From a very easy installation, to its built-in intelligence, the TomTom GO 730 delivers a navigation system that is far more than a multimedia presentation of how to get from point A to point B.

The system lets you set up the Tom Tom GO 730 either on the device itself (which features a 4.3in colour screen that is clearly visible, even in daylight), or via a GUI on your PC. We set up the system through the device, but this was a painless process.

After we installed the 220g TomTom GO 730 on our car windshield via the suction-cup mount, we tended to forget to use it, especially when traveling to places we already knew how to get there. Only after we had started did we remember to use the TomTom GO 730.

Fortunately, the TomTom GO 730 lets you speak the destination, so it can help out lost drivers who don't want to stop and type in their destination address. We didn't have a Bluetooth phone, but if we did we could have contributed to its IQ Routes feature, which lets customers upload data about the roads they travel, such as the speed cars actually travel vs the posted speed limit.

This helps the TomTom GO 730 to better predict travel times and choose the fastest routes. The device also allows hands-free use of a Bluetooth phone (another wireless feature is that it can broadcast its audio to the car stereo rather than using the lower-quality speakers in the appliance.

In driving to work, we asked the TomTom GO 730 to lay in a course and it plotted what I knew to be a fast route, but not the shortest route. So we rejected that, and asked it to plot a second route, also not the shortest.

We set off, driving the shortest route anyway, and at nearly every turn the TomTom GO 730 tried to steer us away from the path we were taking. Some of the alternatives we knew to be so far out of the way that they would definitely be farther and take longer than the one we knew to be shortest.

We became convinced the TomTom GO 730 was specifically trying to keep us off that route, and indeed it was. As we approached a construction site that has been active for months, an icon of a figure with its arms up wearing a police hat popped up in the road - the construction site.

This particular site causes delays that are so minor that we don't mind waiting through them. Other drivers using IQ Routes have apparently told the TomTom database about the roadwork, and the TomTom GO 730 seemed bent on sparing me the backup and delay. That's a great feature when traveling places where you're not familiar with the local road projects.

TomTom also guides drivers through complex intersections where there are multiple, dedicated turning lanes - left-turn only, straight only, right-turn only. At one particular intersection where through traffic has to crowd to the left lane - not the lane you'd guess if you had never been there before - the instructions were dead on.

While we didn't need it, the TomTom GO 730 has programmed in the locations of gas stations, again handy in unfamiliar places.

One tip: don't leave the TomTom GO 730 in the car overnight when it's cold out. The battery runs down and has a hard time charging up from the cigarette lighter. Bring it inside and plug it in to the USB port on your computer.

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TomTom GO 730: Specs

  • GPS receiver
  • 118x24x83mm
  • 220g
  • Maps Included: UK
  • Included GPS Software: TomTom HOME
  • Bluetooth
  • Traffic Services: TMC (Traffic Message Channel)
  • Voice navigation instructions, voice command recognition
  • 4.3in LCD - widescreen - 480 x 272 - colour touchscreen
  • Built-in Memory: 2GB
  • SD Memory Card
  • GPS receiver
  • 118x24x83mm
  • 220g
  • Maps Included: UK
  • Included GPS Software: TomTom HOME
  • Bluetooth
  • Traffic Services: TMC (Traffic Message Channel)
  • Voice navigation instructions, voice command recognition
  • 4.3in LCD - widescreen - 480 x 272 - colour touchscreen
  • Built-in Memory: 2GB
  • SD Memory Card

OUR VERDICT

More than 'just' a satnav, the TomTom GO 730 is a great gadget for your car.

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