This time last week, I thought I would be writing a very different post to this one, but TomTom have, after the initial problems, really come through. Not only does the device et a resounding recommendation from me, but their support does as well. So, what happened?

Last week I bought myself a toy that I’d been waiting for some time for – a TomTom Go 740 Live from I’ve been keeping an eye on the SatNav market for a while, and though the TomTom has a major limitation for me in that you can’t navigate to an OS Grid Reference, the quality of the software, the user interface and the navigation itself have always placed it ahead of its competitors in my book. I will say that I have had a TomTom before – this was TomTom Navigator version 2 on a PDA which I’ve had some 8 years. By now, it’s mostly useless, with major problems with maps and the PDA is obviously creaking at the hinges a bit.

So, when it arrived I was immediately impressed with its size – it’s a lot thinner than the 910 I played with a while ago, much lighter as well. I plugged it in and got the TomTom Home software installed – available for Mac as well as PC – and downloaded all my updates. I used the “Latest map guarantee” to get all the latest map updates, and with the x40 series, you now get 3 months free subscription, so I downloaded all of those updates as well. I was also very impressed with the windscreen mount – it’s rock solid, far better than the old one.

Off I went…and that’s where the problems started. The device simply refused to connect to the mobile network – it has a built-in SIM and ‘mobile data’ connection. Not good, the menu wouldn’t even give me the serial number of the hardware. I raised the issue on Friday with TomTom on their website, and they acknowledged that they were seeing a temporary problem with their servers and suggested a reset process for me to try out once they’d fixed their servers.

Now, being a bit of a geek, I spent a few hours researching this problem (Error 1001). A number of forum users have had the problem – some noted that the excuse given out by TomTom of “server problems” appears to be bogus. I had nothing to compare it against in this case, and those reports were typically US-based, so I gave TomTom the benefit of the doubt.

So roll on Monday morning and lo and behold – the process completes but I still can’t connect. I replied via their online problem system and by mid-morning, I was to impatient so I called them. A very friendly lady led me through a number of procedures, none of which worked and gave me one last one to try at home (I’d forgotten the cradle behind). That also failed, so that night I raised it with Amazon who shipped a new unit out to me.

This morning the replacement arrived. I plugged it in and immediately had some trouble – you can only register one new TomTom device per account every 6 months. This is to stop you from buying one for your friend as well and both having updates – fair enough. So a quick call to TomTom confirmed this and the lovely lady solved that problem within half an hour (Thanks Brandy!).

The new TomTom replaced the old one fine (TomTom gives you several options including backing out of the change – very handy) and off it went to grab updates. Once that completed I immediately checked signal – and yes, it was connecting. Great! But wait, it refused to download my “HD Traffic” updates. Apparently my subscription had expired…and a quick phone call to TomTom (thanks Jade this time!) revealed that with the account reset they’d performed that morning, the 3 month free subscription that had been added was gone. That was quickly resolved and I now have a fully working TomTom.

What about the device itself? Well, navigation is as good as I expected – I have yet to use it in rush hour on a busy route, so I’ve not really used the IQ routes nor the HD traffic functions in anger. But the navigation is good – it takes the routes I know are fastest around here; it updates quickly when I go my own way; the announcements are clear; pronounciation of street and place names is pretty damn impressive, especially for some of the places around here and it even recognises “Senghenydd” when I told it when I was testing the voice recognition.

So, TomTom the device – 9 out of 10. Sorry, but you lose a point for not going OS Grid Reference. TomTom the company – 9 out of 10 – you had some mistakes but you corrected them promptly and politely. Very impressed. Well done, folks.

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