Updated for 2010-2011, the TomTom Go series of GPS devices adds a few new things to its bag of tricks. On the hardware front, the new Go 2405 TM and 2505 TM feature, most prominently, a new glass capacitive touch screen, a metal chassis with a slick asymmetrical design, and a clever new car cradle design that makes attaching and removing the Go easier than ever. Under the navigator's new skin is a glossy new version of TomTom's software with tweaks to take advantage of the swipey, pinch-to-zoomy goodness made possible by the new touch screen. TomTom also fleshes out the feature set with Bluetooth hands-free calling, lifetime traffic and map updates, and voice command.
The TomTom Go series models are built around the standard touch screen on a suction-cup form factor. The 2405 features a 4.3-inch display, whereas the 2505 has a 5-inch display. The Go's glass capacitive touch screen is quite glossy, which could pose a glare issue in certain situations, but the screen is bright enough to remain quite visible during the daytime hours.
At the top left corner of the unit is a stealthy power button that doubles as a charging status light. Around back is an attractive asymmetrical rear panel that hides the Go's loudspeaker behind a grille.
Finally, along the bottom edge of the Go chassis is a proprietary connection point for its 12-volt power cable. The power cable uses a 20-pin connection and locks into the Go's chassis with a pair of small magnets. The power cable features an inline receiver for the RDS-TMC FM traffic service and can lock into the base of the car cradle.
The car cradle itself features a suction cup that locks into place on a vehicle's windshield with a twisting knob. A ball joint at the base of the cradle's neck is the single point of articulation. A strong magnet embedded in the face of the cradle holds onto the Go's metal rear plate. This neat feature, combined with the locked-on magnetic power cable, makes it easy to place and remove the TomTom Go from the cradle with one hand when entering or exiting the vehicle.
The TomTom Go lacks an SD or microSD card slot, and the decision to go with the proprietary power cable meant that the GPS loses the Mini-USB port that has typically been the standard power and syncing connection point. Now to connect to a PC to update maps and software you must use a proprietary USB adapter--which is fine, but can be difficult to replace if misplaced.
Our review unit was delivered with a carrying case with a magnetic clasp. This optional case isn't included in the box, but it can be had for about $20 extra.
With the update to the Go series hardware comes also an update to the software that powers it. Now navigating the maps and menus is much snappier thanks in part to the more responsive touch screen, but also due to the new WebKit-based operating system.
The Go series' home screen is a variation of the interface we've seen on the newer XL and XXL models, with two large icons dominating the top two-thirds of the screen for "Navigate to..." and "View map." These two icons lead to the TomTom's two destination selection methods. The former is menu- and search-based, while the latter is visual and map-based.
The lower third is home to a collection of smaller icons for Plan route, Services, Settings, Help, and Done. Plan route is where users can save future and complex multistop trip information. Services is where information about the traffic, safety camera, and map correction services can be found. Settings is home to the settings. The Help icon leads to options for navigating to emergency services, relaying your current position, and an electronic product manual. Finally, Done returns the user to the live map.
Speaking of map screens, the TomTom Go has two of them. The live map is the main screen used during navigation that updates in real time with the position of the vehicle and displays turn-by-turn directions. Touching anywhere on the live map takes the user to the main menu, so it's not very interactive. The second map is the browsing map, accessed from the main menu's "View map" icon. The browsing map is used for searching for destinations and points of interest and can be used to initialize a new trip or modify the current trip. This map can also be scrolled and zoomed by swiping and pinching, and features user-selectable POI icons. At first we found the dual map setup a bit confusing. TomTom tells us that the live map is a low-distraction interface for use while the vehicle is in motion, whereas the browsing map is a more flexible, interactive screen that comes into play when the vehicle is stopped and drivers can devote their full attention to the unit. It all makes an odd sort of sense and, after spending time with the unit on the road, we've gotten the hang of the maps and their respective functions and limitations. However, we couldn't help but to think that other manufacturers somehow manage this juggling act with only one unified map screen.
There is a fairly large amount of flexibility with the menu and map screen interfaces. You can adjust the color of the map and the amount of data displayed in the status bar along the bottom edge of the map, or move the status bar to a vertical orientation along the right edge of the screen. There's also an option called "Make your own menu" that allows you to select custom shortcuts to be displayed on the live map screen--for example, shortcuts can be set pointing to the phone menu, the nearest parking structure, voice command for the system or address entry, muting sound, or contacting emergency services. Two or fewer of these shortcuts display on directly on the map screen; selecting three or more creates a fly-out menu.