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TomTom XXL 550TM

  • Category: GPS Navigation
Last Updated
October 22, 2010

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

Pros
  • Free map updates & real-time traffic
  • Excellent voice prompting
  • Quick navigation calculation

Cons
  • Touch screen responsiveness
  • Map detail could be better
  • No Bluetooth option

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Review

The TomTom XXL 550TM is a GPS navigation device with a 5-inch LCD screen with voice prompts, and lifetime map and live-traffic updates. TomTom includes their new menu interface with this model and it makes it even more easier to use.

The TomTom XXL 550TM measures 5.2 x 0.9 x 3.4-inches (hwd) and weighs just shy of 9-ounces, which makes it very lightweight and compact. It can be mounted either on a dashboard or on a windshield by means of the included EasyPort mount. The mount itself is very compact and sturdy and holds the unit in place well while driving. The power cable connects right into the unit itself and not the base, so each time you want to remove the device from your car, you'll have to unplug it each time.

The 5-inch LCD display on the front of the TomTom XXL 550TM looks pretty good, but the colors do seem slightly washed out. The touch input worked so-so, requiring a firm press and even then it missed a few presses. This did make entering addresses (as well as simple searches) rather frustrating because it took extra time and had to correct mistypings rather frequently. The unit does include a predictive type feature, which worked well and came up with accurate predictions.

The unit has a point of interest database pre-loaded onto it that contains over seven million entries. It contains everything from gas stations, fast food restaurants, hotels, etc. This makes it really nice to have when traveling on vacation to find places to stop along the way.

TomTom gives you free lifetime map updates and real-time traffic updates as well with this unit (550TM only). Users can connect the unit to their computer and download map updates from TomTom.com as well as updated route data. This route data is collected from real-world use of their GPS units to help your unit determine the best routes for future trips. This allows the 550TM to know which routes work best in the real-world for certain times of the day, like rush hour or weekends.

As mentioned, you also receive free lifetime real-time traffic information, which will inform your GPS of any delays or accidents that may delay your progress. Along the right side of the display, a colored bar shows the possibility of any delays as well as the length of and distance until any that may be ahead of you. Clicking on this area with your finger displays a roadmap with colored overlays of any delays. From here you can elect to avoid any delays by having the unit automatically recalculate your route. Keep in mind that the TomTom XXL 550TM won't be able to tell you every delay or accident simply because that information isn't always available to it, but it does a pretty good job when it's able to.

While in navigation mode along your route, the unit displays the current road's speed limit (if known), your current speed, distance to next turn and destination, as well as lane assistance for highway interchanges. The graphics were decent, but they were only basic 3D instead of a more detailed 3D view, which some other devices offer. You may also choose to enable route voice prompts, which will orally tell you route directions. These sounded surprisingly clear and were effective.

The TomTom XXL 550TM does not offer a Bluetooth hands free option or MP3 device capabilities, which many other devices do. The unit also does not power off automatically when the car's ignition is turned off, which could lead to a dead battery.


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