TomTom Go 530
The Go 530 is a UK maps-only model, but with some relatively high-end capabilities. Although the x30 series doesn't have the revolutionary features of the x40 Live, represented this month by the Go 740, it does have some useful enhancements.
The Go 530 uses the IQ Routes system, just like the Go 730 we reviewed five months ago in What's New, Shopper 248. This is updated only when the device is attached to a PC, rather than over a live mobile connection. Based on real traffic speed gleaned from actual road journeys, rather than merely the speed limit, this helps to calculate more savvy routes. The 530 also offers lane assistance, so you know precisely which carriageway to be in at a junction.
The voice-recognition system isn't as elaborate as in TomTom's Live devices. You have to press a couple of menu options to get to it, but after this you can say the city and street portions of an address. It's very accurate, almost always putting what you actually said at the top of its list of possibilities. However, you need to enter the house number with your fingers, so you couldn't use this to enter destinations whilst driving.
If you don't do enough miles to warrant the monthly fees that are associated with TomTom's Live system, the Go 530 is far better value than the Go 740 Live. There's also a Go 530 Traffic model, which includes an RDS-TMC receiver in the box, giving you live traffic jam updates for the life of the device with nothing more to pay. You will be informed of traffic ahead as well as the delay estimated, but it's then left up to you to decide what to do about the situation.
The Traffic version costs just under £200, but if you're happy to listen out for traffic news on your car stereo, the non-Traffic version of the Go 530 is much better value. At £165 including VAT, it strikes an excellent balance between features and value, and deserves our Best Buy award.