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New TomTom Go 520 GB / Regional GPS Satellite Navigation Review

With UK and Eire Maps, Bluetooth, FM Modulator, Mapshare, MP3, Voice Recognition and Text To Speech, Have TomTom Defined The New Standard For In-Car Sat Nav In The Summer of 2007?

TomTom Go 520The new TomTom Go 520 will be the in car Satellite Navigation device of choice for those in the market for a PND (Personal Navigation Device) that has all the features of the new range but just has street level maps of the UK and Eire , and the subsequent price.

Why choose a TomTom Go over the current excellent Garmin range? This season TomTom have introduced some excellent additions that are unique in the Sat Nav marketplace (so far) and give them an edge over their traditional rivals Garmin and Navman.

Let's start with the basics. The Go 520, successor to the 510 and excellent 500, is a Sat Nav for use in the UK (or the country where you bought it). Additional maps can be purchased for the rest of Europe or North America , but if you think you'll need them soon buy a 720 or 920 instead, it'll be cheaper than buying the maps separately.

TomTom have gone for a new streamline case this year, thinner than even a One XL, with a lovely bright touch widescreen. The GPS antenna is built in, so the whole effect is a very professional and compact one.

Entering destinations is simple. Full postcode look-up is supported, or you can enter addresses, city-centre's, recent finds, favourites (previously saved) or Points of Interest. (POI's). With the addition of speech recognition you can now tell your TomTom where you want to go, although a long term test is needed to see how useful this is.

The TomTom 520 will guide you with colourful 3D maps and clear voice instructions. If you want it to the Sat Nav will read out road names too. Maps are now slightly more realistic with the addition of buildings footprints (a depression on the screen...) You can download custom celebrity voices or even record your own, so you could have your wife reading out route instructions on those long trips. Wait a minute, isn't why we bought a Sat Nav in the first place, so we didn't have to have our better halves telling us how to drive?

Poi's are an incredibly useful part of any Sat Nav, and the new user will be amazed by what information your TomTom Go 520 has stored inside. It can work in many ways; here are a couple of examples. You're driving on a long trip. The fuel warning light comes on your dashboard. Simply select to navigate to the nearest petrol station on your route and the TomTom will take you there. Maybe you've been delayed and need to find a hotel for the night. Just select the nearest accommodation, and not only will the TomTom take you there, using your phone it will dial the hotel and you can make a reservation, all wireless and hands free. You need to find a pub, but you're not sure about the address, just the name. Fine, search the POI database by name. Incredibly useful and easy..

That brings us nicely to the Bluetooth hands free features of the 520. With a compatible phone you now have a legal way of making and receiving calls, in a fully transferable device. The 520 (with a compatible phone) will accept text messages, and then read them out to you, so you don't have to take your eyes off the road. How good is that!

Garmin led the way by incorporating FM modulators into their 660fm, so TomTom have put them all in their new Go range. How this works is that your TomTom acts like a mini short-range FM radio station. Just select a frequency empty of Radio Stations, and then tune your car stereo in. Voice instructions now come through as loud as your speakers can take. A good idea on its own, this also makes the built in Mp3 player useful, so your music can be played in beautiful stereo rather than coming out of the small built in speakers of the Sat Nav.

TomTom take safety seriously, so we've got built in first aid guides and instructions about what to do in the event of a break-down or emergency. Behind the "help me" button on the main menu hides some useful features such as "drive to help" or "phone for help". Good stuff indeed.

What else have we got? Speed camera warning support, night mode, auto brightness, TMC or Bluetooth/Mobile Phone traffic avoidance features, multiple routes, excellent roadblock avoidance and route planning options. You can preview or demo a route in advance, and choose to avoid specific roads due to personal preference, traffic knowledge or just for a scenic route.

For a full list of features visits TomTom's Go 520 pages.

So now for the challenge. Tom Toms maps have been traditionally not as up to date (in the UK at least) as Garmins, and has been my main reason for recommending Garmins over TomTom GPS units in the past. Tomtom have addressed this by introducing the revolutionary software of Mapshare. This allows users to report map errors while on the move, amend their own maps instantly, and upload the changes via TomTom Home Software, to the main map database. Tomtom have promised to roll out this software update to all legacy devices as well, so if the system works correctly you could have millions of users helping to make TomTom maps more accurate on a daily basis.

