Customer Reviews: TomTom GO LIVE 1535M 5-Inch Bluetooth GPS Navigator with HD Traffic, Lifetime Maps, and Voice Recognition(Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've updated this several times: After unpacking, you'll see that this is a cool looking GPS. It's patterned to look like carbon fiber, and is all black and sleek. The suction-cup is attached and features TomTom's locking wheel - this also doubles as a place to wind the USB cable (provided.)

So I opened the box while in the car and took it for a test drive. The 12v plug (what we older drivers still call a cigarette plug) has a standard USB outlet - so it can power other devices as well. The TomTom uses the smaller USB port common to cell phones and newer devices - so it will also charge and power my Droid. I plugged in the power, stuck the GPS to my windshield (It includes a dash mount, but I prefer windshield) - and was stuck. It would not turn on. Time to open the manual. Turns out the power button has to be held in for 10 seconds. That solved, I was ready to go.

The opening screen looked like a mini-hidef TV intro. After the opening screen closed I was given the option of taking a short intro/tutorial covering navigation. I took the tutorial. It only covers the very basics and takes about two minutes. I added my "home" location - took another couple of minutes and drove around. The GPS starts up and finds satellites blazingly fast - only a few seconds. While it discovers the satellites the GPS shows tips on using the GPS.

It's highly accurate - more so than my previous TomTom or two year old Garmin. The large screen is gorgeous and crisp. It's less cluttered than other GPS unit's I've used. The new interface is akin to the minimized Google maps you see - smaller icons that expand when you touch them. There are no buttons except the power - everything else is touch-screen based.

The features list goes on and on and on. Voice commands, traffic avoidance (updates every 2 minutes), built-in Google places, Expedia, TripAdvisor and Yelp, instant twitter updates and more. The "live" services are included for one year (currently $60 a year.) One big reason to take a serious look at this GPS - FREE LIFETIME MAP UPDATES ($100 value! That's worth the price of the GPS alone. If you keep it plugged in, the unit will turn on and off automatically. It also pairs with your phone via BlueTooth - it acts as an extension of your phone - displays caller ID and can even place calls. HOWEVER: The volume is terrible. Even at 100% the car would have to be parked to hear anyone.

Pretty much every feature can be customized, so you can tailor the GPS to your tastes and needs. You can mount the GPS right side up or upside down - the display flips automatically. There's even an area where you can create a custom menu. Other settings include removing non-essential items from the display, selecting what is spoken (signs, text messages from phone, etc.), call answering options and more.

Pairing with my DroidX took moments (after I made the Droid discoverable.) The GPS supplied step by step instructions - nice. After pairing, the GPS had my phone book, calling history, etc. Great! Now I have a new hands-free device to try.

One thing to be aware of - the TomTom website is quirky. You can't hook the GPS up to a hub (no idea why) - it has to be plugged directly into the computer. If the update hangs it WILL lock-up the GPS. The software does not provide this warning - but if you contact TomTom support, it's the first thing they'll tell you. Speaking of support - TomTom uses volunteers for the majority of their support (this is according to the couple of TomTom tech support people I have dealt with.) I went through this with my TomTom Ease. The software turned it into a paperweight and I had to do a factory reset (easy once tech support told me how.)

So when you hook it up to your computer, use a port ON the computer. Don't use a hub!

This part I'm entering/editing while using the TomTom website, a work in progress...

The "My TomTom" website: Still needs a lot of work. I already had an account. It took a five (yes, five) logins to work. I would login, click a link and had to log in again. Every time I clicked a link, I had to log in again. The next thing I knew I had 6 browser tabs all open to the same page. This is the only way to update your GPS and add custom content.

Once I was finally logged-in, updates were detected. I downloaded the three updates and watched the status portion of the browser flash, change size, disappear, and finally stop with the blue status displaying only the top half, stating "Your navigation device is up to date. There are no updates waiting for installation." All the while in the other part of the screen displaying pending updates.

The included instructions for activating the lifetime map updates did not work - again, website issues. There is no place to enter the code! Plus the help screens sometimes calls it an activation code and other times a promotion code. The option is missing from the menu. I'm also forced to update my profile every few screens. It looks like TomTom has two different sites they are trying to merge and all the links have not been updated. After clicking on the "MyTomTom" menu literally 50 times, the "Activate Code" finally showed up - and the other screen issues cleared up as well. Time to enter the code. Or so I thought. I had to "connect the device" - although it was already connected because of the previous update. So I unplugged the GPS and plugged it in again. I was then able to enter the code. After doing this, I was forwarded to the update detection screen. It displayed the "No Updates" message and a status indicating the device needed updating and that updates would be done in 4 minutes. 5 seconds later, that message was gone. Sheesh.

I still give the device 5 stars, but the website gets 3. They really need to update it. Since they use the website to communicate with and update the GPS, this is no little thing. My other issue with this is that the TomTom software (even though it's web based) takes up 4meg of RAM whether the GPS is connected or not.

OK, back to the software update. It started at 24 minutes remaining. 5 minutes later it was at 6 hours and change. A couple of more minutes and it was at 1 hour, 15 minutes. Then it moved around between 45 minutes and 2 hours. I'm on a business class broadband connection - this bizarre download estimate is not from my end. The total time was closer to 30 minutes. After this was complete, it displayed that the update would take 2 hours and 22 minutes to update the GPS. Then it displayed 44 minutes. Then 22. Then 35. As I watched the display on the GPS (and monitor) it would constantly jump up and down. Really bizarre and very annoying. this is over a period of 20 minutes) It in fact took 1 hour 11 minutes. At the end it jumped from 8 minutes to 0.

