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One year free access to ‘HD Traffic’ services providing live traffic evaluation and navigation updates. The easy to use touch screen display and clever functionality will make navigating to your destination a breeze.
TomTom’s Go Live 825 satellite navigation system sets a high standard for its competition with a stylish design, intuitive usability and an impressive set of features not always found in mid-range sat navs.
The real ‘piece de resistance’ of the Go Live 825 is TomTom’s inclusion of its ‘LIVE’ services. Introduced in 2008, ‘LIVE’ services enable the user’s device to receive updates and connected services via mobile phone networks using an internal SIM card built in to the device which eliminates the need to connect a separate mobile phone. These services include a variety of useful information such as ‘HD Traffic’, local Google search options and safety notifications. The only real negative to speak of here is that ‘LIVE’ services are only free for a year, after which an annual fee of £47 is demanded from TomTom; although if you drive frequently or professionally, this is absolutely worth it.
The Go Live 825 is a stylish, contemporary looking device dominated by a 5” (480x272) touch screen display ideal for ease of use whilst on the go. The screen is clear, bright and features a matte venire to aid legibility when there is bright sunlight outside.
The device itself is slim, compact and the windscreen mount (rubber sucker pad) is attached to and folds in to the rear of the housing. This is an excellent feature as it allows the Go Live 825 to be folded flat (for your glove box) whilst eliminating the need to constantly remove your mount from the windscreen for security. Whilst this sounds fairly obvious, it shows a good deal of innovation on TomTom’s part as they have solved an aggravating sat-nav dilemma which existed (for me at least) for years.
The only other physical design features to speak of reside on the back of the device and are the power button and mini-USB port (for charging via the included 12v charger with mini-USB cable). There is also a mini SD card reader enabling the easy addition of new maps (45 EU maps are included). The remainder of functionality is accessed and controlled entirely through the touch screen display which projects the easy to use, comprehensive interface familiar to TomTom users worldwide. One point of contention, we found, is the sensitivity of the touch screen which some thought required too much pressure for input/ selection. It is worth noting that this is most likely intentional on TomTom’s part in that the touch screen is ‘resistive’ in order to avoid unwanted disturbances whilst driving, which could result in concentration being unnecessarily and dangerously diverted from the road ahead.
The most obvious and important feature of any satellite navigation system is of course navigating itself, and the Go Live 825 does this with maximum ease and minimal fuss. As mentioned, TomTom’s interface is most user friendly and free of superfluous information. Tap the screen on start-up and you will be greeted with a simple ‘navigate-to’ option to input a destination. There are various sub-options available to make your life (and navigation) easier including ‘favourites’ (which can be saved on the internal 4GB flash memory), ‘postcode look-up’, ‘recent destinations’ and (thanks to ‘LIVE’ services) ‘Google local search’ which enables navigating points of interest found online. To add to the safety and convenience properties included here, you can naturally also input destinations using voice input to avoid any lapses in concentration whilst driving.
As with any sat nav, once the destination has been entered, calculation of a route will begin. The speed of this will depend largely on how far and complex the intended route will be and the Go Live 825 performed well to this end. Before finally accepting your route, the Go Live 825 will provide you with a step by step route summary along with map depiction and HD Traffic information, which will be discussed shortly. Once the destination and route have been agreed upon, you will be provided with all necessary information including journey duration, weather conditions and any incidents or works which may affect your route. As an added bonus, the Go Live 825 also features ‘Lane assist’ and speed trap alerts all of which should help keep your journey as safe and easy as possible.
