Review: Tom Tom Go Live 820

Tom Tom has released a new range of GPS satellite navigation units (including a Top Gear edition model) all incorporating a 3G SIM card to aid in harvesting up to date traffic condition information.


We got the chance to take the Go LIVE 820 model (AU$299.00 RRP) out onto the road.  This particular device has a 4.3” nicely responsive screen, integrated mount – which we like and stylish textured bevel with understated chrome surround.

The 820 maintains the typical Tom Tom interface – with a slight tweak mentioned later, 2GB of flash memory, a yet unused SD Card slot and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.  Safety camera alerts and Google based Local Search to find a variety of services nearby are also part of the standard offering.

But the real standout feature of this unit is the 3G SIM connectivity LIVE systems.  It is comparable to devices compatible to the SUNA traffic channel which distributes information via FM transmission, covering 75 per cent of the continent

Known as Tom Tom HD Traffic the system promises more accurate reporting of actual traffic jams to help you avoid delays, more road coverage by recognizing traffic conditions on secondary roads to re-route you clear of traffic more often and much more frequent updates, every 2 minutes in fact to ensure less frustration and earlier destination arrival.
TomTom Go LIve 820
In practice, this system works a treat.  By default the display will show a vertical progress bar on the right of the screen.  Any incidents on the route ahead will be highlighted relative to how far away they may be.  There will also be a threat indicator showing just how much the expected delay will be if you continue on your current course.

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Simply tapping on the incident icon will either show that you are still on the fastest route, despite the expected delay, or give alternatives to avoid the congestion ahead.  Typically this works well, however it can be a trap for young players as a detour may well be simply around the block to avoid ten metres of delayed route ahead that may not have been that bad after all.  It’s your call, and pretty obvious when to take the advice or not.

The 820 will also receive local five day weather forecasts to help with planning on the go.

Tom Tom claim the 820 is fitted with a feature known as QuickGPS fix, reportedly speeding up the time it takes from power up to getting a GPS signal and fix on the cars location.  In practice however we found this performance was varied, and at times noticeably slower at initially working out where you are than just about all previously tested dedicated GPS units.

The GO LIVE 820 still comes recommended.  The years’ worth of   LIVE  Tom Tom HD Traffic (it will cost you AU$70 for the next year) is a very nice feature if you spend much of your driving time battling traffic.  Tom Tom also remains one of the slickest and informative interface systems on the market.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.