The Bottom Line
- Compact, Low-priced.
- Easy to use.
- Includes text-to-speech directions.
- Lacks TomTom's excellent route preview feature.
- Price: $99 - $119.
- 3.5-inch touchscreen.
- Stowable EasyPort mount.
- IQ Routes (calculates route based on actual measured travel speeds, rather than speed limits).
- Comes in six skin colors, plus black.
- Simplified menu.
- Weight: 4.4 oz.
- Battery: Lithium-Ion (up to 2 hours autonomous battery life).
- 2 GB internal flash memory
Guide Review - TomTom Ease: An Economical, Compact GPS with Text-to-speech
The TomTom Ease is marketed as a compact, easily stowable, easy to use alternative to full-featured, big screen car GPS devices, and it fulfills that promise. It's a good starter GPS, or an excellent grad gift.
Even as more and more car GPS devices are getting bigger screens and long feature lists, TomTom intentionally made the Ease simple to use and buy. But TomTom wisely kept one of the most important features found in higher-end units, text-to-speech, which provides spoken street name directions, rather than just saying "turn left" for example. TomTom also included its "IQ Routes" feature, which calculates routes based on measured travel time statistics, rather than posted speed limits.
The Ease has a simple opening screen menu with only "Plan Route" and "Browse Map" commands visible. This contrasts with the more typical TomTom opening screen, which includes 5 options, or 10 options total, if you advance to the second opening screen.
Once you start to plan a route on the Ease, the menu looks more familiar, with address, favorite, points-of-interest, recent destination, and other options displayed. The browse map option lets you zoom, pan, and find based on search parameters or points of interest database search.
The Ease, however, is missing one of my favorite TomTom features, a route preview that shows you a map overview of the route, along with time and distance, and detailed route summaries. I guess we can't have it all on an economical unit.
For the road test, I used the Ease in a range of urban and highway conditions. The Ease uses the same maps and routing technology as its higher-priced cousins, so I wasn't surprised to get the usual high level of accuracy and completeness from the TomTom Ease. The small screen took some getting used to after testing so many larger-screen units, but it was functional and legible. The screen also has manually switchable day/night modes.
Overall, the Ease is a solid offering in the low-price category, and its small size, combined with the foldable, integrated EasyPort Mount (see photo) make it easy to stow and carry. If you want or need any of the plethora of features now available in dedicated GPS devices, such as hands-free calling, TomTom's "Live" connected services such as real-time traffic and local search, or Advanced Lane Guidance (one of my favorites), you'll need to look further up the TomTom model line. The TomTom Ease could also be a good dedicated nav unit for someone who owns a smartphone and can use its local search and other features but doesn't want to bother with buying an app, and mounting and using the phone as a nav device.