TomTom’s value-packed XL 340 and XL 340S (wide-screen versions of the TomTom ONE 140 and 140S) offer an attractive upgrade to the XL 330 and 330S, competitively positioning them in the entry-level category of in-vehicle GPS systems, which includes Garmin’s popular 2×5 series. Most significant, TomTom has now included its Advanced Lane Guidance feature into the XL 340 series, a feature until now seen only on midrange and top GPS units. The new XL 340S LIVE includes a built-in receiver for TomTom’s LIVE Services, including live traffic, weather, fuel prices and Google Local Search. Cnet states,” The TomTom XL 340 S introduces a few advanced features to TomTom’s midrange lineup, while staying well below the premium price bracket.”
Note: The TomTom XL 340 and 340S are wide-screen versions of the ONE 140 and ONE 140S respectively. The 340 and 340S are identical except that the 340S adds text-to-speech capability. The XL 340S Live includes the TomTom LIVE service. This review and associated ratings incorporate ratings and reviews for all 5 models (XL 340, XL 340S, XL 340S LIVE, ONE 140, ONE 140S):
The most notable new feature in the XL 340, XL 340S and XL 340S LIVE units is the inclusion of TomTom’s Advanced Lane Guidance feature. Though GPS systems are terrific at guiding you down the highway, when it comes time to exit, it’s not always clear what lane you should be in. The TomTom’s Advanced Lane Guidance feature clearly shows you what lane you should be in for upcoming turns. Also notable is the inclusion of maps for all of North America, including Canada and now, Mexico. Coverage of Mexico is not yet complete, but for those considering road travel there, the inclusion of this map set represents a significant value.
Like its predecessors, the XL 340 and 340S includes its clever EasyPort™ windshield mounting system. The mount is integrated into the unit — simply fold it out and it attaches easily and securely to the windshield. When folded into the unit, which is slimmer than prior models, the GPS remains quite portable. Though the mount adds some bulk, the unit still easily fits into a purse, briefcase, or even a pocket. The mount addresses the problem of leaving the mount attached to the windshield, potentially attracting the attention of thieves. With the TomTom XL 340 and XL 340S, you take the GPS and its mount with you. For air travelers, it’s one less thing to worry about packing.
The XL 340 and 340S include automatic day/night display modes, optional automatically-adjusting speaker volume depending on background volume. The XL 340S and XL 340S Live
TomTom’s route preview feature displays an overall view of your route and allows you to select alternatives.TomTom’s “Help me!” safety feature allows you to find the location of the nearest hospital, police station, vet, dentist, pharmacy, etc. at the push of a button. The unit will also guide you if you want to “Drive to Help” or “Walk to Help.” Press “Where am I” and the unit will indicate your current position. TomTom has thoughtfully also included an electronic first aid guide as part of it’s “Help me!” feature.
TomTom’s “Map Share” feature allows you to make corrections and additions to your maps (e.g., blocked roads, updated information for points of interest, new streets or points of interest, etc.). You can make changes right on your portable GPS device and later upload and share them with other users using the TomTom HOME desktop companion software on your computer. There is no charge for this feature. Yet another example of TomTom’s clever innovativeness.
The XL 340 and 340S are capable of real-time traffic monitoring and avoidance, but require the additional purchase of an RDS-TMC Traffic Receiver and a subscription to the over-the-air traffic service.
The XL 340S LIVE includes an integrated receiver for TomTom LIVE Services and includes a 3-month subscription. LIVE Services is a bundle of the following services: LIVE Traffic; Local Search with Google (find local shops and businesses); Fuel Prices (get directions to the gas station with the lowest prices); QuickGPSfix (speeds up the time it takes to fix your GPS position); Weather forecasts.
The XL 340 and 340S lack hands-free mobile phone capability, MP3 player, audiobook player, photo viewer, remote control, etc. If any of these are important to you you’ll want to consider TomTom’s higher-end offerings or consider the top-rated Garmin nuvi 7×5 series, a Rated4Stars Top Pick .
On the downside, the XL 340 series hasa relatively short battery life of 2-3 hours which limits its usefulness as a handheld device. In addition, a few owners have reported some difficulty using the windshield mount. Such reports have been inconsistent, however. Overall, another solid offering from TomTom, though Garmin’s offerings in this category,the 2×5 series, while generally priced a bit higher, have earned consistently higher marks. [Review Date: 1 November 2009 © 2009 Rated4Stars.com]
|VIDEO: TomTom Advanced Lane Guidance|
|Weight||7 ounces (with mount attached)|
|Dimensions||3.2 x 4.7 x 0.9 inches|
|Screen||4.3 inch full TFT color LCD touchscreen (480 x 272 pixels, 64,000 colors)|
|Chipset||High sensitivity GPS chipset|
|In the Box||TomTom GPS navigator with integrated EasyPort™ mount, USB Car Charger, USB cable, Documentation|
|Warranty||One Year Limited Warranty|