Having a personal GPS device is about as handy has having a phone in today’s world. Far too often I find myself wandering around a foreign city in a rental car not having any idea in hell where I am. Even with a GPS, I still find myself getting flustered because it either yells at me too soon or gives ambiguous directions that make absolutely no sense. Yet, I still carry my GPS around and am tethered to it from the moment I get off the plane. It’s like a miniature friend that keeps me from getting lost. Anyway, let’s dive into TomTom’s newest XXL540TM and review why it does a pretty good job at being that little pocket friend you’ve always wanted.
TomTom XXL 540TM Rundown
- Up to date roads and information
- Large screen size
- Lifetime traffic and map updates
- “Laggy” interface
- Traffic guidance updates via FM radio
Lead the Way
Right from the get go, TomTom decided that all of the “features” GPS’ normally have are useless unless people actually do something with them. Personally, I was tired of forking out hundreds of dollars a year for Garmin or TomTom to update my maps or notify me of accidents that may slow down my trip. In the XXL, TomTom decided to throw in a lifetime supply of map updates and traffic notifications. Mind you, you don’t get any map out there you want, only the US and Canada, but the fact that they were nice enough to give you something to use is testament to their willingness to help. Also thrown in there is the nice fact that their maps are up to date right out of the box. I bought a GPS device a few years ago that had out of date maps and asked me to update my maps before even using the device.
As far as the structural integrity of the device is concerned, we were very pleased with how it held up. It has a very slim design that makes it easy to store the GPS in your pocket when you’re finished or in your glove compartment without much hassle. There were some complaints about flimsy suction cups on the device, but we didn’t experience that. And to make things easy to read, TomTom put a very large screen on the GPS to make it easier to see while driving. All winning features in our book.
Where the TomTom XXL 540 Gets Lost
The feature that plagues almost all portable electronics is latency. For those unfamiliar, latency, or “lag,” is that sluggish feeling you get when trying to navigate. TomTom’s newest device is no exception. For whatever reason, manufacturers of portable electronics always skimp on hardware costs and only put the bare minimum of what’s necessary in the device and things get slow. While it isn’t a huge deal, navigating the menu can get frustrating if you ask too much of the device at once. Also on the thumbs down side of things is the fact that traffic guidance updates via FM radio. The FM radio signal can only be obtained if the device is plugged into the cigarette lighter jack in the car. If the GPS isn’t plugged in, you won’t be getting any info. While it isn’t a major inconvenience, it does make it tough to charge your phone and drive though.