Review: TomTom GO 940 Live
The TomTom GO 940 Live ushers in a new era for GPS navigation by integrating a Vodafone Sim-card for over the air (OTA) updates of its key services – HD Traffic, Google search, weather forecasts, fuel prices, safety cameras and TomTom buddies
The TomTom GO 940 Live ushers in a new era for GPS navigation by integrating a Vodafone Sim-card for over the air (OTA) updates of its key services – HD Traffic, Google search, weather forecasts, fuel prices, safety cameras and TomTom buddies.
Of course all this comes at a price, so despite the initial £449 price tag (which includes £50 free fuel) you’ll have to pay an extra £7.99 a month to continue using the services after the three-month trial period is over, and we’ve been told the mobile coverage is still being rolled out until March 2009.
Despite the high price, our first impressions of the exterior design were mixed. While the black finish doesn’t look too bad, the device itself is pretty heavy at 224g, and the 4.3” screen sits behind a frame instead of a flush finish as seen on the newer Navman and Navigon products. That said, the display is certainly vibrant and copes well in bright conditions, the back speaker provided ample volume and the car mount fits more securely to the device and windscreen.
As for the Map view, this retains the same minimalistic look and feel of its predecessors (proving less of a distraction when driving), but additional driving aids are on board including a new speed symbol with distance to camera, traffic alerts, POI that are easier to view, and the familiar real-signposts and advanced lane guidance (real-time graphical representation of junctions, motorways/exits) as seen on the GO 930.
The biggest cosmetic change is in the interface. The simplistic structure remains, but the big icons have been redrawn and look more professional.
Out of all the OTA services (now easier to access from the main menu), the new Google search, HD Traffic and fuel price guidance are the highlights. The Google search facility lets you browse for additional POI, and from the results you can call them using a linked Bluetooth Mobile, glean additional info (including address details), save as favourites or navigate. Likewise, there’s a Fuel Price search option that can take you to the nearest petrol station based on distance or price.
The new HD Traffic is one of the most accurate we’ve used on a GPS device, partially helped by the four different sources it gets its data from (TomTom Live community being one). During testing we also liked the small flashing arrows that appear on the map/overview which display the direction the traffic is flowing, and the ability to read aloud the warnings using text-to-speech.
For inputting destinations, the standard keyboard entries are joined by a voice recognition system that can also be used via the Map view to speak additional commands, so for example you can change from 2D to 3D views or add favourites. While it works well most of the time, we did need to speak our commands louder when there was heavier background noise (eg on motorways).
On the subject of voice, the built-in text-to-speech directions were spoken clearly (despite the odd comical glitch) and you can also pipe voice directions/multimedia to your car’s internal speakers.
As for navigation performance, the internal receiver is boosted by the QuickGPS Fix utility to speed up the location acquisition time, initial route calculations were nippy and our position was tracked accurately. The integrated IQ routes technology, which calculates routes based on the time of day of your journey (taking into account delays caused by traffic lights etc), took us along roads that even we would take ourselves to avoid traffic congestion – impressive.
Despite TomTom switching to Road Angel for its safety camera database, we noticed a few inaccuracies with fixed cameras along our test route. You do have a Live Report button to alert TomTom to any issues in real-time, but we found that updates were already available via the useful TomTom Home PC-based software (which is still required to update fixed cameras).
Overall, the 940 is one of the more impressive and most ambitious satnavs on the market, but the price can’t be ignored. For pro drivers the cost could be justified quite easily, but for consumers the expense makes it harder to recommend.
Map coverage: Europe, US and Canada
Overall verdict: 8
Review originally published in Smartphone & PDA Essentials magazine. Words by Brett James.
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