Hopefully not everyone has these issues. Once I was past all these problems everything worked fine.

If you do have issues:

First try unplugging and plugging the GPS back in (as long as no updates are installing.)
Try a computer reboot.
Try a GPS reset - hold the power button in for 20 seconds.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Since submitting my original video review and accompanying narrative, I discovered that I had a defective unit and have therefore removed much of my original narrative. I've added to what remained to reflect the current state of affairs.

The touch-screen was out of calibration on my first 1535M. By that I mean that if I tried to touch directly on an on-screen button or make an on-screen selection, the screen registered my touch as if I were touching the item above what I wanted. The unit was also very sluggish in responding to on-screen touches. The replacement 1535M which I received after waiting for almost a month has none of the calibration issues but is still not as responsive to touch as I am accustomed to on my iPhone 4 or my Garmin GPS. You have to really make a deliberate jab at the screen for it to register your touches. It's aggravating and made all the more aggravating since trying to touch the screen deliberately when it is mounted on your windshield is next to impossible. You really need to remove the mount from the windshield each time you need to program in a route and that is my next issue with the 1535M.

At first I thought the integrated windshield mount was good but now that I've used it I can say that I dislike it greatly. It is not convenient to remove from the windshield once it's attached. Since the touchscreen requires such a deliberate touch, you need to remove the device from the windshield each time you need to enter in route information which is frequently for me. And usually my navigator (my wife) is the one who has to enter route info while I'm driving with her. Needless to say, the inconvenience and hassle of trying to release the mount every time you need to enter info into the device is a great nuisance. My Garmin Nuvi had a simple clip that easily allowed the GPS to be removed from the mount, leaving the rest of the mount stuck on the windshielf. Not so with the TomTom mount. I also find it very difficult to remove and remount the windshield mount on my windshield. It's extremely awkward. I'll be looking for a beanbag dashboard mount in the near future.

Prior to this TomTom, I have used Garmin devices. Consequently the TomTom menu system and the entire way the TomTom is designed and the way it works is quite different from what I'm accustomed. In other words, if you are coming from the Garmin world, you've got some adapting to do... in a big way. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but be forewarned that they way you used to do things will be much different with the TomTom.

Upon unboxing, I was immediately struck with how elegantly designed the TomTom 1535M was. Surprisingly thin, nice rounded edges and and gently flowing curvature on the back side. The USB port is recessed which is nice and the GPS has what I consider to be a somewhat novel mounting arrangement. The swivel and suction cup is integrated with the GPS itself. You can swivel the GPS 360 degrees and as you do so the display auto-rotates. That was not expected but was pretty cool. It's similar to how an iPod touch or iPhone display rotates when you turn the device to a different orientation. However even though the screen re-orients itself, it is only doing so at 180 degrees (it's always going to be in landscape mode.)

The on/off button on the back is a nice size, not too small, not too large and is also recessed so that it flush with the back panel. Aesthetically it was very pleasing. To turn the unit on, you depress the button and hold it for a few seconds. The manual says 10 seconds but I never hold it that long, usually only about 3 seconds. Startup is quick speedy especially compared to my Garmin Nuvi which takes much much longer to start up. The TomTom also seems to acquire satellites much faster than the Garmin.

I think the way that TomTom displays routing and maps in general is superb. It is such an improvement in the way that my Garmin Nuvi displays maps. TomTom has a really cool 3D look and arrows to indicate turns are huge, well-positioned and make it so much easier to read on-screen.

The manner in which spoken routing cues are delivered is also way different that the way that Garmin does it. And I much prefer the TomTom method.

Bluetooth connectivity was difficult with my iPhone. It took me several pairing attempts before I was able to successfully pair my iPhone with the GPS. And then once they saw each other, it took several attempts for the TomTom to accept the pairing code. Once paired, the TomTom quickly retrieved the phone book from my iPhone. I have continual difficulty actually trying to place calls though. TomTom will say that the line is in use when in fact it is not in use. When trying to receive a call, the TomTom had difficulty recognizing my touch on the screen and I was not able to easily answer an incoming call. Once a call was answered via the TomTom. the caller told me that my voice was garbled and very difficult to understand. The caller did not sound very loud to me and was difficult to hear through the TomTom speaker. I actually had to terminate the call and call back using my bluetooth headset since I was unable to really use the TomTom for cell phone use and once the call ended, the TomTom continued to display the name of the caller at the top of the screen. Not sure why it didn't just go away after the call ended. When I clicked on the "banner" for the call, the next screen showed an option to end the call and clicking on that displayed an error saying that it was "unable to end the call please check your mobile phone." Oh brother. Looks like a firmware update is needed to get the bugs out of this device.

Once, I entered a route and the TomTom told me to "turn right Route 20, then." Then what? Then nothing. Fortunately I knew where I was going and it wasn't until my next upcoming turn that I was alerted what I was to do next.

The 1535M has some great qualities and features and maybe Firmware updates can fix the sensitivity issue of the touchscreen. Maybe not.

So compared to my original 1535M, I am happy to report that the terrible problems I was having with the touchscreen have mostly been remedied by the new unit. However the sensitivity of the screen still requires a deliberate touch on the screen to register. I still find the touchscreen more difficult to use than any other touchscreen device that I own, such as my iPhone 4 or Garmin GPS. It's way better than the original 1535M, but still not as good as I would like to see.

