TomTom Start Car GPS Review

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First the Specific Models

TomTom Start 50 M

TomTom START 50M

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The entry-level option of the already entry-level TomTom Start units, this is as close to a bare-bones navigation unit as you’re going to find without pulling out a map and compass. However, you won’t have to spend all that much money on a 50M (full review), and you’ll still be able to take advantage of all of the other benefits that TomTom navigational systems have become known for.

TomTom Start 50 TM


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A slightly more expensive version of the entry-level one reviewed above, the only real difference between that one and this one is the inclusion of new GPS unit reception technology. Otherwise, they are still basically the bottom of the ladder when it comes to TomTom Start units – but value purchases for those that aren’t expecting too terribly much out of their GPS.

TomTom Start 55 TM


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If you were going to describe any of the TomTom Start units as “high-end”, it would be this one.

This unit (complete review of the Start 55TM here) comes complete with the Lifetime TomTom Maps subscription, the Intelligent Planning Routes system, and the Map Share technology that allows you to get (and to send) up to date information about road conditions, traffic conditions, and so much more directly from your device.

General Introduction

TomTom marketing and advertising has always claimed that “once you drive with a TomTom, you’ll never want to drive without one”!

And while we were at least a little bit skeptical about that clean the first time that we plugged one of the TomTom Start devices into our vehicle, we learned (pretty quickly) that those marketing and advertising professionals at TomTom may have actually been onto something!

These devices in this product line are definitely designed and developed from the ground up for the “digital generation”. Incredibly accurate (not just in the United States, but also across Canada and Mexico as well), these devices are capable of helping you get exactly where you want to go without any of the headache and hassle that some of the competing devices out there bring to the table.

TomTom Start devices have been favorably reviewed all over the web (and it’s easy to see why now), but hopefully you will take at least a little bit of time to check out our review below and find out which of the TomTom Start devices is right for you!


TomTom START 55TM -2Engineered specifically to provide drivers with all of the navigation information they need (and very little else), some would say that TomTom Start navigation and GPS devices are a little bit bare-bones – and they wouldn’t be entirely incorrect in that description.

However, just because these GPS units focus almost entirely on the navigational, mapping, and traffic data that you’ll use to go from one place to another – without focusing on multimedia, entertainment, or all of those other bells and whistles – doesn’t mean that this is a rock-bottom kind of unit.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

All TomTom Start units take advantage of a number of highly advanced features, and the most impressive one has to be the inclusion of 100% free OTA (over the air) map updates. These map updates will be pushed directly to your device every three months for the life of your unit, and thanks to almost legendary reliability and durability (something that will touch on in just a moment) of these devices you are in store for a real treat!

Secondly, TomTom engineers have focused on spending a considerable amount of time on their Advanced Lane Guidance system. This is like having a real-time navigator in the seat next to you, without ever worrying about them becoming a “backseat driver”.

The system isn’t exactly flawless, but it’s as close to a perfect implementation of a virtual local that knows the right roads (in the right lanes) to take sitting beside you as we have come across today.

Form Factor

All of the TomTom Start units are a little bit on the smaller side of things, either 4.3 inches or 5 inches as far as screen size is concerned.

Yes, this makes them a little bit smaller than some of the other high and options out there on the market today (especially those that offer 7 inch and above screens).

However, on the flip side, you will never have to worry about spending an arm and a leg just to get an oversized screen ever again. Because these screens are on the more compact side of the fence, you’ll never have to worry about breaking your bank account just to purchase a new TomTom GPS.

The clarity and quality of the display is absolutely off the charts as well, especially when you’re using the innovative TomTom 3-D technology that is included with each of the TomTom Start units. This gives you a 3-D graphical representation of what you’ll see around you as you drive along, a system of navigation that is much easier and more intuitive to use than anything else.


TomTom accuracy is legendary, so we won’t spend too much time on it.

They offer one of the more complete and comprehensive coverage blankets in the United States and maybe the best coverage blanket in Canada and Mexico, creating a total coverage area in North America that cannot be rivaled.

You won’t have to worry about getting lost and not receiving signal when you’re using a TomTom Start unit.


TomTom durability and reliability is also off the charts. Even its most basic models, the Start 45M and Start 50M, are constructed in a very good way.

You would be hard-pressed to find even just a handful of TomTom customers that had anything negative to say about the long lifespans of their TomTom device – except for maybe the fact that it doesn’t let them upgrade to newer units quite as frequently as they would like.

But that’s only because their older devices are still operating just fine, and are as up to date as anything else brand-new on the market with those lifetime updated map subscriptions!

Final Verdict

If you don’t want to get sucked into paying too much for a Car GPS unit, then the TomTom Start lineup is the one you’re going to want to go with. They may not be loaded down with all kinds of fancy technology, bells, and whistles – but they will get you where you’re going without any worry or concern, and won’t lose signal along the way!