Yes, the TomTom Via LIVE 120 doesn't represent the pinnacle of sat-nav design. But it does provide a great set of features at an affordable price, although the sting of a yearly subscription might make you think twice if you aren't a regular commuter.
HD traffic quickly proves itself to be invaluable when the TomTom Via LIVE 120 suggests a new route to avoid an accident on the M4 before you've even got into the motorway. Ditto the speed camera warnings, Google Local Search and the handy lane guidance feature, which shows a virtual representation of the junction ahead so you don't miss your turning.
While we experimented with the voice command function, we never really needed it. The Bluetooth integration for hands-free calling was far more useful, especially the option to auto-answer calls after a few seconds. Gives you time to mute the stereo…
Thank God for Google Local Search, because the POI database here remains poor. We also had some trouble with the 'fastest route' option, which was obsessed with directing us down single-track lanes. Switching to eco-routes seemed to solve the problem, however.
Map accuracy was also hit-and-miss. True, it was mostly hit, but we blindly drove down a small road in Bath, only for it to turn into a bridle path rather than the main road we were expecting. TomTom does allow you one free map download within 90 days of purchasing your sat-nav and the Map Share community acts as a Mapopedia, updating roundabouts and speed camera locations.
It's easy to be impressed by the TomTom Via LIVE 120 and you can buy it for less than its £200 RRP. Apart from a few nav-niggles, the LIVE Services are a serious advantage for regular drivers. However, it's worth keeping in mind that you'll be paying extra for the privilege. Without HD Traffic, Google Local Search and mobile speed camera locations, this device becomes much more ordinary.