An unexpected glitch in the return process has rendered my "Live" service as "expired." So now I have to go through the time-consuming process of contacting TomTom service again to resolve this issue. Sigh. This is such a chore. And the TomTom website continues to operate very strangely. After downloading the MyTomTom software and connecting my GPS to my computer via USB, it then auto-connects to MyTomTom website but there are glitches galore on the site. First it says my unit is up to date, then later it says there is a new map update and HD Cameras update. It starts downloading the map update which took over 4 hours... really TomTom? 4 hours on my 10Mbps Time Warner RoadRunner connection? And after downloading the new map, it did it again.
I spent the better part of this afternoon with my Garmin connected to my computer instead of in my car.

So now it's back to getting used to all the differences between how the TomTom works as compared to Garmin GPS's. I'm more of a Garmin kind of guy given all the issues I continue to have with the TomTom. Today I entered a route that Garmin gets me to logically and efficiently, TomTom came up with a "fastest" route that was unusual and not at all intuitive. It may have been about the same mileage as the Garmin route, but from my point of view, I would never choose to go that route. Fortunately TomTom also offered an alternate route that was the same as what Garmin chose but it wasn't intuitive to choose the alternate route instead of the primary suggestion.

On the plus side, I do like the vocal cues better on the TomTom. There are more cues that a turn is coming up and they are given with more advance notice. It's much easier to miss a turn with the Garmin. I also prefer the default female voice on the TomTom. Not all the voices on the TomTom speak street names. In English, only Samantha and in French, only Julie speak the street names.

It's a decent GPS that is very different from Garmin. If you've never had a Garmin, you may not have as many mis-givings about the TomTom as I do. On the other hand I do like a lot about the TomTom. I'll give it some time and see if I adjust and will certainly update my review if my opinion changes in any of the areas I've mentioned.

Until then I've updated my rating to 3 stars. I'm docking it some stars for the finicky touchscreen, awkward windshield mount and flaky website which must be accessed frequently to stay up to date with maps, cameras and other possible updates.

UPDATE: 11/28/2011 - This GPS has some very annoying characteristics. When routing instructions are spoken, it will say something like "In a quarter mile turn right" but as I approach the turn, no further command is given such as "turn right". I frequently fly by my turn because I am not reliably given notice except at the quarter mile mark. And in an area with lots of side streets, this just doesn't cut it.

I also can't seem to easily save a destination as a favorite. Just tonight I searched for a destination and then used it as my route. Upon arriving at the destination, I wanted to save it as a favorite but could not figure out how to do that. On my Garmin It's way easier to do this.

UPDATE: 11/30/2011 - As I use this more, I find more annoyances but have also found a few pros. First the cons... The 1535M does not tell you when it is "recalculating". If you miss your turn, and you will miss your turn because of my aformentioned comments on that, it just creates a new route on the fly but doesn't tell you. It just shows the new route. The problem with this is that there is a period of time... maybe 10-20 seconds where you have no route at all on the display. You're basically lost until the new route displays. So you might miss several opportunities to get back on route quickly due to the fact that the TOmTOm hasn't told you what the new directions are yet. This is very annoying.

I am also increasingly bothered by all the extra button-pushing that the TOMTOM forces me to make. Arrrrrgh. all I want is to put in my route and see it. Give it to me TomTom, don't force me to push buttons to see the map. Whatever team of brainiacs that designed the user-interface for this needs to learn more about effective UI's.

On the Pro side, I have finally discovered the joy of using voice commands. Although I like the way Garmin displays restaurants, for instance, the TomTom doesn't really do that unless you use voice command feature. With that you can just say, "Drive to the nearest Starbucks" and it will show you the list of Starbucks. But a BIG DOWNSIDE is that it only shows the miles. It doesn't show the address. This is once again really poor design. I want to know the address so I can make an intelligent choice. And again, you have not say what number you want on the list... wait... then TomTom asks you to confirm your choice... then you wait some more... then you are finally taken to a summary page where, you guessed it, you have to push a button to get to the map. I hate this. See, I even turned my pro into a con.

Regarding routing... it's really frustrating to know your common routes... know that Garmin will usually route you the same way as you would logically want to go but find that TomTom makes these crazy routes that I would never in a million years choose to go. And these are often routes in my hometown where I'm pretty sure I know the best, fastest, shortest way to get somewhere. It happens all the time, not just once in a while TomTom nearly never routes me the same way that my Garmin would route me. This is obnoxious.

UPDATE: December 2, 2011 - A feature on my Garmin that I've come to rely on is that the display will show the posted speed limit next to your current speed. This is really helpful and the TomTom also has this feature but it is not as complete as the Garmmin resulting in the TomTom not always having the speed limit displayed for all roads. For instance, today I drove a route that was 10 miles and had 5 speed zone changes. None of the speed zones were displayed on the TomTom whereas the Garmin displayed all of them correctly.

I've also got a gripe with the voiced instructions. TomTom will say something like "Turn right, then turn left ahead." Well how far is "ahead." It seems more appropriate for it go say "turn left in 1/2 mile." But instead it says the generic "ahead" which means basically nothing to me... is it the next left turn, the second left turn... You just don't know unless you look at the display to see the mileage indication of the next turn. Obviously it's safer to not have to continually look at the display when you are driving and put more reliance on the spoken directions. The Garmin has much better voice commands leaving less to conjecture and guessing.

