This boxing day I headed out for a bit of toy shopping. It has been long time since I’ve been out on Boxing Day, shopping on-line is so much more convenient. I couldn’t believe people still line-up hours before the stores open (well, except at Reno Depot) and the line at Future Shop went around the parking lot.
What surprised me most was the number of people lining up to buy a Playbook! The only thing different was the size of the ads proclaiming the low price that had been in effect since September. And I bet all those people were smacking themselves when the price dropped another $100 a month later!
After wandering around Future Shop and not really seeing what all the fuss was about I stumbled upon the GPS display. There were a few models at 40% to 60% off; and I know from reading the TomTom Go 720 vs Garmin nüvi 255 that the TomTom was the way to go. The first salesperson to show-up simply opened the case and handed me the GPS I was in front of. The second salesperson actually asked a few questions and answered a few of mine.
Ultimately I ended buying a TomTom Via 1435 TM. It features a 4.3″ touch screen, blue tooth, lifetime traffic and maps updates.
The 4.3″ screen on the VIA 1435 makes a huge difference. The route information is clearly displayed and there’s still lots of space for the other touch controls. It’s easy select the buttons and move around the screen, especially in the menus and when typing on the on-screen keyboard.
This is the only downside to the unit I’ve found so-far. Trying to use voice commands to enter an address is an exercise in frustration. Especially since street names here in Quebec are often a mix of English and French words. So far I haven’t been able to enter a single address properly by voice.
The unit can also connect to your phone via Bluetooth for hands-free calling. The connection and sound quality is pretty good
This is the coolest feature, and one that drew me to the TomTom. More than once on a road trip we’ve had a GPS that has give us ambiguous directions at a highway exit or merge. With Lane View the GPS switches to a view of the lanes and puts a red arrow in the lane we’re supposed to be in. It’s not a photographic reproduction of what the road ahead looks like but it’s close enough so you know which direction you’re supposed to be going.
The MyTomTom Home software is available for Windows and Mac OS X. There’s not much to say, it gets the job done. But hey TomTom, let’s see a Linux version!
The VIA 1435 TM is a great GPS, that really takes advantage of the larger screen. The life time maps are going help the GPS keep it’s usefulness over time; and the traffic updates are really handy. The voice input is less useful where the street names are regularly in multiple languages but I’m sure it will be useful on our travels.