Entry-level GPS are a dime a dozen these days, but the TomTom XL 330S stands out for a couple of reasons. It updates the TomTom One XL with a better speaker and sleeker design, while keeping the things we loved about the One XL, including a spacious 4.3-inch touch screen and accurate directions. It's also incredibly intuitive and we'd even say more user-friendly and attractive than the Garmin Nuvi 200 series. However, we're disappointed that the company took out the integrated Bluetooth, especially considering the $299.99 price tag. For that much, we'd like to see it in there or perhaps the inclusion of free traffic updates, like the Garmin Nuvi 265WT and Navigon 2200T. Fortunately, you can find the TomTom XL 330S for less through online deals, and if it's a basic GPS that you're after, you won't be disappointed by this solid navigator.
The TomTom XL 330S is one of the more attractive GPS we've seen to date. While it's similarly slim (4.7 inches wide by 3.2 inches tall by 0.9 inch thick; 6.6 ounces) to the Garmin Nuvi series, the rounded edges add a nice touch, and its large display and classic silver-and-charcoal gray only add to its beauty.
The XL 330's touch screen measures 4.3 inches diagonally and displays 64,000 colors at a 480x272-pixel resolution. We had no major problems reading the screen, though it can wash out in really bright sunlight. You can, however, adjust the display's brightness as well as choose from different map colors and day/night/auto mode under the Change Preferences menu.
As we've seen on other TomTom devices, the user interface is simple and easy to understand with large icons and clear menu options. The touch screen was responsive, and the onscreen keyboard was nice and roomy, minimizing the errors when entering addresses. In addition, the XL 330S offers predictive text, so as you start entering letters and numbers, the system will automatically surface possible results. We also like that you have a choice between QWERTY, ABCD, and AZERTY formats.
The rest of the GPS is pretty simple. On back, you'll find the speaker and brackets for attaching the vehicle mount. There's a power button on top and a mini-USB port/power connector on the bottom. We have to say that the latter is set fairly deep beneath the surface, so we had some problems plugging in the car charger and USB cable.