Review: TomTom GO 2505-TM

Lifetime live traffic alerts and quarterly map updates are included in this sleek GPS.

The TomTom GO 2505-TM has virtually every feature that you could want in a nonconnected navigation device. And, the company packs all of that into a striking, slim chassis.

The TM attached to the product name means that lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates are included in the $320 price (as of December 22, 2010). And, unlike the advertising-supported lifetime traffic offered on most Garmin Nuvi models and all-traffic-enabled Magellan RoadMate models, TomTom's traffic is advertising-free--you won't be annoyed by the popup ads found on competing traffic-enabled products. For those looking to save a few bucks, TomTom also offers the $300 GO 2405-TM, an identically featured device with a smaller, 4.3-inch screen. "M" only, "T" only, and base models aren't being offered for the newest entries in the GO product line in the United States.

There's a lot that's new on the GO 2505. First, the display is a flat, borderless glass screen--much like what you'd find on an iPhone. The mounting bracket is also new. There's an easy-to-use twist-and-lock mechanism that secures the suction cup to your windshield or dashboard mounting disc. But the new mounting bracket features magnets that help guide and lock the device into the bracket as well as magnets that secure the power/data connector. The entire process can easily be done one-handed.

The GO 2505-TM also features a redesigned user interface that's easier to use and reduces the number of screen taps required to perform some tasks. For example, on the XXL 550, it takes four screen taps to Manage Favorites; it only takes three on the GO 2505. The GO 2505 also has the new option of "Make your own Menu". If you select one or two items, those icons appear on the screen for single-tap access. For example, I configured on-screen icons for "Call" (Bluetooth menu access) and Save current location as a favorite. If you choose more than two, an icon appears on the screen that opens up a menu of your selected screen icons. This is similar to the quick menu feature that was removed in the latest upgrade of the XL350 and the XXL550.

The GO 2505 includes all of the features you'd expect from a top-of-the-line navigator. The included map set covers the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as well as 7 million points of interest. It also has advanced lane guidance, a feature that ensures that you're in the correct lane for an upcoming highway maneuver.

I tested several routes at different times of the day. TomTom's IQRoutes feature, assisted by the live traffic alerts, did create different routes, each of which appeared to be faster based on traffic information. On one particular route, I also created the same route using Yahoo Maps. The route generated by Yahoo Maps matched the one generated by the 2505 when there wasn't traffic on the route. However, with traffic on the route, the 2505 generated what looked like a better, faster route.

The new user interface represents a pleasing evolutionary step in TomTom's already easy-to-use interface. Multitouch (pinch and zoom) has been added to a couple of map views, and some menus let you swipe left or right iPhone-style to navigate through the menu trees.

The Bluetooth interface worked smoothly and connected easily to my Droid X. I was pleased to find that the GO 2505 accurately read the contact list out of the Droid X as well as the call history and recent-calls list. Call quality using the speakerphone interface was good on both ends of the call.

Like the GO 740 Live, the 2505 also features voice commands, about 130 in all. The handy built-in help lists those commands for you. While the list is fairly extensive, it has some limitations. First, you need an exact match; for example, I gave a command, "Navigate to nearest gas", and it asked if I meant "nearest dentist." However, when I said, "Navigate to the nearest gas station," it got it right. Navigating to an address still requires keyboard input. For me, this is a "wow" feature that's nice to demonstrate, but one that I probably won't use.

These models both use the My TomTom Web-based application for updating maps, sharing maps, and purchasing optional voices.

The TomTom GO 2505 is a winner across the board. It has all of the features I'm looking for: a 5.0-inch screen; Bluetooth that works seamlessly with my Droid X; highway lane guidance; and lifetime traffic/map updates. It's earned a spot on my dashboard--for now.

This story, "Review: TomTom GO 2505-TM" was originally published by PCWorld.

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