TomTom Via 180 review: TomTom Via 180

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Slim and slick. Refreshed look for the interface. Speedy route calculation.

The Bad Voice recognition is more miss than hit. Latest software upgrade has removed camera alerts. MyTomTom PC software is a retrograde step.

The Bottom Line Pretty, but flawed. Somehow the recent software has nixed the camera alerts and made a decent GPS less so.

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Design

Despite being one rung down on the TomTom totem pole from the Go range, we find the new Vias to be more attractive. There's a brushed strip on the screen bezel that looks and feels fabulous; the rest of the Via's body is made from hard plastic. Thanks to its tapered shape, the Via seems to be not only thinner than its stated 19mm thickness, but also slimmer than the Go 1050, which is also 19mm thick.

There are two Via models that differ only in screen size: the 160 with a 4.3-inch screen and the 5-inch 180 . Unlike the Go line-up , the Via still uses a resistive touchscreen instead of the more responsive capacitive form. This does have one major benefit, however: no distracting reflections during the day.

A compact windshield mount is built into the back of the device. An orientation sensor rotates the display depending on whether you've mounted the Via to the windscreen or dashboard.

Interface

Like the Go range, the Via features a reworked version of TomTom's easy-to-use interface. The changes are primarily superficial, with the layout and structure largely unchanged.

Destination entry via the QWERTY keyboard is easy enough. This is augmented by a voice recognition that, like a cheap seafood buffet, is considerably better in theory than practice. An extensive range of voice commands are available via a configurable on-screen shortcut, but these need to be learnt by rote, as available commands doesn't automatically appear — a full list is available via Help > Product manuals > What can I say?

Although it can understand whole street and suburb names, the hit rate is less than 50 per cent and frustration will soon make your fingers do the walking. An occasional bug means that the Via randomly stops listening during the destination entry process, necessitating yet another jab at the screen.

Features

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Where to Buy

TomTom Via 180

Part Number: CNETTomTom Via 180

Typical Price: $299.00

See manufacturer website for availability.