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Sunday, March 18, 2012

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TomTom GO 2505TM review

GO 2505 routing

Hands on with the TomTom GO 2505TM

UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For a list of current TomTom models and their features, please see our TomTom comparison chart.

The TomTom GO 2505TM is the top of the line model in the new GO 2×05 series, which represents the most significant refresh I’ve seen since the first TomTom I ever used, a GO 300. The big changes are the new Webkit-based interface, a capacitive touch screen and a new magnetic mount.

The 2505TM has a 5” screen and includes Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone use, as well as lifetime map updates and lifetime traffic.

Related units

  • The 2405TM has all the features of the 2505TM, except it has a 4.3” screen rather than the 5” screen found on its larger sibling
  • To see how the GO 2505TM stacks up against other models, check out my TomTom comparison chart

TomTom GO 2505TM hardware

The GO 2×05 series is flatter and more rectangular than previous TomToms, though still a bit more rounded on the edges than a Garmin nuvi. The units feels and looks solid, with a metal back (pictured below) that works with the magnetic mount…

GO 2505 rear

Mount

The powered mount is perhaps the most innovative feature of the entire unit. When I first set it up, I thought that the connection would be a bit iffy, as the power lead didn’t quite lock into place, as you can see in the video below. No need to worry though – just set the unit on the mount and a magnet does the rest. It is by far the easiest mount I have ever used.

Capacitive touch screen

Most auto GPS units have a resistive touch screen that requires pressure (albeit slight) to operate. Whereas a capacitive touch screen, like those found on today’s smartphones, reacts to the slightest touch. The GO 2×05’s capacitive screen is very sensitive, and it may take you awhile to get used to it if you’ve been using resistive screens. It is very easy to accidentally double-tap.

I’ve often dinged TomTom in my reviews for having a washed out screen, but this one represents a significant improvement. I still don’t think it’s quite as bright as Garmin nuvi screens, but it is much better than previous models.

TomTom GO 2505TM interface

The menus are the strikingly different part of the new interface.

GO 2505 menus

While things are arranged differently, it seems that most of the old settings are still there. A “make your own menu” option allows you to add buttons to the map screen, including voice command and control,  navigate to spoken address, switch sound on/off, and show home-work traffic

The map screen (shown below) is very similar to previous models

GO 2505 map screen

  • The lower left field shows your speed and the speed limit. You can set the device to turn red when you exceed the limit limit, though the MPH over the limit cannot be customized (it turns red at about 6 MPH over the limit); tap this field to alternate between 2D and 3D map views
  • The center field shows your distance to and direction for next turn; tap it to access volume controls and hear the next turn instruction.
  • The lower right field shows ETA and time to destination; tap here to access route details

Voice commands

The voice command function allows you to use pre-determined commands and gives you the ability to input an address by voice. There are 114 commands that the unit understands. Unfortunately there is no POI search capability. I prefer Garmin’s voice command setup, which displays available commands on the most recent models. I demonstrate the voice command function and show those pre-defined commands in the video earlier in this post.

Navigating with the TomTom GO 2505TM

For the most part, the unit is intuitive and a pleasure to use. Route calculations were fairly fast and I only noticed one suspect route generated while testing the device — it seemed to send me on the shortest route instead of the fastest, which meant six stoplights and a construction zone, instead of just taking me on the Interstate, which would have eliminated all but two stoplights. In other cases, IQ Routes (TomTom’s historic road speed database) worked well, taking me on a local shortcut rather than a traffic clogged four lane road for example.

While routing was pretty good, directions were sometimes less than clear. For example, during one trip I stayed on I-26 for about 50 miles, and the TomTom showed the correct exit where I was to leave the Interstate. Along the way however, I had to make three turns, where other Interstate highways entered and exited, and the TomTom failed to direct me at those junctions! Sure, I was still on I-26 the whole way, but if I wasn’t familiar with the area I could have easily missed those turns.

