The TomTom Go Live 1000 satnav is a hard argument to make in a world full of smartphones with free navigation. Surely dedicated PND prices should be going down, not up? No matter: this gadget has plenty of features that free alternatives can’t hope to match. Read on and find out whether it’s worth the cash for your dash in our TomTom Go Live 1000 review.
Google Maps Navigation or a TomTom Start2 the TomTom Go Live 1000 is not: this is the swanky one for salesmen permanently on the road, willing to pay a subscription price to dodge traffic jams TomTom’s LIVE service is aware of before the local radio’s man in a chopper. By and large, it justifies its pricing.
Physically, we get the sense TomTom went for iPod touch plush, and failed catastrophically in the process. The 4.3-inch touchscreen runs smoothly into the black bezel, but it’s a broad one. It’s not thin like Garmin’s latest efforts, and the half metal backplate and glowing orange corner that act as a power button make it look like a bike light more than an iPhone 4.
All this we can forgive, as we’d rather our satnav look subtle so as not to be stolen, but what’s disappointing is how slack the fitting between the USB connection (a proprietary one, grrr) and the power cable is. It’s magnetic so it won’t fall out when driving but we found that charging it up indoors was tricky, and it would sometimes fall out when lying flat on a surface.
The screen itself is rather poor, with shallow viewing angles, but it’s capacitive so typing addresses is now blessedly easy, and we’ve never been concerned about the resolution of the display. We just want to know where to go.
A quick word about the mount: we’re half in love with it and half out, as it’s a slightly chunkier affair than TomTom’s recent twisty suckers. It doesn’t fold down on itself, or lace the power cord through it. But it is magnetic, so the TomTom Go Live 1000 pops nicely onto it. Just bear in mind you’ll be keeping it in the glove compartment rather than in your pocket.
We hardly need say that unlike certain smartphones, GPS lock on was never issue and the TomTom Go Live 1000 performed flawlessly. The obvious improvements on the software front begin with the revamped menu screen. You’ll want to dive into the settings when you start up as there’s a handy feature which lets you customise the icons shown on screen, like “Navigate to Google address” or parking.
Voice search is rather inconveniently tucked away, but you can bring it to the screen tweaking the settings this way. Unfortunately, even with our southern RP accent, it struggled to make much sense of our request s most of the time, confusing postcodes for “tourist info” and “Ealing” for “Liverpool Street” – the latter two are not close either phonetically or geographically. Here, Google’s Map Navigation on Android is streets ahead.
But the big deal with the TomTom Go Live 1000 is its web connected services. Google Local Search is onboard once again to bring you up to date POIs. The real reason to pick up a TomTom Go satnav is HD Traffic, which uses anonymous mobile date from mobile networks to detect clusters – in other words, traffic jams.
We’ve always like it, and it works really well on the TomTom Go Live 1000, which picked up the clogs at major arteries in South East London at the times of day we expect them. Google and Nokia can’t possibly match it for accuracy with their free services, and the fact that it’s included free for a year in the price of the TomTom Go Live 1000 is a huge selling point so long as you drive long distances.
There’s no denying it : TomTom, Garmin, Mio and the rest’s low range dedicated satnavs feel increasingly irrelevant in the wake of free phone services, and even the company’s own apps for those platforms.
But the TomTom Go Live 1000 isn’t for casual drivers who only branch out to new territory now and again. It simply isn’t worth the cost. But for those who find themselves on the road plenty – let’s face it, for business – its build, features and up to the minute skills justify the price. And hey, we’re pretty sure the company will expense the subscription cost when it kicks in after a year.