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TomTom LIVE - Success or Failure?

pocketgpsworld.comTomTom's x40 LIVE range hit the stores back at the end of October 2008. The LIVE Services package includes the much vaunted HD Traffic, Premium Safety Cameras, Google Search, Fuel Prices, Weather and Buddies.

HD Traffic has had a mixed reception with tales of poor data, flaky connectivity and inconsistent and at times inaccurate reports. It has certainly proved to be rather less effective than TomTom claimed but is it improving?

The early adopters will be coming towards the end or have already reached the end of the 3 month trial of the services on offer. At 7.99 per month (95.88 per year) we want to see if you think it represents good value and if you will be renewing.

Our x40 features comparison table can be found here and the lengthy x40 forum thread here.

We've also started a poll here, if you're an x40 owner please let us know if you will be renewing?


Posted by Larok on Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:08 am Reply with quote

Driving 30 000 miles per annum I like the HD traffic. I wish it was better but I use it every journey/every day. Saving from half and hour to 4 hours of time per month.

Posted by MrT on Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:33 am Reply with quote

If you think about the pricing of the service I would expect the information part of the service to cost around 45 per year based on other traffic and camera services plus the cost of the mobile data calls. That would put the cost of the GPRS data calls at around 4 per month which for unlimited usage is not bad and not many standalone data packages offer this. Free or really cheap data calls on other networks are not really free they are cross-subsidised by other parts of the mobile subscription.

As to the services offered:

HD Traffic is not 100% available and the quality of the data is also suspect. I have noticed it getting better over the three months I have used it. Even so, I prefer it to GPRS or TMC traffic.

TT Weather has not been of particular use to me, I prefer to look at the BBC weather site before I travel.

TT Safety Cameras. I like the way they are implemented based on time to camera and the SPECS warnings but they have many sites missing and are not as accurate as the PGPSW offering.

Buddies is of little use to me as outside of the x40 range it relies on the other user manually pressing the update function on their unit to tell the TT Servers where they are. The x40 automatically updates its current position. I would like to have been able to see where my wifes 530 is when it is in use. She can see where my 940 is but to ask her to update buddies every so often is not really on.

Petrol Prices are always out of date with the rapidly changing prices but could be useful in an area I do not know.

Quick GPS fix, I have only ever used this via Home and I am do not think it adds that much

I also thought that buddies, weather and quick GPS fix were free services before the Live Services were thought up.

Google Search. Never used it.

I have subscribed as my trial has run out.


Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:04 pm Reply with quote

MrT Wrote:
I would expect the information part of the service to cost around 45 per year based on other traffic and camera services plus the cost of the mobile data calls. That would put the cost of the GPRS data calls at around 4 per month which for unlimited usage is not bad and not many standalone data packages offer this.

Not really like for like though is it? This is a walled garden with access to TomTom Service only so not comparable?

HD Traffic is not 100% available and the quality of the data is also suspe

TT Weather has not been of particular use to me

TT Safety Cameras. [snip] many sites missing and are not as accurate as the PGPSW offering.

Buddies is of little use to me

Petrol Prices are always out of date

Quick GPS fix, [snip] I am do not think it adds that much

Google Search. Never used it.

I have subscribed as my trial has run out.

That made me smile, you don't rate any of the services yet you still subscribed?

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by thezerocool on Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:56 pm Reply with quote

wow, there is some really negative comments and some extreme exagerations. Let me tell the other side of the story.

Ive had nothing but a positive experience with it.

My trial ran out and I used the 14days grace to continue before subscribing. Very good IMHO.

Traffic is incredible, i find it picks up the start of the traffic very accuratly. I questioned why some doesnt appear on it and got a very convincing answer. Traffic only shows where it exceeds the IQ routing speed for the road. So if TomTom expect a 10 minute delay every friday at 5 and there is then its already given you the best route, so why show you the traffic too? Makes sense to me.

I probably save 10-20 mins per day thanks to traffic and several times and month it will save me a significant amount of time on a long jouney, around 2 - 6 hours. So adding it all up probably means I save a day a month thanks to it. Very Happy

Google is great when you need it, and useless when you dont so it depends how you use it. I added something to google online and in the time it took me to get from my PC to my TomTom it was searchable from Google search on my 940.

Cameras are great especially as I already have points and need the protection. I have seen some mobiles missing but reported them.

Fuel prices for me are very accurate. It rounds up to the nearest penny which is a little annoying but apart from that I find its always right. There are obviously some petrolstations (supposedly 90% are included) not listed but when Im without the feature when using my Rider on my bike I feel I need it. Hopefully live service will come to Rider one day soon.

Buddies is something I use, not many do but I often have driven in convoy with Mrs ZeroCool and gone off ahead on the bike. It can be useful for that!!!

Weather is take it or leave it, I have used it on a few occasions and thought it was good but not something I use regularily.

I am one of the squad that would pair their phone up to a older device and use it as a modem for data on my TomTom. I think anybody who has found them doing that before would appreciate a x40.