UPDATE: 3/2/2012 - I have had so many issues with the Go Live 1535 that I'm just about ready to retire it from service. Lately I've been clicking on the "Drive to..." button and when the next screen appears, the "Address" button is grayed out and not available to me. Can you imagine having a GPS in which you cannot even enter an address? Well that's what's happening. And if that weren't enough, the "Settings" button completely disappeared from the screen as well. I could not find any way to access the settings of the device. So I called customer support and spent about an hour with a very patient customer service rep who had me repeatedly go to MyTomTom on the website and kept asking me to click the "Check for Updates" link on the MyTomTom meny, but there was never any button that appeared on the web site that said check for updates. He had me try Chrome browser, Firefox and in neither case did I see the button or link he kept telling me I should see during our conversation. He had me click on Settings and the other link (maybe it was "Configure" but I'm not sure) on the MyTomTom icon on my PC and then he had me restart the TomTom 1535 at least three times by holding the power button for 10 seconds. It was quite an exasperating experience. He kept wanting me to check for updates. The TomTOm website continued to say that the device was up to date and that no updates were available. However the website also kept telling me my device was "connected" then "not connected" and he would have me go through all the steps again. The entire website process is flawed in my opinion... or buggy or both.

Finally he had me restore my TomTom to factory settings. Before doing so I asked if there wasn't any way to save all the Favorites I had stored on the device. He said no, there was no way to save anything except to get a piece of paper and write them down. Seriously?
My Garmin is easily backed up on my computer. All I have to do with my Garmin is attach the USB cable to my PC, it mounts on the desktop and then I can easily save my entire Garmin contents to my PC as a backup. That same information can easily be transferred to a new Garmin device should I upgrade to a different device. Can I do that with this TomTom? Apparently I can't.

UPDATE: 4/9/2013 - Good News! TomTom updates the software for the 1535 and it is now possible to backup and restore your favorites. This is a HUGE positive.

It's really sad because this has some nice attributes, but overall usability is terrible. Absolutely terrible. And using the voice feature for obtaining directions is so hit or miss, mostly miss, that it is virtually unusable as well.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 26, 2013
I have been buying items on Amazon for many, many years now- in fact I'd say I do most of my shopping on Amazon- and in all this time I have never written a product review. I am doing so now simply because I'm so flabbergasted by the reviews here about these GPS items (whether it's TomTo, Garmin, or some others).

I did in-depth research before purchasing this item- and I kept delaying the purchase due to the inordinate amount of negative reviews- either the software didn't work as advertised, the customer service was a nightmare, etc etc. Nevertheless I really needed a new GPS as the my previous car had navigation built in but my new car does not, and I travel extensively for work.

I have had the 1535M for one month now, and my initial comment about the product is this: it works, flawlessly; no problems, no issues, no unpleasant surprises, nothing at all to list in the negative column.

No doubt some reviewed here ended up with 'lemons' and they are within their rights to complain and forewarn other potential buyers of this item. However after reading so many of these reviews before purchasing this myself, I'd estimate that 90% of the complaints are made by people who simply have no clue what they're doing. The directions are extremely straightforward: turn it on, plug it into a USB port on your computer, follow the instructions. Simple. No problems. If you are even remotely competent with your computer, assuming there's nothing wrong with your device out of the box, you should not have any problems getting this thing up and running in minutes.

I won't speak to the benefits of the device itself, as plenty of other people (and TomTom themselves) make clear some of the great things this unit does. I'll only add that between the 'speed camera' warnings, member updates alerting to where speed traps might be located, features showing where the lowest-price gas in an area can be found (in real time), this TomTom has already paid for itself several times over.

Finally, regarding all the complaints re: customer service: I had to call one time because I had activated my subscription online with the device connected, but the GPS was showing that I still had not activated this. I called customer service, and here is my report: I reached a person within thirty seconds. I explained the issue. After walking through a few items, she said the unit was showing as active and could she put me on hold for about two minutes to verify a few things. When she returned she apologized for taking so long, said the unit was now activated, and within thirty minutes it would be working fine. It did.

In sum, these GPS devices are little miracles, and while there are lots of 'moving parts' that can go wrong, by and large most issues are going to be operator errors. Follow the instructions- which are exceptionally simple, btw- and you should have zero issues at all.
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Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't used any TomTom products for several years owing to an unfortunate incident with their customer support, which - several years back - could be described in one word: awful.

Here we are years later and I am offered the opportunity to review a TomTom GO LIVE 1535M which actually excites me. Hey, all that new technological goodness TomTom claims to have incorporated.

The unit arrives today, I unpack it and read the simple illustrated instruction sheet, bring up their website as instructed, turn the unit on and - oh, oh - the touchscreen doesn't work. Fiddle with it for a while, try connecting it to the computer through a direct USB port, the unit is recognized, but communication quickly fails. Try it on another computer. Nada. Read the TomTom tech support pages on the web, looking for a way to reset the unit. Find Soft-reset instructions, which don't remedy the condition. Can't find hard-reset instructions.

So I called TomTom support. The first woman is clueless, keeps asking me the same basic questions over and over, keeps putting me on hold and simply can't seem to understand that the touchscreen is inoperative. Touching the "Next" button does nothing. She seemed incapable of comprehending that simple fact. She didn't have any troubleshooting steps. She refused my request to escalate the call. She tells me I can return the unit at my expense - and then wait 10 days or more for a replacement. Wow! TomTom really cares about customer relations, don't they? Bizarre.

So bizarre, in fact, that I called back in and spoke with another customer support representative. Again, I spoke with a polite, well-mannered woman who spoke English reasonably well without a difficult accent. But it was obvious that if she couldn't quickly find an answer on a script, she would put me on hold for a minute or two - and then recite a canned, usually inappropriate, response. Once again, I was asked the same question over and over.

