- TomTom has begun shipping its new midrange series of VIA portable navigation
devices (PNDs), bringing voice recognition and hands-free Bluetooth to select
midrange models for the first time.
retails range from $169 to $249.
The series offers four basic models, all slimmer than their predecessors yet offering larger screens at 4.3 inches or 5 inches. Each model comes in additional variations incorporating lifetime map updates, lifetime RDS-TMC traffic reports, or both to expand VIA's SKU count to 16.
The four basic models are the VIA 1405 and 1435 with 4.3-inch screens at $169 and $189, respectively, and the VIA 1505 and 1535 with 5-inch screens at $199 and $219, respectively. Prices of models with both lifetime maps and lifetime traffic add $30 to the suggested retails.
Bluetooth and voice recognition appear in the basic 1435 and 1535 and in all their variations for a total of eight of the series' 16 SKUs.
Voice recognition in the devices uses the company's new intuitive voice-recognition technology, which will also be available on premium Go Live models. The technology eliminates the need for drivers to memorize special command phrases to control key features by voice. Drivers can say "take me to 245 East 28
Street, New York, N.Y." instead of speaking the city followed by the state and then the street number.
The four models are also the company's first VIA models with integrated fold-and-go EasyPort mount, which folds back into the PND and leaves the PND small enough to still fit in a pocket. Compared to their predecessors, they also add a "flip screen" that automatically reorients itself when mounted upside down.
Other features new to the series include a simpler user interface to get to a given screen with fewer taps. All come with spoken street names, advanced lane guidance, and maps of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. All also feature an expanded onscreen driving view.