KEEP RIGHT ON TO THE END OF THE ROAD: TomTom’s GO 5000 enables the user to plan a safe road trip, right out of the box! Image: Supplied
Global positioning devices (GPS units) – electronic maps, as the Americans like to call them - have been with us for some years now and seem to have created something of a two-horse race for supremacy between TomTom and Garmin.
They are, arguably, the biggest suppliers of this type of "personal navigation device" (PND).
The latest TomTom unit to hit the South African market, the GO 5000, proved its worth* this past couple of days in and around the Mother City where gridlock and (to my mind, anyway) too many streets-without-names as I go about my day job delivering cars to the media.
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It’s a frustrating job at times but made considerably easier when using a dedicated and easy-to-use GPS.
In truth, though, GPS units haven’t, in my opinion, kept up with the times as well as, say, a smart** phone – or perhaps the dash cam (an unobtrusive video recorder that also attaches to your vehicle’s windscreen and is especially useful should you be involved in a traffic incident).
In their defence, a dedicated GPS will do a really good job by constantly monitoring the traffic in one’s vicinity/traffic details/traffic jam alerts and all this while audibly advising the fastest route, street-by-street, turn-by-turn, between journey start and destination.
TomTom’s map department claims to cover 99% of South Africa’s roads and has a wireless connection to its own traffic management control.It also claims to cover 100% of highways "with detailed attributes, speed limits, lanes and signposts". It also covers byways, rough roads, 4x4 tracks and unpaved roads.The TomTom GO 5000 has a sizeable, easy-to-read 125mm screen, a strong ‘twist’ action windscreen sucker and USB-type cigarette-lighter power connector – that’s it – all that’s needed to reveal the roads/trip ahead.
Follow the intuitive instructions to bring up the interactive map then simply zoom in and out to locate roads that are unmarked in the non-cyber world. There are places of interest (POI) at every turn and of course TomTom’s speed camera warnings to keep the cops at bay!
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Setting a destination is easy enough with the built-in QWERTY keyboard – or you can control the device by voice, Siri smart-phone style.
There’s no need to update the SA road maps in this particular TomTom - there’s a lifetime update service: simply connect the unit to a computer and visit the website tomtom.com/lifetimemaps
*The retail price of the TomTom GO 5000 GPS is R4399 through all the usual outlets. The unit was loaned to Wheels24 by TomTom SA.
*Smart phones these days are proving extremely versatile, offering most of the above GPS technology via Google maps, traffic incident warnings and even apps on both Android and Apple platforms; while offering Bluetooth technology for the use of safe hands-free phone calls.
You makes your choice and you pays your money!