TomTom Via 180

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


6.8
CNET Rating
5.6
User Rating

About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


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

The Bluetooth hands-free system pairs quickly and easily with the Android and Apple phones that we threw at it. Sound quality on the Via's end is decent, but given the need to raise our voice, it's not really suited to long windy conversations.

When we filmed our video review, our Via unit had speed and red light camera alerts which worked perfectly fine. After using the new MyTomTom web-based PC software to upgrade the Via's firmware and maps, we were mightily disappointed that these camera alerts had disappeared like a politician's good intentions.

Speaking of the new MyTomTom PC software, it lacks many of the abilities of the now superseded TomTom Home. It won't, for example, let you purchase and install overseas maps, buy celebrity voices, or handle map correction and sharing.

Performance

The Via resumes from sleep in under three seconds, with a full reboot clocking in at 24 seconds. Route calculation is generally quite speedy but, as with any GPS device, the suggested route is more than likely not to be neither the fastest nor most intelligent way there.

With TomTom's Australian GPS range declared a traffic messaging free zone, IQ Routes — TomTom's collection of historical speed data — is used instead. The results are hit and miss; the Via will avoid certain roads at peak times, but it will more than happily lead you into other well-known congestion points.

The latest Whereis maps are included and upgradeable for free during the first 90 days of use. The maps include lane guidance for most roads, as well as full-screen lane junction graphics for motorway exits and junctions. Text-to-speech works well, but gets tripped up by a noticeable number of street names.

GPS reception is flawless in the suburbs and bush, but patchy in amongst the glass and concrete monsters lurking at the heart of every major city.

Conclusion

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



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DmitryG posted a comment   

Do not buy this model.

It has a lot of GPS issues (not sure about other tomtom models)

I have VIA 180 in my car , but I have to use my phone to navigate , because sometimes it take 30-40 min. !!!! to catch GPS signal with tomtom (yes I have all patches and GPS fixes and the latest firmware)

 

tchou posted a comment   

The Good:looks good

The Bad:NO INSTRACTIONS!!!

It is very poor not to have instraction what so ever !Cant use it !Very disapointed with tomtom.

vlt06
5
Rating
 

vlt06 posted a review   

The Good:Looks and Menu

The Bad:Software Flaws

Last week I purchased two TomTom Via 180 units for both of my cars etc...

In both cases, I have come across the following problem where I will set up the unit with voices and alerts (POI & Safety alerts) and all works good. then all of a sudden I notice after the unit gets powered off (automatically via the battery saver setting) and manually powered back on, that the audible alerts disappear???... The visual indicators are still there however no sound any more... I have re-applied the settings many times and still the same deal.

I have searched forums threads and what seems to solve a similar problem with other units is to perform a “PIN Reset” however the only reset command that are applicable to the via 180’s is to hold the power button for 15 sec or more until it restarts (which I have performed) but still looses the audible sounds. Pretty sad considering it is a "Know" problem

Another thing I have noticed is that when I switch the car ignition off, the battery saver mode kicks in and the unit will display the unit is shutting down and then counts down the 10 secs and then the shutdown picture displays. Sometime this display quite along time and sometimes short. When I then go to power it back up (by holding the power button for a few secs, the unit boots up where it left off literally, being the shut down image!!! I then have to try and power off and back on again to start up…

Now I know that some products have their “lemons” however as I mentioned earlier, I have two of these brand new units and these problems are across the two of them…

Hopefully they will fix the flaw however TomTom says to return the units... I guess they are not really confident in their product.

Very Worried
5
Rating
 

Very Worried posted a review   

The Good:Unsure

The Bad:Unsure

Today I went down and purchased the Tom Tom xxl as that is what I recently lost.. and was more than happy with it unfortunately that model was not longer available so I purchased Two VIA 180 Tom Tom's. ($500 altogether) After reading these reviews Im not sure I want to open the boxes (One is a gift for my Son and the other my replacement. One of the features I found very helpful was the Safety Alert Camera feature and a few of you have mentioned problems with this...I know what you are all thinking... "TAKE IT BACK" not sure if I can get refund for change of mind.. anyone know if "The Good Guys will refund for Change of Mind". Both boxes are sealed.. And does the warranty cover any issues if I were to lose the Safety Camera Alerts..

Davo
5
Rating
 

Davo posted a review   

bought this thing and found it has no instructions so went to the web site and they have many model instructions to download but none for the 180 so i'm groping around a bit trying to use it

 

yet2buy posted a reply   

link to user manual.
Can post some more info on this gps, Flaws?

http://download.tomtom.com/open/manuals/via/refman/TomTom-Via-en-GB.pdf

 

yet2buy posted a reply   

rephrase:
can YOU post some more info on this gps. Is it worth buying instead of a navman my65t?

MarkH
1
Rating
 

MarkH posted a review   

Absolutely hate this device because it fails at it's primary purpose which is to give driving directions. After 2 minutes, the screen blanks out and is replaced with advertising. The only way to keep seeing the map is to keep touching the screen every 2 minutes. I want driving instructions not an LCD advertising panel in my car. Off to get a refund and buy a NavMan of Garmin.

Sylvaner
10
Rating
 

Sylvaner posted a review   

I'm extremely happy with this product, I especially like the hands free which allows you to dial people from your contacts list without any problems!
Dont listen to people who have bad comments on this product, more support will come out pretty soon, just like all new technology.


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User Reviews / Comments  TomTom Via 180

  • DmitryG

    DmitryG

    "Do not buy this model.

    It has a lot of GPS issues (not sure about other tomtom models)

    I have VIA 180 in my car , but I have to use my phone to navigate , because sometim..."

  • tchou

    tchou

    "It is very poor not to have instraction what so ever !Cant use it !Very disapointed with tomtom."

  • vlt06

    vlt06

    Rating5

    "Last week I purchased two TomTom Via 180 units for both of my cars etc...

    In both cases, I have come across the following problem where I will set up the unit with voices and alerts ..."

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