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Product Review: Tom Tom One X-LS Text to Speech Portable GPS

Tom Tom, known for their GPS service, also offers GPS units for sale, and quite nice one’s at that. One of their more popular car units, the X-LS GPS, is a text-to-speech GPS that offers directions when driving.
Whether you’re in the market for a new GPS, or you’re looking for a new auto GPS unit, the X-LS is a good choice at $300 – $350. Read on to find out if this nifty unit is suitable for your automotive GPS needs.

Body

The body of the device is very basic-looking and sleek, with a bright color screen surrounded by a smooth plastic bevel. There is a single, small green light at the bottom to indicate that it is powered.

The screen is a little over 4″, and has 64k color at a resolution of 480 x 272.

Features

This little device packs all the features needed on an automobile GPS, and some that aren’t needed, but are still nice to have. The biggest plus is the speech-to-text feature, which speaks the directions for you, eliminating the need to look at the screen.

The device has 1GB internal memory for storing a few maps. There’s an SD slot to expand the memory capabilities, however. The machine also has 64MB of RAM, so it can run fairly fast.

The X-LS also has Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. The device runs off an internal, rechargeable battery, and can operate for two hours before it needs charged again.

Issues

The short battery life is frustrating. Two hours of operation doesn’t make this useful for more than casual trips outside of the city without plugging it in. Also, it doesn’t automatically activate when the car is turned on, and doesn’t shut down when the engine is shut off.

Another issue is that there’s no auto-detection of day and night, so you have to manually dim the screen at night.

Finally, there is no remote, which can make using the GPS while driving a bit tricky.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a cheap GPS, and you’re not worried about the finer details, like auto-ignition, then this is a good choice – the X-LS can be found online for about $150. The Tom Tom service is excellent, and favored by many. The maps are complete and easy to use, the screen is bright, and the text-to-speech feature is a necessity the One XLS is happy to obliged.
If you do want more features, however, its important to note that you can get higher-end devices for the same price.

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