TomTom Go Discover review, A dedicated GPS worth it?

TomTom GO Discover is the most advanced series of satellite navigation devices from the Dutch manufacturer, one of the great world specialists that, in addition to its own line of hardware, offers fleet management for companies, the automotive fleet for large manufacturers and software for smart phones like the TomTom GO Navigation for Android that we had a chance to review a few months ago.

Dedicated satellite navigators are becoming a rare sight in the tech world. We have less and less news to celebrate and it is easy to understand. The new automobiles, taking into account the process of technological immersion that this industry is going through in the unstoppable transition from combustion engines to hybrid-electric ones, have focused on improving their infotainment systems and include satellite navigation systems increasingly powerful and integrated.

On the other hand, the power of the GPS functions of smart phones has not stopped increasing, which together with increasingly larger screens with higher resolution, and mobile apps and navigation services that are increasingly better resolved and varied, has caused a good portion of users to use them by abandoning dedicated hardware.

However, the exclusive devices for these tasks still have a market to attend to. They are specifically designed for this, have GPS hardware, compass and antennas more reliable than smart phones, a perfectly prepared software / services solution and the advanced connectivity expected of them. TomTom has kindly provided us with a test unit and the quick conclusion is that any user or professional can profit from it in just a few trips.

TomTom GO Discover, specifications

TomTom GO Discover
TomTom GO Discover

The series is the latest and most advanced of those marketed by TomTom. It is offered in three versions very similar in design, hardware and software, but different according to their screen size and native resolution, 5, 6 and the 7-inch version that we have analyzed and that the firm qualifies as the GPS «more Big, Fast and Smart » from your consumer catalog.

Screen7 inch capacitive touch LCD
ResolutionHD – 1,280 x 800 pixels
CPUNot defined
Memory2 GB RAM
Storage32 GB internal storage
ConnectivityBluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 5 dual band and USB 3.0 Type A
mount 12-watt car charger
USB cable
Quick start guide
DrumsAutonomy for 116 minutes with maximum brightness
Dimensions18.7 x 2 x 12.2 cm – 400 gramos de peso
SoftwareInterfaz de usuario, Mapas y Navegación TomTom

TomTom GO Discover comes packaged with the unit; a 12-volt power adapter for car operation / charging; a generously sized USB Type A to micro-USB angled cable to connect to the device; a quick-use bracket for mounting to the car window and a paper quick-start guide.

Design and assembly of TomTom Go Discover

TomTom GO Discover review
TomTom GO Discover

TomTom GO Discover has improved in all respects to its predecessors, but it is still very big, heavy and very chubby. Furthermore, if you use a smart phone like GPS (even with a similar screen size), you will be surprised when comparing them with their enormous dimensions and screen bezels that are from another era.

It is surely the price to pay to enjoy the benefits of a dedicated device like this. If its size is excessive, remember that you can opt for the 5 or 6-inch models, still losing display size and resolution. The rest of the hardware, software and services that we will see later are identical.

If elegance is not your strong point, we must highlight the feeling of robustness, quality of construction and finishes in black. On the front, it has nothing to mislead when in use, just the screen and the TomTom logo.

TomTom GO Discover
TomTom GO Discover

In the back we find the on / off button on the upper side, while in the lower central part we have the USB connector and the bracket for mounting the adapter with which we will ‘stick’ it on the car glass.

For this, the device has two angled slots on the bottom and a magnetic connector on the top of a colossal power so that nothing is able to move it. It is even difficult to remove this Click-and-Drive bracket  that comes with the device.

Very well solved, it consists of two parts, the part that is magnetically connected to the GPS and the one that sticks to the moon with a suction cup. Like the whole set, it is of generous dimensions, great holding capacity and easy application by simply turning the dedicated wheel. Despite the size and weight of the set, it does not fall due to many bumps or jumps in the road, while the complementary rolling ball system allows the device to be placed in the position and inclination preferred by the driver.

The bracket included in the kit is intended for use on the car’s main window, but other kits are sold separately by TomTom for mounting on the dashboard or on the vents. In addition to the official ones, you can also find third-party accessories compatible with this model in case you prefer to install it somewhere other than the windshield.

