TomTom Go 750 Live: Finding a Little Chef has never been easier

'Little Chef welcomes you' -- the immortal words every weary traveller longs to see. Now, with the TomTom GO 750 Live, finding the nation's favourite roadside restaurant has never been easier

Ian Morris

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You're putting in the miles on the home stretch, listening to some classic rock, and suddenly the need to eat surges from deep within you. What you require, of course, is a Little Chef or a Happy Eater. But where are they? Well, you're unlikely to find a Happy Eater, as they went bust in 1997, but a Little Chef, now that's a distinct possibility.

Most satellite-navigation systems can tell you how to get to the nation's favourite roadside restaurant, but only if you have the postcode to hand. What if you don't? What then, hungry traveller? Well, the TomTom Go 750 Live can help, because it will search the Internet for your closest reasonably priced eatery. Never before has gammon, egg and chips been so easy to find.

So, you've got the co-ordinates of your local Chef programmed in, and you're setting off. The only problem is, you're in such a rush to get your formica fix, you've forgotten to drive at the speed limit. Normally, the roadside piggy banks, or 'safety cameras' as they're sometimes known, will have a field day with you. Not with the TomTom though, because its database is updated live, via the subscription Internet service.

When you come up to a camera, it beeps to tell you and shows you a distance until you reach it. Even more useful, the 750 also tells you what the speed limit is for the area you're driving in. Even those cunning average-speed cameras are taken into account, with the system warning you if you stray above the top speed while you're driving through them.

In the heyday of roadside cuisine, traffic wasn't a problem. These days though, it seems every hungry chap and his ravenous family is trying to go to the same Little Chef as you. Again, TomTom comes to the rescue, because the Live service also keeps you on the fastest route, with the least traffic. So, if the A30 is rammed at Ascot, you'll still be able to get to the Okehampton branch, in Devon, before closing time.

Now, all that remains is getting a seat at the Little Chef, which, as we all know, can be a little tough at times. With the TomTom Go 750, you can pair your Bluetooth mobile phone, and use the Google information to call and book your table. When we tried this though, the restaurant didn't seem keen to take a table reservation. We can only assume this was because they were too busy to accommodate us.

The TomTom Go 750 Live costs £250 via the official TomTom Web site. Normally you would only get a one-month trial of the Live service, but there's currently a 12-month subscription available for free too. After your free trial, access to the Live service costs £8 a month or £80 if you buy a 12-month subscription in advance -- saving you £16 on the month-by-month service.

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One of the non-Little Chef related things we noticed about the 750 was the much improved window sucker. On cheaper models, this thing is dreadful, but this version is terrific.
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Pictured here, the cheap, standard window mount (top) and the much better, more expensive model (bottom).
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Sound is excellent too, from the large, built-in speaker. That's handy, because you can use this as a mobile hands-free kit too.
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With a phone paired, you can access its phone book and call any of your contacts at the touch of a few on-screen buttons.
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There's a wealth of stuff provided with the Live service too. Traffic, weather and safety-camera alerts are all included. You can also search Google, to find that elusive Little Chef.
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In addition to finding and guiding you to a delicious dinner, the TomTom Live service will also help you find the cheapest local petrol prices. Data can be out of date though, by up to five days. And we really, really, doubt anyone is selling fuel for 96p.
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Guidance to your local cheap fuel is also provided at the touch of a button. In this case, we'd only need to drive 20 miles to get to it.
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When you get your route information back, you're also told of any delays, how many speed cameras there are and what the cheapest petrol station is. Very helpful indeed. Not long now until our bellies are full with the palatable produce of that happy Little Chef. Hurrah!

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