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TomTom Go 50 Review – Entry Level Navigation

 

TomTom currently have three different ranges of car satellite navigation products. There are some differences in the capabilities of each sat nav and this is reflected in the pricing of the models.

I hope this TomTom Go 50 review will provide you with a good understanding of the product along with an overview of the positives and the negatives. So, let’s dive straight in and find out what I liked and what I didn’t like so much……..

PROS:

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to Use
  • Good clear screen
  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic & Maps
  • Accurate map readings

CONS:

  • Requires smartphone connection for Live Updates
  • Can be difficult to pair devices via Bluetooth
  • Journey bar rotates information
  • Low resolution & sometimes glitchy touch screen
  • Updates can take a long time

TomTom Go 50 – Product Features

Design

The TomTom Go 50 is a standard rectangular shape with rounded edges. The colour is a combination of black with a grey trim and therefore it doesn’t look out of place on the dashboard. The unit itself feels light in the hand even with the mounting system attached.

Screen Size

GO 50 screen size

The GO 40/50/60 screen size options

The TomTom Go 50  sits at the midway point of the entry level units. There are three different models at this level – the Go 40, the Go 50 & the Go 60. The functions and capabilities of each model is exactly the same. The difference simply relate to the screen size and they range from 4 inches to a 6 inch screen.

In my view the screen size is purely a matter of personal preference. The Go 50 has a 5 inch screen and it isn’t too small that you have to squint to see it, but nor is it too large to be distracting. The size of the windscreen in your vehicle may also be a consideration. A small 3 door vehicle would be better suited to a smaller screen, whist the large vans or jeeps may be better served by a larger screened sat nav.

Navigation

Once you turn on the unit you will see that the home screen is a map of the location of where you are situated. The search function does take some getting used to but after some practice it is easy to navigate. Once you start entering a street name or place you will receive some suggestions. On the left hand side of the screen are street name or place suggestions, whilst the right hand side provides suggested Places of Interest.

The calculation of your route is quick and straightforward. When you are ready to start your journey it will prompt you if there are tolls etc on the route. It’s easy to tell the sat nav to avoid toll roads if you require. I found this option to be great when driving in France over the summer as the cost of tolls costs can spiral quickly over a long car journey. IMG_20150924_112348

The voice prompts are clear and easy to understand. I did however have to change the voice of the unit from the American Bonnie to the Irish female, Naoimh. That’s just personal preference but I found Naoimh less irritating and easier on the ear.

Resistive Screen

As this is a resistive screen you do need to be accurate in your screen tapping. If you have big hands then you may have issues in getting the unit to respond to your touch first time. I didn’t have too much of an issue however, my neighbour found it frustrating when he took the unit for a test run. The more responsive capacitive screens can be found on the premium models in the range. It’s also worth noting that it does not have a pinch and zoom facility like the more expensive models.

The Points of Interest function is solid and it captures most interesting areas in my vicinity. This option is great when you want to find out what is available to do around your location. For example, if your looking for a park to amuse the kids then just type in ‘park’ in the search bar. You will then get a list all of the parks nearby.

Mounting System

IMG_20150923_112800

Easy Mount System suction cup

The TomTom Go 50 uses the Easy Port Mount system. When you purchase the unit this part is separate to the sat nav and you have to attach it yourself. This is fairly straightforward task as the arm simply slides through the rear of the unit and clicks into place. There is a lock and unlock function on the mount which works by turning the dial. To get motoring put the suction cup to the windscreen and secure it by turning the disk in a clockwise direction. This should securely mount the unit in place. A rather useful feature is the slim foldaway design where  you can fold the mount down still attached to the unit without any trouble.

After driving for a few months with this mounting system I can happily report that it works well on the whole. The ball joint on the unit itself makes it easy to adjust the screen to different angles. However, I did find that during particularly cold weather the suction cup didn’t always want to attach to the windscreen. This was probably down to the high levels of condensation but, it is a point to note particularly if you live in colder climates.

Tips and Tricks

There are some things that are not self explanatory when using the TomTom Go 50. It would have been useful to have a Quick Start Guide or a simple glossary explaining the symbols used during navigation.

