Are you looking to buy one of the best TomTom sat nav devices money can buy? It seems every new car has built in satellite navigation these days but for the majority of us not lucky enough to get a new car just yet, there are many great cheap alternatives available.
You can purchase a portable Sat Nav device that connects to your car window or dashboard for under a couple hundred dollars that will last you for many years.
How does a GPS Sat Nav work?
A car Sat Nav (Satellite Navigation System) relies on the Global Positioning System (GPS), otherwise known as Navstar.
Basically, this is a satellite driven system which relies on only 24 satellites orbiting the Earth and transmitting their precise location and time to GPS ‘receivers’.
The receivers calculate their own location in relation to that of the satellites and can pinpoint their precise location when they compare to several (at least four but generally ten) of the 24 satellites in orbit.
It is this comparison, called triangulation, which allows precise locations to be determined by GPS receivers. A similar process between mobile phones and cell towers can be used to locate phones extremely accurately.
A GPS Sat Nav relies on the orbiting satellites to determine location, and also speed, time and direction to calculate navigation on a journey.
Who should buy a Sat Nav device?
Sat nav devices have become extremely popular for car owners to help determine routes between the two points on a journey, and for navigation on that trip, especially where the trip is not a familiar route.
A car sat nav is a hands-free navigator which helps the driver plan ahead for the next turn, lane change, traffic hazard and so on.
The sat nav gives an ETA which is useful as well. The sat nav will adjust the route to take into account changing traffic conditions. And it takes the stress out of driving, especially on a new route.
For all these reasons sat navs are becoming increasingly popular, and particularly those which also connect to one’s Smartphone and allow hands-free calls and messaging.
Best TomTom Sat Nav Australia
These are the best TomTom Sat Nav devices you can buy in Australia. While some have all the bells and whistles, others are simple and affordable.
1. TomTom Start 52
The easy navigation Start 52 sat nav from TomTom makes getting where you need to go just so easy. Touch a location on the screen or key in an address and the sat nav will talk to you, directing you all the way until you arrive at your destination.
Your car’s GPS will soon become outdated. The device won’t as long as you regularly update on your home PC.
Regularly upload the latest maps from your PC and the Start 52 sat nav will guide you with essential Advance Lane directions so you’re prepared for lane changes for exits and intersections well in advance.
You’ll also be warned of upcoming speed cameras and advised of the relevant speed limit. The device also tracks your average speed between Average Speed Cameras and advises you to lower your speed, if necessary, to maintain the correct average limit.
The device even picks up on road works ahead and advises of the change in speed limit. And if you override the directions it gives you it will quickly re-set itself and adjust to the different route.
Easily mounted on your dashboard, the sat nav is easily seen without diverting your attention from the road. Choose between a 4.3” or a 5” touch screen.
Adjust the volume of the voice over to suit yourself. The Start 52 also has very handy features such as alerts as to what’s up ahead like towns, petrol and food stops, and amazingly accurate ETA at your destination.
2. TomTom Go 520
The TomTom GO 520 sat nav is a top-of-the-range car navigation system which seems to do everything except drive the car for you!
The GO 520 connects and interacts with your Smartphone either through Google Now or Siri voice recognition software. Use all aspects of your phone and enjoy total satellite navigation all hands-free with the one device.
The GO 520 uses built-in WiFi to operate your phone and to access up to date maps and traffic information without ever having to connect to your PC or otherwise remove it from the car.
The sat nav will alert you when new updates are available and you simply need to connect the WiFi and install them.
And the TomTom Intelligent Traffic Navigation System provides you with real-time map and traffic updates and advance directions to your destination, including speed limits and cameras.
You can allow the Sat Nav to choose your route, or you can key in the sights you want to see on your way and the TomTom will intelligently work out the best route for you including those places.
The GO 520 can interact with the TripAdvisor App to help you find hotels, restaurants and other stopover points along your journey.
