The Bottom Line
A decent, but not overwhelming GPS alternative. Nice design, good sound, trim unit. However, in testing the unit, I had multiple problems locating fairly basic addresses. Once located, the unit functioned nicely. Might make a good second GPS if the price is right.
Another option for iPhone or smartphone users is to consider a GPS application, like CoPilot Live. See my full review of the Copilot Live app for mobile devices..
- Sleek, slim design is great for carrying in pocket
- Nice, bright screen
- Text-to-speech for spoken street names
- Good lane guidance advice
- Fast route calculation
- Mediocre touch screen
- Poor (touch screen) keypad layout and performance
- Uneven destination location capabilities
- Widescreen GPS unit for car or walking
- Text-to-speech capabilities
- Large database of points of interest, including restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Includes maps of U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and Canada
- Includes on free update to map within 30 days of purchase
- Includes USB car charger and cable and adhesive disk for dashboard mount, as well as folding mount for windshield
- Up to 3 hour battery life
Guide Review - TomTom XL 335 S GPS
Wow, was I disappointed with the TomTom XL 335 S GPS. With its great hardware design, slim size, and light weight, I really wanted to love this device. But I didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. It does work. It’s a decent GPS (if you don’t spent too much on it) and does have some really slick features. It’s just that when it came down to a couple of really important aspects, like finding and specifying a location, this device seemed far behind GPS units I used years ago.
A good example of the problem I had with the device was simply finding the location for the Hertz rental car location in Orlando. Not any Hertz location, but the main one at the airport. When I searched for Hertz in Orlando, the device gave me (as it should) a list about a mile long of all the various Hertz locations. However, there was no way (that I could find) to easily identify which location I wanted. If only it had displayed part of the address, I probably would have been all set.
Another problem I had with the unit was it (or, perhaps I) simply didn’t seem to be able to find restaurants or hotels at destination location. If you knew the address of where you were going, no problem. This unit got it right away and quickly calculated a good route (on the plus side, the navigation capabilities were strong). But when you were searching its points of interest database or looking for a specific hotel, restaurant or car rental place, well, things were definitely more dicey.
The unit’s touch screen performance was adequate, but not stellar. It seemed slow to respond, and the layout of the characters for typing were much too close together, or poorly calibrated. Perhaps I’m too used to the simple, clean and amazingly effective iPhone touch screen.
I would certainly recommend this unit as a backup GPS, especially if you can get a good deal on one. But after using it for a week, I felt that it didn’t live up to its potential. Navigation and location selection interfaces can be somewhat personal, and overall, I definitely prefer my previous experiences with Garmin units.
However, I would absolutely say that having a GPS is better than not having one, so if this unit appeals to you, and you’re comfortable typing in your addresses and not relying on the points of interest database too much, I’d say it’s a reasonable option. If possible, try to use on in the store (or perhaps another TomTom unit) before buying, to get a feel for the touch screen and navigation interface.