  • When searching for an address be sure to look at the top right of the screen as otherwise your search may be limited – whole map, near me, in town or city etc
  • The Menu Button is the small circle with the 4 little dots on the bottom left hand side of the screen
  • Change the colour scheme under Appearance in the Settings Menu – choose anything from Bay Blue to Lucky Lime
  • Once you have input your destination you will see a circle with 3 dots beside the Drive button. This brings up a sub menu where you can add the destination to ‘My Places’ or allows you to search near the destination
  • When you use the search bar to find an address the device gives you ‘suggested’ street names or places on the left hand side. The right hand side suggestions are Points of Interest.
  • If your using the search function it can be difficult to see the suggestions made because of the keyboard. To hide the keyboard press the bottom right button (it’s a circle with 6 dots)


If you want to learn more about the TomTom GO 50 5-inch Sat Nav with Western European Maps and Lifetime Map and Traffic Updates click this link to head over to Amazon.

Specification

  • Battery Life – 2 hours IMG_20150924_112711
  • Connectivity via Smartphone
  • Mounting System – Easy Port Mount
  • Memory – 8GB internal & MicroSD slot
  • Screen Size – 5 inch
  • Screen Resolution – 480 x 272
  • Product Size (WxHxD) – 14.45 x 9.05 x 2.22cms
  • Product Weight – 235 grams

 

 

TomTom Go 50

8.5 Total Score
Highly Recommended

Excellent value for money and a solid addition to the TomTom Go range. Easy to configure once you get used to the new layout. Lifetime Maps is a great addition however TomTom Traffic may prove expensive if your mobile data plan isn't sufficient - particularly if you do a lot of driving in other countries.

Value For Money
9
Ease of Use
8
Features
8.5
Battery Life
7.5
User Rating: 2.78 (2 votes)
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Editor choice
44 Comments
  1. Reply
    Valrie Mullins September 25, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    This is a really informative review on the TomTom Go 50. Pros and Cons with actual first person knowledge of the product. Nice.

    As a matter of fact, the review is timely since I am in the process of switching careers and will be looking to acquire a really good navigation device.

    Two Thumbs Up!

    • Reply
      Dylan September 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Hey Valrie, glad you found the review useful. Despite being an entry level unit the TomTom Go 50 is smashing value and it’s served our family well these past few months.It got us all around France safely over the summer! Cheers, Dylan

  2. Reply
    roamy September 25, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Hello
    thanks for a very informative article,got my first tom-tom back in 2007,i like going to the mountains and sometimes lose my way and tomtom comes in handy really or in a foreign city.
    Anyone reading your review of tomtom -go-50 soon feels the knowledge you have on this gadget which i find great.
    Unfortunately the battery life is not as long as it should be,but then you cant have it all.
    Thanks for a very honest review

    • Reply
      Dylan September 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Roamy,

      Glad you enjoyed the review. I agree that the battery life isn’t too great on a lot of these units. Most of the devices last for around 2 – 3 hours max – the manufacturers would probably say that they are designed for use in cares only. They would also probably prefer to have you buy specialised hiking gps devices!

      I do use these for walking around foreign cities too – the trick to make them last longer is to turn them off once you arrive at your destination. They are usually very good at getting a fast fix on your location and so turning them on and off isn’t too much of a problem.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  3. Reply
    John September 28, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Dylan,
    Your review of the TomTom go 50 is very impressive. I live in the states, is it available for the US?
    What kind of charger does it have, can it be connected to a solar charger that fits on a backpack? This would be great for backpacking the areas that do not have dedicated paths.
    If you leave in the car, would the constant sun shine hurt this unit?
    John

    • Reply
      Dylan September 28, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Hi John,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review. It most certainly is available in the US – check it out here at Amazon – Tomtom Go 50

      The device comes with a USB car charger and a cable to connect it to the device. The charger works off the lighter unit in the car. As the cable and charger are separate you could indeed just plug the cable into a solar charger. I have previously used the Revive Solar Charger in a clear map holder and attached it to my backpack. It does work but to be honest I would recommend a dedicated hiking sat nav device rather than the Tomtom Go 50. I am currently testing a Magellan Exploits 310 for this very reason – check back here soon for that review!

      The device appears to be fairly robust. I have left it attached to the windscreen in the Italian sunshine for an afternoon (and it was pretty hot!) with no damage. However, if you know that your going to be leaving it in the sun for a long time I would err on the side of caution and put it in your glovebox.

      Hope this helps,

      Dylan

  4. Reply
    Lucas September 28, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Wow. This is a nice and informative article. I use road navigation a lot because I find it hard to remember road names and locations. Sometime I get lost easily in big cities.

    My biggest problem is that sometimes the announcement is too slow and I drive pass a road which in turn cause me extra time to turn around or U-turn back to the road. Do you experience the above problem when using this device?

    • Reply
      Dylan September 28, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Lucas,

      I’m delighted you found the review helpful.

