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TomTom ONE 130s

May
8
2008

TomTom’s new ONE lineup boasts a newly redesigned mount, a louder speaker, optional traffic services, and a focus on safety features. Is the new ONE 130 series for you? We’ve taken the TomTom 130s through our test course to see what this little guy has to offer.

Physical Design

TomTom ONE 130The ONE 130 and 130s sport a new design. Gone are the more square bottom edges of the ONE 2nd and 3rd Edition devices in favor of more rounded curves of the 130s. The 130s also is a little bit thinner than its predecessors. The design has also been simplified with the removal of the SD card slot and no external antenna port.

No buttons on the side, the power button is located on the top, and the power/USB connector is on the bottom. Pretty simple. The back features the speaker and pins to connect the “EasyPort” mount. While the power cable does connect to the bottom of the GPS, it is recessed far enough that it doesn’t prohibit you from mounting the GPS as low as you want on the dash. Nice move.

The 130/s is also an extremely compact GPS device. Despite having the same screen size, the TomTom 130 is narrower than a Nuvi 200, about the same height, but a little thicker due to the EasyPort mount system. The screen is very bright, though not as bright as the Nuvi devices. The map and interface is easily visible from wide and tall angles, and is easy to see in most lighting conditions.

EasyPort Mount

One of the biggest new features of the TomTom 130 series is the EasyPort mount. This is a pretty unique way to build a mount, and that uniqueness offers a few advantages, and a few disadvantages. So here is how this thing works.

TomTom 130s GPS RearThe back of the 130 series has a round disc that protrudes from the GPS. There are three spring tensioned springs that stick out just a little bit.

Then you have the EasyPort mount itself. Think of it as “clamshell” shaped. One one half is the suction cup. The backside of the suction cup is a big knob that you can rotate to lock the suction cup into place. This produces a very strong connection.

TomTom 130s EasyPort ScrewsIn between the two halves of the clamshell is a ball and socket joint that allows the mount to be angled into a variety of positions. It can be rotated for use with an adhesive disc on the dash, or for use directly connected to the windshield. This joint makes it so you can adjust the GPS to any angle, and is quite handy. On the other hand I found it to be just a tiny bit too tight, and the GPS would sometimes pop off the mount while I was trying to adjust the angle. If you are careful however you can pop off a rubber protector exposing two screws and very slightly reducing the tension on those screws. (If you find the same issue I did.) One eighth of a turn on each screw was enough, and it may naturally loosen with time anyhow.

The other half of the clamshell is a donut shaped piece of plastic which snaps onto the GPS. As I mentioned above there were a couple of times when I was adjusting the angle of the GPS (which moves the ball and socket joint connecting the two halves of the clamshell) and the GPS popped off from the mount. Loosening the joint helped with that minor issue. The GPS can also be rotated on this connection between the mount and the GPS. This is what allows it to change from a windshield mount orientation to a dash mount orientation.

TomTom 130s EasyPort MountOverall, I’m pretty happy with the mount. It allows for a number of adjustment options and certainly makes it easier to carry around the GPS and the mount. With the mount folded up but still connected to the GPS, the entire system is still 1.5 inches thick– plenty small enough to fit into most pockets and purses.

When I’m out of town for meetings and want to take a quick trip out for dinner, I obviously want to bring along a GPS to get me there, but it is sometimes is a hassle to bring the GPS and the mount and then put the GPS into one pocket and the mount in another. The TomTom EasyPort mount solves this problem beautifully.

Someone mentioned that the suction cup being in your pocket might attract lint and dirt. I didn’t have that issue, but perhaps I just have clean pockets. ;) And with the suction cup lock it would probably take quite a bit of dirt before it make the mount less sticky.

video from tomtom.com

Battery, Speaker, Display

What also makes this GPS great for the frequent out of town traveler is that it has a longer battery life than the previous TomTom ONE series devices, up to three hours as opposed to two hours on other models. I tested the claim with the default factory settings and was able to match that, getting about 2:55 before it shut itself off. It is still behind competitors such as the Nuvi 200 series in this regard though, which get up to 4 or 5 hours of battery life.

TomTom EasyPort MountAlong with the EasyPort mount, the other big story here is the speaker. This thing is LOUD. I measured the volume level of the TomTom 130s and compared it to over a dozen other auto GPS devices and the TomTom 130 was the loudest of the bunch– no contest. Putting it directly up against its competition it was a full 22% louder than the Nuvi 200 with both at the loudest volume setting. (Measuring with a decibel monitor.)

Of course most GPS devices don’t sound all that great at the loudest volume setting, and the TomTom 130s wasn’t an exception in that regard, but it will still be louder at 80% volume than any other GPS at 80% volume. If you are lucky enough to be driving a convertible this summer or like the stereo loud, The TomTom 130s might be on your shortlist if for nothing else, just for the speaker volume.

