The TomTom GO 6200 is the best in-car navigation device I’ve used. But is it really $499 better than using Google Maps on your smartphone?
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As a navigation device, the GO 6200 is excellent. But as an occasional user of in-car navigation, there aren’t enough advantages to justify the considerable outlay.
However, if you’re firing up navigation regularly, there are advantages to using this dedicated device.
First, you’ll never worry about how much mobile data you’re using. The TomTom has a built-in SIM and free data within New Zealand. You also get lifetime world map updates, speed camera updates and live traffic information – so the initial $499 is all you’ll pay.
You’ll get a better navigation experience. Directions are easy to follow on the 6” glass touchscreen. Lane guidance is accurate, and there’s a handy “route highlights” overview of upcoming roadworks and traffic delays.
Spoken instructions are clear – turn warnings are timely and not so frequent they get annoying. The GO 6200 comes with a selection of guidance voices, including some recorded by Kiwis. It’s a pleasant change to hear local accents and good Te Reo Māori pronunciation on a navigation device. However, I would recommend avoiding Ben (one of the New Zealand voices) unless you want to be told: “Grab your jandals, togs and chilly bin and let’s get going. Cheers for the ride, mate.” every time you reach your destination, along with a few other “sweet as” lines along the way.
Intentionally leaving the route forced the device to quickly recalculate. Traffic and roadwork info was reasonably accurate and easy to see in the “route highlights” display, but I did discover several “ghost” roadworks and jams that disappeared as I approached them.
The GO 6200 can be voice operated. It’s a good idea, as reaching for a touchscreen mounted to the windscreen isn’t easy or safe while driving. However, I found the voice control frustrating to use. While I had success turning the volume and screen brightness up and down, I also managed to accidentally end my current route – I had to pull over to restart the navigation.
The device connects to your phone using Bluetooth, allowing you to access Siri or Google Now, hear text messages and make hands-free calls. However, I found all these functions easier to access using “Hey Siri” on my iPhone. Connecting to a phone was useful before starting a trip, though. You can create routes in the TomTom app, then sync them to the GO 6200. I found it easier to create routes using the app, especially those with multiple stops.
Installing the GO 6200 was easier than other navigation devices I’ve used, thanks to a neat magnetic mount that makes it easy to dock and undock with one hand. That said, I still had the usual problem of finding a suitable mounting spot and I was left with ugly power cables trailing over the dashboard.
First Looks are trials of new and interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons. The TomTom GO 6200 was loaned to the writer by TomTom.
By Paul Smith
Head of Testing
Cars, phones, infomercial products and anything else that takes our fancy — First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Check out our latest.