The Good TomTom's interface has undergone a massive overhaul with this new series, resulting in a menu structure that's much easier to navigate. Trip routing happened quickly, and turn-by-turn directions were clear and concise. TomTom's EasyPort mount keeps the cradle with the GPS device at all times, which is great for portability.
The Bad Traffic service requires power cable to be plugged in. Some menu options are oddly labeled. Lifetime traffic model occasionally overlays ads on the map screen.
The Bottom Line The TomTom XL 350 and XXL 550 series of GPS devices represent a marked improvement over the previous generation, keeping its great form factor while streamlining its software.
TomTom XL 350
It may look like the same old TomTom XL from last year, but with a new version of TomTom's software and new models that offer lifetime traffic, lifetime map updates, or both, the TomTom XL 350 and XXL 550 series of navigators merit a second look.
The XL series' design hasn't changed at all since we reviewed the XL 340 S last year. Users interact with the unit via a 4.3-inch WQVGA wide-format touch screen (5 inches for the XXL models) or the power button on the top edge, the XL's only physical control. The bottom edge is home to a recessed Mini-USB port that serves as the connection for the included 12-volt car charger and connects to a computer for data updating maps and software. The XL chassis does not have an SD or microSD card slot, so users must make do with the device's 2GB of onboard storage (which is more than enough space for the XL's preloaded maps and regional upgrades).
The back panel is where the 2-inch loudspeaker is located. Audio quality is good, even at the loudest volume settings. The speaker doubles as the connection point for the TomTom EasyPort mount, a clever, low-profile suction cup for mounting the XL on a vehicle's windshield. The EasyPort mount is quite easy to place and remove from the windshield and offers a bit more flexibility of mounting angles than the Garmin. Simply flip out the suction cup, place the device on the windshield, and twist the locking ring a quarter-turn. When the XL isn't in use, the EasyPort mount folds flat to the unit's body, so it's always with the unit, unlike the separate cradles of Garmin and Magellan. This makes the TomTom XL ideal for users who often move their GPS device from vehicle to vehicle.
Baidu launches version 2.0 of its Apollo self-driving moonshot
The Chinese giant brings increased functionality and better mapping to its open-source autonomous driving platform.
Nvidia shows self-driving supercomputer at CES, names it Xavier
At CES 2017, Nvidia took the wraps off a new computer designed to enable self-driving cars, and announced partnerships with Audi, Bosch, ZF, Here and Zenrin.
What should you look for when choosing a car stereo?
Upgrading your car stereo's receiver is the one of the easiest ways to boost your dashboard tech. Here are the seven features we look for when making recommendations.
Eight features that a 5-star GPS navigator should have
As GPS technology improves and manufacturers innovate, we must raise the bar for what counts as an "outstanding" navigator.
TomTom dives deeper into the GPS sport watch business
The GPS hardware provider gets serious about fitness tech with the announcement of the TomTom Runner and Multi-Sport watches and accessories.
Updated models en route to TomTom's GO navigation series
TomTom completely redesigns its GO series of portable navigation devices with a slick new interface that puts the focus on the map instead of the menu.
TomTom for iOS now syncs with iCloud
A smallish version 1.13 update to the navigation app makes your data as mobile as you are.
TomTom navigation app for Android coming October 2012
Three years after the launch of its navigation app for iPhone, TomTom announces that it's nearly done with an app for Android phones.
TomTom's iOS app updates with Foursquare search, check-ins
Foursquare fans gain another tool for racking up check-in points and mayorships with TomTom's new app integration with this social network.
Navigation apps may be free, but portable GPS units still rule
Many smartphones offer free sat nav applications, but we're still buying dedicated nav devices by the container load. We take a look into the issues around their use, and compare free and paid apps against against GPS units.
5 GPS devices that do more than just navigate
We've rounded up five portable navigation devices with great secondary functions, such as social networking, improving driver safety, and monitoring driving efficiency.
Fiat 500 Abarth review: Juvenile delinquent
The newest version of Fiat's retro 500 pumps up the horsepower and the handling, gearing toward pure, juvenile enjoyment.