After refusing my earlier request to be escalated, she now told me that I could be escalated for further troubleshooting. I should expect to receive a call within 24 to 72 hours.

Talk about abysmal customer support. I'm sitting here with a unit I had been excitedly waiting for. It doesn't work out of the box. Okay, not a big deal and such things do happen. I tried self-help without success (because there appears to be no way to hard-rest the GO LIVE 1535M without being able to reach the main menu, which I couldn't do because the touch response was inoperative). I patiently answered the same elementary questions over and over, dealing with well-mannered women who clearly knew nothing at all about the device and were merely reading from a script or asking other personnel for answers.

Then they want me to return a brand-spanking new unit to them at my expense for a replacement that may take 10 days or more - and that is after waiting another 24 to 72 hours for a hope-for return call, which may or may not come.

This is TomTom support. It remains what it was several years ago when I last had a TomTom product: awful.

If this were an ordinary transaction, I would simply return the product for replacement or refund. But consider this: I spent an hour -wasted an hour - trying to get helpful information from their website and then with two women who are entirely unknowledgeable about the product or how to resolve the problems. And now I am waiting 24 to 72 hours for a call from TomTom customer support that may or may not come.

Given that, would I be interested in getting another TomTom product - considering that someday I might need customer support again?

If and when I get a working replacement, I will amend my review to include product performance (if indeed, the replacement works). But anyone considering TomTom should be wary of TomTom' just plain awful customer support.

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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on June 2, 2012
Downgraded from three to one star. I'll never touch a TomTom again. See my appended comments

I bought this unit after an almost incredible string of GPS disasters involving at least one Garmin and no fewer than FOUR (now six, I think) Tomtoms. My Garmin lost its mind while I was travelling solo in an unfamiliar part of Ontario, so I had to replace it in a hurry. I bought a Tomtom because my family and I have a weakness for one of the voices, the UK English "Jane". However, that Tomtom's own voice failed completely within 24 hours. I had no computer to attempt repairs and, in any case, I wasn't much inclined to try at that point. The next Tomtom's map showed only black and grey, regardless of time of day and the fact that the rest of the display was in colour. I returned it and, showing an entirely perverse and inexplicable brand loyalty, decided not only to stay with Tomtom but to upgrade to upgrade to this model. It got a fix promptly and showed the map but went into an annoying demo mode every five minutes. I got tired of touching the screen to cancel it so I tried resetting it via the power button. (This all happened on a real trip, not a test, so I had to keep using it.) The demo sequence went away but so did the unit's ability to see any satellites. It would still plot a route from its last known point, though, so I used the route map, with difficulty, to get to my destination. When I eventually got home - no thanks to Tomtom - I connected it to the dreaded My Tomtom. I won't go into details of the time I struggled with it on my own or the 40 minutes I spent on the phone with tech support. Suffice it to say that it was eventually completely bricked or, at least, it showed the 'no map' error, which is effectively the same thing, and so I returned it.


My current unit works like a charm, so far. Whew. No problems out of the box and even My Tomtom worked properly, connecting and upgrading away like nobody's business. The voice system is quite impressive, although I haven't really pushed it by trying to enter complex addresses. It will take me to my home and various favourites very obligingly. Google Local Search has done the job on the couple of times I've used it and I imagine the other Live services will do the same. I expect to renew them when the free period is over; they only cost as much as a couple of decent cups of coffee a month, after all. I haven't tried it with my phone because it pairs with my car's own voice-operated system (Ford Sync, FWIW). The traffic system is OK and, in any case, it depends on the same local info providers as any other traffic-enabled GPS.


The display could definitely be brighter. It is just OK in bright sunlight and is close to marginal when seen through polarized lenses. The user interface sometimes seems counter-intuitive. For example, I'm still trying to remember how to get back to the main navigation screen after using other functions. Something that I expect to do it - 'done', perhaps - doesn't, and something that I don't - the check mark, possibly - does. There are other complaints that I can't nail down right now, but they can't be that important.


I just hope and pray that the damn thing holds up. I only persisted this long because of the 1535's feature set and good price (on sale) and because Tomtoms I'd owned, before the recent disasters, had been good. If you're lucky you'll get a unit without bad software and a My Tomtom connection that works. If not, you'll get the other kind and run around screaming.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on August 9, 2013
UPDATE!!!: Important, this device no longer supports live services, I just got off the phone with someone overseas who told me pretty much "we sent you and email (never got an email) and you did not renew so your live services will no longer work, you have to go buy a special charger/adapter for $60 for live services to work on your device" I am extremely upset with this because I bought it less than a year ago, and they did not put on the updates page that they were cancelling the service (btw you pay for the service yearly and I am less than a year in) AVOID THIS PRODUCT!! IT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY MANUFACTURER ANY LONGER!!!! Go with something else, I have paid for lifetime updates, maps, all the bells and whistles and just has someone tell me "oh sorry too bad" I am calling Amazon to discuss this matter on returning the device even though its passed the return date. IF YOUR GO LIVE WENT DEAD THEY CANCELLED THEIR SERVICE WITH AT&T!
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VINE VOICEon December 6, 2011
Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Originally I left a good review of this TomTom gps unit. At first it worked perfectly. Then after only a few weeks the GPS did not power on. I tried everything possible to get this GPS unit to turn on and it just would not turn on. So I called Tom Tom customer service. Spoke to a guy who was nice enough and offered to replace it with a free brand new unit. He gave me an RMA number to return it and said he would be sending me a prepaid shipping label so I could return it and gave me the address where it would need to be returned. He told me he would email me the shipping label. After waiting a week and still receiving no label I called customer service again. I gave them the RMA number the first customer rep gave me and the guy then had me hold for several minutes. He said that shipping label had expired and they had to pay for it. He acted like it was my fault when I didn't even receive it. They never mailed it to me.