As mentioned, the real oyster here which makes the Go Live 825 (and TomTom ‘LIVE’ enabled products in general) a standout in its class has to be the ingenious ‘HD Traffic’ service. This feature automatically evaluates the traffic situation on a selected route and re-routes according to live data. At this point you may be thinking that this is nothing that special but it is the way in which the Go Live 825 accumulates traffic data that sets it apart. In order to provide the most accurate evaluation of traffic, TomToms gather information from a variety of sources including RDS-TMC information, Vodafone mobile networks and other ‘LIVE’ devices resulting in a far more complete and route-specific service than could otherwise be hoped for. The only real downside to this is that should something occur whilst you are en route, the Go Live 825 will accurately tell you how much longer it will take to get home than it would have originally! It is worth reiterating at this point that ‘HD Traffic’ only remains free for the first year of ownership and becomes a subscription service after that.
Another, non-navigational extra that TomTom have included is Bluetooth connectivity for hands free use of your mobile whilst driving. It must be said that call quality wasn’t outstanding but the Go Live 825 will answer the phone for you automatically if desired, stopping all of that rushing to find the phone whilst driving. Most people won’t be too concerned about these minor details though as the Go Live 825 is a master at what counts: the business of optimal navigation.
The TomTom Go Live 825 really is an excellent device. With many premium features at a mid-range price and a stylish design with a holistic array of features it truly is hard to beat. Full ‘LIVE’ functionality, combined with TomTom’s expertise in mobile navigation devices makes this an attractive product indeed. If you are in the market for a truly reliable navigation system and don’t want to spend the earth or compromise on features, you really could do a lot worse that giving a Go Live 825 a go!
Responsive and user friendly interface, clear voice navigation system, lots of helpful features such as 'map share' and 'eco route' as well as the acclaimed 'HD traffic' (free for one year).
There are a wide range of dedicated navigation devices available, but they are not cheap and it can be tough to know which one to go for. There’s always the option of being ‘old school’ and simply stopping to ask for directions, but that’s often more trouble than it’s worth. Another solution now available to iPhone or Android smart-phone owners is to purchase a built-in navigation application such as the latest software from TomTom.
Regardless of whether you’re an iPhone or Android owner, the TomTom mobile app is just as effective on either platform and is guaranteed to make travel easier. In addition to offering the most accurate directions available in mobile navigation software, TomTom gives you a range of really useful extra features. Directions are clearly spoken and the user can customise the app’s speaking voice. There’s also clever technology that helpfully determines your journey time. TomTom even provide information about the route you’re taking, such as restaurants and sights worth seeing along the way.
If you’ve been wondering what navigation system to get and you own a smart-phone, why not consider the TomTom app for iPhone or Android instead?
TomTom is very well regarded in the world of dedicated navigation systems, enjoying huge success with a range of popular models available. This is why it’s slightly concerning when a company like TomTom that performs a specific service so well turns its hand to something new. The big question is whether a navigation system confined within a mobile phone’s operating system can hold a candle to its more expensive, stand-alone siblings. The answer is a resounding yes, as the TomTom mobile software performs brilliantly, whilst also being wonderfully easy to use.
The first thing that’s worth warning you about is that it’s a big app, requiring 1.81 GB of space for the full Europe edition (a UK only edition is also available but at such a marginal price difference that it’s worth getting the extra support for Europe). This is unlikely to bother you if you own a smart-phone with a lot of memory, but could be taxing on lesser models without much space.
There’s very little waiting time whilst the app boots up and once open, it reveals a user friendly interface that is easy to manage. A home screen displays various settings that can be altered (volume, mute, etc.), as well as quick access to useful lists (that you can set up later) like your favourite destinations. You’ll notice the ‘Navigate To’ button at the top of the screen which can be pressed to bring up a menu where you enter your desired destination. Getting around the app is essentially no different from the way in which you explore the rest of your smart-phone, using touch-screen controls to select features and the on-screen keyboard to type addresses.
Directions are effectively displayed in the form of clearly labelled maps that show your journey’s route and your actual location on the route at all times. Your speed, journey duration and distance to your next turning are shown along the bottom of the screen to keep you informed as you drive. The automatic day and night mode handily changes your screen’s brightness for safe reading automatically according to the light-level at any given time. There’s also ‘Advanced Lane Guidance’ which shows 3D images of complicated motorway junctions and highlights the lane that you need to take. This is an excellent feature that is bound to stop you from going wrong time and time again.
