It's got great features and the live traffic is superb, but it's a shame about the sub-par display and need for a subscription.
God-like HD Traffic
Hands-free phone calls
Map corrections and updates
Ongoing subscription required
Ageing, low-res display
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The TomTom Via LIVE 120 slots into the TomTom sat nav range below the top-end Go LIVE 1000 devices and consequently it doesn't have as many fancy features. The screen isn't as roomy; there's no pinch-to-zoom and it lacks the neat magnetic window bracket.
But it doesn't really matter. All we ask of our sat-nav systems are two things. First, that they guide us quickly and efficiently to places we've never been before. Second, that they help us to avoid traffic congestion, speed cameras and random road incidents that will slow us down. Get these right and we're happy as Larry. Anything else is a bonus.
So the Via LIVE 120 includes TomTom's celebrated HD Traffic technology, eco routing, speed camera alerts, Google Local Search and hands-free calling over Bluetooth. The specification puts it on a par with the Garmin Nüvi 2350LT, which features a 4.3-inch LCD, plus Euro navigation, an ecoRoute function and access to a feed of Trafficmaster road data.
Priced at just under £200 (but available for much less if you shop around), the TomTom Via LIVE 120 crams all this cleverness and pan-European mapping into 4GB of internal storage. You can get a regional version of the 120 for £20 less or stump up an extra £30 for the Via LIVE 125 edition. This includes Euro maps and a five-inch touchscreen display.
In contrast, the Via LIVE 120 comes with a decent 4.3-inch screen – the same size as an HTC Desire HD. Of course, the 480 x 272 pixel resolution is nowhere near as good, but you don't need a high-res screen to display what is essentially a triangle at the centre of a scrolling 3D map. A sat-nav is a tool, not a video game.
The unit itself is compact and neatly designed, if a little heavy. An integrated bracket balloons the weight to 183g. Around the back, there's a single on/off button and an internal accelerometer will flip the screen so you can mount it on your windscreen or dashboard. The supplied USB cable plugs straight into an adaptor for in-car charging. Simple.