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TomTom Via Live 120 review

TomTom Via Live 120


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

Review Date: 25 Jan 2011

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £150 (£180 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Hands Free

I own one of these and the navigation is excellent but the hands free is rubbish.

By billtranter on 25 Jan 2011

The TeleAtlas mapping is utterly abysmal and dreadfully out of date, you'd be better off buying a Garmin 3790.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 26 Jan 2011


At present item purchased November the function for updating maps is not operative for 1000/1005 models [see support information].

Therefore anyone expecting to be able to upgrade maps will be disappointed. The sales information is probably likely to be incorrect.

Surely your reviewer should have been clearer about this.

As a very late adopter to SatNav, I was disappointed that the TomTom [TeleAtlas mapping] considers that it is appropriate to turn off Fleet Street into a private car park protected by a barrier through some gates with pedestrian access only and down some steps [to gain access to Kings Bench Walk] rather than the more normal way via Tudor Street.

If you can't get reasonable accuracy in Central London [and it has been like this since the year dot] what hope is there?

By Grant100 on 26 Jan 2011

£50 Subscription charge. Reasonable?

In what sense canb it be considered "reasonable" to pay a £50 per year subscription charge? £10 for regular updates of the basic mapping information would be reasonable; anything more than that is simply profiteering. Especially when much of the TeleAtlas information is either outdated or inaccurate.

By metaflesh on 27 Jan 2011


This is a 1-star satnav until they make it possible to download map updates, maps of other regions and custom POIs (e.g. PGPSW speed cameras). It isn't market-ready without those capabilities.

By dhaverty on 27 Jan 2011

Subsucription charge...

Just to clarify, metaflesh, the subscription charge covers the GPRS data connection and Live services, which includes HD Traffic, Google search, and the Road Angel speed camera updates. I think £50 is pretty reasonable for all that.

As far as the accuracy of the mapping is concerned, Grant100, I think you're being a touch unfair. No mapping data can ever be 100% accurate - you're always bound to find the odd discrepancy in any mapping database - but if it's 99.9% there, it'll get you to your destination.

I've driven thousands of miles guided by all sorts of satnavs over the years and I've never really had serious cause for complaint from any of them regarding mapping accuracy.

I also think encouraging you to pay to update your map regularly is also a bit of a money-making ruse. Most people simple don't need to do it on a practical level.

In fact I'd rather have accurate and up to date traffic information, clear instructions that don't confuse and quick, intuitive address entry. And that's exactly what the TomTom Via Live 120 delivers.

Jonathan Bray,
Reviews Editor.

By JonBray on 27 Jan 2011

map updates

i've done map updates (my house is on a road that isnt in the database). A few months later, out comes a new map -- and its still not there. Seems to me that map updating is a waste of time.

By JonH_ on 27 Jan 2011

I've tried getting TomTom & TeleAtlas to update their maps around Taunton, to no avail... Drive towards Williton on the A358 & you find that at least one location you're driving along the West Somerset Railway, turnings are wrong, the road where I live is classed as a through road, it might have been in the days of the horse & cart, but not for many, many years since!

It's also been named incorrectly 5 times despite me constantly recorrecting the error that some dimwitted moron keeps putting back in, I've lived here in my village for nearly 50 years so I think I know what the name of my road is by now!

As for installing 3rd party POI's TomTom have conceded that point and have stated that this feature will be reinstated sometime this year... So read that for sometime when hell freezes over as they never keep their promises.

One peeved TomTom owner.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 28 Jan 2011


Connected 1005 for update. Whatever it is updating, it still has map erro referred to above. They were told.....

Quote from TomTom Website

The following navigation devices connect to MyTomTom:
GO 1000 series, Via series, Sony XNV

We are currently introducing MyTomTom for the latest generation of TomTom devices. MyTomTom helps you manage the contents and services of your navigation device.

Some features are not yet available but will be in the near future.

•Latest Map Guarantee
Currently this functionality is not available for your device.

This was bought in November 2010 it is now February 2011.

By Grant100 on 13 Feb 2011

Interesting read, do you have a top ten satnav list?I am looking for something like this:

By storm311 on 18 Jul 2011

My thoughts on Via Live 125

I bought one of these a few months ago to replace my Navman 'Crap Nav'.#

Generally it is very good but there a few things I don't like, such as:

1. Connecting to a PC has been a nightmare (still not sorted), you have to use a new App called MyTomTom rather than the old TomTom Home - but this is not really clear. The new app seems to be very buggy and for me just does not work.
2. The support is bit rubbish. There is an online chat facility, but I have only managed to connect to that once (the rest of the time it tells you are in a queue, then once you get to being in first place, it drops the connection saying no one is available!). I did get connected once, but it was like talking to a machine (I suspect it is an Indian call centre) – all nice words but totally ineffectual like so many offshore support facilities.
3. The touch screen is difficult to use, sometimes you have to really stab it to get it to respond, the pressure required seems to be very variable
4. Entering a point of interest into a particular city/town seems really clunky – you have to enter a street address first (or just centre of city/town), then go back in and change route to select a POI in or near the city – most bizarre!
5. A someone else has mention, the phone hands free is really rubbish, you can barely hear the other person, even when stationary
6. There is a long section on the M25 where it thinks a 50 mph limit is enforced, if you go above this it keeps pinging at you – this goes on for miles and is really annoying!
7. if it hasn’t been used for more than a few days the battery seems to run down and the unit won’t start until it has reached a certain amount of charge – this can take 10 mins or so.
Aside from those niggles, it does seem to the basic job of helping you get from A to B pretty well. Good points being:
1. The display is nice and clear and navigation instructions are pretty easy to follow
2. The speed camera alerts are handy
3. The google search is pretty handy
4. The traffic jam info is really useful
Overall I am glad I bought it, but I hope they sort out the lame PC connectivity and feeble support

By spats on 9 Oct 2011


Bought this tom tom for handsfree but unless you place the tt on the side window as close as possible to the driver the person on the other end of yr blutooth fone cannot hear you,, TomTom needs to get this sorted, I really think the device should have a plug in mic that can be fitted to the sun visor. how else could the other person hear you especially if you own a convertible.

By userboy on 27 Nov 2011

TomTom via Live 120 - Not recommended, returned unit

* GPS locking is appalling - up to 8 minutes in a non-built up area.
* Route planning takes too long
* Voice guidance nice idea but forget it. It does not understand me or my wife.
* I find the menus over complicated. I just want it to go straight to a navigate to button.

How can TomTom get it so wrong?? The original TomTom One was much better (Setup was easy, usage was easy. GPS locking was fast . It just worked ').
I bought the TomTom via Live 120 in Dec 2011 and I have been using it now for 7 months. And it has given me so many problems.
The original setting of "My TomTom", to link the Via Live 120 to the computer was painful. I only wanted to download latest maps and updates. But I could not get it to work. I am an IT professional so I know what I am doing . After many long support calls /emails, it turns out you cannot have two TomTom device registered to same email account !!!!.
Then on 01 April it stopped working. Conveniently while on holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was driving around Fulham in London, and when I got a junction it kept loosing GPS and I it had no idea where to go. It did eventually lock again and got me to my destination.
01 July there is now another update App -
Guess what for !!!
* GPS navigation has been improved for built-up areas and locations where the device does not have a strong GPS signal.
* Several performance improvements and bug fixes have been made.

Too many updates TomTom, I have returned untit to Amazon!!!!!!!

By scotts62 on 2 Jul 2012

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