I was recently sent the TomTom GO 5100 Sat Nav for the purpose of this review. For someone who has such an astonishingly bad sense of direction, it is amazing really that I didn’t already have a satellite navigation system.
I did have one several years ago, but it was inbuilt into my old car and I never got around to getting the maps updated. All very well, but it didn’t actually know that the A30 had changed. Living in Cornwall, this made it pretty useless as it mostly thought I was off-roading it where ever I drove.
Before I start this review, I have to say first of all that I LOVE the fact that the TomTom GO 5100 comes with lifetime world maps, so I will never need to purchase an update. It was also on to a winner with me from the offset, for actually knowing where local roads were… not a lot to ask from a system that is supposed to direct you on them.
Anyway, here is a little bit about what the satellite navigation system is capable of and how I found using it.
Screen Size: 5 inches
Capacitive screen (makes the touch screen sensitive to light touch)
Battery Life: Up to two hours of non stop usage
Connectivity: Sim card and Data included
Mount: Active (you can charge the 5100 via the charger plugged in to the mount if you wish)
Memory: 8GB Internal and accepts microSD cards
GNSS: GPS + GLONASS (Global Positioning System + Global Navigation Satellite System)
Warranty: 1 year
With this being a review item, my TomTom GO was already set up for me. However, looking at the instructions in the booklet that comes with the sat nav, it really does look so simple to do.
It is also really easy to register on the TomTom My Drive website, which I will get into more in a moment. Basically though, you are highly unlikely to have any issues with set-up. If by some rare chance you do, there is a TomTom support part to their website and plenty of TomTom ‘how to‘ videos to watch.
The 5100 comes with a mount for use in the car and a USB cable with the plug end suitable for plugging in to the power point in the car. Being a USB cable, it can also be plugged in to any USB plug so can also be charged indoors.
Appearance and Mount
I know that how it looks shouldn’t really be a priority in a Sat Nav. However, the design of it is actually really important for safety reasons. If the Sat Nav is too chunky, then it will be covering up more of the windscreen than you would hope.
This isn’t the case with the 5100, it is slim and therefore easy to fit where you want it to fit. I can easily have it mounted within my eye line whilst driving, without it obstructing my view to any worrying degree. Where I have fitted it in my own car works perfectly for me. I can see it without having to move my eyes too far away from the road.
You can of course put it where ever is best for you, but this position seems the best for me.
The mount is also of great quality and fits to the windscreen with a suction cup type fitting. I am always a bit wary of such fittings, having had numerous replacement rear view mirrors fall off when driving in the past. However the mount that comes with the TomTom GO 5100 has one of those twisty bits (technical term), which tighten the suction.
I have had no issue at all with the mount. I am also impressed that you don’t have to worry about the sat nav battery running out and not being able to use it until it is charged. This is because the mount is Active and works with the charger, so you can have it mounted and charging at the same time if you wish.
As I mentioned before, you can register for MyDrive on the TomTom website. On this site you can actually pre-plan on your phone/laptop/tablet the route you would like to take. Once you have planned a route, you can send it straight to your Sat Nav so that it will be ready and waiting. There is also an app for phones and tablets, which works in the same way.
My favourite part of this is when you plan on MyDrive the route you want to take close to the day and time you wish to travel it. By doing this you can see up to date reports on what road works will be on your route, how long expected delays are likely to be and more. It basically gives you the most accurate idea of how long your journey will take, that you could feasibly wish for.
Perfect for helping to decide what time you need to leave. Know before you go. The Sat Nav will of course show you the information once you are in the car as well, but personally I am very much a pre-planner.
If you are ultra efficient, you can plan multiple routes and send them over as well. You can save routes on the sat nav, in case they are ones you are unsure of but are likely to need to do more than once. Also even if you are driving a route that you drive often, it can be handy to have the 5100 on.
This is because it can tell you about any road works that you may not know about, and if you need to make a diversion you will know exactly where to head as the Sat Nav will direct you.
