I don't have much to add to the overall evaluations of the other reviewers but I do have some opinions comparing this to the more expensive versions on the market.
A couple of years ago, I bought a top-of-the-line Garmin Nuvi for over $500, the model is discontinued but the equivalent one is about $400 today. I got this TomTom for a second car.
The Garmin is definitely a better piece of hardware. The entire device is more solid, the screen is larger and crisper, it finds satellites more quickly and shows location more precisely. It has better accessories for attaching to the dash and charging. But the TomTom is certainly good enough to get you where you're going. At 1/3 the price, it's a much better value for most people.
TomTom has overall better software, although some of that difference may be the two years in between purchases, perhaps Garmin has improved. I had none of the problems some early reviewers described in setting it up. Garmin was considerably more complicated, although it did have a lot more options. Someone interested in specialized features might prefer it, but I have never even thought about using any of them. I want a device that will direct me with minimal fuss, and it's nice that it can find nearby businesses.
Not only is the TomTom simpler, but it detects its orientation, which is handy in a car. It always present the screen right side up to you. I find its menus more natural. It does some little things right. For example if your last trip was from A to B, and you're still at B, a good guess to your next destination is back to A. TomTom makes this the first choice. Garmin puts it at the bottom of your favorites list. TomTom works best with a zip code, and is location-sensitive when making guesses. You type in a few letters and TomTom guesses the nearby place that starts with the letters, Garmin is apt to guess some tiny place far away. Garmin requires place names, which is sometimes hard to come up with. And if you do enter a place without a complete address, TomTom directs you to a better spot within the place.
Garmin thinks of the world in streets, TomTom in positions. Garmin says "take the entrance ramp on your right and follow route 80 eastbound," TomTom says, "turn right and get on the freeway." There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Garmin is annoying when it constantly tells you things like "bear left to remain on route 17," when you are driving on a dual route (like routes 6 and 17) and the other route separates. As a driver, this just means, "don't take the exit." TomTom doesn't do that, but it's equally annoying telling you to turn right or turn left when you're driving on a curvy road. "Don't drive off the side of the road," is all it means.
Another example is Garmin is silent sometimes on how to follow a road when it takes a jog. You're driving on route 3, and it comes to an intersection with route 35. You have to go a few hundred yards to the right on route 35 to pick up route 3 again. But sitting at the intersection, it's not obvious whether to go right or left. Garmin won't help, in its brain there is an unbroken route 3. TomTom tells you to turn right, then left. But when I was driving north on South Plum Street, which turns into North Plum Street, TomTom told me to turn right, then left, even though there was no jog, nothing changed except the street name. TomTom is much better at knowing about smaller streets and dirt roads, and warning you about them. Garmin ignores them. TomTom directs me down a private road to my lake house, Garmin takes me the legal way on public roads.
In terms of personality and accent, TomTom reminds me of a kindergarten teacher from Oregon. It seems pleased and faintly surprised when you do things right, and warmly understanding when you disobey. Garmin is more like a hyper-efficient non-commmissioned officer from a German area of Pennsylvania. It is crisply precise in directions and when you screw up its total lack of reproof is a reproof. Garmin tells you to make a U-turn at the next "legal" place, TomTom at the next "safe" place.
on April 17, 2011
I bought this to replace my 2-year-old TomTom XL 340S, mainly because I wanted lifetime map updates which were not available when I bought my XL. I hooked both units up in my car and drove around for an hour to compare them. A couple obvious differences are that the VIA units are slightly thinner and lighter than the XL series, and the VIAs have a slightly better screen, although honestly I could barely tell the difference. Diagonal lines are a little less jaggy on the VIA if you look closely, but the increased resolution does not make much difference. The font size is slightly different as well. The font for the current street is a little larger on the VIA, but the font for the next street to turn onto is slightly smaller, which you can see in the screen image on this site. The street name is green and white and meant to look like a highway sign. The fonts were perfectly fine on my XL, and they are fine on the VIA as well. One thing that they changed, and I think this is new for the VIA line, is that when you are approaching your destination it will tell you if it's on the right or the left. With previous generation TomToms you could see which side of the street your destination was on by looking at the screen, but it didn't announce it audibly. It's a slight improvement, but not a big deal in my opinion.
