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November 25, 2009

TomTom XL 340S Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
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15. Customizing the XL 330 S's Routing & Navigation Settings

Preferences 4 of 6
Figure 110: Preferences 4 of 6

TomTom's GPS units have more configurable preferences than many other GPS units. Almost every aspect of the XL 340's interface can be customized.

Chances are good that you will want to customize at least some of the default settings, and I recommend browsing the preferences so you can see all the available customizations. Don't worry - you can't "break" the GPS by changing any of the settings on these pages. Also, there's a handy "reset all settings to factory default" option just in case you want to set everything back to the way it came from TomTom.

Tap Change preferences from the Main Menu to begin tailoring the XL 340S to suit your own preferences.

In this walk-through, I'm going to view the routing preferences by selecting Planning preferences from the screen shown above.

Planning Preferences
Figure 111: Planning Preferences

This preference setting allows you to specify how you want the XL 340S to behave when calculating the route to a destination.

You can choose to have the GPS automatically plan the fastest route (the default setting), or you can select any of the other available options, including having the 340 S ask you how it should calculate the route each time a destination is entered.

Replanning Preferences
Figure 112: Preplanning Preferences

This screen lets you specify how you want the XL 340S to handle traffic delays. By default, the 340 S will prompt you if a problem is detected along the planned route AND a faster alternate route is available.

Toll Road Preferences
Figure 113: Toll Road Preferences

The Toll Road Preferences menu lets you specify how you want to handle toll roads. By default, the XL 340S will ask you what to do whenever the planned route will encounter a toll.

HOV Lane Preferences
Figure 114: HOV Lane Preferences

This screen lets you specify how the XL 340S should handle car pool, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Unpaved Road Preferences
Figure 114: Unpaved Road Preferences

This screen lets you specify whether or not the XL 340S should route along unpaved roads (such as dirt roads).

Preferences 4 of 6, Quick Menu
Figure 115: Preferences 4 of 6, Quick Menu

The Quick Menu preferences screen lets you customize which features are displayed in the Quick Menu. The Quick Menu is a collection of frequently used items that are displayed when the screen is touched while en route to a destination.

Show in the Quick Menu
Figure 116: Show in the Quick Menu

Choose which item or items you want added to the Quick Menu.

Show in the Quick Menu, Page 2
Figure 117: Show in the Quick Menu, Page 2

Additional items available to add to the Quick Menu.

Street Name Preferences
Figure 118: Street Name Preferences

This very useful setting lets you turn the following options on or off:

  • Show house number before street name - when enabled, the XL 340S will display house numbers before street names. Also, when entering a destination address, the GPS will ask for the house or building number before the street name
  • Show street names - displays street names on the map screen
  • Show next street name - Displays the name of the next street as you approach it
  • Show current street name on map - displays the name of the street you are currently driving on

Status Bar Position
Figure 119: Status Bar Position

You can decide whether you prefer to see the Status Bar (the blue information bar displayed at the bottom of the map screen) horizontally (at the bottom of the screen), or Vertically (at the right-hand side of the screen).

Show On The Status Bar
Figure 120: Show On The Status Bar

The amount of information displayed by default on the status bar can quickly clutter the screen, making it difficult to read from the driver's seat. Thankfully, TomTom's software allows you to customize how much or little information you prefer to see on the status bar.

Show on The Status Bar, Page 2
Figure 121: Show on The Status Bar, Page 2

Note that "Show lane guidance" refers to the smaller, non-3D lane guidance graphic that is displayed on the status bar, and does not refer to the 3D Advanced Lane Guidance view.

"Show leeway to arrival time" displays how early/late you will arrive at your destination. When checked, the XL 340S will ask what time you need to arrive at a given destination, and will display how many minutes early or late you will arrive. I like this feature a lot, and it comes in very handy.

16. TomTom XL 340S vs. Garmin nuvi 1390T

The XL 340S is a solid performing, wide-screen GPS that includes a suite of high-end features at a reasonable price.

However, the similarly priced Garmin nuvi 1390T includes Bluetooth and a real-time traffic receiver, making it a better value than the XL 340S.

I also prefer Garmin's map screen over TomTom's, although the TomTom does allow more customization than the Garmin. For example, the TomTom XL 340S allows you to customize the map screen layout, colors, and select which pieces of information you want to see displayed. Garmin's 1390T does not.