Go down the roster of top-of-the-line GPS features, and the TomTom Go 720 has them all covered: text-to-speech pronunciation of street names; the ability to play audio files from an SD Card through your car's stereo; and clear, colourful 3D maps displayed on a big screen. About the only thing missing is the high-end price - the TomTom Go 720 retails for £329 inc VAT.
That's less than the cost of comparable devices, such as the Road Angel Navigator 9000 GPS satnav and similar to the excellent Garmin nüvi 660.
The TomTom Go 720 is ready to navigate right out of the box, as the diminutive unit has maps for all of the UK and Europe built in. The Go 720 isn't much taller or wider than its 4.3in screen. It measures about 114 by 25 by 83mm (width by depth by height), and it weighs just under 0.23kg.
You can choose to navigate to a specific address, post code or intersection; to a business or another point of interest (TomTom says that the database included with the TomTom Go 720 offers millions of entries); or to a recent destination or one that you've designated as a favourite. You also can select your destination simply by tapping a spot on the map.
In our tests the TomTom Go 720 delivered accurate directions and suggested sensible routes. If you don't like a suggested route, you can use the TomTom Go 720's nifty 'Find alternative' option, which lets you see another route; unfortunately, though, you can't see estimated travel times for the alternatives, or any other ways to assess them.
One complaint about the TomTom Go 720: Sometimes the device issued the spoken driving directions late, especially in areas with many street intersections (a fault that the Garmin Nuvi 680 and many other GPS units share, regrettably). On more than one occasion we heard the instruction to turn when we were already entering the intersection. The onscreen directions appear much earlier, however.
While the TomTom Go 720's built-in speaker is loud enough for you to hear driving directions over road noise, the instructions are much easier to hear when they stream through your car stereo via the device's FM transmitter. You can navigate while listening to audio files on an iPod (connected via an optional cord) or an SD Card - the audio pauses automatically to broadcast your driving directions.
Other nice touches: you can set the device to warn you when you're driving over the speed limit (or faster than a speed you set yourself), or when you're driving near schools or places of worship. You can also choose to be reminded to take breaks at set intervals.
GPS aficionados will find plenty of extras to keep them occupied as well. Start with the free TomTom Home software, which lets you customise your maps and share them with other TomTom users, as well as download maps that others create.
For example, if you encounter a street that's marked on the map as a through road but actually dead-ends, you can update your map, send the update to TomTom's site, have the company verify the change, and then make your amended map available to other users.
You can also download new voices, including those of celebrities, though most of them cost extra. You'll also have to pay more to get real-time traffic and five-day weather information.
If you can do without the traffic information, the TomTom Go 720 offers all the features you'd expect in a GPS, and then some. The high-quality maps, clear interface, customisation options, and other extras make the device a joy to use. If you're looking for top-of-the-line features at a relatively affordable price, the TomTom Go 720 is well worth considering.