I do around about 40,000 + in the car and some more on the bikes, maybe another 20,000 so I get my use out of the device and I would recommend anybody doing half what I do in the car to get one. Im a extreme case I guess and I found massive value in my device, im sure somebody doing less miles would still find good value.

The simple way I look at is..... 8 a month to me is a hour of my time, or part of a speeding camera fine, or a fraction of what I pay in fuel. The TomTom saves me time in traffic, fact, the TomTom saves my licence (hopefully), and it seems to have on many occasions now taken me to a cheaper petrol station so seems to be saving me money their too.

Sounds like a no brainer really. Rolling Eyes

I would be lying to say its perfect, im sure there is always room for improvement but this seems to be miles ahead of anything else available to me. I would love to be told otherwise but I did a great deal of searching and this comes out top all the time.

Posted by MrT on Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:29 pm Reply with quote

Darren Wrote:
That made me smile, you don't rate any of the services yet you still subscribed?

Snipped a bit too far but I did say I preferred the HD Traffic to the GPRS or TMC traffic and this is the reason I subscribed.

Even if I wanted I don't have the choice of GPRS traffic on the 940 and I find the TMC almost useless so the only choice is subscribe to HD Traffic or have no traffic.

If there was a choice of Live Services I would only pay for the HD Traffic and maybe the saftey cameras if they were only a little extra as with GPRS traffic.


Posted by Drudeboy on Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:57 pm Reply with quote

It's just too expensive for what it is. If it worked as promised consistently it would still be a bit pricey. But it doesn't work for me reliably enough to trust it and re -route when it suggests so. I drive about 4000 miles a month all over the UK. The buddies and weather is of little use, pgpsw cameras are better and cheap, google is ok but i can do that on my mobile within inclusive services, so just for traffic reports which are sometimes just plain wrong 8 p/m is far too much.

Posted by Holdfast on Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:37 am Reply with quote

Well as a 930 owner who thought he was going to be able to purchase an attachment in order to receive HD Traffic, I am going to hold back from upgrading. Having used Route Planner and seeing the poor standard of updates to road traffic conditions i.e Long Term Road Works not shown, on one occasion Traffic congestion shown on Motorway 2 weeks out of date.

I feel a lot more work needs to be done on HD Traffic to make it more stable.

Sat Nav of choice WAZE

Posted by Drudeboy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:37 pm Reply with quote

Today was a typical example. The journey was from East Leeds to West One Shopping Centre, Oxford St in Central London.
The trip showed no delays until I got about an hour from London. It then showed a delay of 12 mins on the A41 going down past Lords Cricket ground. It suggested a route that was 2 mins quicker but I stayed on the original and found absolutely no delay at at, in fact it was clearer than usual.

On the was back it again advised of 10 mins delay on the A41, again nothing, probably quieter than usual again. Onto the M1 heading north just before those long long roadworks in Nottinghamshire it said there was an 8 min delay a few miles north of the end of the roadworks, nothing, average speed through the 'marching ants' was about 80 (I mean 70 officer!)
I left the M1 at J46 and was warned of a delay from the top of the slip road heading west into Leeds, you guessed it, clear as a bell.

8 p/m? My ar&%

Posted by DaveMatthews on Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:41 pm Reply with quote

I bought a 940 last week. It's my first TomTom (and I'll be posting a full review of it soon) and I have to say that it's restored my shattered faith in SatNav, following on from the abortive NavMan S90i I owned and grew to hate with increasing venom!

I'm finding the Live Services brilliant. I drive 100 miles a day, so the Traffic service is not only extremely useful but has also proved to be pretty accurate so far - it has correctly warned me of slow-moving traffic on a number of occasions. I would never have got that sort of information from RDS/TMC.

Another failing of TMC was its extremely patchy availability. Despite travelling on one of the major motorways in the country, I simply couldn't receive a signal for about half of my daily journey. Occasionally TT's HD Traffic can't establish a connection (particularly during peak times when I assume their server is simply swamped with requests) but I reckon it works about 9 times out 10.

The Google Search service is invaluable.

If you travel a high mileage, I think 8 a month is good value for money. What's hurting is the purchase cost of the unit itself but you can largely blame that on the value of sterling being on the floor at the moment.




Posted by Graeme2812 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:48 pm Reply with quote

With such a contrasting set of opinions on how we are all experiencing HD traffic, I have decided to create the following map (inspired by something similar with TMC Coverage) in Google.

HD Traffic Serviceability

I think the more people we can get to submit there experiences, the more we can see just how much HD is covering and how well it is doing.

Graeme Bennett
Go 540 LIVE
App. 9.510.1234792.1 (2039,04/04/2013)
United Kingdom & ROI v945.6174

Posted by MrT on Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:01 am Reply with quote

At the moment (08:00 25th Feb) I have server access but no incidents on the 940 HD Traffic but the route planner is showing many incidents.


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