TomTom GO Discover Review 7 inch Car Sat Nav With Speed Camera Alerts

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Making life convenient, makes it easier to live! Technological feats have made a lot of things much more comfortable and safer too. Take for instance, satellite navigation (satnav) systems. Thanks to turn-by-turn voice navigation, having a sat nav in the car is like having a chauffeur or taxi driver taking you from point A to point Z. Even if you make the wrong turn or get lost, a sat nav will redirect you so, you won't even have to get out of the car to ask a stranger for directions. Sat navs are available standalone, as a mobile app or built-in to a car, which is great but some car manufacturers will charge a fee when it comes to updating the maps.

Satnav mobile apps are a popular option too because you can use them with your phone, although they have some downsides such as privacy issues, having to wait for maps to download, requiring a good cell tower connection and the inconvenience of getting a phone call and having to talk and follow map directions at the same time.

From a privacy standpoint, a standalone satnav is less intrusive and doesn't require a yearly subscription like a satnav mobile app does. The latest satnav on the market is the TomTom GO Discover (seen pictured), which is portable and comes with a windscreen mountable cradle made of matte coated plastic. Compared to older TomTom satnav cradles, the GO Discover cradle has a more sturdy construction than the cradle that comes with the Go Essential satnav and the Start 62 sat nav. The GO Discover cradle  integrates a pivoting ball joint with a large tensioning thumb screw, which lets you fix the cradle at various angles more securely.

The GO Discover cradle has a passthrough charging port for powering/re-charging the satnav while driving, as well as an effective thumb screw suction cup design. When attached to the car windscreen, the screw on suction cup creates a strong powerful suction, which can only be released when undoing the thumb screw the opposite direction and then, using the side pull tabs to lift the suction cup off the windscreen.

While mounted on the car windscreen, the cradle keeps the satnav securely in place via a strong magnetic connection. The satnav does not jiggle around, even when driving through speed bumps and potholes on the road. Removing the satnav from the cradle is easy by lifting the cradle off the satnav. The only minor downside is that the cradle isn't rubberized, so it's plastic rubbing against plastic. This creates a loud snapping sound every time the magnetic cradle hits the back of the satnav, which may lead to scratching overtime.

As far as the shell design of the GO Discover satnav, it retains the same dual speaker concave backing as other TomTom satnavs. The GO Discover satnav looks looks a lot like the older models but there are some upgrades such as a HD resolution (1280x800 pixels) and larger display (available in 7-inch). 

The GO Discover has also been upgraded with 1 year subscription services, including speed alert, fuel prices and off-street parking information, as well as a world map and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, which are now part of TomTom's Points Of Interests (POIs)​. The inclusion of a lifetime world map is nice too, although coverage is partial for many countries around the world. You can find more details of country coverage on the product listing in TomTom's website.

The GO Discover seen pictured on this review is the 7-inch model, which weighs 362 grams. It has a single physical button on the top rear corner and micro USB charging connection. The button powers off the unit, as well as turns off the display to preserve battery. GO Discover charges via 5V/2.4A input, taking 2 hours to fully charge. A charging cable (1.8 meters long) is included with USB-A and right angled micro USB connector.

Setting up the GO Discover satnav is easy. Simply pick the language of choice and follow the onscreen prompts.There is a section where you can enter details about your vehicle like engine type (e.g. combustion, electric), which is important because if you have an electric car you want the satnav to show charging stations rather than petrol stations. You are also be able to connect the GO Discover to the Internet, which is required in order to get traffic alerts. Fortunately, GO Discover has a built in GPS so,you don't need to be connected to the Internet to use it or receive speed camera alerts.

The GO Discover satnav also has mobile app support via MyDrive mobile app, which is designed to help you plan routes/destinations ahead of time so, you can easily transfer them to the device. This saves time rather than having to plan your route while sitting in the car. MyDrive mobile app does not provide turn-by-turn navigation. 
If you do prefer using phone navigation and like the TomTom interface, you should look into the Go Navigation mobile app, which is a paid mobile version. It has the same features as the GO Discover satnav so, you can do the same things. Because it is a mobile app though, the TomTom GO Navigation app requires some extra permissions to access your phone such as identity, contacts, phone calls, photos/media/files and camera. That said, these permissions are only used for the functioning of the device. Nothing else.

When connecting the GO Discover satnav to the Internet, you will first need to pair the sat nav to a phone and then, use the phone's mobile hotspot function. The GO Discover satnav is also equipped with a dual band (2.4Ghz/5GHz) Wifi chipset so, you can get software updates and upload new maps/features wirelessly without being tethered to a computer.

Once the setup is complete, you're automatically taken to the map view, showing your current location, as well as a few on-screen buttons and icons. One of those buttons lets you mute the "voice command" so, you receive "alerts only". There is also a search function for searching addresses and points of interest. The touch screen is very responsive when typing and reacts quicker than the older TomTom satnavs mentioned. 

The extra RAM increase (2GB RAM) makes everything load quicker, as well as swiping and pinching the screen to zoom in and out without having to use the dedicated zoom in/zoom out on-screen buttons. You can also drag down the screen to scroll through the map and then, use the "re-center" button, which quickly takes you right back to your current location in bird's eye view. The internal memory has also been upgraded to 32GB, although you only get 8.55GB of free space because of the world. There is no micro SD card support, which would have been ideal for listening to music like you can with the TomTom GPS watch and, for downloading custom POI’s, which you can't.

A few other bits of information that show up on the main screen include time/day, battery status, bluetooth status and Wifi status. Having a large screen does help space out all the icons so, the display doesn't become cluttered.GO Discover also comes in smaller size displays: 5 inch and 6 inch. GO Discover retains the same display interface as previous TomTom satnavs so, menus are clearly laid out and settings (e.g. volume) are easy to access.

There is voice control built-in too with a list of words commands that you can use to control the satnav without touching the screen. Like previous TomToms, GO Discover is packed with a lot of functions for customizing the map navigation to your liking so, you will definitely need a few hours to go through all the settings and "play around" with the different options to get the satnav to perform just how you want it. 
You can change the display layout from 3D to 2D and/or have the satnav zoom-in at instructions. You can adjust the size of the text and buttons and make them larger or smaller. There is also a "routing" menu that lets you customize how the satnav re-directs your route and whether you want to avoid certain type of roads (e.g. motorway, tunnels, toll roads, etc).

GO Discover comes with a TomTom branded car charger (model 4UUC.001.37). The car charger accepts 12V/24V at 1.7A inputs; hence you can use it in a car, truck or caravan. The charger outputs 5V/2.4A via a single USB-A port, which is the maximum input the GO Discover sat nav accepts. 
The charger works well and, it's compact although you may find yourself having to use a dual port charger if your vehicle has limited charging ports. The cradle weighs 124 grams and measures 12cm deep when mounted on a car windscreen. TomTom GO Discover ships inside a lightweight recycle cardboard with two plastic insert trays holding the satnav and accessories. You can buy GO Discover from amazon. You can get a free 3-month subscription to the GO Navigation app.

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