When TomTom launched Live Services for its sat-nav devices it changed the market forever. Having a navigation device that’s constantly being updated while you drive is a fantastic weapon for anyone’s arsenal. However, much as I think that the Live Services made TomTom devices invaluable, some consumers didn’t need the real-time updates, or the associated subscription fee. The Start range is evidence that TomTom hasn’t forgotten about those customers.
As its name suggests, the Start range of TomTom devices represent the entry-level offerings, but that’s not to say that they’re devoid of features, especially this Start 60 unit. I’ll address the elephant in the room first and talk size. Put bluntly, the Start 60 is huge, with a massive 6in screen.
That screen isn’t just physically large either, the 800 x 480 resolution is also far higher than any other TomTom unit. This means that you can ascertain everything you need to know from the briefest of glances, which is handy if you’re travelling at 70mph.
The viewing angles on the screen are also impressive, so you’ll be able to position the device pretty much anywhere. When you’re trying to see which junction you should be taking at the next motorway intersection, the high resolution screen really does come into its own.
The huge screen doesn’t just make viewing the Start 60 easier though, it also makes it easier to interact with the device. Entering a destination on the Start 60 is a breeze, even if you have the hands of a gorilla.
Like all recent TomToms, the Start 60 has an integrated mount, which allows it to be mounted in either orientation, and tilted and twisted to the desired viewing angle. Because the mount folds flat to the device, it’s also easy to store when not in use.
The lack of Live Services means that you don’t have access to TomTom’s superb HD Traffic feature, but you do still get IQ Routes and Map Share. IQ Routes is a database of locally sourced information gathered from TomTom users that gives you detailed information about areas you might be travelling through. So, if your route takes you past a school at 15:30, the Start 60 may choose to route you a different way, since traffic will obviously be heavy at that time of day.
Map Share lets you download updates to the maps every day, submitted by millions of TomTom users who are driving the same roads as you. Of course you’ll have to connect the Start 60 to your computer regularly to make good use of Map Share, but it’s definitely worth doing so. And given that the Start 60 has maps for most of Europe built into it, Map Share is a definite bonus.
The Start 60 also includes TomTom’s database of speed camera locations, so the device will warn you of any fixed cameras or even average speed monitoring zones. The Start 60 displays your current speed along with the speed limit for the stretch of road you’re travelling along – if you exceed the speed limit your current speed display will turn red.
TomTom quotes two-hours of operation on a full battery charge and I found that to be a somewhat conservative estimate. But for particularly long journeys, TomTom does bundle an in-car, cigarette lighter charger with the Start 60.
The TomTom Start 60 with European maps costs around £150 online, which seems reasonable enough given the big screen. However, you can pickup the TomTomVia Live 120 for around the same price, and that comes with TomTom’s Live Services. And if you’re one of those people that doesn’t like the thought of a subscription charge, just remember that you get a year’s subscription bundled with the product too.
Of course if you’re absolutely sure that you don’t need the benefits of a connected TomTom, then the Start 60 has a lot going for it, and that big, high resolution screen really does make it a pleasure to use.
The TomTom Start 60 is pretty much defined by its large, high-resolution screen, and it’s a very impressive USP. The display is clear and easy to read, even with the briefest of glances, while interacting with the device is also a joy thanks to the sheer size of the touch-screen.
For the most part performance was exemplary and the Start 60 guided me safely to a multitude of destinations, while keeping me aware of speed cameras along the way. Route planning is aided by TomTom’s excellent IQ Routes system, and Map Share ensures that the maps stay as current as possible.
However, I can’t help but think that the benefit of TomTom’s Live Services outweighs the attraction of a large screen, and given the choice, I’d still opt for the TomTom Via Live 120 instead. Even if you don’t think you need real-time updates, once you’ve experienced HD Traffic, you won’t want to be without it.