What a privilege to live in an era where traffic conditions and directions are available immediately. Satellite navigation systems, better known as sat navs, feature this data through a variety of prices and options. TomTom GO 520 is a perfect example of how that company combines a lower price on their mid-range GO 520 while providing an opportunity to enjoy satellite navigation. Built-in Wi-Fi produces a simpler way to update maps and other data without waiting for the information to arrive. The internal memory holds 16 GB. GO 520 has an approximate one-hour battery life. That limits its effectiveness away from a charger, although it is typical of similar units in this class. I could hardly wait to test the features to discover hands-on what TomTom built into the GO 5200’s little brother.

TomTom GO 520

TomTom GO 520

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About the Product

I was surprised at TomTom GO520’s easy operation. The manufacturer really hasn’t changed the basics over the past few years, making the system familiar to anyone used to the brand. Make sure the maps are current by connecting to Wi-Fi before heading out on the road. Simply select “Updates & New Items” from the settings pane. No computer is necessary. The unit’s GPS provides alerts as further updates become available.

What’s noticeable right away is the sleek look and feel of the unit and the quick-release magnetic mount. Not only is the mount more stable while driving, the sat nav slips out quickly without a hassle when you want to carry it along.

GO 520’s communication is impressive, reading Smartphone text messages to the driver to avoid distraction. Talk and activate Google Now or Siri on GO520 by tapping the correct menu button and using the built-in microphone.

Comparison with Garmin DriveLuxe51LMT5

The Garmin DriveLuxe 51LMT-5, like the TomTom GO 520, offers free lifetime updates. While Garmin covers the US, US Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. The GO 520 starts with North America and adds the world with a download. Multiple destination routing is available from the 51LMT, but not the GO520. TomTom’s screen is slightly smaller at 5 inches compared to Garmin’s 5.1 inch. Neither has a photo viewer or digital audio playback, while both have voice control and text to speech. Estimated battery life is identical. Garmin’s 51LMT5 uses a SmartLink app to access dynamic content services, while the GO520 uses TomTom My Drive. The big difference is the price, with the GO averaging more than $100 less. The magnetic mounts are similar. Routes are clear and detailed on both screens. Points of Interest (POI) appear, with the option of changing your route to arrive at the new destination. Garmin’s spoken commands are clearer than those of GO520. The descriptive script notifies drivers of convenient guides such as which lane to travel in for the next move.

Pros

  • Built-in Wi-Fi for updates
  • Quality, easy-to-follow maps
  • Voice control
  • Hands-free calling
  • Magnetic vehicle mount

Cons

  • Inferior battery life
  • No SIM functionality
  • Smartphone required for TomTom Traffic

Conclusion

The ability to download free updated maps via built-in Wi-Fi for areas being traveled makes the TomTom GO520 a boon for any tourist or driver. The company’s first mid-range sat nav has a 5-inch touchscreen and easy to read menu. I found the display to be responsive and simple to follow. Access most navigation features through interaction with the voice control system. Plan routes ahead of time on the Smartphone and enjoy the convenience of a pre-arranged route. Life-time map service and a relatively low price for the features and services make the GO520 an excellent choice when a more detailed satellite navigation system isn’t needed.


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