Limited to simple changes at first, as the software develops users will be able to add or change things like roundabouts, junctions or whole new road systems. Controlled by TomTom, users will have the option of downloading official updates, changes submitted by lots of people, of changes added by a few. This should prevent abuse of the system, and make yearly expensive map updates a thing of the past. Oh, and I forgot to mention that these map updates can be downloaded for FREE! UPDATE: Actually you'll only be able download Mapshare corrections for a year after you've bought the unit. After that you can still use the corrections you've downloaded but won't be able to get any more. To start using Mapshare again you'll have to buy another map pack.

So there we have it. The new Tom Tom Go 520 is a revolutionary Sat Nav that promises much. A longer term test will be required to address such issues as reliability and stability, but this could be a big leap forward indeed.

Buy a TomTom GO 520 from Amazon.co.uk (Free Delivery in UK!)

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Comments / Questions:

Does the Go 520 have a jack output to connect to a car stereo AUX input? or do you have to use the FM transmitter?

Use the FM transmitter.

Having had a Medion GPs with TMC for two years, I reluctantly upgraded to the TomTom 520 Traffic, even though I had read in all the forums that The Traffic side of it doesnt cut in very often.  Well, I have to tell you that as soon as you plug in the TMC unit/Ariel it comes straight in and stays active until the TomTom 520 is switched off or the TMC unit is removed.  If anyone is thinking of buying a GPS unit then the TOMTOM 520 Traffic is without doubt the best vaue for money unit on the market at the present time.  Of course if you don't want to be prewarned about traffic hold ups and accidents then kust but a any old GPS system OK. Phil.


I think they should hurry up and sort updates for RAZR V8 and other phones as people cannot fully use the services they pay for. I did not realise the V8 was not compatible and bough t it as it had bluetooth!!! Sandra.

You've got to check the site before you buy - don't trust Sales Assistants!

Hi, I have a tomtom 520 and I've got a copy of western europe maps. When I put it in the sd card slot it doesn't seem to recognise it. Any ideas please? Thanks. Dave.

Try copying it to a different SD card. I take it that this is an official copy?

I have the Motorola V8 which is currently not compatable with the 520 GO? Is there anyway of connecting via a lead instead of bluetooth? Chris.

Bluetooth is the only way, but keep an eye on the TomTom site for firmware updates - they could well make your phone compatible in the future.

I find that the 520 speed recognition is about 6mph slower than actual speed is this normal?

I had a 510 previously and found map additions like parking places on main routes cant find them now any help with this one.

Speedo's in cars can be up to 10% too fast, so that might be the problem.

Check the settings to see which POI's are tagged to appear on the map.

Hi, good review.  I have actually used my friends 520 recently and its very good.  However, i am currently looking at buying a satnav for my Dad, and would like to know if you'd recommend this or another for £150?  Is there a Garmin/Navman which is better, or should I just get this TomTom?  He will use the bluetooth frequently. Stan.

Get a new TomTm Go 530.

Just got the 520 really happy apart from the quality of the speaker (very very quiet) is it possible to use an external speaker and microphone ? Mat.

If you're referring to the hands-free mobile phone, that can only go through the internal speaker.

My TOM TOM is telling me that it will take 11.5 hrs to travel 776 km.  At the normal speek of 90 km p/h this should be 8.25.  Can the speed be changed on my TOM TOM??? Chloe.

Ah! But what will the actual average speed be? (not 90kph)...

At last.. Does how the TomTom 720 GO how to add the USA? If can't? So can use TomTom 930 GO?? David.

Buy USA the maps Amazon from.

After reading this review i recently purchased a 520 model,it wont read out my text messages and I believe that it only will on old phone models such as the Nokia 6230i (I have a Nokia N73), Why is this not HIGHLIGHTED as it is a serious flaw !!! Otherwise a very good piece of kit. Ed.

With GPS Sat Navs you always need to check phone compatibility first!

Hi , please can you advise,i have  a tomtom go 520, when i receive a text through my tomtom it first of tells me what number the text is from , could i get the tomtom to say the callers name as it is in the phone book ? .If so how do i do it ?.
can you please advise.
Thankyou .

I don't think so.

Can you plan a route with destinations between the start and end point - I have an old navman and you you could plan multistop trips - wondering if you can do the same on the tomtom? Tony.

The Tomtom has comprehensive, multiple location, route planning.

hi can i put a bigger sd card in tom tom 520? William.

I'm pretty sure that people have used up to 2gb SD cards in their TomTom 520's / 720's

I got a 520 yesterday and am very happy. John.


Does the 520 have better TMC reception than the 510?

Is the mounting bracket the same as the 510?

