TomTom Via 620

We love the Via 620's high-resolution display, but we'd argue that the 6-inch display is simply too large and a potential safety hazard.


6.6
CNET Rating
6.3
User Rating

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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

Quarter acre blocks, TVs that can be measured in metres and Hummers that require their own postcode — all these things fit the "bigger is better" school of thought. Now, you can add to that list the TomTom Via 620. It looks much like the other models in the Via range of GPS units, but this one's big, really big, thanks to its 6-inch touchscreen. The tapered hard plastic body does a good job of disguising the unit's 2.4cm thickness, while the faux brushed metal bezel hints, ever so slightly, at the finer things in life.

For the 6-inch behemoth of a screen, TomTom has wisely decided to increase the pixel count to 800x480, up from the resolution on regular units of 480x272. This upgrade is most noticeable when flicking through the menus or entering addresses as text, and graphics no longer have that jagged look. Aside from featuring smoother lines and curves, TomTom hasn't added any snap, crackle or pop to the plain, but easy to read, map screen.

The built-in speaker projects instructions and warnings nicely enough, and it has a good volume range that doesn't descend into a mire of static when you flick the volume up. The EasyMount suction cup is, as ever, wonderful in its simplicity and compactness, and won't get lost amongst the glove box detritus, as it's built into the device. The supplied in-car charging kit consists of a USB cigarette port and a micro-USB cable; though by no means a killer feature, this combo allows drivers to recharge their favourite smartphone when not using the GPS, or easily replace their charging gear should one part be lost.

Features

Aside from the screen that's so big you can eat your (small) dinner off it, what does the RRP of AU$249 buy you? Not as many headline features as we'd hoped, unfortunately. Notable absentees from the spec sheet include TomTom's proprietary subscription-based Live traffic and information service and Bluetooth hands-free — the latter being the item we most pined for.

The features list includes what we'd consider to be our bare minimum requirements for a GPS in 2012. There's spoken street names, lane guidance for pretty much every multi-lane street in capital cities and full screen junction view graphics for motorway and highway exits, as well as some important intersections.

Speed limit info proved to be pretty comprehensive, at least in the city and suburbs where most of us reside, and, helpfully, includes 40km/h school zone warning system, which pop up only on weekdays. We'd caution against trusting the included speed, red light and safety camera warnings exclusively, though, as some cameras aren't present, while others only register when you're travelling in certain directions.

Performance

During our testing, in and around Sydney, mapping errors were rare, indeed — some of the credit here must go to the Whereis mapping data, although, as we've discovered on recent Navteq-powered Garmin units, this isn't quite the advantage it used to be. The remaining kudos goes to TomTom's MapShare crowd sourcing service that allows users to identify map errors, like incorrect road restrictions or speed limits, and once verified by a team at TomTom or shared by enough users, these are downloaded via the MyTomTom app to TomTom devices when they're plugged into a PC or Mac.

The Via 620 is able to navigate you from A to B, but there are no leaps or bounds made in the area of route calculation. Pitted against a person with reasonable local knowledge, the Via 620 will usually come off second best, picking routes that mainly utilise main roads. Although, the TomTom does have, from time to time, an odd and unfathomable wanderlust for narrow side streets. That said, route calculation and re-calculation is pretty speedy.

In a plethora of test vehicles, from tiny two-seater convertibles to full-size family sedans, we found that the Via 620's 6-inch screen much too large — indeed, in some smaller vehicles, we felt 5-inch screens were already too big for the cars they inhabited. The cause for our concern is that hiding behind the Via 620's body is a large chunk of road space, and potentially kids, cars and other obstructions, that we can no longer see. Quite often, we caught ourselves peering around the unit, just to make sure that we were in the clear.

Conclusion

We love the Via 620's high-resolution display, but we'd argue that, unless you're driving a Land Cruiser, Hummer or some other gargantuan vehicle, the 6-inch display is simply too large and a potential safety hazard. We'd recommend saving the cash and opting for a smaller 4.3-inch or 5-inch model, or using spending your money on a model with Bluetooth hands-free, such as the AU$229 Via 180.

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Robl36 posted a comment   
Australia

Large size is great, I have mine mounted on disc in small compartment just below the dash, fold it down out of line of sight. I would like to see phone numbers displayed on screen. Some destinations are not recognised when boundaries overlap, also I have experienced a continued "turn left" instruction in Sydney & in country area, going around in circles. I no longer update on a regular basis as last time tech help assisted resulting in wiping all my records, other than that it's a great product.

asco2
8
Rating
 

"Excellent unit with one glaring fault"

asco2 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Everything else

The Bad:The voice guidance volume.

My previous review is now qualified by this later one.
The unit is excellent except for the voice guidance volume which is completely inadequate. I've found I simply can't increase the volume to a point where it's useful.
Pity, because it's an otherwise excellent unit.

Katie1
1
Rating
 

"Would not recommend"

Katie1 posted a review   
New Zealand

The Good:Size of screen

The Bad:All the software!!

Hello, I bought the via 620 after a brief on the NZ breakfast show. It has been nothing but trouble. I had had passengers say how useless it is, and always defended my purchase of over $300. I struggle to sit there and go through all the steps required...only to have no result posted!! Last weekend I needed a route out in the country ..no results. I stopped at Taup[o ... tried the Garmin, punched in the address and bingo! Actually the Garmin, I could type the address as written, however the Tom Tom has to have the info in a certain 'order'.
Also I once asked for Auckland Airport ...if its not in the drop down ... then u cant get info!!! Turns out I was meant to type Airport Auckland.
Anyway, I have gort over myself today, thrown it in the rubbish and getting a Garmin 7" installed! Cant wait to have the help I wanted 12 mopnths ago!!!
I would not recommend Tom Tom

asco2
8
Rating
 

"Almost perfect"

asco2 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Brilliant unit

The Bad:No Bluetooth

Love it!! Just love it!! I have both the Garmin 2495 and the TomTom Via620.
The TomTom is definitely my choice of units.
I notice no adverse safety features due to the extra size of the TomTom.
My drive is a Toyota Aurion, not a troop carrier nor a Hummer.
I position the unit so that it touches the dashboard directly in front of my driving position which allows me to monitor the unit without taking my eyes off the forward driving position.
Most of the Big picture I see immediately behind the TomTom unit is of the Aurion's bonnet.
I consider it does not impair my forward vision whatsoever and is not a safety consideration.

paulspresser
8
Rating
 

"Good unit. Good value."

paulspresser posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Screen size. Features. Speed.

The Bad:Keyboard a little insensitive.

I find the large display one of the 620's best features. I place it near the rear view mirror and have no issues with visibility on my VZ Commodore.

The touch screen seems a little insensitve, but that is mainly an educational thing when using it.

I find this device superior to the Navman unit that I owned previously.

 

ZaminA posted a comment   

download tom tom for iphon




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User Reviews / Comments  TomTom Via 620

  • Robl36

    Robl36

    "Large size is great, I have mine mounted on disc in small compartment just below the dash, fold it down out of line of sight. I would like to see phone numbers displayed on screen. Some destination..."

  • asco2

    asco2

    Rating8

    "My previous review is now qualified by this later one.
    The unit is excellent except for the voice guidance volume which is completely inadequate. I've found I simply can't increase the volume..."

  • Katie1

    Katie1

    Rating1

    "Hello, I bought the via 620 after a brief on the NZ breakfast show. It has been nothing but trouble. I had had passengers say how useless it is, and always defended my purchase of over $300. I s..."

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