- Advanced Lane Guidance (see below).
- IQ Routes (see below).
- Strong route planning/alternate route features.
- Voice input doesn't readily accept address numbers.
Solid Navigation, High-tech Extras
The TomTom GO 930 sits atop the company's automotive GPS line, and it combines highly competent navigation and fast signal acquisition and route calculations with all of the latest technical goodies TomTom has to offer. After more than 600 miles of testing under varied conditions, I was able to put all of its features through their paces. Overall, the GO 930 is an excellent companion for business or pleasure travel, with some improvement needed in the new voice address input feature.
I'll start with the basics, and then review the extras, which include:
- Advanced Lane Guidance: Prepares you for complex exits and intersections, and shows you which lane to be in.
- IQ Routes, which calculates routes based on real average speeds measured on roads, rather than posted speed limits.
- Enhanced Position Technology (EPT): Uses inertial sensors to estimate your position when GPS reception is poor, such as when driving through a tunnel or between tall buildings.
- Voice address input. Speak the destination address rather than using the touchscreen keyboard.
- A remote control.
- Hands-free calling.
- TomTom Services, including fuel prices.
- Connect and control an iPod.
The new-for-2008 GO 930 has the same shape, rounded back, and mounting system as previous TomToms, but sports an all-black finish, rather than the traditional (for TomTom) silver-gray. The GO 930 also has a soft-touch finish on the back for better grip.
The GO 930 has the standard large-format, 4.3-inch size diagonal touchscreen, and it is sharp, its colors are strong, and its brightness is adjustable across a wide range. The GO 930 can be set to automatically sense night and day driving, and to adjust brightness and color scheme accordingly. The menu system will be familiar to TomTom users, as well, with navigation, preferences, "help me" and mobile phone on the first screen beyond the map.
The GO 930 comes boxed with a computer docking station with standard USB connectors, windshield mount and power port charger, adhesive-backed dashboard mount disk, basic user guide, and CD with TomTom Home connectivity software.
The GO 930 comes with an ample 4 gigabytes of internal flash memory and an SD card slot.
As with most GPS units, the included user's guide provides only basic information, but fortunately TomTom publishes its full manuals online.
The GO 930's $499 price is testament to the downward price pressure and increasing feature sets within the automotive portable GPS high end. GPS makers weren't shy about charging $700-plus for their top models a year or two ago.As with all TomToms, the route preview, and alternate-route selection and preview features are very good. When you select a destination, the GO 930 shows you the complete route in thumbnail version, and lets you cycle through alternatives or select alternatives based on criteria such as "avoid part of route," etc.
Beyond Basic Navigation
The GO 930 and GO 730 are the first TomTom units to include advanced lane guidance, which prepares you for complex exits and intersections, and shows you which lane to be in.
As you approach a turn in your route that involves multiple lanes, a set of lane arrows appears in the lower left of the display. If you are on a four-lane highway, for example, you will see four arrows. The arrow directions model the lane split (two left and two right, for example, and the TomTom voice will prompt you, for example, "Ahead, keep left." Major intersections in major metro areas may also have 3D and simulated images (including road signs) of the upcoming interchange.
In my road tests, the arrows appeared several miles before the interchange, and the visual and text-to-speech directions were on target, definitely easing what can be a stressful transition. Advance guidance on lanes is especially valuable in heavy traffic situations.
The GO 930 and GO 730 also include TomTom's new-for-2008 IQ Routes feature, which calculates routes based on actual average speeds on roads, rather than posted speed limits. The two are often different, and an actual quickest route calculation can save you time and fuel. TomTom anonymously gathers route speed data from GPS users and adds it to its route calculation database.
Enhanced Positioning Technology (EPT) uses inertial sensors to feed position data to the GPS display when you cannot receive a satellite signal, such as when you are in a tunnel or among tall buildings. EPT worked as promised for me, showing position accurately in some of the long tunnels I travel locally.
Voice address input provides limited voice input functionality, and is one feature that still needs work. Follow the menu to navigate, and you will be presented with the option of entering a spoken address. You state the city (almost always gets that right) confirm the city, then state street (good with selecting the street, or finding it as one of a list of alternatives) and then, numeric address. Voice address input has the most difficulty recognizing numbers, and I often had to input numbers manually. Other reviewers have noted this problem. That said, no GPS maker has perfected voice input.
Voice address input makes the most sense when used with the included remote control. As I've mentioned in previous reviews of high-end TomTom units, (the top three units come with Bluetooth remotes), they are surprisingly useful. You can run your TomTom without leaning forward to poke at the touchscreen, and voice input complements this.TomTom GO 930 review continued on next page