As far as navigation, the two units were pretty similar when giving directions. I noticed that in some places the Lane Guidance screen would kick in on the XL while it did not on the VIA. I think they have tweaked the software a little after realizing that there were times when Lane Guidance was coming on when it wasn't really needed. Also, I noticed at one exit that the XL said to exit and "go straight on," (although the screen showed a left turn with an arrow) when in fact it should have said exit and turn left. The XL got it wrong, the VIA got it right. Again, that was probably just the result of improvements that have been made to the software in the last two years. Also, the XL would say "take the exit toward Erie, PA" (spoken as "pa" as in "papa"), whereas the VIA just said take the exit toward Erie, and didn't mention the state. It's kind of pointless to say the state in that instance, so just saying a city and leaving it at that is fine.
And now for the best feature. The reason I would not consider any other brand of PND right now is because TomTom is the only brand with the excellent EasyPort Mount. I only use my PND when I travel by air and then rent a vehicle. In my opinion, having the mount built-in to the unit is great. It is much easier to pack and carry than it would otherwise be if the mount was a seperate piece of hardware. I've had no problems with the EasyPort Mounts on both of my TomToms. They work great!
I didn't want the traffic or Bluetooth options, so I went with the "M" instead of the "TM" and the 1405 instead of the 1435.
Overall this is a great PND. I highly recommend it to anyone who takes along a PND for use in rental cars. The EasyPort Mount is excellent and makes for a compact and easy to transport device, and TomTom is the only company that offers it.
on June 15, 2011
I purchased the Via1405TM from Staples on 6/14/11. As you can tell from the title please wait till the end of the year before purchasing this model. I have a TomTom one that I used for last several years and it has been a solid device. It functioned as promised right out the box. So I felt good about purchasing another TomTom. Still I read reviews of both TomTom and Garmin I felt the Via might serve my purpose even though the reviews indicated problems with new MY TomTom service and incomplete firmware/software. I can now verify that both problems are true.
Now the three factors that drove me to look for a new GPS, are my son has started driving and several of our trips coincided, I wanted spoken directions and street names and the final reason was a sale with coupon and rewards gave me $80 off the price.
So upon getting it home I want straight to the TomTom site to update device. This went smoothly right up to the device being plugged into the USB. The MY TomTom service replaces the TomTom home service but it is not fully functioning and is thrown haphazardly together so as it is not easy to use at all. The site does not yet recognize the different 1400 models, they are not a selectable option on drop down list and it does not recognize their firmware/software. It does however recognize them as generic 1400 but that will not get you your lifetime map updates. As a matter of fact it tells you that the software version on the device is wrong. My other big problem is the Via lacks password protection but it does show you a symbol of a man stealing to remind you to be cautious of it being stolen. Lastly side by side on my computer table my old TomTom found the satellites within 40 seconds of it being turned on the Via still had no signal after 5 mintues and 45 seconds I had to take outside and sit for 1 minute and 48 seconds longer to find the satellites. So you will not be able to just check trip times inside the house.
So on 6/15/11 I called tech support to see about map updates and how to set the password. Here are the highlights; you have to send proof of purchase via fax or scanner to TomTom to have them add map service to your account. They may add the password feature sometime this year because it is a huge request. They were presold before they were ready so they just released them unfinished and features will be added as they come. The website is unfinished and will be updated with time. They recommend buying the One or XXL because the bugs are worked out.
Oh yea it found my home and work place so it is a GPS. So there you are.
UPDATE: Well on 6/16/11 I decided to put the Via to the test side by side with my One. I drove 20 mins to a baseball game and 30 mins back to my house. Here is what I found.
Sound Loudness: Winner -The TomTom One.
The One is much louder and I can easily hear it with the radio going, family talking and the windows down. The Via is difficult to hear under those conditions both were at 100% volume.
Directions: Winner- Tie
They were both dead on within seconds of each other and agreed on directions.
Easy of Use: Winner-Tie
The same basic layout no real learning curve if you have owned a TomTom.
Finding Satellite: Winner TomTom One.
The One found the satellites hands down faster. The lag with the Via is noticeable and this is while in the car.
Traffic feature: Winner Via by default.