On another occasion, I was on a two lane country road, which ended at a stop sign – a T intersection with a four lane US highway, where I had to make a left turn to continue my route. Nevertheless, the TomTom assured me that my next turn was still 10 miles ahead. So while routing errors were uncommon, the failure to note key turns was a significant issue.

I also experienced several reboots while driving. Preceding one of these the device kept alternately informing me that the RDS-TMS traffic was connected or disconnected.

TomTom’s Advanced Lane Guidance (ALG) coverage (pictured below) greatly exceeds that of Garmin’s Junction View feature. When junctions were in close proximity to each other though, the ALG feature could be misleading. I also questioned why it even came up once, telling me not to take a  small exit, and stay on the Interstate instead. Correct, but unnecessary.GO 2505TM ALG

One place the TomTom excelled was in directing me to rest areas. Try this with a Gamin nuvi and you’ll often see that it’s less than clear which side of the Interstate a rest area is located on. Not so with the TomTom.

TomTom GO 2505TM Pros

  • Bright screen
  • Innovative magnetic mount is the best found on any auto GPS
  • 5” screen
  • Lifetime traffic
  • Lifetime map updates
  • Map Share allows for corrections of some map errors
  • Intuitive interface
  • Bluetooth
  • Map screen can be customized with icons for direct access to key functions
  • IQ Routes historic road speed database for improved routing
  • Extensive Advanced Lane Guidance coverage

TomTom GO 2505TM Cons

  • Limited voice commands
  • Failed to show significant junctions as turns
  • Reboots point to less than mature firmware
  • Advanced Lane Guidance was confusing at times
  • Speed limit coverage primarily limited to major highways

Conclusion

I really like the TomTom GO 2505TM hardware, a lot. The bright capacitive touch screen and innovative magnetic mount are great improvements. TomTom has redone their interface and managed to make it fairly intuitive, keeping the best features of old and bringing in the new without causing too many problems in the process. No small feat.

Unfortunately the firmware still seems to have some bugs in it, as spontaneous reboots occurred several times during testing. I don’t know why the unit failed to show significant junctions as turns. I don’t recall this being a widespread problem on TomTom units before, but I did notice it on multiple occasions. Perhaps it was just the specific routes I was taking, but (combined with the reboots) it leaves me reluctant to recommend the GO 2505TM.

More TomTom GO 2505TM reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other TomTom GO 2505TM resources

Compare prices on the TomTom GO 2505TM at these merchants:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Mario Rego says:

    Thanks Rich, for a very nice review of the new TomTom 2505TM. I see what you mean about when you arrived at the “T intersection” and the TomTom would not tell you to take a left. Scary!

    I’m looking forward to your review on the, soon to be release, Nuvi 2360LMT.

  2. Hey Rich,

    This is Shaun from your Nuvi 3790T review. Thanks for your review of the Go 2505TM. I’m just patiently awaiting to see what new units come out from Garmin and TomTom as well. I’m curious to see what improvements are made beyond the Garmin Nuvi 3790LMT and TomTom’s Go 2405/2505TM’s.

    The few things that I do not like about the 3790LMT are the pop-ups in traffic mode; the ability to make map corrections and share them; the lack of Live features, and the customability unlike the earlier Go units from TomTom. The few things that I don’t like about the Go 2405/2505TM’s are the firmware bugs (like you stated in the review); the lack of Live features; the ability to make map corrections and share them (this feature was available on previous Go units such as the 920T); and fact that they limited their internal memory capacities to only 4GB! Future map updates will require more memory as more roads, POI’s, and addresses become apparent.

    • I forgot to add that previous Go units had SD memory card slots in them for memory expansion. I wonder why they took them out of their latest units?

      • I expect the memory slot just wasn’t used by many people. Kudos to Garmin for retaining them.

        You should hear TomTom news soon. After today’s announcements, I’d say you won’t see next-gen features announced by Garmin till CeIT in March. However, I’ve yet to test a nuvi 2xxx unit; I suspect there may be an Easter egg or two in there!

