TomTom is the largest European produced of GPS navigation devices and software to enable other handheld devices to access GPS service. With an extensive product line available in the United States, TomTom competes with other major GPS manufacturers such as Garmin, Magellan, and Mio. Despite generally good customer feedback, some users of the TomTom navigational system have reported problems that potential buyers should be aware of.
Freezing -Several TomTom GPS devices, including models from the TomTom One and the TomTom Go lines, have experienced problems with the system freezing. This can occur during navigation but is more likely when the device is started up, or during the entry of information.Often a frozen system can be fixed simply by turning the TomTom off, then back on. However, in some cases users have found it necessary to leave the device off for up to an hour before the system will restart and run properly. While some freezing issues may have been addressed by software updates, the problem persists on some devices.
Reception Problems -Another common TomTom GPS problem involves poor satellite reception. This can happen for a number of reasons, including an overcast or cloudy sky, a physical obstruction between the device and the satellites, or an internal issue with the device's software.While most TomTom devices use a common program for acquiring satellite signals, differences in the navigation software or glitches in an individual system can lead to bad reception, or no reception at all. This can make it a difficult problem to diagnose, especially as bad reception is often an intermittent problem. Software updates from TomTom have addressed many reception problems.
Battery Problems -Many users have complained of poor battery life on various TomTom GPS devices. Often this is a general complaint and occurs more frequently on older devices with batteries that have been recharged many times, thus reducing their capacity to hold a charge. In some cases new TomTom devices experience poor battery retention and in these cases may need to be returned to the retailer.Another battery-related problem, common to most GPS devices and other portable electronic devices, is the loss of battery life in cold weather, such as when the GPS device is stored in a cold car over an extended period of time.
Connectivity -Many TomTom users have experienced problems when attempting to connect their TomTom device to a computer. This is required to download updated maps or free software updates from TomTom's website. However, certain computer operating systems may need to be prompted before recognizing that the TomTom device has been connected and the procedures outlined in the TomTom user guide may not give specific instructions for connecting. Also, some users have experienced problems when uploading music, photos, or other data from a computer to a TomTom device.
General Problems -Another series of problems with the TomTom GPS navigational system involves general shortcomings and common complaints from users. As with most GPS devices, TomTom's maps may become outdated, with updated maps requiring an expensive download. In addition, frequent notices to upgrade existing maps are seen as a distraction to users trying to navigate using their TomTom devices.Finally, TomTom devices have been criticized for their navigation software, which may select counter-intuitive or inconvenient routes, some of which may be longer than those chosen by competing GPS device systems.