cheat the traffic gods with tomtom

I recently upgraded my little TomTom ONE with the newer and fancier TomTom 540 Go Live.  At first, it seemed a little silly to bother with the upgrade.  My ONE was a damned good little GPS.  It got me from point A to point B without any issues.  But, of course, I wanted to get a little bit more functionality so I began researching a new unit.


My basic requirements were to have a live traffic feed that could save me from the insanity of London traffic.  I have been driving to work as of late, so despite my route being so simple I could do it blindfolded, you still can’t predict what might be happening on any given day here in the Capital.

I am quite a fan of the TomTom brand as opposed to boring old Garmin.  I think that the products have a nice physical aesthetic and the UI is really easy to use.  With that in mind, I decided to go with another TomTom.

The only difference between the TomTom 540 & 740 Live are the maps. I decided to go for the cheaper UK only map version.

The TomTom 540 is slightly more advanced than my ONE in that it has Bluetooth hands free calling & also voice controls. The 540 has a slightly larger screen than the ONE which I find better to use. As far as the UI, it is pretty much the same.

To get the most functionality out of your TomTom you have to subscribe to the LIVE services at 7.99£ per month. This pricing seems a bit high, but it is so feature rich that you would virtually (and literally) be lost without it. With the LIVE services you get HD traffic which is by far the best feature of the pack. TomTom traffic uses a revolutionary new source of traffic information: the traffic flow of up to 16.7 million anonymous mobile phone users on the road. From this anonymous data, TomTom knows exactly where, in which direction and at what speed all these mobile phone users are travelling throughout the road network. This real-time data is combined with other existing quality traffic information sources, resulting in the most complete and reliable traffic information. The second most handy feature on the TomTom LIVE services is the local search with Google. This feature locks in with Google maps and provides you with not only directions to local businesses, but also with phone numbers. It is pretty useful! Other features are safety alerts and fuel prices.

I have to say that I didn’t think it would be worth it to waste the £225 to upgrade to the 540, but I was proven completely wrong. The fact that TomTom on numerous occasions has saved me from road closures in London; thereby saving my sanity was reason enough to upgrade. I am also a firm believer than TomTom saves relationships. I have used it on several road trips, both in the UK and Europe, and I can honestly say that the avoidance of a complete screaming match regarding directions is worth the investment.

I highly recommend this little wonder of gadgetry.