By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Tested during a short but vicious Winter storm, the TomTom GO 2505 Portable GPS guided us through almost whiteout conditions, managed to feed us updated traffic information and give us accurate distance, speed and ETA information.
Winter storms may not be good for much, they're cold, generally miserable and inconvenient. They are, however, almost ideal conditions for testing out a new GPS, specially one that bundles free traffic updates. The cloudy sky, unpredictable road conditions, the inevitable traffic can all cause havoc to a commute specially if you're headed somewhere new and unfamiliar.
The cloudy skies are great to test the GPS's satellite-finding speed and accuracy, blowing wind can get bad enough so you can't read the signs around you so the GPS becomes a critical feature to figure out where you really are.
Out of the box, the TomTom GO 2505 Portable GPS is ready to be installed on any vehicle. The simple yet effective Click & Lock mount offers a two-step process to securing the GPS to a windshield. Pop in the GPS, plug in the power supply and you're good to go.
The TomTom GO 2505 GPS is a streamlined and generally sleek affair. It doesn't look as cheap as some GPS units tend to look, the buttons are recessed into the frame and are almost invisible. The 5" inch screen on the TomTom GO 2505 GPS is bright and one of the most touch responsive screens we've tried. Multi-touch and pinch to zoom features are just as you would expect if you use a tablet or a recent smartphone.
TomTom has really improved its graphics as well as the colour pallete to include bright yet cool colours. They've moved away from the generic primary colours that are common to many GPS displays.
Once installed, it takes the TomTom GO 2505 around two minutes to begin tracking satellites and orienting the screen accordingly. Adding addresses or finding locations as well as nearby points of interest is fast as the icons and on-screen guides are fairly intuitive.
Once the location is set, the screen begins to track your movement, distance, ETA and clearly shows this on screen. The turn by turn directions are loud and clear and the voice doesn't sound as robotic as some we've heard. Being a TomTom, you can download and enable a variety of popular voices to, um, enhance your commute.
What we found lacking were the audio cues such as bells or chimes that let you know exactly when you should be making a turn or a lane change but the turn-by-turn voice does give you some time to prepare for these adjustments.
Another aspect of the TomTom GO 2505 that we liked was that it can track your speed (most GPS units can) but it also lets you know what the speed limit is on the road you are on. This is really helpful if you're in an unfamiliar area or road, specially when visibility is bad and you can't orient yourself by using roadside signs.
The big feature here is really the lifetime traffic and map updates. Getting real-time traffic information, specially during a Winter storm is worth the TomTom GO 2505's $299 price alone. The GPS can tell you where the bottlenecks in your route are, how far you are from them and how much time delay these will cost you.
Lifetime map updates is another big feature because it future-proofs the GPS and ensures that you get the most accurate maps and street names. Older GPS units required tedious workarounds and costly product software updates every year!
Overall, our experience with the TomTom GO 2505 Portable GPS restored our faith in the GPS as a necessary device on all vehicles. Realizing that this is one of the more premium models in the market, we still think it is priced just right for everything it offers. TomTom has created a reliable device and tied together GPS information, traffic updates as well all the information needed to get you where you need to go. Another bonus is the audio messages that tell you you're on the fastest possible route.
Rating: 5 out of 5