The feature works in my city as well as surrounding cities but they are small places and we don't really experience traffic jams.
Spoken Routes: Winner Via by default.
I did enjoy this feature and it was a major reason for my purchase. The only thing that I found curious was on the way home it stopped talking unless I tapped the screen. The directions showed on the screen but no voice guidance.
Route assist: Winner Via by default.
It did work on my trip coming up just as shown directing me to the right lanes. I was impressed and my daughter was amazed and amused.
My impression so far is this is not a full price product. It is not at all worth almost $200.00 dollars. If you can get it with for about a $100.00 like I did it's just about worth that. I probably will keep it. One more big trip this weekend will be the deciding factor.
Final Update: 6/27/11 Will not log on to computer anymore for updates says contact customer support. I am returning to store for a refund.
on March 28, 2011
This is the third TomTom I've owned, so I am familiar with their units going back for about 4 years. When I saw the announced Via units, I preordered a 1435TM, which arrived last week.
This is the most advanced TomTom I've owned in this price range. Screen is sharp and bright, the built-in mounting is very good, and the device is super thin. The free lifetime map updates are a big plus, as is the free traffic information. They build the traffic receiver into the charging cord, which seems to work well.
The information display is very clean while showing a lot of useful information. Calculation time for routes is fast, and the lane assist feature is helpful, although I have not been through a very complicated unknown interchange. The signs don't match what you see on the road, so you need to trust the lane designation.
The screen aspect rotates automatically depending on whether you mount it from above or below; which is very handy.
Voice recognition is very good, although this was not a big seller for me. The street name voice is noticibly robotic, but again, this was not a big selling point for me.
Little features like auto power-off when the charger power is stopped (IOW when you turn the car off) are helpful, but I would like it to take longer than 10 seconds, the only setting. The auto day/night color setting seems to work fine, but I cannot find anywhere where you can turn this setting on or off.
The not so good:
The touch screen is a tad less sensitive than I'd like. It's not a big problem, but can be annoying at times.
When entering an address, the unit is very laggy. This appears to be due to searching a huge database of city and street names, but it makes the address entry less fluid of a process than it could be. Type a letter or two, then wait for it to filter the available matches before it allows you to type in additional letters. Again, more of an annoyance than a true problem.
Overall I am very pleased with the purchase. It's not perfect, but it is a good value for the price in my opinion.
on November 5, 2011
You can read the reasons some people like it, but I am going to mention why I hate this thing. This is my second TomTom, because I liked the first one and the on screen data so much. It seems this is almost the same as the 1505. I got it because of the lifetime map updates. I think I updated the maps once, took a long time but it worked. However, the maps still did not have roads that had been on interstates for at least a year.
The screen washes out badly in the sun. The suction cup mount is permanently attached. The user interface is very slow. Very slow acquisition of GPS signal (> 90 seconds) The display flips automatically; if you're looking at it and you move, it flips all around. Stop it. I mounted it right. The power button is on the back, which is annoying, and it is recessed and hard to find.
As others have said, the #1 problem is to navigate to a street address in any city or town that has multiple zip codes, you usually have to know the zip code of the street. Sometimes I don't need to know it, but for gosh sakes, why navigate by the postal service's system?? Sometimes it gives me the whole city, but I don't know why it works that way and then why it does not. It also used to know what you were going to type, and prefill possible matches. No more.
And also worse, it does not "dock" to the state you're in. Why, if I'm looking for Raleigh, does it give me every Raleigh in the country? I have been in NC for months, why show me all the cities named Raleigh in the country?? I can't believe TomTom did this on this version. I would NEVER recommend this to anyone. An older model, maybe. I may go back to my older TomTom.
Today I try to log in to update the thing and TomTom does not recognize my account that I've used over and over.....
Update again, November:
I had more time to try to update, but no. It does not recognize my device. If you check the forums, this is a common problem and another reason I would never recommend this GPS.
on July 10, 2011
I have owned a tomtom go 930T for 2 years which performs great except for weak voice reception when connected to bluetooth and expensive map update. So I decided to get a new tomtom via 1453tm which include a lifetime traffic and maps.
1. quick qps signal. the most would be 30secs.
