The first thing you notice about the TomTom Go Live 825 Europe is its 13cm 480 x 272 pixel touchscreen display. Its bright and clear screen real estate enables you to take advantage of all those 'connected' features (more on these in a minute).
The TomTom Go Live 825 Europe also includes a new orientation sensor, which enables the display to swivel 180 degrees – which is handy as TomTom has redesigned the mounting arm so you can place your sat nav either on your windscreen or on your car's dashboard (provided you also buy the optional dash mount).
Other physical features include a simplified 12V charger plug with mini-USB cable, which enables you to sync the TomTom Go Live 825 Europe easily with your Mac or PC without the needed for additional cables. You also get a mini SD card slot for expansion – handy if you want to buy additional maps later, although it comes with full UK and European maps covering 45 countries.
Other goodies inside the sat nav itself include built-in Bluetooth and 4GB of internal flash memory.
The biggest change, however, has been to TomTom's sat nav operating system: it's cleaner and simpler to use than before, with a logical series of menus and sub-menus that make it easy to find your way around. You'll notice that getting around or accessing menus requires quite a firm press of the touchscreen to get your input to register – but better that than the other extreme, which is just plain annoying.
Going alongside the cosmetic changes on the TomTom Go Live 825 Europe are a deeper set of improvements that should help improve TomTom's already fearsome reputation.
These include thousands of new kilometres of roads, a much better selection of points of interest (POI) – that now includes amenities such as local restaurants as well as national chains – and, of course, those 'connected' Live features.
These give your TomTom Go Live 825 Europe a year's free access to features including TomTom HD Traffic, which gives you updates on the traffic situation on your chosen route every two minutes; with the results displayed in a slender indicator column on the screen's right-hand side. This flashes up potential problems ahead using red or orange indicators, enabling you to plot an alternative route well before you reach them.
Other Live features include updated information on fixed and mobile safety cameras, local weather reports with five-day forecasts as well as Live QuickGPSFix and Google Local Search – for those times when the built-in POIs can't find what you're looking for.
All of this information is accessed and updated using the TomTom Go Live 825's built-in SIM, so you don't have to worry about connecting your mobile to receive them. The only real downside is that you'll have to pay an annual fee of around £47 once your year's free subscription is up – but if you drive a lot, we think that's a price worth paying.
Out on the road, the TomTom Go Live 825 Europe really proves its mettle. Our combined test route of rural, urban and arterial roads really put the sat nav through its paces – and it was very rarely found wanting. We particularly like the fact that 2011 TomToms now include road names among their voice instructions, making it far easier to take the correct turn, especially at complex road junctions and roundabouts.
We also love the improvements to the way TomTom handles motorway junctions: you no longer just get close-up views of each one with arrows indicating which lanes you should be in, the arrows now also flash orange so you can tell at a glance exactly what you're supposed to do.
Teaming Live services with TomTom's IQ Routes – which intelligently picks the best route to your destination by taking into account anonymous data collected from thousands of other road users – also helps make driving a lot less stressful.
The only time the TomTom really tripped us up was when we were looking for a particular supermarket at our destination using the Points Of Interest search – only to be greeted with identical names for each one, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact store we wanted.