      The navigation software on this device works pretty well. It utilises something Tom-tom calls Advanced Lane Guidance – which basically means that you get plenty of warning on where to turn or which lane you should be in. It seems to work well and I am happy with it. My only problem is that sometimes I daydream and miss a turn – not a fault of the sat nav, just my own stupidity….lol!

      Cheers

      Dylan

  5. Reply
    Brandon October 17, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Tom Tom, everybody loves Tom Tom one of the most popular navigations ever. I remember Tom Tom a long time ago, they were like the pioneer for car GPS systems. I see that having a smartphone is a necessary to connect to the Traffic Update services, but I don’t really think that this is too much of a problem as nearly everyone has one in this day and age.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 20, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Hi Brandon,

      Your absolutely right nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Using your smartphone to connect to the traffic updates works fine via the smartphone if you drive mainly in the same country. It only becomes expensive when you drive in different countries – in Europe we would regularly cross borders and therefore it’s very possible to incur significant data roaming charges on a single journey.

      Thanks for stopping by, cheers,

      Dylan

  6. Reply
    Brandon October 18, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Back on here again! I was thinking do the people even buy these stationary GPS anymore? Because I see a smartphone is required. Why don’t people just use their cellphones if they want to go somewhere – it’s probably easier and they have an all in one device in their pocket? What do you think?

    • Reply
      Dylan October 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Welcome back Brandon!

      You raise some good points. Not everyone will need a standalone sat nav in their car – for many people their smartphone will suffice, particularly given the range of apps available on the market today. The benefits of the car sat nav is that it’s a dedicated navigational device that (usually!) gets regular map updates. If you don’t have a large data plan with your mobile phone carrier then it may be expensive to navigate using a smartphone. Also, the navigation will typically stop when you receive a call and the mapping will eat into the battery life of your phone.

      Like most things there are positives and negatives for both options. Hopefully this site will help people make an informed decision as to what is best for them.

      Many thanks,

      Dylan

  7. Reply
    Alexander October 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    What a very good review of the TomTom Go 50 . Really like the pros and cons aspect , very helpful in making an informed decision .
    Have been using a smart phone for navigation , but find it not that satisfactory ,very hard on the battery . Also it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Think that the Go 50 Will be an excellent entry level device . I am in the market . Thank you for posting your review

    • Reply
      Dylan October 21, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Alexander,

      I’m glad you found the review helpful. This is a solid device and it’s absolutely great value for money. If you need any further advice then please give me a shout.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  8. Reply
    angelicamaney October 22, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    This is a good review you have here. I don’t know if I would ever try it though. I just use my smart phone to navigate. What would you say are some pros and cons of using the TomTom Go 50 over just using a smartphone? An iPhone for example.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 23, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Hi Angelica,

      A lot of people do use their smartphones for getting around. They are most certainly convenient as you tend to carry it all the times. But using a smartphone as your navigation device will eat into your battery, it will also provide you with a smaller screen and will usually cut off when you have an incoming call.

      Check out my Buying Guide for some more pros & cons of the different devices. Ultimately, you need to pick the device that suits your needs best – a smartphone or a sat nav unit. If you drive fair distances then, in my view a dedicated sat nav device is hard to beat.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  9. Reply
    Jurgen October 23, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    This looks like a very nice satnav system. It’s been a few years since I last used a dedicated satnav. These days I’m solely using my smartphone which has a 5,5-inch screen and free satnav software like Waze.
    For people that don’t have a fancy smartphone or don’t want to use it for that purpose, this looks like a nice system.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 23, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Jurgen,

      I have used Waze in the past on my phone too and it worked well until I left the larger cities. I guess for it to work best it needs more Wazers particularly for detecting the traffic in a given area. It also seemed to like sending me down side roads whilst the TomTom tends to keep you in or around more traditional routes.

      The TomTom Go 50 is a great little device and I’ve used it frequently over the past few months. It has served me well as I haven’t got lost yet – that could be because I’m rerouted of course! 😉

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  10. Reply
    Rob October 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I have been using a far cheaper model than this and to be honest most of the time I don’t even bother turning it on, that is how good it is. However Your review has me thinking that I wouldn’t go far wrong with the Tom Tom 50, It sounds like a reliable good all rounder.

    I may well drop some hints to the other half as a certain holiday season is not to far off. I did have a couple of questions, but you have already answered them in the other comments, so thanks. A good review, will get the wife to drop by.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Rob,

      Glad you found the review useful. You can’t really got wrong with the TomTom GO 50 – a good solid sat nav that’s great value for money.