As with most navigation system interfaces, the TomTom mobile software ensures that you can keep your eyes on the road by offering spoken instructions that you can simply follow. A quirky extra allows you to personalise the system’s sound with a variety of celebrity voices, but they’re expensive and won’t do anything to improve the already excellent navigation service.
Even in mobile application form TomTom give you a range of extra features that will save time and improve the overall quality of your journeys. Whether you’re using the software on iPhone or Android, these features are what set TomTom apart from rival navigation apps.
When it comes to navigation systems directions are the most important thing. We’ve already covered how TomTom’s intelligent interface imparts directions to the user, but there are also a number of features that make planning a journey that much easier. Multi-stop route planning allows you to plan your journey with up to 5 destinations that you want to travel via en route. This is great for road-trips where you might need to pick up more than one person, or simply to plan sights to see along your way. TomTom also give access to Google listings of the latest restaurants and amenities on your journey. As roads are subject to frequent change TomTom frequently updates maps to reflect the changes accordingly and if there’s anything they miss, ‘MapShare’ technology allows other TomTom users to inform you of day-to-day map changes like temporary road-works. Another nice touch is the ability to share your journey’s route with friends directly through your phone’s contacts list.
TomTom has also integrated technology that is guaranteed to save you time. ‘IQ Routes technology’ uses data that has been amassed from millions of unique TomTom users to calculate the duration of your journey. This is really helpful for letting friends or relatives know when you’re going to arrive and it even takes traffic lights into consideration for extremely accurate timing.
There’s also an ‘Eco Routes’ feature for the environmentally conscious that lets you know the most fuel-efficient path that you can take, helping cut down on your carbon footprint. Another fun feature lets you merely tap an image of a location and directions will immediately be supplied. This is more of a gimmick to impress friends than a must-have feature, but it’s amusing nonetheless.
A really good feature is ‘multi-tasking’ which allows you to listen to music or use the phone without missing important directions. Music is automatically faded out when directions are issued and returns to normal volume thereafter. This is really handy as no one likes to drive in silence, but it’s even worse to miss an important turning; now you don’t have to endure either.
More of a mixed-bag are the speed camera and ‘HD Traffic’ features. The TomTom app gives you a feature that alerts you to the presence of speed cameras and does so excellently. We would ordinarily be praising it as another outstanding feature, were it not for the fact that you have to pay extra for the full-version. The app has the potential to inform you of all cameras whether they are fixed or not, but this option can only be unlocked for an additional fee. Similarly, the phenomenal ‘HD Traffic’ feature supplies advanced traffic coverage so that you can avoid lengthy queues. ‘HD Traffic’ works brilliantly, but like the full speed camera feature, has to be paid extra for. We think it’s a bit mean that neither of these features were included as standard, but grudgingly have to admit that ‘HD Traffic’ in particular might be worth the extra expense due to how accurate it is.
The TomTom navigation app for Android and iPhone presents consumers with a great alternative to dedicated sat-nav systems. It works really well regardless of whether you’re an iPhone or Android user and despite being expensive for an app, represents comparatively good value for money considering the price of stand-alone devices. TomTom’s simple interface is easy to use and gives immediate access to the most important details of your journey. Great features like ‘MapShare’ make sure you’re aware of any changes to the road you’re on, whilst ‘Eco Route’ allows you to take the most economic route possible. Other useful features like the excellent ‘HD Traffic’ information service require additional payment, but you don’t have to use them and if you do, ‘HD Traffic’ is particularly worthwhile.
If travel’s on your mind and you’ve been wondering what navigation system would be best for you, TomTom for iPhone or Android is worth considering. It saves the expense of a stand-alone system without compromising on TomTom’s excellent navigation service and is conveniently accessed from your smart-phone. We think it’s an outstanding mobile app.