So then I proceed to tell the guy the whole story again about it not powering on. He then tells me to try the same things that the other guy told me to try and that I had tried multiple times. Basically I felt like he was treating me like an idiot. He had to get his supervisor to give the ok on the new shipping label. So again I waited several minutes on hold. He came back and told me I needed proof of purchase even though I had already given him the serial number and the first rep did not ask me for any proof of purchase. Basically they were trying to make it as hard as possible for me to get a new unit that actually least that's how they made me feel. Since I received this unit through the amazon vine program there was essentially no proof of purchase so I ended up taking a screen capture of my amazon shipping page showing it had shipped to me and the date shipped. I sent that to the rep who said it was ok for proof of purchase and they would be sending me the prepaid shipping label the next day as it takes 24 hours or something along those lines. So here it is three days later and I still have no prepaid shipping label. I emailed the rep this evening to see why I have not received it yet and hopefully will have an answer tomorrow.

Overall this TomTom GPS unit was a complete dud and now I sit here with a non-functioning unit. TomTom customer service is a complete joke. I have NEVER had this kind of customer service from Garmin and unfortunately I CANNOT recommend this GPS unit due to the poor quality of the product and the bad customer service. Save yourself the heartache and buy a Garmin.

UPDATE 1/27/12:
Placed my fourth call to customer service over the past few weeks as AGAIN the shipping label did not show up in my email. The customer service person on this call told me she looked at the file and a supervisor NEVER SENT THE LABEL! So three different times I had someone tell me to expect a pre-paid label in my email and all three times the supervisor never sent it. Unbelievable. I really think they just want to frustrate me to the point where I won't even bother returning it. If I had not called all these times to follow up I never would have received a replacement for this non-working unit. I should have the pre-paid shipping label by tomorrow according to today's call. I am skeptical but will update this review later to detail how this works out. TomTom customer service is just horrible.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on August 10, 2013
I just received my TomTom GPS unit today- my second TomTom with my old XL. I had originally ordered a Via 1535TM. Upon opening the box, I discovered that Amazon had sent me a GO LIVE 1535M. This was apparently intentional on Amazon's part as they had pasted printed labels saying "Via 1535TM" over the box's "GO Live 1535M" printing. This substitution of what appears to be New Old Stock without my okay particularly bothers me because it complicates further warranty relations with TomTom should a problem with the unit develop (my order receipt says I have a Via, the unit is a GO...). Amazon essentially sent me their 105 dollars- GO 1535M for the 145 dollars- Via 1535TM I ordered (prices quoted were at the time of order). I do get 30 days of HD Traffic with this unit (normally 30 days is for refurbished units, 1 year for new- strange...), but if I had wanted the GO...

My unit came in an older box and not the newer, black box of current models. The reason I mention this is that the older units' Voice Control will not activate if you say "Hey, TomTom!". My unit's VC will only activate via pressing the front panel. If your unit came in a light-colored box with a "cartoon" drawing of the GPS, it's probably an older unit. I understand from forums that a software update for this feature cannot or will not be offered.

There was also a problem when activating the Lifetime Traffic due to an outdated activation code- but having seen this issue mentioned in reviews and on TomTom forums, I was prepared. A call to TomTom's customer service rep rectified this within 15 minutes, and he too noted the GO/Via discrepancy and checked to make sure everything went smoothly with my unit. He was helpful and even paired my multiple units with their separate email accounts to ensure that updates would go well. I have had excellent luck with TomTom's customer service people since I first purchased my XL years back. While TomTom's customer service system leaves something to be desired when it comes to actual hardware and software problems, I must give their front line people credit. I'm sure they take a real beating over their products' erratic performance.

The unit itself is large, the screen is VERY clear compared to my older XL and the routing is for the most part the usual TomTom style: fast and accurate. I have had some issues with the routing which I will mention below. I am quite pleased with the size of the unit and its easier to view screen, though I like the easy-personalization features of the older units which used TomTom Home. The large menu will probably be a bit daunting to a person familiar with the old menu, much less a new user. The new TomTom PC interface which you download to update the 1535TM- MyTomTom- is quite confusing compared to the original TomTom Home program used by older units, but you can't have everything.

Setting up the GO is not too difficult. You program your home location by keyboard or simply take the unit out into the yard, then choose the location as your home and store it. The unit has voice recognition (admittedly hit or miss, in my case mostly miss)which will certainly amuse your passengers as it misunderstands 50% of what you say even when you're trying to enunciate clearly. It beeps and hoots like R2D2 as it prompts you to try to speak the destination- so it may take several tries to get your destination in, or you may just give up and type it in. It also has Bluetooth. I have placed a call and received a call only to be told I sound like I'm "speaking inside a metal can". Still, I'd imagine it would be difficult to get great sound quality from a unit which is parked 2 feet away from you. My cellphone doesn't exactly sound like I'm right there with you anyway... I give TomTom an OK on the Bluetooth front.