      I got my wife a sat nav for our wedding anniversary and for some reason it went down like a lead balloon???!! As we were going on holiday the following week I thought it was a great gift! Let’s just say that was something I got very wrong 😉

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  11. Reply
    Jim October 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Dylan

    Great review of the TomTom Go 50 really informative and covers all the features really well will also be checking out the review of the Garmin to see how it compares. thanks for all the information especially the price breakdown of the different buying options very helpful definitely considering this as a future purchase.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Jim,

      Choosing between the Garmin and the TomTom can be difficult. In my experience once someone has owned a Garmin they tend to stick with Garmin when it comes to upgrading. The same is also true for TomTom.

      It really is personal choice as the two interfaces are different. Also, be sure that you check out what features are included with the ones you are considering.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  12. Reply
    Brandon November 5, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Back again. I remember saying how everybody uses smartphones now a days for their source of finding directions. But everytime I come here I want a GPS system actually installed into my system. Will it be possible to do so with one of these you have a review on or would I need something completely different. It has a screen for XM radion, FM etc and it is a nice screen but I think it could put to its full potential if some how I integrate a GPS in their as well.

    • Reply
      Dylan November 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Hi Brandon,

      Good idea to get everything in the car to integrate – it makes for a much more enjoyable driving experience. Unfortunately I don’t know the system that you have in your car well enough to give you some proper advice.

      Feel free to drop me an email and I’ll happily have a look at some options for you.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  13. Reply
    Ananomyx November 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

    This is a great site, I was not aware of all the different kinds of navigation devices that existed. This tomtom model seems like a great model for anybody new to the game. lol. What are the major differences between the entry level navigation systems, and the more advanced and/or expensive ones?

    • Reply
      Dylan November 8, 2015 at 12:41 am

      Hey there,

      There are a lot of different sat nav devices on the market today so choosing a good one can be a bit of a nightmare. Manufacturers also don’t help matters by giving all of their devices similar sounding names. One of our readers told us that he’d read a review of a sat nav, purchased it and it was only when he got home that he realised it was a different model he’d bought! TomTom have the GO 50/500/510/5000/5100 etc whilst Garmin have the nuvi 2539/2559/2579 etc – really confusing for consumers!

      The main differences between the budget devices and the premium range will typically be screen quality, voice recognition, bluetooth integration and perhaps even a camera. Do bear in mind that you are unlikely to use all of those features ordinarily. The TomTom Go 50 is a great little sat nav that’s great value and it will absolutely get you to your destination.

      Hop this helps and thanks for stopping by.

      Dylan

  14. Reply
    RJ November 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Great write up on the Tom Tom go 50. I really enjoy your layout, the pros and cons as well as the summary on the bottom. It makes getting the info i want very easy.

    As for the Tom Tom Go 50 I don’t think it is for me. For its size and feature set I think I’d just use my iPhone 6 Plus. Is there a more feature rich model that might sway me towards a stand alone unit?

    • Reply
      Dylan November 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Hey RJ! The TomTom Go 50 isn’t for everyone as it is an entry level device. What it does do however is get you from A to B with no frills. If however your looking for a device that offers a bit more then check out either the Garmin nuvi 2599 or the the TomTom Go 5000. Both of these devices have a richer feature set. The TomTom GO 5000 shades it for me as the Traffic updates is superior and it also comes with an inbuilt sim – meaning no data roaming charges ever!

      Take care,

      Dylan

  15. Reply
    Rich November 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    You can’t go wrong with the TomTom can you? Haha. Such a good, well made brand. Thing I like best about them is the fact they’re the ideal gift for anybody with a car!! I can’t be the only one that sucks with navigation lol. Anyways great article, thanks for the review.

    Rich

    • Reply
      Dylan December 1, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Hi Rich, your absolutely right that they may make great gifts for people. Cheers, Dylan

  16. Reply
    Anthony December 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Dylan,

    I can see that the Tomtom go50 is the way to go with navigation. I have used my smartphone for this but now that I am doing more and more traveling it will be better to have a dedicated navagation system mounted to my dash. Mainly to free up my phone for calls and conserve battery life. Thanks for the great article!

    -Anthony

    • Reply
      Dylan December 30, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Hi Anthony,

      In my view a dedicated sat nav does the job of navigating better than a smartphone – particularly on longer, unfamiliar routes. Using maps on my phone seems to substantially eat into the battery life and that’s a real pain if your out for the day. I guess we are now so technologically dependant that we rely upon our phones and our sat nav devices to do their jobs!

