Navigating Through Jakarta Streets with TomTom

Have you ever read the book “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps” that triggered hundreds of articles in women’s magazines about the differences of the two sexes? No? Well, me neither :D. But I think ever since that book was released more than 10 years ago, there seemed to be a common misconception about women’s inability to read maps. And as someone who drives everywhere almost all her adult life, and also someone who often travels solo to foreign places, I beg to differ!

I don’t have any problems reading map – yes real maps, not Google maps! – but of course, nowadays, it’s not very practical to carry a map around wherever you go. Also, when driving alone, I find it to be a nuisance to pull over often to check for routes. Software like Google Maps can be a solution, but still, when traveling solo, I’d rather have something that I can set in advance which then can guide me to my destinations without me having to fiddle with my phone again. Yes, exactly what a GPS device does!

I was extremely thrilled when I got the chance to try a Tomtom Car Navigation device. Before this, I have tried one car navigation device before (I forgot the brand) and I found it to be really helpful that I was thinking of buying one. But my experience with Tomtom is even miles better than the previous one!

TomTom is the world’s leading supplier of in-car location and navigation products and services. Headquartered in Amsterdam, TomTom was founded in 1991 and now sells its products in over 40 countries. They have a wide range of products and services, but in Indonesia, they launched 5 products: VIA 220, VIA 260, VIA 280, GO 2050 and GO 2050 World.

The product I tried was the last one, Tomtom GO 2050 World. It is pre-loaded with the most updated maps of countries around the world, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Macau, Australia, North America, Europe and many more, so this is the perfect gadget to bring when you travel and plan on driving in your destinations. From my experience, the map is very accurate. It even shows the little alleyway next to my housing complex and also shows that the alleyway is not accessible with car. However, it shows my housing complex as “Jalan tanpa nama” :D

I like how easy and intuitive planning a route is with this device. If I want to go to a specific place, I can simply search for that place by entering the postal code. Looking for commercial buildings, restaurants, malls, schools and other landmarks are also a snap, thanks to its Points of Interests feature. I’ve tried using this feature to search for my client’s office building in Kuningan and was happy to learn that TomTom could identify the building and showed me the quickest way to go there. However, when I tried to enter a specific street name and building number, like Female Daily Headquarter in Kemang, it had a problem locating it, though it could still guide me to the street or any point of interest nearby. Perhaps because building numbers are placed very sporadically here in Jakarta? Anyway, when planning a route, you can choose between the fastest, most fuel-efficient or the shortest routes. This device even asks you if you want to take a toll road or not. Neat! So far, I’ve been very pleased with the routes that Tomtom Go 2050 World has suggested. Even if I ignored the direction and decided to take a different road (I am the knowledgeable driver after all), it doesn’t take a long time for Tomtom to recalculate the route. I also love that this gadget remembers the places I’ve gone to recently so if I have to go to those places again, I don’t have to re-enter all those details again.

Now another thing I love about Tomtom Go 2050 World is its liquid five inch touchscreen at a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. It displays the map beautifully and it has a Advanced Lane Guidance, which clearly shows which lane to take at junctions so I won’t miss my turning. When I encounter a rather confusing intersections, the realistic 3D representation of the junction shows me exactly where I should make the turn. It really is an impressive and useful feature! You can also choose whether to view the map on daylight or night time settings and there’s plenty of language settings to choose from too, even Bahasa Indonesia! The others are ranging from Turkish to Afrikaan, which I never use, of course. But, sometimes, when I’m bored, I would change the voice setting to Australian English or Irish :D

Tomtom Go 2050 World comes with a magnetized windscreen mount and the usual transfer cable and charger. The magnetized dock is very easy to detach and reattach and the suction cup has got a very strong hold so you can rest assure that your GPS will not fall down while you’re driving. It also comes with a free 1-year map subscriptions on top of their pre-installed map, and they will update these maps every 3 months. You know that a lot of changes can happen in just 3 months in Jakarta, right? Imagine how many 7-eleven pops up just in your area only! :D

Anyway, there are many cool features that this gadget has, but I’ve laid down to you what I find to be the most important ones for me, as someone who’s quite mobile and has to drive everywhere on my own. From driving my little girl for school tryouts, to go to new clients’ office, having a full-featured GPS device like this is truly a life saver. The only thing missing is the ability to give updated traffic report, which I believe would have to be the most important feature a car navigating device should have for its Jakarta users. The most stressful thing about driving in this so-called metropolitan is not just navigating through the confusing roads, but also the frustrating, never ending traffic! I heard that some Tomtom devices in Europe and North America are already equipped with HD Traffic feature which gives updated traffic info every two minutes. Let’s just hope this will be made available in Indonesia very soon!

Tomtom Go 2050 World is available in some online and offline stores listed here, and retails for IDR 3,780,000. If you’re not ready to invest in a GPS device yet, you could try installing Tomtom application for iPhone and iPad. It’s got the basic and key features of a Tomtom navigation service but also with cool integration with your iOS devices. I’ve also used Tomtom on my iPhone, when I accidentally left the Go 2050 World at home, and I find it working just as well as the device. It has the iOS multitasking support and background navigation instruction, so I could still check my messages or make phone calls, while the navigation still ran in the background. I haven’t fiddled too much with the other features of this app, but as long as it could help me ge to my destination faster, I’m a happy driver! :)