Modestly priced with large colour touch-screen, simple and easy to use functionality with bonus features such as 'where am I?' and traffic alerts service.
To many, the Garmin company name is synonymous with navigation devices. As specialists in all forms of navigation, from aviation to marine, it would be reasonable to expect dedicated, quality products based on years of expertise. For a straightforward, easy to use portable satellite navigation system at under £100, the Garmin Nüvi 30 ticks most boxes. It is unapologetically basic, yet has everything you would expect from a device of this price and a few extra features as an added bonus. The notable thing here is the price. Garmin have striven to create a functional, comprehensive product which does what it should without compromising the intended low cost.
Simplicity is the key here, and anyone with knowledge of Garmin navigation systems will be in familiar territory here. The front façade of the device is a colour touch screen and has good resolution and sensitivity. On the top side of the 30 you will find a switch which both turns it on when slid in one direction and locks the screen when moved in the other. On the left side is an SD card reader slot and the back is used for the speaker and mini-USB port. The Nüvi comes with a mount for your car (with cradle and suction cup), a dashboard disk, a quick start guide and a 12v power cable (with GTM traffic receiver). One criticism that must be levelled at Garmin is the omission of a standard USB option for connection with a PC/ Mac (for updates) and lack of a mini USB cable, which must be bought separately. These are small prices to pay for such low cost, however, and you may find that you already own a mini USB cable as they are commonly used with many smart phones and digital cameras.
The 30 employs the most elementary of interfaces which really is fool-proof. The main screen features two simple main icons to choose from (‘Where to?’ and ‘View map’) and various smaller control tabs below (volume etc.). All you need to do is turn it on, hit the ’Where to?’ option, enter an address and you will be guided to that destination. For simplicity and ease of use, this cannot be beaten. Re-charging is child’s play using the 12v power cable and battery life is good, with up to 4 hours use between charges.
This particular model features the inclusion of Garmin’s traffic alerts service which provides information regarding road works, delays and accidents which may affect your route. This works via the automotive power cable and requires no set up whatsoever. The 30 is also available without this option, although it can be useful despite re-routing not always being the optimal route if you are familiar with the area.
The Nüvi 30 is preloaded with maps for the UK and Ireland and directions are visually displayed in either 2 or 3D and spoken in clearly audible terms. Surrounding areas are shown in digital elevation maps with colour contrasting areas for full comprehension of where you are. A further addition here is the ‘Points of Interest’ option which allows you to navigate to amenities and other useful destinations in the area (such as post offices for example)
An excellent feature, which could easily have been omitted at this price is the ‘Where am I?’ function. When employed, this will give you instant details of your current location: from your exact coordinates (should you require emergency recovery) to the nearest emergency services location or local petrol station. In addition to this, the Nüvi 30 features Garmin’s ‘advanced Cyclops safety camera database’ which sounds an alert (Europe-wide, should you have those maps loaded) if you approach any form of traffic enforcement camera. The database includes hundreds of fixed and mobile cameras whether they are monitoring speed or traffic lights, providing a valuable addition to your safety on the move. On major routes, speed limit information is also displayed for ultimate convenience.
Garmin has also chosen to include a few non-navigation related features including a photo viewer (used in conjunction with the SD card reader), a calculator, world clock and unit-converter. Whilst these things are indeed a bonus, this device is not about features, it is about economy. As mentioned, if you seek a basic, quality navigation system which is intended overwhelmingly for the purpose of navigation, the Nüvi 30 is a great option for you.
The Garmin Nüvi 30 is an attractive, easy to use, simple compact satellite navigation system. It really is as simple as that. If you want ease of use, great value for money with practically no superfluous features, you could really do a lot worse that buying one of these. It has a great design, comprehensively simple interface and rapid calculating times (of route etc.) and is therefore a most sensible option indeed.
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