Before the emergence of smartphones we had other portable electronic devices that used touch screens of a certain size: GPS browsers. The first models cannibalized the market given its usefulness, and it was common to have one in the glove compartment of the car.
The emergence of smartphones and the use of integrated maps along with the possibility of making routes as well as GPS, was a blow to them. Although their instructions are less detailed, and they lack elements such as points of interest or the location of radars, their comfort and ability to use at any time makes them much more versatile and it is very common for many to use their smartphone as a browser.
Although the reaction time has been somewhat slow, GPS navigators have put on the batteries, and today they offer features that allow them to be one step ahead in front of our phone, where now we do have a faster and smoother response along with superior accuracy.
This time we have the new input range of Tomtom, one of the reference brands in navigation systems. Specifically, we will perform the analysis of the Tomtom Start 52, a model that has a 5″ screen and everything you need so that you can perform an accurate and safe navigation. Can we recommend the Tomtom Start 52? We’ll see below.
There is no doubt that we are dealing with a Tomtom product. The finishes, completion and ergonomics of the TomTom Start 52 immediately remind the brand’s first, but conveniently updated navigators.
This is not high negative, as the design is very solid, and conveys confidence in the product. At the back we will find the speaker grille next to the anchor that we will talk about later, the micro USB connection to charge and connect the Tomtom to the pc, and the only physical button to turn the browser on or off.
The proportions change to fit the 5″ screen, so its dimensions are 12.54 by 8.26 centimeters, along with a thickness of 2.38 cm. Therefore we are not looking at a particularly compact device, and it has a higher volume than that of a smartphone, although the weight does not shoot excessively, and is maintained at 235 grams.
It incorporates a fairly solid and practical support, with a reversible structure to be placed on both the car’s moon and the dashboard. In this review of the Tomtom Start 52 we have found that changing position is quite easy, as is its placement on the glass or dashboard, where we only have to present the support and then rotate the base of the support to generate the necessary pressure for a solid fixation.
To place the bracket on the dashboard, it must have a completely smooth and rigid surface, so many of the current dashboards coated with soft materials will not accept the placement of this device, although you will be able to resort to the adhesive discs that the brand itself offers.
Around with the resistive screen
Seeing the screen of the Tomtom Start 52 is like going back to the past, as your screen still has a resistive touchpad. For those of you who have never tried one, or just don’t associate it with this name, we’re talking about a panel that needs a certain pressure to detect the pulsation correctly.
This in most cases causes a certain inaccuracy in its handling, and requires a firm push to mark what we want. To tell you the truth, we hoped to have the capacitive screen that includes his older brothers Tomtom Go.
Although not everything is counterparts, and the fact that we have a resistive screen allows us to have a very advantageous matte finish when it comes to displaying the screen with abundant ambient light, something common inside a vehicle. In addition, the display offers a pretty good brightness, so we’ve managed to see the directions clearly throughout our Tomtom Start 52 test.
Perhaps in the wish list we would aim to have a higher resolution, since, with 480 by 272 pixels, it is too low, and with 109 dpi we do not get the price that is expected on a device today.
Mapping and presentation
Car GPS has realized that they could not maintain a business model that required the user to pay each year to renew the cartography. The free navigation through mobile phones has been the rubber that has filled the glass, and that’s why all Tomtom car GPS has maps for life.
It is a detail that we all appreciate as the general feeling of the users was that there were not enough changes to justify the price of the update.
If we talk strictly about the map, it must be said that we do not find particularly surprising elements in terms of the image of them. Still, we have to say that the presentation is very clean and clear, with simple graphics but without stridents like 3D buildings.
One of the most interesting elements is the huge amount of points of interest (POI) included, where thanks to the configuration options it presents, we can see the elements that suit us best.
Route calculation and navigation
Here we have the most important section, and by which potential buyers will decide your purchase. The calculation of the route and how it performs navigation is fundamental in a gps, and here Tomtom has a long experience that plays in his favor.
First of all we must introduce the destination, which as we mentioned earlier in this review of the TomTom Start 52, will be more complicated than it should because of its resistive panel. Nor does the system help to enter the destination, too tedious when compared to the google maps to give an example.
Although before this we can set the route calculation settings in the options menu, where we can choose between the shortest, fastest or most economical path. It also allows us to establish the types of preferred roads we want to move on, as well as avoid tolls.
Navigation is very simple and intuitive, where lane changes are perfectly marked, and warnings arrive well in advance. It is also easier to interpret than other models. Graphic details appear in the most complicated areas to help you.
The calculation of the route itself is correct, although of course, with the traffic information (which does include its older siblings) the itinerary would be more appropriate. Too bad that radars are not included forever, as if with maps.
This is the section that costs the most to digest when buying a GPS for the car. Okay, they’re bulkier and heavier than our smartphone, and all their computing power is focused on navigation. So why isn’t a battery included that allows even higher battery life than the best smartphones in this regard?
Well, maybe it is not necessary to equip a 10000 mAh battery as the Oukitel K10000 does, but we would like to see that brands make an effort in this section to get a complete trip without connecting the GPS to the power outlet, and thus avoid having a cable in between.
Although we do not know data regarding the capacity of the battery, although officially they offer us a range of one hour. This in real terms of proven use in our Tomtom Start 52 test translates into about 30 minutes of autonomy, reaching just an average city trip. You’ll have to keep waiting to see a car GPS that offers a truly remarkable autonomy.