Tomtom has packed in enough additions and improvements to its Go 720 personal navigator to tempt owners of the company's only two previously-available models to upgrade. For starters, the 720 looks and feels sleeker than both the squarish One and the widescreen One XL versions (although revamped versions of these are now available). It is slimmed down and just as light as its predecessors, while including a rubberised coating and silver metal trim. A major design improvement has been made to the windscreen mount – the rectangular slot to slide the unit onto has been replaced with a small square of plastic, with no awkward angling needed to set the device in place. Looks aside, the nitty gritty with any GPS unit is how well it gets you from A to B. I didn’t have any problems with the One XL in this regard and expected an even beefier performance from the Go 720, given the newer SiRFstarIII chipset for fast GPS fix, the 400MHz CPU and the doubling of the RAM. The Go720 largely didn’t disappoint on a road trip to the literal wilderness (a central North Island forest park), with the GPS fix almost always holding out amid cliff surroundings and forested areas. It only dropped out in a dense bush area well off the main road. Route re-calculation also proved very quick. A request to Tomtom though would be to add my destination address to the street database – Village Rd, Pureora. The interface is simple to use. However, a big issue detracting from the usability of the navigation menu is having to tap in your destination city, before entering the street name and number. This may not sound hard, but TomTom has divided greater Auckland into its four cities and it can be difficult to remember whether a street is in Manukau or Auckland city central, for example, and to discern which region TomTom has classed as a city. Tomtom has always been strong on user customisation, with the 720 upping the stakes again. It’s not unique to the vendor, but you can now choose from pre-loaded vehicle icons for your display, while others can be added through the TomTom Home desktop software. I’m not a fan of listening to recordings of my own voice, but those who are can now record more than 50 words or direction prompts using the built-in microphone. Features now becoming more common with the advance of GPS devices can also be found in the 720 – an FM transmitter and MP3 player, along with Bluetooth to exchange data such as text messages with your mobile phone. Navigation directions and songs can be played through the car stereo using the FM transmitter. There’s 512MB of internal storage, plus an SD card slot for extra space for your music collection. You can also buy an extra cable to plug your iPod into the GPS unit and play music through your car stereo. Although text to speech (so you can be given a street name with your instruction, rather than just be told which direction to go in), is available on the 720 overseas, it isn’t pre-loaded here. Tomtom continues to make the most of the Home software, with the recent addition of content sharing for its user community. When you fire up the software you’re also offered the latest Quick GPS Fix, the free update for predicting satellite locations for the coming seven days. The range of voices and languages, along with the points of interest database, is just as comprehensive as ever, while additions to each can be made through the home software. The 4.3 inch, 480x272 pixel touchscreen used in the One XL has been retained, along with the clarity, strength of colour and wide viewing angle. Thanks to a built-in light sensor, the device will switch from day to night viewing mode automatically. With an RRP of $749 (over the recommended $599 for the One XL when it was released here), the line-up of new features means the GO 720 is still value for money.
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