TomTom One XL

By: Sean Sutherland

With excellent user-friendliness and detailed accuracy, this compact automotive navigational aid delivers the most important strength a driver requires — confidence. On a recent trip from Western Nebraska to Southeastern Arkansas, a friend and I used the TomTom One XL and found it to be a great tool when used with a good map and common sense.

The suction-cup mounting bracket adhered securely to the windshield, though a good scrubbing with window cleaner and a paper towel guaranteed the unit would stay in place over the entire trip. After a few minutes reviewing the Quick Startup Guide, it was up and running for navigation.

I found the user interface to be remarkably easy to operate, just as the manufacturer claimed. We scanned several routes, eliminating toll roads, before we found the quickest path for our trip. Its fast-calculating computer scans through a wealth of road information, taking into account traffic slow downs, before producing a distance and estimated time of arrival (ETA) readout. We soon realized that the unit formulated ETA off of a single set speed, and then updated the ETA with our current speed as we drove. It was a bit unnerving at first, but we were soon enjoying watching the minutes shave off of our ETA as the trip progressed.

The real test for the unit came during the lunchtime rush hour as we traveled through Kansas City, Mo. We chose to heed the TomTom's advice of a route directly through the heart of the city, a potentially faster, yet more challenging route than the "safe" outer belt alternative. We were slightly skeptical, but after a few pleasantly spoken directions we were heading briskly out of town on open roads.

Its clearly spoken directions gave us ample warning of turns and merges, letting me concentrate fully on the road. When using the TomTom, a driver must still use sound common sense, while paying careful attention to road signs and traffic. This easy-to-use navigation "buddy" comes close to providing all the advantages of a quality paper map. However, a good map in the hands of a capable "navigator" in the passenger seat is still hard to beat, if only to verify the logical routes calculated by the TomTom.


We were thoroughly satisfied with the performance and ease-of-use of the TomTom. While it required us to double-check directions on occasion, it performed as advertised, with clear, accurate directions spoken to us throughout the trip. I recommend this product to anyone heading over unfamiliar roads on their next trip.