You can also personalise your maps with MyDrive, by adding your favourite destinations to it, which is handy if you do use it for common journeys. Your contacts can be imported with the phone app as destinations on your maps as well. It is possible to import community points of interest, if you want to see what is around you in a particular area.
Personally I love the Thrill setting on the TomTom 5100! If you have spare time and enjoying driving new routes and discovering new areas, this setting is definitely for you.
You can select to take the thrill route, which won’t be the fastest route to take, but will take you on high up roads. Basically making driving fun if you have some time to kill, or fancy investigating a new area via the long route.
Speak & Go
The Speak&Go option is great, although I must say twice it did struggle to understand what I was saying. I suspect this is more to do with me mumbling and trying to talk over the sound of two tweens though. The rest of the time it has understood me straight away. You need to remember to speak clearly.
Speak&Go is a brilliant safety feature, as when switched on you can choose a route and select a range of other options without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel. With voice command Speak&Go you can do all of the following and more;
Turn the device’s volume down or up.
Tell it to find you an alternative route.
Mark the current location – perfect if you spy a cosy pub or somewhere that you would like to revisit, but don’t believe you would find again easily.
Ask it to find you a petrol station or car park.
Go to a city centre.
You can choose the phrase that you would like to say out loud to activate Speak&Go whilst driving. It can literally be anything, as you record yourself saying it, rather than select it from a list.
Mine is currently set to activate whenever I say ‘Go Go Power Rangers’. I actually can not wait for Si to need to use it. It took a while to choose what to have as my activation phrase, as I was fighting with my immature side over what to use.
I was tempted to use the phrase ‘Pokemon Go’ for the boys, but considering how often this gets discussed in my car, I think the sat nav would constantly be activating Speak&Go.
You can change the colours of parts of your menu and directional arrow easily. Mine is currently pink. You can also select the voice that you would like to speak directions and information to you.
There are various accents to choose from, some are slightly hilarious. I’ve kept the original woman though as I’m actually rubbish at understanding most accents other than Cornish and so I like how clearly she enunciates.
You can even edit the order of the things in your menu, to put the most used ones in prime position to be found quickly.
One of the most helpful things on the easy access menu is the Drive Home option. Once you have saved your ‘home’ to the Sat Nav, tapping this choice or using Speak&Go to say ‘Drive Home’ will have you headed home from where ever you are easily.
Other helpful menu options include being able to have a drive to work option, find parking where ever you are and petrol stations.
This is an extremely long post, but I still don’t think that I have managed to cover every detail. The TomTom GO 5100 really is that packed with features. It works perfectly at doing the basic A to B of any Satellite Navigation System, but it just does so much more. It really is so easy to use.
The only thing it doesn’t do is warn me when I’m walking back to the wrong car park or straight past my own car! Obviously as it isn’t with me, although I have heard a rumour that TomTom actually do something to help you with just that issue. I may need to do a bit of researching for that.
The screen is so easy to zoom in or out of, there are 3D maps to use if you wish. It was actually a lot of fun to test out and play around with.
The only teeny tiny con I can think of with the Sat Nav is that the speed listed on the 5100 is usually a few mph less than my car speedometer says. Hopefully I can trust my speedometer, and it is just the teeny satellite delay causing the difference. However any sensible person is going to be using their car speedometer to let them know how fast they are going.
I do though love that it tells you what the speed limit is in the area you are in, as sometimes the sign posts aren’t that obvious. The best bit about the Sat Nav is that unlike others I have used in the past, it doesn’t keep muttering ‘route recalculation’ at you when you have to divert or go the wrong way. It merely adapts and changes the route for you quickly and easily.
Now that I have the 5100, I am planning to do a bit of investigating of places in Cornwall that I haven’t visited before now. For once, I won’t need to wait until Simon can come with me to protect me from my own lack of sense of direction. I feel a lot of car picnics coming on.
I really do recommend the TomTom GO 5100 to anyone wanting a reliable, easy to use but full of useful tech Sat Nav. She really is a beauty.