GPS units were some of the most hyped Holiday gifts last year. Because I have about a 15-minute commute, I’ve always wondered what all of the fuss was about. After all, I’m a guy. I never get lost. Why would I need a GPS unit?

Well, with a trip to Las Vegas for CES coming up, I decided it might be a good time to try one out. I had never been to Vegas, so I figured that would be a good test for a GPS unit. Could it get me around a strange city without getting me lost? Then, just after getting the review unit, I had to make a couple of unexpected trips to Cincinnati and Memphis. Seemed like a perfect way to put the TomTom GO 920 GPS unit to the test.

The official product shot from TomTom

The Good

The 920 has just about any feature you could want in a GPS unit (and maybe even a few you don’t) including Bluetooth for hands-free calling when paired with your cellphone, media player with iPod control, FM transmitter for getting your media to your car stereo, voice-recognition, a big screen, a remote control… oh, and maps/directions that show you how to get where you want to go.

The screen

The screen is huge. It measures 4.3″ diagonally. It is very easy to see text and maps when attached to your windshield with the included suction cup mount. The size of the screen means that buttons and menu items are larger and easier to press (without accidentally pressing the wrong option) than on other units.

The screen is also very bright. I used the 920 indoors and outdoors in a variety of lighting situations including direct sunlight. I was always able to see the screen and never had a problem with it washing out. The finish of the screen isn’t glossy either, so you don’t get much glare on the screen when using it hand held. I never had a problem with glare when using it in my car.

The touchscreen on the 920 is big and bright.

The remote control

I think the real secret weapon of the 920 is the remote control (I know that sounds a bit nutty, but hear me out). When the unit is attached to your windshield, it can be difficult to reach. The remote makes it very easy to zip around the menus (while parked, of course), answer your phone via the hands-free Bluetooth feature or change tracks on the media player. No need to awkwardly reach up and try to press the right option when you can click a button or two on the remote. The remote even includes a tiny holster that can be attached to your dash so you don’t lose it.

This is one of my favorite things about the TomTom GO 920

Multiple options for inputting destinations

The 920 gives you a few ways of inputting addresses and destinations. You can connect the 920 to your PC with the included USB cradle and use the TomTom HOME software to enter them. You can use the menu system in the unit to key them in manually. You can also use the 920’s voice recognition feature to speak the address or destination.

Voice recognition quickly became my method of choice for unplanned trips (I put in all of the key destinations for Vegas in via the HOME software). It worked pretty well. Because I listen to talk-heavy NPR on my car stereo, the 920 would sometimes get confused if someone was speaking on the radio when I was trying to say an address. If I turned down the radio, it had no problem at all.

Hands-free calling

When paired with a Bluetoot-capable cellphone, you can use the 920 to make and receive calls. The big 4.3″ screen makes it easy to see who is calling without taking your eyes too far away from the road. I loved this feature on long road trips.

Receiving a call on the 920

Maps & Directions

OK, screens, options and remotes are great; however, it’s still got to get you where you need to go. As I mentioned, I used this extensively over the past few weeks while traveling to Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Memphis. I also used it locally here in Louisville. The GPS only got us off track once. My wife was using the GPS to go to our pediatrician’s office and the 920 tried to take her 1/2 mile past her destination.

Otherwise, the maps and directions were flawless. I was most impressed when making the trip to Cincinnati. We were taking our youngest son to see a specialist at Cincinnati Childrens hospital with a stop on the way in tiny Carrollton, KY to drop our other 3 kids off at a playdate. The 920 got us to the hospital as I figured it would; however, it also took us right to our friends’ house in Carrollton.

The 920 even helped me realize that I was taking longer trips than I needed to when driving in Louisville. Twice it suggested a different route than I was used to and, both times, the suggested route was faster. Very cool.

The Bad

OK, I know I am going to be accused of being a shill or being on the take; however, there isn’t anything I found wrong with the TomTom GO 920. I really enjoyed using it.

I think the $549 price tag could definitely be a turn-off for some people; however, the unit worked great. And, yes, there were some features that I didn’t find particularly useful, like the FM transmitter, but those features still worked as advertised.

The Bottom Line

The TomTom Go 920 GPS is a high-end GPS unit with a huge screen and ton of options. It will get you where you want to go; however, your wallet may feel a little too light when you get there. Get more info from TomTom’s website.