Guest Author - Claudine Williams
I tried the TomTom 335 SE, because I was looking for a portable GPS device that could replace the GPS in my phone. I needed a GPS unit that is perfect for drivers who are not familiar with the driving area. I'm forever driving to new destinations for reviews, and I need to be able to input an address and quickly get to my destination (often in heavy traffic).
I picked up the TomTom 335 SE from Walmart. I had several restaurants and shopping areas to visit for upcoming articles. I thought that I'd heard good things about the TomTom, but I was probably buying it based on name recognition. The system cost a little over $100. I knew that I was not receiving all of the information that I needed to make the most informed buying decision. I couldn't test the system, because there were no test units on display. I had to ask someone to remove the packaged unit from the rack. It was attached, which made it impossible for me to read the information on the package.
So, I knew that I was taking a chance. As I headed downtown, I listened for the TomTom to indicate my exit. I got nearer to the exit that I knew that I needed to take, and I didn't hear anything, so I thought that I'd better get off anyway, and let the TomTom navigate me through the city's streets. The TomTom indicated that I needed to make a turn. I didn't have enough time to react, so I missed the turn and pulled off into a parking lot in hopes that the Tom Tom would recalculate the route and get me back on track. I waited, and the same directions were posted on the device. There was no sign of a recalculation. I ended up making a random turn in hopes of eventually being directed to the shopping center.
When the TomTom did indicate the turns, I found that the information was given far too late. I was just a few feet near the turn when the TomTom finally told me to turn. Of course, I usually was not in the proper lane at the time. Sometimes, I couldn't make the lane change in time, and this complicated matters, especially when the device didn't automatically recalculate the route. It was also distracting to have to look at the map and try to figure out which way to go. On the ride back home, I realized that the TomTom didn't inform me to get off at my exit from the Interstate. That proved to me that the navigation device was not reliable.