The display is also decent quality for an entry level GPS. It is well visible from wide and high angles and is a large improvement over the display in older models such as the ONE 2nd Edition.

Navigation

The 130 comes with TomTom’s NavCore 7.5 software which has since been updated to 7.522. The map includes the USA & Canada, and a fairly decent POI database. You don’t get the nice branded POI icons like you do on the 700 and 900 series devices though.

The menu system has also been rearranged a little bit from previous versions. Gone is the ‘Show ALL menu Items’ option… thankfully. And many of the items are in a more logical place than before. I can’t tell you how many times I instinctively taped Menu -> next -> next -> only to find that ‘Clear Route’ isn’t there on the top right anymore. While hard for me to retrain my fingers (isn’t muscle memory amazing!) it will be somewhere that more people can find it… Menu -> next -> ‘clear route’ and without needing to change a preference setting to enable it.

Quite a few other goodies have been added that first appeared in the 700 and 900 series devices such as enhanced speech customizations, and additional status bar options like displaying the status bar horizontally.

TomTom 130s Speed Limit WarningSpeed limit warnings also make their appearance on the device. You can have it show you your current speed and the speed limit of the road segment you are on (if known). If you are driving more than a couple of miles per hour above the speed limit, the current speed and limit will be displayed in a red box to hopefully grab your attention. (You can also set audio tones if you go above a certain speed.)

Routing was plenty quick, and with the enormous speaker the voice prompts were plenty loud. We did run into one, potentially severe issue with text to speech however. During the first couple days of operation whenever the text to speech voice would come on, the map would stop updating. This was extremely annoying as when the voice speaks, most people will have a tendency to look over at the GPS to get a better picture of what is being described. At the same moment you look over at the GPS, the map stops updating.

To make matters worse, when the GPS was talkative, for example saying things like “At the end of the road, turn right, Main street, then stay in the left lane” would cause the map to only update once during the entire few seconds. Turning off text to speech would fix the problem– but that is hardly a fix.

I later performed a factory reset, and the issue has gone away. Perhaps in combination of other features I enabled, I had just taxed the processor or RAM too much. Unlike other TomTom TTS models, the 130s only comes with 32MB of RAM. I’ve since tried to duplicate the problem and cannot, so hopefully this is not an issue other people will run into.

Pro Routing Features

The TomTom 130 and 130s also join the TomTom ONE 3rd Edition in being devices that don’t come with Itinerary Planning (multi destination routing). The other “pro” type routing features are available though such as the ability to set custom detour distances for roadblocks, being able to avoid a specific road or town, offset routing to start a route from a location other than where you currently are, etc.

As with the other new TomTom models, you get the ‘Help Me’ feature to quickly find your descriptive location or emergency services, as well as MapShare to make certain types of corrections to the map database.

We were pretty surprised though to see that the 130 series does not come with IQ routes. In some ways it is a slap in the face to people who might have been previous TomTom owners that had opted in to help provide that anonymous data– only to find now they don’t have access to the data they helped create.

Traffic, Fuel

Something I immediately noticed when taking the 130s out of the box was that there was no connector for a traffic receiver.. and the device doesn’t have Bluetooth yet it is designed as being traffic compatible. The included manual (yes, it actually comes with a printed, abbreviated product manual) shows how this will work. You plug a special “y-adapter” type thing into the USB port. This adapter then has two plugs, one that splits off to power and a second for the RDS-TMC traffic cable. So it looks like it won’t be getting a nice integrated/combo power/traffic cable and instead you will have a dashboard full of cable flavored spaghetti. The power cable is also required when using the traffic cable.

The 130s is also compatible with TomTom fuel prices. You can subscribe to the service and download the updates from your computer into the GPS.

Purchasing Guidance

TomTom 130s GPS 45This is a pretty slick little GPS. The most attractive trait is the compact size of the GPS and the mount. When you arrive at your destination just pop the mount off the windshield, fold the mount, and slide it into your pocket and purse. No messing around with detaching the mount and stowing it away somewhere else in the car or trying to stuff it into another pocket.

Due to the slower processor and less RAM, the 130s does feel a bit sluggish running through the menu system compared to its upper-end siblings, however I can walk through the menu system with my eyes closed so other people probably won’t notice it as much and it wasn’t excruciatingly slow.

The loud speaker is also a big winner for those who have noisy car environments. Plus, the ability to have most of the “pro” type routing features, optional traffic service, optional fuel prices, and MapShare make this a very functional device at a great price.

455 Responses


  1. Hi,
    I recently moved and lost my connect cable for my tom tom it is a 130, so it’s an older version. Is there anyway to buy a new one, so I can download new maps?
    Thanks,
    Jaimie

    Jaimie - April 14th, 2011
  2. The unit is reasonably priced, but the updates are very expensive.

    Deb - July 6th, 2011



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