TomTom is a well-known brand for GPS navigators and it mainly focused on the ONE series followed by the newer START and VIA series. While these devices were quite sufficient for their prices, TomTom failed to cater to the folks that are willing to spend a bit more on premium features. It is the TomTom GO series that addresses this and last 2013, TomTom introduced a whole new family of GO devices with the TomTom GO 600 standing in the middle of the 6-inch category. 6-inch automotive GPS navigators is nothing new and you can get a fairly capable 6-inch VIA 1605 M for under $200. But the $299 GO 600 comes with enough exciting improvements that make the 1605 M a mediocre device.
Not much effort needs to be made to designing a GPS device but TomTom wanted to make sure their new GO series stood out and the TomTom GO 600 definitely impresses. The 6-inch display makes this a large GPS device and the 800 x 480 screen resolution is a great choice for the size to make the graphics and text a lot sharper. On top of that, TomTom takes a rounded rectangular form factor approach which makes the GO 600 feel new and fresh. The latest 6-inch “phablets” still look better with some boasting very impressive Full HD displays but the TomTom GO 600 still manages to be one of the better-looking GPS devices out there and it isn’t even a flagship model.
Included in the package is the usual adhesive disk for mounting purposes and a special “easy click” mount that is designed to make it really easy to dock the GPS device due to its magnetic nature. A USB cable and car charger is included as well along with a simple installation guide poster.
The GO 600 and the other GO devices launched in 2013 all feature a radically changed user interface. The main part of the interface is now the 2D map so you can immediately see your current location. There are a few buttons on the side including the zoom controls and a menu button on the bottom left corner of the map. This button will bring up the main menu which looks a lot simpler and more modern with a single row of scrollable icons. There are also fewer icons to work with as some of the functions in older versions were combined into one section. For instance, locating a point of interest can conveniently be done using the new Search feature. Because the device has a capacitive display, you can conduct simple multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom.
The 3-D interface continues TomTom’s new minimalistic approach too and it helps make the TomTom GO 600 look far more original than the competition. It is certainly a great approach for those that prefer simplicity over lots of statistics as the top only features the next turn information while current speed and speed limit is found on the bottom. Rather than having a status bar, the GO 600 incorporates a translucent vertical bar showing the other important data like the time, estimated time of arrival and a small graphical representation on the any expected traffic that can get in the way. As for the 3-D graphics, the color scheme is a bit focused on a limited color scheme but it makes the highlighted path standout while still keeping the overall map view pleasant to look at because of the nice building graphics. Some key landmarks have accurate renderings too to make them more noticeable.
The TomTom GO 600 will really feel like a new mobile operating system that you won’t find in any other hardware platform. The increased resolution also gives this new interface a great first impression.
The navigation features of the GO 600 are not as innovative as the fresh new interface but there is plenty to like that make this device superior over the typical entry-level or midrange device. The model number does not make it obvious but the TomTom GO 600 features both lifetime maps and lifetime TomTom Traffic. TomTom promises to issue at least four complete map updates every year so the GPS device never feels obsolete as long as it works. TomTom’s approach to lifetime traffic updates is a bit different for the GO series. The good news is that all new GO devices are capable of retrieving live traffic updates. In the case of the GO 600, you have to use the device’s built-in Bluetooth functionality to pair with an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet with mobile data features. You are essentially using your mobile device’s Internet connection to retrieve the data. The downside is that you may have to pay extra when travelling abroad because of the roaming fees. In order to be free from mobile device dependence, you have to spend a little bit more on the TomTom GO 6000 model which stays connected to TomTom’s services at all times.
TomTom also provides new owners of the TomTom GO 600 with 3 months of free access to TomTom Speed Cameras. This feature aims to eliminate the hassles of getting a speeding fine just because you forgot about the speed warning. Once a speed camera is in range, you will get an alert that is impossible to miss. Other TomTom users can contribute to the database by reporting new locations of speed cameras in addition to the usual Map Share feature.
Other welcome features include Advanced Lane Guidance to make key junctions easier to navigate and a “Speak & Go” feature which lets you issue commands to the GO 600 using your voice.
TomTom did exactly what it needed to do to stay competitive in the automotive GPS scene. $299 might be a little bit steep for people that are used to spending $200 on a GPS navigator but the TomTom GO 600 pretty much set the standard for intuitive and attractive GPS devices from the attractive design to the simplified interface and gorgeous screen.