The reason that I chose a TomTom as my second unit is excellent routing. In all the years I've used my TomTom XL, it has NEVER taken me on a route that did not seem to be the best way to travel and should you miss a turn it always recalculates quickly. I trust it implicitly in large cities, quite honestly much more so than I would trust myself using a map! :) TomTom's IQ Routes have always given me arrival times which were spot on and routes that were quick to travel. This unit can actually precisely find my driveway, which many GPS units owned by my friends seem unable to get spot on. HOWEVER, this GO unit has shown a particular proclivity to become confused en route. It seems to me that there is some difference in the route processing on recalculation between the XL and the GO- the XL just recalculates then goes about it. The GO seems addled for about 10 seconds then either gives you a new route or some outlandish path impossible in the real world. At least three times on trip start, my vehicle icon on the GO was driving AGAINST the suggested route even though I was traveling the correct direction. This appears to be related to the TomTom having difficulties with primary location orienteering. It has also locked up on me several times while I've been out and refused to leave the start screen. A non-functioning navigator at home is one thing, on the road it can be quite serious! When it is working (so far, 95% of the time), it is excellent. Just driving around locally, it always picks the routes I would choose as a native. Its erratic performance is the main reason I dislike this unit.

The voice directions are VERY clear and the fact that the unit warns you of upcoming turns about 2 miles prior is one reason I prefer TomTom. The computer voice "Samantha" does seem to enunciate unusual street names better than my older XL voices, so I suppose I'm fine there. I've been informed by TT that on these units what you get is what you have. Currently there are no downloadable computer voices which can speak street names other than the ones provided in the unit. The older units using TomTom Home offer a wealth of fun voices with which to personalize your navigator. Besides fun, some of the computer voices are more audible in certain situations- I found Simon to my liking. Simon, sadly has no place on the GO.

On the down side, my GO has shown a peculiar glitch in that it will lose its voice, necessitating a "Soft Reset" (!!) to begin voicing directions again.

Since I've had the unit, TomTom has updated MyTomTom, their interface software for the new TTs. Apparently, "ghost updates" are an ongoing problem with the interface reporting updates that aren't actually there (I've have perhaps 12 or more incidences of this happening). All in all, a very frustrating experience from both Amazon and TomTom.

You get the HD Traffic and the Services for either a year or a 30-day trial (I'm not sure how TomTom decides). HD Traffic is a great feature in more urban areas where it provides greater information about delays up ahead. In my rural area, it usually is silent. I decided to renew this feature as I do occasionally visit more metropolitan areas. The Services are a mixed bag. Fuel Prices are apparently non-functional for many users of MyTomTom. The TripAdvisor, Xpedia, and Local Search functions would be handy for those who don't have the ability to connect via wireless while they travel. The Services provide information on upcoming destinations, general info on cities you search, and local information. Services might really shine should you have a breakdown or an illness and you needed to find a hotel (or restaurant, or local hotspot, for that matter) quickly. You can also set the unit up to Tweet your location as you travel. Local Search is handy for finding stores and restaurants in the immediate area.

My biggest complaint here is that HD Services can be an on/off affair and have been inoperative for me several times in the past two weeks. Going to work, I had no HD Traffic 3 days out of 5- AND I PAID FOR THIS SERVICE! The TomTom forums are full of people from various parts of the world who have had intermittent HD Services. AT&T has announced the shutdown of their 2G services by 2016, which will presumably mean that we owners of these units will not have Live Services after that.

And TomTom's answer for every problem: "Soft Reset"! I sent three emails to them concerning MyTomTom's erratic updating and the fact that Speed Cameras and Fuel Prices STILL aren't functioning on my GO. Also, I've had problems with HD Traffic not working. Here verbatim is the boilerplate response I received (the only editing is to remove the "Sorry"'s)- so much for the Community Manager's exhortations to contact customer service:

"I understand that the Live Services like QuickGPSFix, Fuel Price and Speed Camera are not working on your device Go Live 1535M... I have discussed your case with our Senior Team and according to them there is a known issue with the Live Services... Please be assured our Senior Team are aware of the issue and are working diligently to resolve this case. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with an ETA as to when this issue will be resolved. Once the known issue is resolved, the device should get the Services."

SO TOMTOM IS CHARGING ME FOR SERVICES WHICH THEY KNOW ARE NOT FULLY FUNCTIONAL?!!! They should at least credit Live Services users for the time lost by the Services not being available!

It goes without saying that I WILL NOT renew my subscription to Services when the subscription is up!!

Overall, after using this unit I find it somewhat finicky. When it's working, it is a very good GPS. However, it's locked up on me multiple times, necessitating connection to my computer and MyTomTom just to get it off the start screen (the "soft reset" procedure did not work), and on a recent short day trip, it became confused after I purposely passed a recommended turn and it attempted a recalculation. Following its suggested route would have meant crossing a concrete median, somehow getting up on an overhead bridge that had no connection to the interstate, and making a u-turn onto the southbound interstate lane. Strangely, the voice was giving proper directions (to proceed to the next exit) while all the map jumbling was going on! In all honesty, due to my lack of trust in this unit this will be the last TomTom I purchase- especially from Amazon. To say this truly saddens me as I was a TomTom fan.

On a recent trip through the southern US, the unit performed well, but gave one seriously incorrect direction at an important interstate junction and then suddenly shut down later and locked up just before I got to a major US highway intersection. I had to pull off the highway, soft reset the unit TWICE and let the GO boot up. From then on it worked until I reached my destination.

