TomTom XXL 540

The extra X in the XXL 540 is there to denote the unit's large 5-inch touchscreen and if you're into size this GPS is definitely worth a look, just don't expect much sizzle.


8.1
CNET Rating
4.9
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

If you're a believer in the mantra "size matters" then TomTom's XXL 540 might just hit the sweet spot. It's kitted out with the GPS market's surprise hit of the 2009/2010: a big screen. In this instance, the TomTom has gifted the XXL 540 with a 5-inch screen. Thanks to the unit's round corners, curved edges and relative thinness it's not as visually imposing as the 5.2-inch Garmin Nuvi 5000 or 5-inch Uniden Trax 5000.

On smaller cars, such as our review vehicle, it takes a lot of the available windscreen real estate and can obstruct vision of the road. Those with larger cars or vehicles with deep windscreens should find the greatest benefit, though. Naturally, the map is noticeably easier to read and entering destinations via the on-screen QWERTY keyboard becomes a doodle.

The menu screen on the TomTom XXL 540

The menus are a little nicer now.
(Credit: CNET)

Like other current generation TomTom units, the menus have been given a subtle lick of paint, with a bit of anti-aliasing here, a shadow and gradient fill there. Given that it sports the same 480x272 resolution as TomTom's 4.3-inch models, the XXL 540 isn't as sharp or as smooth as it could be. Tapping the map screen's info boxes gives drivers easy access to two commonly used functions: volume and route overview.

Like the smaller 3.5-inch One 140 and 4.3-inch XL 340, the XXL 540 is equipped with the company's EasyPort windshield mount that clips onto and swivels around the unit's speaker. It folds up compactly and looks swell, but it requires the right technique to adjust and set up on one's windscreen. Grab the GPS' body only and attempt to adjust the angle and it will be thumping into your dashboard quicker than you can utter an expletive; the correct technique requires a firm single-handed grip on both the GPS proper and the part of the mount that connects to it.

Features

It wouldn't be stretching the truth to call the XXL 540 a One 140 or XL 340 with a big screen because, screen size apart, the three units are identically specified. So, if you require Bluetooth hands-free with your GPS, you'll have to look elsewhere. Depending on the time of day, the XXL 540 switches automatically between the day and night viewing modes.

Lane guidance is present for most multi-lane roads and is prominently displayed in the status bar along the bottom of the screen. For highway and motorway exits and intersections the usual map screen is replaced by junction view, a computer rendering of the upcoming junction complete with street signs and flashing arrows for the suggested lanes.

Lane guidance screen on the TomTom XXL 540

Lane guidance (bottom left) is much appreciated for its ubiquitousness and clarity.
(Credit: CNET)

Unfortunately, for a brand that prides itself on being easy to use, the text-to-speech feature for spoken street names isn't enabled by default. To get it working you'll have to jump into the main menu, go to Change preferences, select a computer voice and make sure that the "read aloud street names" option is ticked; be careful not to enable "read aloud road signs" unless you want to hear "S-T-A-T-E Route X" or "M-E-T-R-O-A-D Y" before every road name. Once enabled text-to-speech works reasonably well, although like most GPS units it muddles up Australian and Aboriginal street names.

Warnings for speed and red light cameras come in the form of a loud audio alert accompanied by a small flashing icon on the map and a slightly larger one in the top left corner. We maintain that a decently sized text message would have been much easier to comprehend on the go.

Performance

Route calculation times are roughly class average, although interestingly it's some 20 per cent slower than the entry-level TomTom Start. Included with the XXL 540 is street by street average speed data — branded as IQ Routes — that TomTom has collected anonymously from its users. This supposedly leads to improved route suggestions, but we didn't see much evidence of this as we were often told to make impossible to execute right turns or guided up roads that we instinctively knew were likely to be clogged.

The XXL 540 comes equipped with the latest set of Whereis Australian maps, which proved to be reasonably correct in the city, but less so in the bush. Should you spot an error, like a missing "no right turn" restriction, incorrect speed limit or newly blocked road, TomTom's MapShare feature allows you to correct it on your device and, if you're feeling generous, share it with other TomTom users when you hook your GPS up to a PC.

On-screen camera warning on the TomTom XXL 540

On-screen camera warnings could do with being a bit, well, bigger.
(Credit: CNET)

Start-up time is quite brisk, clocking in at three-and-a-bit seconds. GPS positioning is accurate in the suburbs and out of town, but is the usual lucky dip in the CBD — some days it'll track you true and proper, on others it'll occasionally place you a few streets across from where you actually are. As the XXL 540 has no dead reckoning smarts, you're pretty much on your own when you venture into a tunnel.

Conclusion

We've already met some enticing 4.7- and 5-inch models and, while it doesn't exactly bristle with interesting features, the XXL 540 can easily be added to that list.

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JohnE2 Facebook
3
Rating
 

"Pty the maps are pretty useless"

JohnE2 posted a review   

The Good:User interface

The Bad:Inaccurate maps

The unit itself is extremely useful with a good user-interface, however the reliability of the maps (particularly in reference to speed limits) lave a lot to be desired. I have driven familiar roads where I know the speed limit has been unchanged for in excess of two years yet the TomTom says the speed limit is something else. These units can not be relied upon as a speed monitor/warning.

madgeontario
10
Rating
 

"Like my XXL540 very much"

madgeontario posted a review   
Canada

I had another Tom Tom and this one is so much easier
thanks. Marg

Niles
1
Rating
 

Niles posted a review   

The Good:NOTHING!