TMC reception is about the same. The mounting bracket is different - the unit is a different shape. Tomtom could take some lessons from Garmin in how to make really good, robust sucker units instead of some of their "push on" types.

Go 520 is definetely better than 720 if you do not intend to use the Europe map much. Easier to update the UK & Ireland maps. VERY GOOD REVIEW - A1. Haradikar.


Hi I have the V1615 phone, which lets me use the bluetooth facility to send and receive phone calls, but will not read text messages. Why is this?
Many thanks. J.

You need to check TomTom's phone compatibility guide to see if your phone is supported. Make sure you're using TomTom home to update your unit so if they add support you'll get get it quick.

My car radio has bluetooth hands free. Is it possible to get the TomTom to use this instead of the FM modulator to get the sounds through the car speakers as I find the sound quality much better? Alison.

Sorry, You've got to use the FM Modulator or the internal speaker.

Thanks for a very useful review. I've been thinking the same thing as Jonnie. Is there any hopes for software update that could make it possible to get your phone conversation through the speakers or is it somekind of a hardware issue? It would be perfect to get that working that way. Lauri.

Not that I know of, sorry.

I bought the 520 thinking I could load my mp3 files on to an SD card and play them through the FM transmitter, is this possible? The 520 only seems to recognise tracks and photos downloaded to the internal memory. It doesn't seemm to make any attempt to communicate with the SD cards I've inserted into the unit.
Any help appreciated.
Thanks. Alan.

Your mp3's on your SD card have to be in a folder called "mp3" give that a go and see what happens. To turn on the FM Modulator, press the screen to get into the Main Menu, Change Preferences, Speaker Preferences.

Just created the folder and everything is hunky dory now. Thanks for solving that problem for me, much appreciated.

No probs!

Do you have to have ur sat nav updated for it to recognise new roads? Leanne.

If you buy a TomTom, it has a feature whereby you can tell the Sat Nav when you come across mistakes, and download corrections from other users too. They call this mapshare, and you can use it for a year after you've bought the unit. This is done over the internet. If you already have a TomTom, if you buy a new set of maps, you can use mapshare for a year too.

My motorola razr V8 will not connect to the tomtom, the connection process gets to 40% and then I get an error, I have seen other people experience this problem any ideas?

Unfortunately the motorola razr V8 is not yet a supported phone for TomTom. Make sure you have TomTom home installed to get the latest updates, then when they do support it you'll get the download.

My 520 has had some hit and miss with the volume and has been turning itself back on after switch off. i have fully charged the unit, made a phone call and then out off nowere the unit will work fine but i will get no audio apart from a small hiss and a couple off small beeps that is only heared with the speaker close to my ear. i have reset it and reset the master settings and all seemed fine, i had the problem again and now it's fine. is it me or is the unit faulty? i have read the instructions and know that it's not me turning of the audio. please Help!

With intermittant faults it's always difficult to find the cause, but I would advise you use TomTom Home to download the latest updates and see what happens.
If the unit keeps loosing sound it could be that the speaker has a loose connection, so then take it back.

I am unable to see car preferences it is greyed out. I have made sure that show all is activated. Any help would be much appreciated thanks Tony.

Try resetting the unit. Look for the reset hole on the bottom of the TomTom Go and gently press it with a paperclip and see what happens.

Nice review. When using the bluetooth for handsfree, is it possible to use the fm at the same time. Thus having you phone conversation through the speakers? Thanks, Jonnie.

No, phone conversations always use the built in speaker. You can use the FM transmitter at the same time, but only for music and voice instructions.

Is software Vista compatible? have a sony satnav at the moment that isnt. Roughly how much are map downloads? Thanks. Pete.

According to TomTom, their "Home" software is compatible with Windows Vista, see this thread.
Maps:Western Europe download: £70, USA & Canada download £70. (From tomtom)

Great review,am gonna get one from Halfords tomorrow..Thanx. Pete.

Anon, on 1/10/07 asked: Traffic updates, can anybody tell how this works does it come through your phone if so do i get charged for this service can anybody out there let me know cheers.

The 520 can get Traffic Information through your mobile phone or through an extra TMC aerial. If you have a Bluetooth compatible phone, you can then Register at TomTom.com and subscribe for £29.99 a year (or £34.95 inc Speed Cameras). You will also have to pay for downloading (to your mobile phone company) and that will depend on your contract.

If you buy a TMC Aerial there are no subscription fees in the UK for life, bt the aerial itself will probably cost around £60 when it comes out.


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