those of other TomTom users can also be shared via the excellent TomTom Home PC software that manages map and novelty purchases, software updates and other upgrades.

Performance

Typically the Start 10 takes five seconds to wake up from its slumber. A full reboot clocks in around the 18-second mark, although finding the reset pin is a fussy process that involves removing the built-in windshield mount (easy!) and then popping the unit out of its replaceable outer shell (ugh, tricky).

Route calculation times are nothing to get excited about, as are the routes themselves. The Start 10 will get you from A to B, but as with all GPS devices it will likely not show you the smartest nor most efficient route there. And that's despite the inclusion of collected historical speed data — branded IQ Routes.

The most (and, we'd argue, only) significant upgrade is the inclusion of lane guidance for most roads, and junction view for motorway junctions and exits. GPS reception in the suburbs and bush is fine, although gaining initial lock is on the slow side. When surrounded by tall buildings in the city centre, things become a little bit iffy, with the Start — like every portable GPS — sometimes losing its bearings.

Conclusion

Simple, cheap and capable of getting you from A to B, the Start 10 does what it sets out to do. The inclusion of junction view and lane guidance improves things quite considerably.

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Voyageuse
2
Rating
 

"Shoddy workmanship but good technology"

Voyageuse posted a review   
Australia

The Good:The technology is good

The Bad:The equipment itself is shoddy

I bought one of these on special and I hate it, not because of the technology but because of the shoddiness of manufacture - it has pretty much fallen apart, even though I have hardly used it - eg. broken on/off switch, bromen connection to mount. (Mine was made in China - don't know if this has anything to do with it.) I would definitely not recommend it.

Rolstoys
4
Rating
 

"Good price, but lack of features make use annoying"

Rolstoys posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Maps, GPS fix speed

The Bad:No AutoOFF, volume not speed sensitive, no auto day/light, no route overview

Updated (?) from a Tomtom ONE, but lack of display settings and modes make it clumsy to use. Cannot set Always use Tolls. Tips always pop up and cannot see way to disable. Paid $99 from Dick Smith but will replace shortly.
ONE was much better.

 

Luke posted a comment   

The Good:Accurate, simple to use, easy to update maps, lots of extras to download of website

The Bad:Poor battery life, approx 1.5 hr per charge, tiny keyboard very frustrating to type in address

For $119 from Officeworks it's a bargain, particularly as it's now got lane guidance. The battery charge is really poor so it needs to stay in the car charger to be used. You couldn't stick it in your bag and use it for walking unless you can run really fast to your destination!! On their website you can download alot of "Points of Interest" such as Westpac banks, Coles, Woolworths, public toilets etc etc which is very handy when you're travelling. As far as sending you on the best route it's far better than my previous Garmin, not perfect though satisfactirally good.

 

billyboy posted a comment   

The Good:super

The Bad:nothing at all

I have used a few gps's and by far tomtom has allways come up the best




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User Reviews / Comments  TomTom Start 10

  • Voyageuse

    Voyageuse

    Rating2

    "I bought one of these on special and I hate it, not because of the technology but because of the shoddiness of manufacture - it has pretty much fallen apart, even though I have hardly used it - eg...."

  • Rolstoys

    Rolstoys

    Rating4

    "Updated (?) from a Tomtom ONE, but lack of display settings and modes make it clumsy to use. Cannot set Always use Tolls. Tips always pop up and cannot see way to disable. Paid $99 from Dick Smith ..."

  • Luke

    Luke

    "For $119 from Officeworks it's a bargain, particularly as it's now got lane guidance. The battery charge is really poor so it needs to stay in the car charger to be used. You couldn't stick it in y..."

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