TEST: New TomTom GO 51

We've just got back from a 650-mile East to West coast road trip in the new Jeep Renegade Trailhawk (see test here later this week, including on its own nav system!). This gave us the perfect opportunity to do a decent length, variety of roads/locations test-drive on a brand new TomTom GO 51 portable navigation device (PND) that we've also been using on shorter rural and urban rides for a month now.

The GO 51 is part of a new range of evolved five or six-inch, smartphone connective, MyDrive app-backed, 8GB GPS devices by TomTom, and is their entry level, priced at £149 RRP. The range extends through 510/610 (£169-199 RRP) to GO 5100/6100 (£259-299 RRP), and all come with a one year warranty and up to two hours battery life unconnected, and the 510/610 and 5100/6100 with capacitive screens and active mounts.

First impressions initially reveal few apparent changes to the recently-updated and most appealing (in form and function) TomTom design language, but even the GO 51 or 61 entry level units now feature Lifetime World Map and Speed Cameras and are fully interactive displays. And the GO 51 is a "smartphone connected device" – using your data plan to access TomTom traffic and speed camera live services via BlueTooth.

A closer look and a bit more research reveals a whole plethora of changes to the devices functionality though, including:

MyDrive App
Users can now use a smartphone, tablet or computer to review real-time traffic information, plan routes, and send destinations to a TomTom GO. And, smartly, any changes you make on MyDrive to destinations or favourites are immediately be sent to your TomTom device. To make this happen, you need to be logged in with the same account on both your device and on MyDrive.
We had a few issues initially setting this up, but they were quickly resolved and the app is (like all TomTom branded gear) user-friendly, quick and slick. It's certainly a lot easier and faster than the old school way of typing it into the unit itself, whilst leaning over the steering wheel and dash brining on a hernia!

The new units also now easily allow you to set phone contacts as destinations using the MyDrive app as well as quickly plan trips with multiple stops using MyDrive on your computer, smart phone or tablet: Just plan a route then add stops to the route. Select Send to device. Your TomTom device receives all the stops of your route in the order which they were planned on MyDrive, and the destination. This is really cool, works a treat and saves that annoying setting the sat nav moment before you set off. Passengers find it most impressive!

Avoid a specific traffic jam
If you want to avoid a specific traffic jam along your route, you can now select the upcoming jam icon in the route bar and select Avoid. Your device will then plan an alternative route around it. 

Destination Prediction
You can now also save time in the car and start navigating to favourite places without ever touching your navigation device. Your TomTom GO learns your daily driving habits to saved favourite places and also predict destinations when you start the device from sleep mode, for example driving to work in the morning. Naturally, before you get your first prediction, your device needs some time to learn about your habits. The more regularly you drive with your TomTom GO, the faster you will get predictions and the more accurate the predictions will be. If you would like to try out this new feature, you can turn it on at any time by going to Settings -> Route Planning -> Suggest destinations.

Avoid part of route
You can now select specific sections of your route to avoid. Access this option by going to Current Route -> Avoid Part of Route and selecting one of the route sections. The route is then recalculated avoiding this specific section. If you want to avoid multiple sections of your route, you can just repeat the steps above.

Select a faster alternative route simply by steering
When you approach a faster alternative route you now get an additional warning in the route bar and you can see the alternative route clearly in the guidance or map views. You no longer need to tap Yes in the route bar to accept the faster route. Simply steer towards the suggested alternative when you approach it and your device selects it. 
We really like this one.

New voice command: “Find alternative”
Say “Find alternative” and your TomTom GO will immediately plan and present two alternative routes to your current destination. Voice control needs to be activated in Settings.

Import Community Points of Interest (POI) Files to your TomTom Device
You can now use MyDrive on your computer to import POI files in .ov2 format to your TomTom device.

Instantly navigate to Home and Work from the menu
Home and Work will now always be available from the Main Menu so that you can start driving to these most frequent destinations faster. Go to My Places to set up Home and Work.

Reorder the Menu to your Preference
Tap and hold an icon in the menu for two seconds to enable menu reordering. You can then press the arrows to move any selected icon left or right in the menu. 

Speak & Go: Choose your own "wake up phrase"
Choose your own personal command to activate Speak & Go and use voice control. To choose your wake-up phrase, go to Settings from the Main Menu, and select Voice control. The default phrase to activate voice control is “Hello TomTom”.

View list of navigation instructions
See a list of turn-by-turn instructions for your planned route. Select Current Route in the Main Menu, then select Show Instructions.

TomTom says: "We think a modern PND should support the driver every single day – whether commuting to work or navigating to an unknown location. This is why TomTom Traffic continues to be subs-free and is fully integrated into the user navigation experience – helping users know where delays are and how to avoid them."

To be fair, this is what we like most about the TomTom experience... helping us avoid traffic issues, and the GO 51 range is better than ever at doing this. 

In addition, there's always an explanation for the delay (accident, roadworks, contraflow etc.) and now the 'Jam Ahead' warning zooms in telling users when they'll hit the jam, estimating its delay period and even warning you when you'e driving too fast upon approach. This is worth the £150 on its own, let alone the fast, accurate navigation, improved lane guidance at large junctions, urban landscape maps, set-up configurability, quick search functionality, accurate average speed range in designated areas, speed camera warnings and now the predictive routes. 

Best of all is the fact the design of the screen (and the clever Route Bar) is so easy to quickly scan and read as a driver – unlike so many in-car systems – making it safer. And the deadly accurate speedo and timings to junctions, speed cameras and destinations makes life deadly easy... as does the new scrolling eta, distance to destination functionality under the time (top right), meaning you no longer have to make a choice which one you see, when I for one always prefer to see both. It's a really well designed, simple to operate (especially with the app) and accurate system... and the GO 51 is a steal at £150.

On test to date, the GO 51's only "flaw" we found is that it's using smartphone data to access traffic condition information, which is fine when you're in a 3G or 4G area (and with a generous data package, as we have on contract), but rubbish if you're in a rural area... as we found hitting a monster of a jam on the M6 northbound, in darkest Cheshire, in contraflow hell, which held us up for more than an hour, when we could surely have avoided it... had we known it was coming! 

Technology eh? Great when it works... which, to be fair, the new TomTom GO range has done with aplomb. Highly recommended. 


  1. Texas Legislature needs to outlaw the Red light cameras as they have stated as their goal. It is a profit making business for the company Redflex. dashboard cameras cars


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