TomTom iPod Touch car kit review: TomTom iPod Touch car kit

Roadshow Editors' Rating

6.7 Overall

The Good Compact and adjustable. Combines music jukebox and navigation.

The Bad App not included in price. Not great value. A few random technical gremlins. Fiddly volume switch.

The Bottom Line Given the price of this kit and the additional cost of the app turning your iPod Touch into a GPS navigator only makes sense if your car's got an auxiliary jack, allowing your Touch to function as both a jukebox and navigator.

Design

This car kit's EasyPort windscreen mount is basically the same design found on TomTom's One, XL and XXL ranges. It rotates around the rear speaker with a suction cup that's activated via a ring dial. Storing it is a cinch, as it folds up compactly.

However, there is one important difference — and it's shared with the TomTom Start — it's not detachable, so adjusting the viewing position doesn't require an elaborate two-handed ballet with frequent invocations to heavenly powers and sudden loud references to human excrement.

If you happen to own both an iPod Touch and an iPhone, be aware that this cradle is designed specifically to fit iPod Touches; attempting to fit it to an iPhone will only be met with plastic-snapping belligerence.

Features

While the iPod Touch kit misses out on Bluetooth hands-free — there's no phone connectivity after all — it has all the other features present in the more expensive iPhone car kit. So, it charges an iPod Touch via your car's cigarette lighter port and has a 3.5mm line-out jack for car stereo's equipped with an auxiliary port.

There's also a small volume rocker, but it's difficult to operate as it's fiddly, prone to catching on finger nails and hidden behind the iPod. Its inclusion means that the easily accessed volume switch on the Touch has been disabled. Gone too are the app's on-screen volume controls and, most importantly, its volume display, making the volume-changing process as guess reliant as playing Lotto. That said, the speaker is clear and loud, and possibly better than those on TomTom's portable units.

Turning the iPod Touch into a navigation unit isn't a cheap option, though: a basic 8GB Touch will set you back AU$268, the car kit a further AU$129 and the app another AU$100, bringing the total cost to AU$497. For the cost of the kit and app alone you could snaffle a good dedicated GPS unit with a larger 4.3-inch screen, such as the TomTom XL 340 or Garmin Nuvi 1350, or, even, a 4.7-inch model in the Navman MY50T.

Performance

The iPod Touch cradle features a SirfStar III GPS receiver and chipset — the same set of components that's found in all portable nav units — and its inclusion is necessary as the Touch doesn't feature any on-board GPS circuitry. In the suburbs the unit tracks true and proper, while in the CBD there's the odd drop out and confused location, but that's standard behaviour for all portable nav units.

For more information on the navigation experience, check out our TomTom for iPhone app review.

We did experience a few technical gremlins with the car kit. On a few occasions, the app complained that the GPS receiver was missing, despite the Touch sitting happily in its cradle sucking down electrons, while another time the sound disappeared mysteriously. In both instances it took a few app restarts to right the ship.

Conclusion

The car kit works well enough, but given the price of this kit and the app, which needs to be purchased separately, turning your iPod Touch into a GPS navigator only makes sense if your car's got a auxiliary jack, allowing your Touch to function as both a jukebox and navigator.

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