TomTom Start 20 Sat Nav Review – Beware! Item Not Fit For Purpose!

By | October 27, 2011

If you are seeking a satellite navigation device, you could do far better than buying a TomTom Start 20 model. I bought one today and it is a big thumbs down already. I do not recommend you buy one.

Fundamentally, the product is not fit for purpose as it is sold. Here is why.

I got the version with 45 European maps on. I actually wanted one with world maps (or USA at least as I visit there). However, I couldn’t find such a version online at reasonable money, and the guy in Halfords (yes, I know) said they could be downloaded from the TomTom website in exchange for money. All well and good up to now.

So I waste an hour or two clowning around on the TomTom website, downloading crap to make sure my computer can talk to my new TomTom Start 20. Then you need another programme – not really very straightforward (and I am not dumb with this stuff). A lesser mortal would struggle – trust me. Anyway, eventually they are talking to each other.

So I buy the US maps to be downloaded to my device – £35. So on top of the £140 it cost, we are now up to £175. Why they don’t sell them with US maps installed is anyone’s guess, but I digress……

The update screen tells me that in addition to the American maps I just bought, various speed camera updates are available, a set of newer EU maps and an operating system upgrade too. Fine, lets just do the lot and be bang up to date eh? Rock ‘n’ Roll. Um…… No.

It seems the TomTom Start 20 comes with a paltry 3.63GB of internal memory. The European map it came with was something like 2.7. The newer version was 2.9. A few European map updates and the memory will be totally obsolete. Cute huh? This also means that there is no room to install the USA maps they just stung me £35 for. One must choose which map set one wants to use, install it and use that. Later you can revert it back. Well, how crap is that? Why isn’t there enough memory for both? I must start downloading and updating stuff every time I get on or off a plane to the US? A suitable sized chip would have added what £3 to the price? Meh!

TomTom Smart 20 Review

The map download takes an agonising two hours as it loads only direct to the device. Two hours? Every time I go to or from the US? Oh dear!

Time to quiz TomTom [lack of] support. By phone it is a pay-for 0845 number. I don’t do those. I don’t need to pay to talk to someone in Waziristan who likely unconvincingly calls himself Michael instead of Gupta.

Lets try “live chat” instead. You are 7 in the queue, then 5, then 3 then……………. No operators available. Hmm. Probably a glitch; lets try again. This happens four times.

Google is your friend. Lets Google for some info. Google tells me the TomTom Start 20 has a micro SD card slot for memory expansion. Great! I check it and there is a sneaky slot I hadn’t seen by the power plug. I do another £6 on eBay for a 4GB card, so we are now up to £181 from £140 and I haven’t even used it yet.

Lets try the “support forums” and see who is talking about the dire memory issue, US maps, SD cards and the like. They are full of people complaining that although the micro SD slot exists, it doesn’t bloody work until TomTom do an “update” sometime in the summer [of 2011]. However, the forums are still full of people complaining that this promised update hasn’t yet arrived in October. When will it arrive? Who knows. There is no official response to that question.

So, does the SD card slot work yet? Nobody seems to know. Will my SD card purchase have been pointless? Who knows? When it arrives I will try it and see.

Right now, after spending an agonising 2 hours downloading the newer European maps, ist another hour and twenty minutes to “install” them.

TomTom map installation

I should devote an entire day to this probably.

Is it so much to ask to buy a satellite navigation device with world maps already installed? For TomTom, yes.

People – do what I wish I had done. Spend your money elsewhere!

Edit: This piece of crap has now been returned to the shop for a full refund.

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