      • On both of my previous descriptions I mean’t “the lack of ability” to make and share map corrections.

  3. Hey Rich,

    Would you say that the new Garmin Nuvis are to Mac as the new TomTom Go’s are to PC? Would that be a fair assessment??

  4. Hey Rich,

    Apple’s Iphone 5 is coming out this June. I don’t have an Iphone; yet. I’ll probably get one on my next phone upgrade. Are the Apps as good as the independent units? I’m in no rush to purchase a GPS unit because I have a Go 920T that still works, but the map is just a year old. I’ve done some research on both TomTom and Garmin Apps for the Iphone. As for the customer reviews for the Garmin App; the responses were horrific. All 7 reviews said that it was a waste of $40 and would not recommand it. But the TomTom App review was quite the opposite.

    What would you do in this situation?

    • The Garmin app is brand new and it seemed rush to get it out in time for CES. An update came out yesterday that has already solved some of the complaints. It will get better.

      In general, I’m not a fan of smartphone navigation. Screen size is small on some units (like the iPhone), and the nav apps can be less feature rich and more difficult to interact with. It also increases the temptation to interact with it while driving if you are using it for multiple tasks (nav, music, phone). The best use for me (using a Droid 1 or the wife’s Droid X) is for spur of the minute nav, when I don’t have a dedicated GPS with me.

      • Yeah, I tend to agree with you. There would be too much interaction with a smart phone because it would be used for everything. Plus the screen would be too small. In fact, I like the 5″ size screen from TomTom. That screen is big enough, but not too big. Thanks.

        Do you think Garmin will come out with a larger version of the 37XX series Nuvi in the future?

        • Hmm, hadn’t considered that. I’m not sure. Part of the appeal of the 37xx series is its pocketable size. Regardless, I don’t expect any more product announcements till spring.

  5. TomTom 2505 will not connect to TT Home which is PC software that TT offers for earlier models. This software is important for getting maps, updates, back-up ,etc. At this time you buy lifetime maps updates with the unit, but it will not work. Apparently, they came to market too early and the software is not functional at this time. Somewhat of a rip-off by their marketing people. The unit works fine, but the promised software and maps are not available and their customer support cannot resolve.

  6. I have found many comments on other forums that go back several months, indicating a fix was in process, but nothing has changed as far as I can tell. This problem is well documented on the Amazon reviews for the 2505 and it amazes me that TT has not responded to these complaints. In my opinion, it will kill sales if it is not resolved.

    • bernie41 says:

      Update on TT problems. I now am working with my 3rd 2505. The first two locked-up and could not be fixed by customer service and they sent replacements very promptly. The 2505 has numerous software problems still, particularly with downloading updates. This unit will not work with HUGHESNET and they finally told me that after 4 or 5 calls to customer service. If you are a HUGHESNET user, you have to go to a hard-wired PC in order to get map updates. There is no way to operate the 2505 from your PC or back-up the unit on your PC. Unfortunately, I did not know about all of these problems before the 30day Amazon warranty period. I am trying to convince TT to take it back, but that does not look good and I would not attempt to sell this unit to anyone without revealing these problems.

  7. Wow Bernie,

    I didn’t know TomTom was having this problem connecting to TomTom Home. Thanks for the heads-up!

  8. Nuvi Owner says:

    After researching GPS features for more than a week I had finally decided on a TomTom, based upon customer reviews and my hands-on experience in a local big box retailer.

    However, the fact that the map updating problem has gone unresolved for several months by TomTom forced me to reconsider. I see no reason to pay for Lifetime Maps knowing that as things stand right now the maps are not downloadable.

    Who knows when this will be corrected on these models. And, even if it is eventually corrected, why would I want to spend that kind of money on a GPS just to be forced to use outdated maps for several weeks or months, when I can buy another brand and immediately download the most current maps?

    Solely because of this I purchased a Nuvi 1490LMT instead of a TomTom.

