- Well-integrated apps, including Yelp, Expedia, Twitter.
- Sharp, 5-inch touchscreen.
- Accurate and usefully presented traffic detection & avoidance.
- Live services subscription cost after first free year.
- Narrow windshield mount lockring can be challenging to grasp/turn.
TomTom GO LIVE 1535M Car GPS Review
If you've ever juggled your smartphone while driving to get information from an online service such as Yelp or Expedia, you know how difficult (and dangerous) that can be. But these popular online services provide valuable information for the traveler. How to make use of them (and easily navigate to destinations you find with them)?
TomTom proposes the answer with its new GO LIVE 1535M car GPS, reviewed here. Besides integrating Yelp, Expedia, Twitter, Trip Advisor, fuel price comparisons, and local search powered by Google into its interface, the 1535M provides a highly competent overall navigation experience.
From its 5-inch (diagonal) touchscreen, to its slim and compact form, to its integrated foldable mount, to its connectivity, the 1535M is the latest and best salvo from TomTom in the super-competitive road navigation realm. And its $249 suggested retail price makes it accessible at a below-top-end cost.
I put hundreds of miles on the TomTom 1535M in urban, interstate, and rural driving, including traffic delay and re-route situations.
Connected to Yelp, Expedia, Trip Advisor, Google Search and More
I'll cover the connected services integrations first, and then take a look at the rest of the hardware and firmware package.
In addition to the typical TomTom menu screen selections, you will see a "Live Services" icon on the opening screen menu of the 1535M. Options from this screen include TomTom's HD Traffic, the speed cameras interface (report speed camera, alert settings), fuel price comparison utility, Google Local Search, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia, current weather, and Twitter.
HD Traffic detection and avoidance makes use of the 1535M's cell network connectivity to check on travel speeds of other connected TomTom devices, in addition to gathering information from emergency services to provide detailed traffic information, including back roads. In my tests, the TomTom was exceptionally strong in secondary-road traffic awareness, and it accurately detected backups, delay times, and presented alternate routes. There is always a traffic display and access to traffic data up on the main navigation screen as you drive.
Of the connected services, Yelp was of the most interest to me, since I use it frequently. In order to simplify Yelp for in-car use, you are presented with four options: near you, near destination, near home, and in city. You may search for Yelp reviews by name, major categories, such as restaurants. Once you make your selection, the device takes a few seconds to download information, then presents a list by proximity.
Tap on a restaurant, for example, and see Yelp's visitor rating, additional info such as address, and the option to read reviews. I highly recommend you pull over to read reviews, or let your passenger check them out. It's not safe to do that while moving.
TripAdvisor provides plenty of local knowledge about hotels and restaurants, and also provides a "things to do" option. Expedia's strength is hotels, including very competitive rates, and the ability to call a selected hotel directly from the GPS if you have your phone connected via Bluetooth.
I found the weather feature easy to use, and the fuel prices comparison utility was useful and accurate. You may sort fuel prices by cheapest on route, nearby, in area, or you may find gas by price.
The 1535M's Twitter connectivity is not for tweeting from the road (fortunately). You set up the GPS to provide automated arrival time updates to the Twitter account of your choosing.
Overall, the connected features are very valuable anyone who spends a lot of time on road. The 1535M takes this type of utility to a new level in dedicated GPS devices. Live Services are free for the first year, then $59.95 per year to renew.
The TomTom 1535M also includes voice recognition commands. There are pre-set commands for navigation (i.e., "navigate to home"), routing changes, display (brightness, zoom, etc.), volume, and handsfree calling. Voice commands worked as advertised, but I did find myself repeating some phrases loudly to get the task done.
TomTom 1535M Hardware, Interface, Screen, Mounting
TomTom has always stood out in the bread-and-butter navigation usefulness and accuracy departments, and the 1535M met that expectation in my tests. TomTom has gone with a higher-resolution, 5-inch touchscreen with this model, which is noticeably larger than the typical 4.3-inch size. The big screen makes for a clearly visible navigation experience, with room for extras such as the traffic monitor on the right side. I found the 1535M's visual and text-to-speech directions to be clear and easy to follow, including some close-quarters driving in an unfamiliar city.
The 1535M has a pleasant and compact, curved nylon shell, taking it out of the boxy old-style car GPS look and making it easier to stow. Also easing stowability quite a bit is the device's compact folding windshield mount. My only complaint with the mount is that the narrow lockring is a little challenging to grasp when mounting and dismounting from the windshield.
Further bolstering the 1535M's cred as a cutting edge GPS, it comes with a universal USB car power port charger, rather than the old-style single-purpose plug. This lets you simply plug into your existing USB charger, if you have one, as many do, or gives you a universal USB charger to use for other devices as well as the 1535M.
Overall, the TomTom 1535M lives up to its billing as a cutting-edge, high-utility, very well-connected GPS that integrates a suite of customized live services.