I have waited approximately five years for a clear winner to emerge in the GPS device and service market. My criteria was simple: wait for a product which had consistently good reviews for both hardware (device) and software (navigation instructions). All GPS providers continue to receive consistently mixed reviews; many people thoroughly dislike the devices, services, or both while many give the highest accolades. Now that the price for entry into this market has dropped to about one quarter of what it cost five years ago, I have taken the plunge. Here are my initial findings. Several updates will be provided over the length of one year of usage.
The following is for the TomTom VIA 1505TM:
1) I updated the firmware first (deselected maps and speed camera), then updated maps and then last of all speed camera locations. Do this prior to using the device. Updating was easy; connect the device to a computer, download My TomTom software, then download the recommended updates. Make sure computer settings are such that the computer will not go into standby or hibernate. The maps download is lengthy. Once the download started, I walked away and let the computer handle it. Again, make sure computer settings are such that the computer will neither standby nor hibernate.
2) Lifetime maps and traffic are available until TomTom no longer supports the device. Traffic can be terminated separately. Don't count on having updates until your device is unusable due to a hardware malfunction.
3) The GPS unit knows exactly where I am at any given moment and it knows how to get me to my destination. It has always brought me where I programmed it to take me. The estimated time of arrival given on-screen has consistantly been accurate.
4) Lane guidance (which lane to be in) on highways with multiple lanes is excellent. Turn notification both on highways and secondary roads is outstanding. Notice of distance to each turn is given and then notice is given to turn immediately before each turn, both of which have been highly accurate. At times I have intentionally changed my course from the directions given and found the GPS service to consistantly quickly re-route me.
5) Speaker volume is very good. The screen is clearly visible. Occaisionaly the sun shines directly on the screen reducing clarity. An easy fix for this occaisional occurance is to angle/tilt the screen down towards the dash. Again, this has not happened often and has not caused any navigation problems.
Separately, I would like to recommend the TomTom Universal Dashboard Mount. The product works very well and is much more convenient than using a windshield mount. It is available from Amazon.com.Universal Dashboard Mount (Compatible with All GPS Brands)