Should you decide to purchase this particular unit from Amazon, you might want to inquire as to whether you will receive the unit you order. One irksome thing about the substitution (besides the fact that you're being overcharged 15-40 dollars) is that the GO's menu features functions- hotel and restaurant rating, Twitter, HD Traffic- which will become inactive should you decide to not subscribe to the $60/year service after the 30 day trial. It's a little matter, but it does bother me as it's easy to hit an inactive menu selection only to have the unit cycle a bit and then tell you it can't access that function (I still haven't yet been able to access Fuel Prices- I understand this particular feature is not working for many GO/Via users) . HD is apparently active where cellphone wireless service is available. Lacking that, you lose Services and must rely on the enclosed FM traffic receiver for standard traffic (this has always served me very well, even in larger cities). Neither option may be particularly valuable in a rural area. Most cellphone coverage in my mountainous area basically becomes spotty once you're 3 miles off the interstate, a reason why I wanted the HD-less Via in the first place.

While I know little about them, MY NEXT GPS PURCHASE WILL BE A GARMIN! If the GO software weren't so prone to lock up, I'd give it 3 stars, but an erratic navigator that locks up on the road is worrisome, especially if you're passing through congested or remote areas. My unit is simply too erratic to instill trust on long trips in unfamiliar territories.I don't know if their problems with Microsoft are the reason these new TomToms are so problematic, but this will be my last TomTom. TomTom has lost me as a future customer and as someone who would recommend their products.

I must also say that I will not purchase my next GPS from Amazon. I have been very pleased with Amazon prior to this purchase. I am frankly surprised that Amazon not only switched the unit I ordered, but "disguised" the unit with a computer label and to top it off, sold me an old stock unit and all the while overcharging me.

Addendum: What is it with TomTom and these expired activation codes?!!! Upon registration of your unit, TomTom emails you a coupon "good for 30 days from registration" to save $10 on an item or service from the TomTom shop. I'm going on a trip, so I figure now's as good a time as any to get HD Traffic for a year. So, I go to the shop, get to the ringout with the Service package, enter the code number and guess what? IT'S EXPIRED! Less than 10 days from registration. So, getting the $10 discount code reactivated required THREE phone calls to TomTom customer service. Don't get me wrong, the TomTom people were very understanding and did a great job getting me straightened out. The point is, had the code been good, I could've sailed through the checkout with no problem. The HD Traffic is good until Sept 2014, which is probably longer than I figure this unit will last.

As I give this unit two stars, I am reminded of that line from Star Trek's Mr. Scott: "The more complicated you make the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the toilet!" ;)
33 comments| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 21, 2012
I bought this to replace my old ToMToM which was very basic and still works, but the suction mount wore out. I am a mobile notary and travel 3 counties to people's homes to notarize loan documents. I have a very bad habit of not giving my destination address to my family when I leave my house. If someday, God forbid, something were to happen to me and I don't come home, my family would be clueless where to start looking for me. I found out this device can tweet my destination, location, etc and decided to give it a try. I set up a special Twitter account to use just for this and only gave it to my family to keep an eye on me while I am on the road. What a fantastic concept! "Concept" being the operative word. I have had the unit for 2 full days and for some reason my SIM card won't activate. I called the first day and a nice man told me to plug it in a charge it for 4 or 5 hours and it should ping the system to activate the SIM. Nope. So I called this morning and a nice lady looked at my account and said my SIM was not activated and she would do it for me. She did and said reset it and wait 1/2 hour and it should connect. I did, it didn't. So, I called this afternoon and another nice lady said she didn't see that I had any services active on my account and she could not even access my SIM card so she had to get Level 2 involved. She said she would email them and that they would email me back before end of business today. They didn't. So, I am left with a basic GPS unit that I paid a lot of money for.

I like the navigation features. It worked great today guiding me as I traveled to parts unknown as mobile notaries do. The unit paired up effortlessly with my Samsung Galaxy S3. The sound quality was not bad in and out. I used voice commands to locate a gas station and that worked great. I asked it to direct me to the nearest Best Buy and it did it. Unfortunately, I plunked out the extra bucks for this unit for the Live Services. They only work if you can get connected. You can only get connected if your SIM is activated and TomTom customer support can't seem to do that for me. I can use my old ToMToM until I find another GPS unit that works and has all the features I need. This one is going back Friday if the SIM issue is not resolved by then. I feel that's more than enough time for TomTom support to get this working for me. A product, no matter how fantastic the features may be, is only as good as the customer support behind it. Brand new unit, 3 calls to support, no results. TomTom, are you listening?

Edit: I exchanged the unit for another one this morning (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart). I set up a new TomTom account, charged the unit and went to Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later I turned on the TomTom and it was connecting so I quickly went to my TomTom account to see if I could sign in. Guess what? It worked. So, now I have all the features I paid for and I couldn't be happier. I set up and tested the Twitter app and was happy with the results. When I got to my destination a Twitter popup appeared asking me if I want to check in at my destination. I did. It Tweeted that I arrived at my destination with the address. Perfect! I seriously scoured web reviews, etc. looking for a different GPS unit in place of this one because I was so frustrated trying to get it to work. I couldn't find anything as good. Even the most expensive Garmin unit didn't have the Live features, Twitter, etc. or as comparable traffic info. I hope TomTom will make the text message reading available on the Galaxy S3 soon as so far it only supports the prior Galaxy S2 and earlier.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on April 5, 2013
I purchased this gps because it has the hd traffic, which they don't tell you is a yearly subscription after the 1st year, only to be unable to access the hd traffic or live features advertised. after a week emailing and calling tomtom and just being told the same thing every time I returned it for a refund and have put that money towards a garmin
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