2. great suction cup but you can't avoid touching car glass that can leave your fingerprint. product materials are good & sturdy and doesn't look cheap.
3. destination announces left or right of the street with one time error.
4. map update and traffic too. since i purchased this for a month, have updated map twice already. on our trip to st louis, mo, it indicated a tipped car on a traffic sidebar but it was half mile further away from indicated distance. not bad though.
5. better screen resolution.
6. better voice connection on bluetooth phone.
1. since they changed the layout, status bar is so big that makes the map look smaller.
2. touch screen is horrible. tapping address using screen keypad is 50% miss. speech recognition is just ok.
3. takes awhile for me to get use to turning on this unit. no light indicator that map is on/charging.
4. lane assist sometimes doesn't give you notice on exist number but more on location direction. in atlanta, driving at i-285 heading to ga 400, the go930T states exit number but the 1453tm states city of direction. same in i-16 in macon heading to atlanta. the go930t states exit number but the 1453tm states 'atlanta' only.
5. can only get voice that says street names of samantha for u.s.(english) and one spanish and one french. i prefer a guy's voice telling me direction but richard for u.s. (english) doesn't speaks street names. in my go930t, it does and more voice choices.
6. no remote control. go930t has one. nice feature than trying to reach screen when it is mounted on the glass.
It does its job but it could get better. I wish I got the via 1535tm instead, which has bigger screen size that would not make the map look smaller with the big status bar. I presume that the 1435tm and 1535tm has same spec except for screen size and $10-$20 difference here in amazon. How come my go930t is more intuitive on touchscreen than the newer 1435tm product? I am keeping this device and hoping for tomtom to update their software especially the touchscreen.
on May 21, 2011
I am delighted with all features of this GPS, but am going to return it because it will not accept the code for the lifetime map guarantee. I have tried customer support on-line and am getting stock answers that say to read their web site help which I have already done. I tried their customer support phone number and after my product was not listed on their automated phone system, they hung up on me. I would not recommend this product unless they get their act together and honor their committment of lifetime map updates.
on May 11, 2011
The TOMTOM VIA 1435T GPS is very handy and I love the interface. It's very compact and the suction cup holder is attached to the unit, which could be a plus or minus depending on how you feel about placement and moving/removing the GPS every time you park your car or if you plan on using it while walking or biking.
======= Let me give you the good =======
* DISPLAY (GUI) CUSTOMIZATION - The Graphic User Interface is really nice and very responsive. It also allows users to customize the settings like picking what kind of icon you want to display your location and what type of voice you want speaking to you. You can also switch between daytime and nighttime screen brightness. And if you go online there are additional features you can buy to download onto the unit like having character voices like "Daffy Duck," "Darth Vadar," and "Burt Reynolds," among others.
* VOICE AUDIO - The TomTom's voice direction is loud and clear, which helps because I have found that mounting it on my windshield keeps it farther away than I would like.
* SCREEN ORIENTATION - Can be switched for left or right handed use.
* BLUE TOOTH - Connected to my Motorola Droid (1) easily and downloaded contact info.
* ALERTS - Audible alerts that you can set to notify you when you exceed the speed limit and red light cameras. I'm not sure if you have to pay for updated red light cameras that are added after you set up your TOMTOM 1435T, but when I was driving up to one the alert went off, which scared me and my friend, LOL. And you can set how long before you reach the camera before the alert goes off (i.e. 15-seconds, etc.).
* TWO CABLES - This is both a plus and a minus; one cable you need to connect to your computer and the other one you'll need for power and traffic updates in the car. The car cigarette cable has a built in antenna that picks up the lasted traffic information for your route.
* SAFETY MANUALS - This is really impressive! The TOMTOM includes first aid and car repair and maintenance guides to be used in emergency situations and the "help" icon will give you instant choices to either drive, call, or walk to nearest car repair shop, hospital, fire and police stations, pharmacies, and dentists. And if you select "walk" you can choose "nearest public transport" that will guide you to the nearest metro station.
* TECH SUPPORT - I had to email tech support about confusion over the programs "My TomTom" and "TomTom Home" and they responded in 24-hours. See below.
