TomTom Via Live 120 review

25 Jan 2011

An excellent satnav with all the features you need to get to your destination – and at a good price too

TomTom Via Live 120
Price when reviewed: 
180(£180 inc VAT)
5

Getting you from A to B in as quick a time as possible has always been a strength of TomTom’s satnavs. Over the years, its devices have marched further and further ahead of the competition, incorporating features such as IQ Routes for quickest route calculation, Google search for finding where you want to go quickly and HD Traffic for deftly avoiding the heaviest traffic jams.

The latest addition to the range is the Via Live 120, incorporating all those time-saving features, but at a starting price considerably lower than previous Go devices. The UK and Republic of Ireland version costs a mere £170 inc VAT, and that includes a year’s subscription to the Live services mentioned above, plus QuickGPSfix and speed camera updates. After the year is up, you pay a further £50 per year, which is still very reasonable.

The best news, though, is there really isn’t that much difference between this and the flagship TomTom Go 1000 model. The 4.3in screen on the Via relies on resistive technology, so it needs firm pressure to activate onscreen buttons, but this doesn’t hinder the Via Live’s operation much. It uses the same streamlined interface as the Go 1000, and we also prefer the way the Via Live 120 has been designed, with its integrated, folding windscreen mount, slim and sculpted design, and gunmetal grey fascia.

It’s tremendously easy to use and works as well as you’d expect. TomToms are the only satnav devices we’ve ever used that always select the fastest route across London, and the Via Live 120 is no different. This is largely thanks to TomTom’s intelligent and accurate IQ Routes technology, which calculates routes based on average speeds recorded by TomTom users rather than posted speed limits.

TomTom Via Live 120

The Google search service, via the device’s built-in SIM card and GPRS modem, is another boon, allowing you to not only search by address, but also for locations outside the on-board points of interest (POI) database, which can be patchy. The speed camera data covers not only fixed locations, but user-updated mobile ones too, via the Road Angel user-updated service. The live traffic updates are the best we’ve encountered on any satnav system.

Critically, the speaker is also loud and clear with voice instructions that are delivered in a timely manner. And, among other features, you’ll find voice control (which works erratically), Bluetooth and an accelerometer, which rights the screen when you turn the device upside down.

However, we do have a few criticisms, and they all focus on the new desktop software: MyTomTom is no replacement for the old TomTom Home software. Despite being initially introduced with the Go 1000 at the end of 2010, there’s still no facility for downloading custom Points Of Interest, nor for accessing other users’ incredibly handy map updates – which is a bit of a pain.

Despite these niggles, the TomTom Via Live 120 is an excellent little satnav, and with all the features on offer, a very good value one too. And if it falls in price as quickly as the TomTom Go 1000 has since its launch, then theTomTom Via Live 120 should be an even bigger bargain in a month or two.

Details

Price ex VAT £150
Price inc VAT £180
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
GPS recommended use In-car

Mapping

Maps supplied UK and Ireland
Map data provider Tele Atlas

Hardware

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 480 x 272
In-car mount type Windscreen
External GPS antenna included? no
Bluetooth support yes
Front panel memory card reader yes
Sync via cable? yes
Sync via cradle? no
FM transmitter? no

Other functions

Traffic information Via GPRS
Speed-camera warning yes
Postcode search 7-digit

PC Software

Software supplied MyTomTom

Dimensions

Dimensions 119 x 80 x 25mm (WDH)