TomTom for iPhone with car kit review
TomTom's long awaited car-kit for the iPhone has been released. In this review, we take it for spin to see if it's worth the outlay.
The holder also boasts an integrated speaker to give clearer instructions than from the iPhone speaker, and also enables you to keep your iPhone charged. It also rotates so you can view the screen directions in either portrait or landscape mode and the software uses the iPhone's accelerometer to switch instantly, which works very nicely.
The actual car kit arrives in a smart but rather flimsy plastic box. The design feels slight but once we set it up we found it to be probably the best TomTom device holder we've used. And we've tried quite a few.
The holder can be angled to attach to the windscreen, and a circular dial enables it to be easily tightened with just a couple of turns. It attached first time in our test vehicle and, thankfully, didn't drop our our iPhone to the floor, which happens with some holders.
The iPhone is gripped neatly with a dock connector at the bottom and you push back on a lip at the top to extract it. It's a tight fit though so if you've got a case on your iPhone you'll need to remove it, which might be inconvenient. We were using a Proporta Crystal Case, and admittedly through laziness we did manage to squeeze the phone in, but we wouldn't recommend doing this long term.
At the side of the cradle is a mini USB connector and this has to be plugged in for the cradle to operate. There's also an auxiliary audio out for connecting to your car speakers should your car stereo have a 3.5mm jack. However, while your iPhone music will be sent to the car speakers, the audio directions from the app will only come out of the speaker in the car kit itself. There's a volume control on the left side for the 2-watt speaker and the directions came out loud and clear with a range of voices and languages to choose from.
What's quite odd is that the apps turn-by-turn audio instructions are not sent via the physical dock connector but instead need to be sent via Bluetooth. Therefore despite there being a physical connection you're prompted to turn on Bluetooth the first time you plug in. You then have to go through a simple pairing routine. It worked first time for us.
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