  9. I thought it was unconscionable that TomTom doesn’t publish anywhere (website, manual) the available Voice Commands for the 2505. Customer service was no help, so I’m posting the list for all who are interested. I organized the commands into categories to more useful:

    View
    2D map (view), 2D view
    3D map (view), 3D view
    Zoom (in|out)
    Decrease (brightness|volume)
    Increase (brightness|volume)
    Day(time) view | Night(time) view | Use (day|night) colors

    Command and Control
    Sound (off|on)
    (Turn) volume (down|up)
    Repeat instruction
    Mark as favorite
    Mark safety camera
    (Report) safety camera
    (Correct|Mark) map error

    Navigation
    Navigate to | travel via …
    a (city center|favorite|recent destination|zip code)
    an address
    home
    the nearest …
    (ATM|bank machine|campground|camping ground)
    (car repair shop|car wash|dentist|doctor)
    (fire|gas) station
    (parking garage|parking lot)
    (pharmacy|post office|railway station)
    (post office|railway station)
    (rest area|restaurant|tourist info|tourist information)
    Truck stop and service

    Clear route
    Calculate an alternate route | Recalculate route
    Read (aloud) traffic (info|information)
    Minimize (traffic) delays
    Current location | Where am I

    Phone
    (Call|Phone) (back|home)
    Redial

  10. Hey Rich,

    I can’t wait to see your review of the new unit from TomTom; the Go 2535TM WTE. Compare it to the Nuvi 3790LMT and which one out of the two do you prefer? Is it still the Nuvi??

    By the way, TomTom finally put in the disclaimer that lifetime map updates excludes maps of Europe. They finally listened!

  11. I know this is a few months old, but does anyone know if they have fixed the problems yet? My wife and I are going to Lake Tahoe in May with our (currently 16 months old)son. Last time (the first and only time we were there) we used my brother in-law’s GPS and it was a huge life saver since we don’t know the area.

    So far we like the extra features on the 2505. It’s currently at the top of our list to buy.

    Also, how is the hands free function on it? (My wife hates the in the ear bluetooth.

    Thanks for the review too, btw!

    • I’m not sure if improvements have been made or not. And unfortunately I didn’t quite get around to testing Bluetooth on this model. FWIW, while its not a TomTom, I was very impressed with Bluetooth on the Garmin nuvi 2400 series recently; definitely the best sound quality of any I’ve tested.

      • Thanks you very much.

        My wife and I checked out the Garmin nuvi 2460LTM. At about the same price for about the same features, she still wants the TomTom GO 2505.

        We can get it for $291 on amazon (she wants an amazon card too, for the $30 credit) and she gets the free 2 day shipping. The biggest point for her is that we have read the Garmin has advertisements popping up. She seemed to really hate that.

        Worst case, we return the TomTom and get the Garmin.

        Thanks again! Your review and suggestion helped a lot!

        • Glad to help. The ads really bother some folks and I understand that. But they are very low key and rare. They only seem to come up if you are stopped or viewing a traffic detail screen.

  12. Jon Strong says:

    Not even 4 weeks later (than the last post) and the 2535 series is available in a few places online, and at least in Best Buy (and maybe other bricks & mortar locations). I picked up a 2535M Live a few days ago; haven’t had a lot of time to learn all the ins and outs of it, but first impressions are generally good. Think I ran into one bug when I tried using Google search (a live service) and navigating to the location it found, after having used the TomTom local search feature first — couldn’t convince the device to navigate to the newly found location. I’ve been using a Nuvi 755T for the last 3 years and am still learning my way around the 2535 — so this might be user error; not sure yet.

    Live / HD traffic combined with IQ routes is promising in the 2535M Live. I haven’t exercised this feature enough yet to be ready to render an opinion, but my overall impression is very positive so far, and all I’ve read of traffic avoidance handling is quite good. I’ll know more in a week or so- but if Casey is still in the market and hasn’t chosen a device yet, this is another alternative to consider.

    – Jon

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