Made for map lovers, apparently...
Review TomTom's Start is essentially the satnav specialist's new low-end model. Rather than say so, though, it's not pitching the product on price but for its simplicity. It's a device designed to get you from A to B and nothing more.
TomTom's Start: cuts to the chase with a simple, straightforward UI
But it's also being described by the company as "the satnav designed for people who still think they prefer reading maps", implying this is the gadget that will finally get the doubters to leave their Readers' Digest Book of the Road at home.
The Start certainly lacks a lot of the clever stuff electronics can do that paper can't. There are no traffic updates, fuel price and local services searching here because it doesn't support TomTom's Live offering. Likewise, there's no lane guidance beyond broad 'keep to the left' instructions. It does incorporate TomTom's iQ Routes system, which is designed to apply to route planning an understanding of what roads get busy and when they do so, the better to steer you onto quieter, faster roads.
The Start is really about route planning pure and simple, which is why it presents you with just two, large icons: "Plan Route" and "Browse Map".
Below these is a bar the presents five small icons for settings: switch the sound on or off; flip the screen to night mode and back; get help; call up the main options screen; and a Done icon that takes you back to the map view.
The screen is 3.5in
Options is likewise "simplified", presenting just six settings you can change rather than page after page of icons you need to tab through to find the one you want. That said, there is a second page of options, reached by clicking on a button market Advanced.
Why ask the client?
You shouldn't need to ask anybody if you've got a brain. Use a map; OS, A to Z, google, multimap, whatever, before you set off and remember the route. I find that much more reliable than asking for directions since most people you ask will know the route so well that they will miss things out.
So many sat nav devices have mapping problems that you'd be foolish to rely on them without actually doing some research on the route first hand. And you'd certainly want to carry a map book.
When is comes to the shortcomings of satnav take a look at 53.253479deg N 4.43169deg W. My TomTom was convinced you could head on accross the A55 at this very obvious dead end. Furthermore where the "road" continues on the other side of the A55 it's just a dirt track. This actually happened to me on a two mile journey between two addresses about 160 miles from base which is where you'd expect sat nav to be most useful because you have no local knowledge.
This highlights two problems with sat nav mapping. Firstly it sees a road dead end next to another road and thinks it's a junction. Secondly, and perhaps more importanty, an awful lot of sat navs don't seem to differentiate between a minor road and a byway, footpath, bridleway or cyclepath. Many sat navs suffer from this latter issue right outside my house. Now admittedly this sort of thing doesn't tend to come up on long journeys, because the sat nave will rightly prefer motorways and A roads. Delivery drivers and service engineers and the like may have several calls in one area where the whole journey will take place on minor roads and this is where sat nav falls appart. And it's probably where it should be the most useful. And although the example I've given is in a rural area there
The example I've given was in a rural area, but similar things happen all the time in cities. Many sat navs will try to direct drivers through a pedestrian presinct to find our office. Credit to Tom Tom, they actually find our car park.
Why satnav against maps?
Nothing beats the convenience of a satnav. Definitely no map or asking strangers. (and to ask my client for driving directions is extremely unprofessional)
That said at home I also use maps to plan my next journeys... but in the car: satnav is go....
@ Jake @ Richard116
"Why not ask the client for driving directions?"
Choose your option:
 Because it makes a stupid impression?
[1b] Because things get really awkward if the client doesn't know and feels put into place?
 Because the client doesn't necessarily know the route, from your last client to him?
[2a] Because the client has the same chance of knowing the route from you to him as you have?
 Because even if they know a route, they're not necessarily good at explaining it?
[3b] See 1b?
 Because there's more travelling to be done than just to clients in this world?
The simple reality is that route planners are just far less of a necessity in the USA than in the old world. The reasons are tedious and obvious (millenia old road networks that have been half-redone half-worked around for centuries, versus those designed with horse-and-buggy in mind, plenty of space mostly versus filling in little crags, etc) and there is no grid pattern in the typical european city centre nor on the larger scale is there the regular North/South+E/W road pattern the US has.