The Bad:EVERYTHING!!

Why would you make a GPS where your saved locations don't appear on the screen as some symbol when your not on a planned route, when other tomtom GPS' have this option available. When you turn your car on it doesn't come on automatically you have to push the power button to turn it on, but it turns off automaticlly when the cars off. The mount shakes a lot which makes it hard to view the screen, The GPS kept turning itself off and could not be turned back on for at least 10 minutes. The speed cameras were also very inaccurate. The GPS never really said the street names even though it was supposed to, the route it takes to get to a destination is full of side streets and back roads when its not necessary.
I would not recommend this or any other TomTom gps to anyone.

 

SarahS3 posted a reply   

you winge about minor things...you have to turn it on...what's wrong with that

Annie
1
Rating
 

Annie posted a review   

The Good:...

The Bad:Too much to mention

TOMTOM IS A PIECE OF **** Everything is wrong with it and if you try to contact TomTom about it they just either put you on hold for 3 hours, keep redirecting you or simply just lie to you. This piece of crap that people call a GPS should be taken of the market and TomTom should go out of buisness.

robert
1
Rating
 

robert posted a review   

The Good:Big screen

The Bad:Too many problems!

Missed a lot of speed cameras even though they have been there for years. When the advanced lane guidence appears you lose your on screen speed.
It kept on pronouncing roundabouts as rotarys, It wont upload your own marked speed camera and red light camera locations. The maps aren't even accurate for old roads and why can't you get an australian voice for spoken street names.

Joe
1
Rating
 

Joe posted a review   

The Good:Finally returned it!

The Bad:Everything!!

What a piece of junk!! I had this pile of rubbish for nearly 6 months it never worked properly at all, it kept on pronouncing the letters S.T.A.T and half the time didn't tell you the street names, You can only get uk and us voice for spoken street names the australian voices won't say street names at all. It also would take you off the main road to put you on back streets and then bring you back on to the same road you were already on with no gain even though the settings were right. The preset destination would tell you that you were at your destination even though you were nowhere near it. After you have cleared your destination the checkered flag would stay on the screen. The mount kept shaking and would tilt the screen down no matter what i did, it also kept turning itself off even though it was plugged into the power supply then when it finally decided to turn on it said there was no gps signal. I would NEVER buy a TomTom EVER AGAIN!!!

 

Nanny @ Pa Carter posted a comment   

We find it easy to read and easy to follow

Arbee
4
Rating
 

Arbee posted a review   

The Good:Big screen , powers off when you stop the car

The Bad:Can't put speed cameras in myself ... just report them and get charged for getting the info back

I updated the maps online and in my 11km trip to work (newtown to botany) it misses two speed cameras - it won't let me update them myself and wants me to upload it to tomtom ... where they will then charge like wounded bulls - considering the ONLY reason I bought it was so I didn't get booked I am VERY annoyed .
The man at J&B HiFi assured me that it would have "all the latest speed cameras on it " ... bollocks !
I have a Navman I bought for my wife and it has all the speed cameras and several years of free updates ,,, a few features less than the TomTom but a much better GPS

Bushie
5
Rating
 

Bushie posted a review   

The Good:big screen

The Bad:bush maps 100 yrs out of date

hmmmm big screen good , touch screen a bit touchy on rough roads,you hit too many buttons on every bump and as for the latest maps WHAT A LOAD OF _______ some of the "roads" on the screen where used by cob&co 100 yrs ago and now have farms/forrests on them!!!!!! I was told by the sales man it had the latest and greatest maps/mapping I was to trusting .All GPS mapping in AUSTRALIA is done buy SEINSES only HEMMA GPS is not they do their own and do travel the roads to check all is good ... This is my 3rd GPS and i think i will save my pennys and buy a new one(HEMMA) for xmas.............

Denny
9
Rating
 

Denny posted a review   

The Good:Screen size, quick re-planning when taking a wrong turn

The Bad:Mount

I love this thing. It's my 1st GPS and it's just great. It found every address we entered and tried to fool it by taking a wrong turn. But within a few seconds it re-calculated the route and we were back on track. The wall mount is awkward but the benefits I mentioned outweigh the minor discomfort. When taking an exit off a major road, the screen changes to make it very clear which lane to take. Our kids also love listening to Homer Simpson tell us where to go (although he costs extra).


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User Reviews / Comments  TomTom XXL 540

  • JohnE2

    JohnE2

    Rating3

    "The unit itself is extremely useful with a good user-interface, however the reliability of the maps (particularly in reference to speed limits) lave a lot to be desired. I have driven familiar road..."

  • madgeontario

    madgeontario

    Rating10

    "I had another Tom Tom and this one is so much easier
    thanks. Marg"

  • Niles

    Niles

    Rating1

    "Why would you make a GPS where your saved locations don't appear on the screen as some symbol when your not on a planned route, when other tomtom GPS' have this option available. When you turn your..."

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