You can use your phone while it’s in your pocket for calls, messages and other tasks via the device, using its built-in microphone with Siri or Google Now, simply by connecting it with Bluetooth.
The screen will show you who’s calling or messaging and other personal assistant information.
And all these features are available completely hands-free for absolute safety.
3. TomTom Go Professional 620
Designed specifically for professional drivers of trucks, semi-trailers, buses, and vans, the TomTom GO Professional 620 is a bonus for drivers for whom time really is of the essence, where time really is money.
The device can customise a route from point A to point B not only according to a simple road map but also by taking into account the vehicle’s size, weight, cargo and maximum speed.
The intelligent routing via your Smartphone takes the guesswork out of driving and gives a constantly updated and realistic ETA, which is pretty important when you have a cargo to deliver to an expectant customer.
By connecting the unit to your Smartphone via Bluetooth you’ll get updated maps and real-time TomTom traffic information to make your trip safe and efficient.
The sat nav will alert you to traffic hazards and speed cameras ahead, and also points of interest such as rest stops, meals and fuel stops.
TomTom is equipped with masses of data about POI’s from sites like DKV, ParkYourBus and Les Routiers.
It will plan your route around both primary and secondary roads to find the safest and fastest way possible.
Plan your route ahead of time using MyDrive and then sync the route to your TomTom for navigation to begin. Update the maps using built-in WiFi – no computer needed.
Use Google or Siri to access your phone for calls, messaging and other functions, all safely hands-free.
4. TomTom Car Sat Nav VIA 62
TomTom VIA 62 car sat nav is an intelligent drive planning system which uses your Smartphone (via Bluetooth connection) to access maps and traffic information in real-time and directs you via the fastest and safest route to where you want to go.
Simply key in an address or point to a spot on the screen and the VIA 62 GPS will plan your route and talk you through the drive.
The GPS system it uses is TomTom Traffic - the VIA 62 will direct you around traffic hazards and alert you to speed cameras in real-time to get you there as quickly and safely as possible.
Listen to the voice over for directions, and glance at the 6” touch screen to check upcoming lane changes and turns.
Regularly upload the latest maps from your PC and the VIA 62 sat nav will guide you with essential Advance Lane directions so you’re prepared for lane changes for exits and intersections well in advance.
You’ll also be warned of upcoming speed cameras and advised of the relevant speed limit. With MyDrive plan your trips in advance or save your favourites.
The VIA 62 also allows you to use your phone hands-free – make and receive calls through the TomTom without touching your phone.
How do you get maps? Is there a subscription service?
When you purchase a sat nav you will also need to purchase maps to go with it. When deciding which maps to purchase it’s important to think about your needs.
If you travel a lot, do road trips, for example, then you’ll want to choose a more extensive and detailed set of maps than if you generally drive around your home town.
The more detailed and extensive the set of maps the more they will cost. When deciding which maps to purchase it’s important to think about your needs.
And then you need to understand that maps for sat nav devices need to be updated at least every 6 months, ideally more often.
This also generally comes at a cost, but it may be just the cost of a subscription. There are exceptions, however: for example, TomTom has Lifetime Map Updates which are free for the life of your device.
Consider: Best Car Vacuum.
What’s the difference between Navigators and Sat Nav?
Both GPS Navigation and Tracking use the same technology but have different features and come in different packages.
GPS Navigation is a factory-installed vehicle feature which not only enables GPS tracking (sat nav features) but also allows vehicle monitoring features such as maintenance, safety alerts, accident reporting and other critical issue reporting.
They do this through data collection and storage.
GPS Tracking is an after-market device which only performs navigational functions (some do also allow for hands-free use of a Smartphone).
Most Tracking devices are purchased and installed by car owners for sat-nav purposes – trip assistance for traffic and other route management purposes.
They are also used by fleet vehicle owners for management purposes. Tracking devices do not store historical data.
An engineer by trade, he’s a lover of all things tech. His passions include home networking, latest trends and gaming. He loves to travel around Australia in his Ford Ranger.