Interface and functions

TomTom GO Discover Specification
TomTom GO Discover

The start-up of this GPS is as simple as previous TomTom models and basically they go through selecting one of the multiple supported languages ​​including Spanish (from Spain and Latin); the country of reference; the location to be able to receive some services; the configuration of the phone that -in your case- we want to connect (it is not mandatory); configure Wi-Fi to update software and maps; connect to the TomTom account (also optional) or select whether the vehicle uses a combustion or electric engine to optimize the user profile and the POIs to be displayed.

The interface is clear, functional, with very simple navigation and similar to that of the Go Navigation app that the firm offers for smartphones, but in this case with good-sized buttons taking advantage of the large touch screen with HD resolution. We do not know if it will be due to the digitizer, the increase in RAM or the new processor that this TomTom GO Discover mounts, but the truth is that the touch screen responds perfectly to touches, as does the zoom and the movements.

In a satellite navigation device the software and services are more important than the hardware itself. One of TomTom’s strengths is its vast collection of 3D maps of the entire planet that the firm installs in its solutions and also sells to third-party providers.

And it is that the maps are the main base of any navigation equipment and these are the best in the consumer market. You can install the ones you need from regions or countries, with weekly and  free updates throughout the life of the device, which is a guarantee to keep them updated and create more precise routes. In addition, map updates (and those of the GPS software itself) are carried out without the need for cables through the dual-band Wi-Fi 5 connection that they support and that has managed to triple the speed of the connection compared to previous models.

As for travel planning, it couldn’t be simpler, you search (by address, postal code, a city or some other point of interest), press and the navigator will do the rest by selecting the best route and offering alternatives and step-by-step instructions. He passed. Searches, as well as other configuration or management functions, can be activated by voice commands. The set of commands is much smaller than what you’d get with the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, but it does offer the basics.

TomTom GO Discover
TomTom Go Discover

The settings are typical for this type of device, starting with the maps and visualization; the points of interest you prefer appear on the interface; the type of radars integrated into the maps; information on route hours or arrival at destination; theme color; change between day or night view, in addition to sound, alerts, and voices to use, expandable by additional download and in Spanish, available with a particularized idiomatic touch for Spain, Argentina and Mexico.

As for the added ‘Live’ services and in addition to the speed camera alerts, the TomTom Traffic technology stands out, which allows you to avoid traffic jams by accessing alternative route options in real time connected by Bluetooth with your smart phone.

You can also save money with a real-time fuel price information feature, where your TomTom GO Discover will search for the cheapest gas stations and prices along the way. The same with parking, saving time and money since the navigator will show the parking lots in garages and car parks (including free ones) and their availability before reaching the destination. These features are free for the first year after purchasing the device and will be available on a subscription basis thereafter.

You can also use other added services «MyDrive«, which only requires registration with an ID and allows you to plan routes comfortably from a PC browser and collect and synchronize the places you have visited, your favorites or your own POI files (in OV2 format) or the community.

Conclusions, availability and price

Is a dedicated sat nav device worth it when cars are integrating GPS into their infotainment systems and today’s versatile smartphones offer those features too?

It is not an easy question to answer and each user will have to decide according to their needs. In our opinion, this TomTom GO Discover is a device that can be amortized in just a few trips, although we believe that the price should be somewhat tighter and the added services (very interesting) should be free beyond the test year.

TomTom GO Discover
TomTom Go Discover

To highlight some of the issues discussed as the most important to value in any GPS: its huge collection of highly reliable 3D maps, updated weekly and these are free for the entire life of the device. As for the start-up, interface management, route planning and navigation, it could not be simpler and more effective. Design look not. It is not light, nor thin, but in return it feels robust and well built, while its solid stand is perfectly resolved to hold it.

TomTom GO Discover is available on the manufacturer’s web portal in the three commented versions and with the following prices :

  • 5-inch screen: 229.99 dollars
  • 6-inch screen: 259.95 dollars
  • 7-inch screen: 299.95 dollars

TomTom ships for free in 3-4 business days, but if you prefer the retail channel, Amazon sells it at a discount and the tested 7-inch unit is currently available for $ 288.

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