Best RV GPS – Buyers will find TomTom’s TomTom XXL 540S 5-Inch Widescreen Portable best RV GPS Navigator to be easy to use right out of the box. Turning it on for the first time, the user is greeted with a few prompts to set the home location, time, and basic preferences, and then the device is ready to go. Spoken turn-by-turn instructions, as well as street names (a feature not included on lower-end models) guide the user to his or her destination. This best RV GPS device comes preloaded for maps of the US, Canada, and Mexico, and over 7 million points of interest (POIs), which include restaurants, gas stations, hospitals, etc.
Opening the Box
The best RV GPS device itself looks and feels very well built and definitely not cheap. And for an MSRP of 300.00, that’s how it should be. The touch screen is very responsive and accurate, and the speaker on the back is loud and clear.
Included in the box are a car charger, USB cable, manual, and windshield mount. Accessories such as TomTom’s traffic data receiver are not included, although the XXL, though considered as best GPS for truck drivers, has support for this function.
The included windshield mount was relatively easy to position, however it took some time to get it to angle directly towards the driver, as there are only two dimensions of rotation: up and down and circular rotation (left and right would have been useful, but impractical for the compact design). The connection of the best RV GPS to the mount, while it held during all travel if left alone, was not secure enough to hold the device in place while plugging in the charger, and felt rather weak.
Users will note that the home screen of this best GPS for truck drivers has all the useful information present in a very easy to decipher format. A bar running along the bottom of the screen gives information such as remaining time/distance, arrival time, speed, direction, and how many miles or kilometers until the next turn. Satellite signal strength is also shown in the familiar format used on most cell phones.
A simple tap of the screen brings up the device’s main menu, which offers options such as “navigate to…” “change preferences” (more on that later) “TomTom Services” (again, more below) and a very handy “Help me!” menu. The main menu is uncluttered, concise, offering the most-often used functions.
Choosing the “Navigate to” option presents the user with a few options: “home” which takes the driver right back to their designated home address, any of several user-defined “favorite” addresses, any specific address or zip code, a recent destination, a point of interest, and even specific latitude and longitude coordinates. It is very easy to pick a destination using any of these options, and the POIs included with the device are very comprehensive.
The XXL best GPS for truck drivers did not seem to have many problems finding satellite reception… most of the time. There was no problem finding satellites when we were standing still, programming a route before departing. However, if we were already in a moving car and tried to turn on the device and program a route on-the-go, the device took a significantly longer time to get a connection.
In one instance while driving on the highway, the best RV GPS could not connect at all until the car was forced to stop for several minutes due to heavy traffic over Thanksgiving break.
However, when the best GPS for truck drivers does find a signal, it is good at keeping the signal for the duration of the trip, except for obvious circumstances such as driving through a tunnel. However, it normally reconnects immediately after exiting the tunnel, in that situation.
Customizing the XXL
Choosing the “change preferences…” option from the main menu pulls up a 6-page submenu chock full of things that can be modified to the user’s desire. The options include everything from changing the car symbol to customizing the home screen and status bar. For users who are confused by the many things that can be customized, there is also a button to “show fewer options,” which cuts the number of options in half so only the most significant ones are displayed.
Users can also customize the voice used to announce street names, change the brightness settings for day- and nighttime, change the color scheme, and hide lane assist, if desired. The keyboard layout for typing addresses can also be changed to ABC or AZERTY from the default QWERTY layout.
Notable Features of the XXL
The XXL has several notable features that are very impressive and set it apart from other lower-end models. Beyond the lane-assist feature which is what many people look for in a high-end model, the XXL has a nifty “Help Me!” application. Clicking on the “Help Me!” button on the main menu brings up a list of options: phone numbers of the nearest emergency services, a first aid guide, a “where am i?” function for reporting the user’s location to an emergency responder, and “drive to help” or “walk to help” which sets a route to the nearest specified emergency service, such as repair shops, hospitals, police stations, etc.
The XXL also has the ability to download map corrections made by other TomTom users. These corrections could include updated info on POI locations, which can easily change to no fault of TomTom, speed limit corrections, or even to add a missing POI. The user can choose whether to download all corrections, or just corrections verified by TomTom or trusted sources.
Lastly, the XXL offers three “TomTom services”: up-to-the-minute traffic updates, which requires this add-on, updated fuel prices, and information about safety cameras on the traveled route. The fuel price service is very handy because it has the ability to direct the user to a gas station with the lowest prices.
Round-up: the Good and the Not-So-Good
- touch screen is big, bright, and responsive
- 7 million POIs
- Included mount is compact and un-obtrusive
- Useful features such as spoken street names, lane-assist, “Help Me!”, map corrections, and “TomTom services” help justify the high price
- Traffic updates require the purchase of an add-on, which seems odd considering the 300.00 MSRP
- Mount does not seem to have a secure hold on the GPS; although it held during driving, it did not hold when trying to plug in the charger
- Has difficulty finding a signal if the device is already in a moving car before being turned on
All-in-all, the TomTom XXL 540S is a very versatile device that is essential for any traveler or directionally-challenged driver. Comprehensive POIs, an easy-to-use interface, and high-end features give the buyer an excuse to splurge for this model.