tomtom 950 live

In recent years, TomTom has banished the frivolous stuff – like music and movie playback – so it can focus on making the driver's life easier.

That means you get IQ Routes, which intelligently works out which route is best for you at a particular time of day based on info gleaned from other sat nav users.

You also get TomTom's range of Live services, which pack in everything from safety camera alerts to local petrol price comparisons and even the option to search for items on Google – just the job when that obscure restaurant you're after doesn't come up on TomTom's own list of local Points of Interest.

TomTom go 950 live

Other goodies new to the TomTom Go 950 Live include Frequent Destinations – a menu shortcut that enables you to call up places like your home, work or school without having to remember to retrieve it from your favourites list or dig though your Recent Destination history.

To be honest, we can't quite see what real advantage this gives you over saving such things as favourites.

And, seriously, if you can't remember how to drive from Home to Work, maybe you shouldn't be driving a car at all.

What really puts the TomTom Go 950 Live streets ahead of its rivals is the way the user interface marries the system's complicated feature set with the beautiful simplicity of its menu system.

TomTom go 950 live

The most frequently used features are the ones you come across first, with increasing levels of control and granularity opening up as you drill down through the options. If only every gadget was made this way.

Out on the road, the TomTom Go 950 Live proves itself up to the task as well. The rear-mounted mono speaker conveys voices loudly and cleanly with only minimum levels of distortion at the upper volume limit, while the voices instructions sound natural, not robotic like those on the Mio Navman 575.

Not that hearing instructions in a robot voice is completely out of the question – a recent deal with Lucasfilm now means you can listen to C3PO, Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters (though don't expect R2-D2 anytime soon).

You can give the TomTom Go 950 Live voice instructions, which works surprisingly well.

TomTom go 950 live

The only real problems you're likely to encounter are the same ones that bedevil any sat-nav system. The TomTom Go 950 Live can sometimes confuse a fork in the road for a left or right turn, something that's especially confusing when lots of little roads meet.

It can also be tripped up by the speed at which densely-packed streets whip past as the GPS gyroscope and Enhanced Positioning Technology struggle to pinpoint your exact location.

TomTom go 950 live

But these faults only serve to remind you that no sat nav was ever intended to be a replacement for both brain and common sense – sometimes you just have to look at the 2D/3D maps and figure out these things for yourself.