Taking Flight…

Review of TomTom XL 335 SE (GPS)

SubscribeFiled Under: Gadgets,by Neeraj

This is not a paid or sponsored review.

For our recent Canada Day weekend road-trip to Montreal, I was advised by my friends to purchase a GPS before hitting the road. They said my printouts of directions from Google Maps will not do in Montreal as their roads and highways – not to mention the French names – are confusing for visitors and therefore it is easy to lose your way.

TomTom XL 335 SE - GPS

We heeded their advice and purchased a TomTom XL 335 SE GPS (4.3″ screen) from Wal-Mart before leaving Toronto for CAN$148 + 13% tax.

This slick easy-to-use touch-screen device was indeed our savior as we didn’t have to worry about finding our way back to our suburban hotel from Downtown Montreal at night or any other time of day. However, the gadget has its flaws and we also got lost because of it a few times.

The gadget has an option to view road maps in 2-D or 3-D. 3-D looks cool but it is of little practical use since the map zooms in too close to see the turns in advance; the 2-D view does not have that issue.

Having said that, sometimes the option to switch between 2-D and 3-D views was not on the screen and we got stuck with the 3-D view and missed some turns on the highway as a result. It was not clear how to get that option back without having to restart the device.

The 3-D view wouldn’t have been such a big problem if the voice instructions were timely. It gave too many instructions in advance and not when they were actually needed. For example, it said “Turn Right, Take Highway 10-West in 400m, Stay in the Left Lane and Take Exit 690 to Downtown Montreal in 4.3 KM.” It did not say anything when it was actually time to take the exit, which often resulted in us missing the exit if we didn’t check the map.

TomTom XL 335 SE - GPS

As a result of these issues, the gadget was the cause of some frustration in the beginning, but over the course of the weekend, we accepted its shortcomings and made good use of it.

What TomTom XL 335 SE GPS really excels in is the wealth of useful information it provides. Information such as restaurants, hotels, gas stations – Points of Interests – that are near your current location or those that are on the way to your destination. We used this feature a lot to look for some Indian and Greek restaurants in Montreal, which we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find. From our experience, we found that the GPS always mapped the route so that our destination came on our right and not on the opposite side of the road, which was excellent.

I thought the touch-screen menus were user-friendly and intuitive and found it easy to program it without ever having to open the instruction manual. The screen size is perfect and the maps are clear. It even has a night mode, which is neat.

It was my first time using a car-navigation system (GPS) and it was perfect for someone like me who hates asking others for direction!

Bottom Line: TomTom XL 335 SE GPS has a few flaws but it is still a very useful gadget and I would recommend it for your next road trip.

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