Budget navigators are hitting the streets faster than we can review them, but there's much to be said for expanding your budget and getting a fully loaded GPS--especially when the result is as good as the $499 TomTom Go 930. Voice commands, smarter routing, lane assistance, and Bluetooth are often overlooked or referred to as "extras." The attractive Go 930 has all of these features, making this price a good value. In fact, the Go 930 feels like it should cost even more.
The 4.7 x 3.3 x 1.0-inch Go 930 offers a 4.3-inch screen, an elegant black casing, and a thin profile. It comes with a compact window mount, which makes the whole package easy to stow away. TomTom mastered the easy interface long ago, and the large, colorful icons make using the Go 930 simple even for beginners.
The Go 930 Is All Ears
You don't need to key in addresses, thanks to the addition of voice commands. To enter the voice-command area, you first select the navigation area, then choose to enter an address. You'll see two voice options: one that lets you speak your address but tap confirmations on the screen, and a second that lets you speak confirmations as well. The voice system worked quite well in our testing, almost always hearing us perfectly. Road noise didn't diminish its accuracy, but having the radio on did. That made it more accurate than theMagellan Maestro 4250'svoice system, which couldn't handle any noise interference at all. While the Go 930's voice recognition works well, its functionality is limited. We wish we could give commands such as "Mute volume" or "Find nearest Chinese restaurant," but the Go 930 doesn't have that capability. On the other hand, not having a small dictionary's worth of preset commands to memorize simplifies this technology.
A Well-Rounded Feature Set
The Go 930 offers TomTom's Map Share technology for correcting routes and downloading corrections from others. These features require using the included TomTom Home software, which has been greatly improved with the 2.0 version. However, the software doesn't distinguish between user-generated corrections and those from TomTom.
Connecting the Go 930 to a Bluetooth phone is simple, and doing so lets you answer calls hands-free, place calls with just a tap, and quickly contact emergency services, if needed. The Go 930 also includes an FM transmitter (although a static-filled one), a media player, 5 million points of interest, and a remote control. The remote doesn't clip onto the steering wheel, as those of other GPS devices do, so its value was lost on us.
On the Road with the Go 930
We tested the Go 930 in northern New Jersey, and whether tackling local roads or expressways, using this navigator was a pleasure. While driving highways and expressways, we liked the new Advanced Lane Guidance system, which substitutes a realistic photo-like image for the map, so you get an image that looks just like the road you're on. Arrows then point you to the correct lane. TomTom's Reality View feature is a welcome addition, though we've seen a similar feature on theNavigon 7100. Rerouting times were about average.
The new IQ Routes takes historic traffic data into account when creating a route; unfortunately we didn't notice any changes in our test routes. TheDash Expressis far superior in this category because it offers live traffic data as well as historic data. For live traffic on the Go 930, you need the RDS-TMC accessory, which costs $50 extra if purchased with the Go 930 (you can buy the two bundled as the Go 930T) but $129 if purchased separately. You get 12 months of traffic free, and the service costs $24.95 per year after that.
You might not have planned to spend $500 for a GPS, but TomTom offers an attractive package with the Go 930. While the similarly priced Navigon 7100--which initially was $150 more expensive--also features a 4.3-inch screen, lane guidance, and free traffic, the Go 930 has a much better user interface and voice commands. In general, we prefer the more affordable Dash Express because of its live traffic service and local search. But even at $499, the Go 930 is one of the best GPS values we've seen in the mid-range space.