      Cheers

      Dylan

  17. Reply
    Torrey January 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Awesome review on a great GPS. I have never owned a gps, maybe for the sole reason that i’ve owned a smartphone for the last 4 years. I have borrowed gps units, But i have never enjoyed using them. I do not enjoy blindly following a gps. LOL. I think what I like best about my google maps is fact that i can so easily zoom in and out and kind of memorize the route before i even start.

    • Reply
      Dylan January 30, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Hey Torrey,

      Many thanks for your kind comments.

      There are lots of reason to use smartphones and I believe that they have become an integral part of everyday life. However, for navigational purposes I only ever use a dedicated GPS – I just hate the way using maps on the phone drains the battery of my phone!

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  18. Reply
    Eddy April 28, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks for this review. It was very informative. I haven’t used a tom tom gps device in years. So I’m very impressed by all the new features you described. The lifetime maps is a big one for me. Because I remember when you needed to buy new maps. So thanks for the insight.

    • Reply
      Dylan April 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Eddy,

      I’m glad you found the review useful 🙂

      Automotive GPS devices have become really advanced bits of kit. Each update seems to have some other cool feature. The free lifetime maps is of huge benefit – you get to have a full update every three months. That way you know that your maps are always up to date.

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  19. Reply
    Maria May 2, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Nice – I’ve been looking into navigators and this came up – I really like the fact that you included tips to use the product in the most efficient way as well. It’s hard when you are in a car – you don’t want to get too distracted so this helps a lot. I really appreciate that you showed all the pros and cons as well.

    • Reply
      Dylan May 2, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you for your kind comments, they are much appreciated 🙂

      The tips seem to be well received by readers as it can be rather frustrating trying to configure a brand new sat nav. The more I use these devices the more tips I discover. I shall continue to update this section as I come across some helpful ones.

      Happy navigating,

      Dylan

  20. Reply
    Nahim May 10, 2016 at 1:22 am

    Good info on the TomTom Go 50, thanks for letting me know that the touch screen is glitchy somtimes. Believe me, it is annoying to have a glitchy touchs screen. But other than that the product seems good. So maybe I`ll try it if I don`t find something that believe is more convenient for someone like me.

    • Reply
      Dylan May 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Nahim,

      This is a really good budget offering from TomTom. The screen glitch is only down to the resistive type of screen. You may need to tap a couple of times on the screen occasionally in order to get the right letter on the keyboard etc. I really wouldn’t let this put you off though as it more than stands up against the other competitors within this price range.

      It’s also easy to use and straightforward to configure. To get the most of the device It’s worth spending a few minutes navigating the menus and setting up the device. Once you have these settings adjusted to your liking, it really is an easy sat nav to use.

      Check out the Amazon price here – at the moment they have a pretty cool 23% discount and it can be purchased for under a $100.

      Happy motoring,

      Dylan

  21. Reply
    ThunderAndRain June 4, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for this great detailed article. I used to have a dedicated GPS but I stopped using it when I got an iPhone. It’s been quite a few years, though. Are there any great advantages to one of the new dedicated GPS systems? I’m sure the GPS manufacturer’s are trying to make up for the competition.

    • Reply
      Dylan June 8, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Hi Alec,

      Your absolutely right that the big GPS manufacturers have begun responding to the rise of the use of smartphones by consumers. Today you will get much more for your money – which is just great for us the consumers!

      Of course it depends upon which device you purchase as to what features will be included. You should look for a device offering free lifetime map updates, free traffic alerts and speed camera warnings all for free. If your GPS has a built in sim then you’ll never have to pay anything else i.e. no more data costs from your mobile carrier. This is particularly good when your travelling through a number of different countries.

      The size of the screen of any dedicated sat nav are typically larger and therefore easier to read whilst driving. Its also normally easier to input your destination or to search for a point of interest in your vicinity. It also means that you won’t drain the battery of your smartphone by having the GPS function active – mapping and navigation are notorious for requiring lots of juice to work.

      Happy motoring and feel free to drop me a line if I can help you with making any sat nav choices!

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  22. Reply
    Shawn F. August 23, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Hello,

    Awesome post on the TomTom Go 50.

    There are many gps programs out on the market. It may be challenging for a new person to understand what tool works best for them.

    I am definitely new to the gps world. Would you suggest this GPS as a good starter?

    Thanks,
    Shawn

    • Reply
      Dylan October 17, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Shawn,

      This is a great GPS and you will probably keep it for a long time. Just make sure you keep the maps etc up to date.

      Cheers

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