======= Now the bad ========
* MUST HAVE INTERNET - The TOMTOM must be able to connect to the internet in order to update itself like for new maps and stuff. I think the antenna on the car power cable only does traffic and not other updates because the manual indicates to connect to computer and install "My TomTom" for latest map updates. So you must have a computer with a USB port and an internet connection to download the latest updates and any other features like character voices you might want.
* HANDS-FREE CALLING - Although you can say "Call," which will get you to the call menu, the unit does not recognize the names in your contact list and you must scroll down the list and then say the corresponding number in order to place a call. This is not helpful while driving unless a passenger does this so you really can't use this feature unless you're parked.
* CALL AUDIO - The audio on a call is very poor. This might be my Droid's fault but using this device to place a call and I could barely hear the other party! And I had both the volume on the unit and my Droid's BT volume turned up to maximum.
* MENUS - You must back out of the menus before you can hit the "Done" button to get back to the map screen. This is a pain because every time you change a setting, you have to back out through the menus.
* MY TOMTOM vs. TOMTOM HOME - My TomTom is the program that helps your TOMTOM device communicate with the computer. Once you get online it tells you to download "TomTom Home," which is supposed to help manage TomTom and install maps, services, and prepare trips from your computer. Unfortunately, "TomTom Home" is not supported by the 1435T and is not needed. I found this out by emailing tech support when it kept saying "device not found" even though the unit was attached to the computer.
* CHARGING THE UNIT - There are no charging lights on the unit so you don't know if it's charging from the computer or your car's cigarette lighter. This isn't a big deal unless you plan on using the device for walking around, say on vacation, and have to charge the unit up in a hotel room.
Anyway, aside from not really being a true hands-free device -- which it is not meant to be anyway -- I think the TOMTOM VIA 1435T is pretty good. I like that it's customizable, which gives it a personal feel, and the fact that there's so much more added to the unit than just directions and maps (like the first aid and repair manuals). With TOMTOM VIA, you'll never be alone on the road (or at least if feels that way).
I had a TomTom before and while I liked it, I had more complaints than positive things to say. This time around I feel differently.
First of all I'm so grateful for the lifetime map&traffic updates. This is becoming a standard feature yet there are still companies charging for subscriptions. A hefty amount, too! ($10/Month or more) There is absolutely NO reason to pay a monthly fee or buy a subscription for that stuff. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
I was delighted by how quickly the unit picked up a signal as soon as I powered it on. It took 22 seconds. Lightning fast! That's always nice. Previous units I've tried have taken 1-5 minutes to get going. Shesh.
The screen is bright and colorful, and easy to right even on the brightest of days. I wish the print and icons were bigger, even when you zoom in, those remain constant. For those of us who have eyesight challenges as it is, this could definitely be a future adjustable feature.
Traffic updates are great, and there are tons of other bells and whistles. I still feel like I can "outsmart" the smart map features based on my local backroad knowledge when things get really logjammed, but that's why robots don't drive our cars for us right?
Overall very happy with the product!
I recently moved from California to Ohio and made the drive in about 4 days. In the past for such long trips I used to visit the local AAA for a trip ticket, one of those handy driver tools of yesterday with your route highlighted throughout many pages of maps.
The TomTom VIA is an amazing replacement for that and much more. I simply spoke my new address and the device located the destination, calculated the best route (with estimated time) and I was off.
Along the way it helped me avoid city traffic by leading me along less crowded roads. At times I thought it wasn't working correctly because I seemed to be taking some obscure route - but I decided to trust it and see what happened. Each and every time it came through like a champ.
Now that I've been in my new town here in Ohio for a little over a week, I've been using the TomTom VIA every day to help me get to know my way around. It's gotten me to stores and restaurants in the area and has proved indispensable.
The features I love most:
* Speak an address or place (like gas station) where you want to go. No more clumsy typing in exact addresses.
* Better then a phonebook: It will locate specific stores, restaurants, parks, etc. in any given location. It also provides phone numbers of those places.
* Hands-free phone conversations. You can set the TomTom VIA to auto-answer your mobile phone. The unit's speakers then broadcast the voice and its built-in mic lets you have a clear conversation.
* Screen is large enough so that you can see what's coming up.
* The voice is customizable and easy to understand - directions make sense and are clear and concise.