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.
- 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…
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.
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
- 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
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.
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
- 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
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
- Consumer-authored TomTom GO 2505TM reviews have been posted at Amazon
- CNet gives a 4 out of 5 star rating in their GO 2505TM review
- GPS Magazine has posted an extensive TomTom GO 2505TM review
- Massive Links has posted their own GO 2505TM review
- PC World gives a 4 out of 5 star rating in their TomTom GO 2505TM review
- Canadian Reviewer tests the TomTom GO 2505
I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…
Other TomTom GO 2505TM resources
- The TomTom GO 2×05 series owners manual (the same as Europe’s GO 1000)
- There are several good TomTom message forums:
- The official TomTom GO 2505TM web page
Compare prices on the TomTom GO 2505TM at these merchants:
- Check the current TomTom GO 2505TM price at Amazon
- Get the TomTom Go 2505TM GPS at BestBuy.com
- Or check out the newest GPS: The GO 2505•TM at TomTom.com
- The merchants above have an exclusive on the GO 2×05 series until sometime in the spring of 2011