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TomTom Via Live 120 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £175
inc VAT

Despite a couple of minor flaws, the Via Live 120 is a great satnav. We just hope MyTomTom is fully working soon.

If you read our review of the Go 1000 Live, but were hoping for a cheaper version, you’re in luck: TomTom has launched the Via Live 120. It has almost all the benefits of the 1000, but costs well under £200.

The 4.3in screen is the same size and same resolution, and you get the same revamped interface with simplified, logical menus. Planning a route is incredibly easy, partly because there are so many ways to choose a destination. Google Local Search is particularly good as this removes the limit of the points of interest database, although just about every satnav with mobile data now has this facility.

TomTom Via Live 120

Route calculation is slightly quicker than on older Go models as the internal memory stores pre-calculated routes between any two points – this also makes route recalculations quicker. As ever, routes are planned using real road speed data, so you’ll always be on the optimal route regardless of the time of day, or day of the week. Add to this HD Traffic, and you’ve got the most up-to-date information on jams: as soon as there’s a faster route available, the Via Live 120 will ask if you want to take it, or automatically switch to it if you’ve set this in the options. Live services are free for the first year, then a shade under £50 annually after that.

Spoken directions are very clear, and most road names are pronounced correctly. Lane guidance is also clearer than the old software version, but the difference is subtle. We still like the redesigned information bar, which splits speed, turn directions and journey time into three sections. The tweaked traffic information bar is also clearer. Tap the traffic bar and you can quickly check if there are any delays on your commute. Another button reads the traffic information aloud; in a separate menu, you can see a live weather forecast for your current location or destination, which can also be read out.

Clearly, costs have had to be cut somewhere and the most obvious is the touchscreen. Where the Go 1000 has a capacitive screen, the 120 has the same resistive screen as most satnavs. This means it doesn’t support pinch-to-zoom, nor swiping between menus. If you’re used to a capacitive screen, perhaps on your smartphone, it feels like a step backward to have to prod the screen hard to register your intentions.

Another difference is the windscreen mount. There’s no magnetic dock here: a slimline mount is permanently attached to the rear. As this could be a limitation, the 120 has an orientation sensor and automatically flips the screen when you turn the satnav upside down. Unfortunately, there’s no portrait mode.

TomTom Via Live 120 rear

This is a minor quibble, and we’re more concerned that TomTom hasn’t improved voice recognition for the 120. As long as there’s not too much background noise, accuracy is quite good when speaking an address. However, it’s annoying that you can’t enter a postcode this way – you have to say the city and street name. We were disappointed, too, when the 120 couldn’t differentiate our “yes” and “no” when asked if we’d like to accept alternative routes.

Another annoyance is that there’s only one USB cable in the box – no separate data cable to keep with your computer. Plus, although the connection is standard micro USB, the port is slightly recessed, so a third-party cable may not fit properly.

When we reviewed the Go 1000 Live back a few months ago, TomTom was still working on its new online version of TomTom Home, called MyTomTom. There appears to have been some progress as it’s possible to make changes to maps using Map Share on the 120. However, you can’t yet add Funny Voices, add custom POIs or buy extra map coverage. [UPDATE 28/02/2011: A new version of Navigator is available to download via MyTomTom which enables installation of third-party POIs, and also fixes minor bugs and speech recognition problems.] Owing to the fact that very few owners used Live Fuel Prices on previous models, this service has been dropped altogether.

TomTom is focusing its efforts on enabling Latest Map Guarantee. This ensures you have the most up-to-date map if a new version was released within 30 days of you first using the satnav. As the feature isn’t yet working, TomTom has extended this to at least 90 days. Speed camera locations are updated when you connect the Via Live 120 to your computer, and mobile cameras are updated over the air so you’re warned of these.

If you already own a TomTom satnav with live services, there’s little incentive to upgrade. If not, the Via 120 isn’t bad value at £175. This includes full coverage of Europe, and Google Local Search works in other countries too, not just in the UK. Oddly, the UK & Ireland version is no cheaper, so there’s no reason to buy it. However, unless you drive for a living, there are plenty of cheaper satnavs, such as the Mio Navman 470, that do a fine job of getting you from A to B, albeit without warning you of traffic problems.




Navigation softwareN/A
Map dataTeleAtlas
Countries coveredEurope
Traffic informationGPRS
Toll road warningyes
Roadblock avoidanceyes
Speed camera alertsyes


Typestandalone satnav
Compatible operating systemN/A
Viewable size4.3in
Native resolution480×272
Memory card supportmicroSD (currently not used)
Memory card included4096MB
Accessoriescar charger, micro USB cable
CCD effective megapixelsnone-megapixel
ExtrasGoogle Live Search, HD Traffic, voice control

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB


GPS London route calculation test6s
GPS UK route calculation test24s