TomTom is pretty popular for a lot of things. A lot of drivers that need mapping assistance are probably familiar with their GPS devices. Investors, insiders and TomTom fans will probably be more aware with the partnerships the company has made with others. The company isn’t giving up on consumer GPS solutions though as new devices like the TomTom GO 51 and 61 boasting hot new features. However, these devices aren’t for everyone as some people just want some basic mapping capabilities. TomTom’s VIA lineup is still alive and well. In fact, the TomTom VIA 1515M is one of the latest 5-inch GPS navigators in the market and is very affordable.
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About the TomTom VIA 1515M
The VIA 1515M is one of the two TomTom devices in the VIA family. TomTom advertises VIA devices as devices for “basic navigation with lifetime maps”. It costs $109.99 or $10 more than the TomTom VIA 1415M. The difference between the two devices is the size with the TomTom VIA 1515M being the larger 5-inch version. The small size difference between the 4.3-inch 1415M is quite significant as the 480×272 resolution is just the same so everything on the screen just appears bigger. Maps are easier to see from afar regardless of the view and the interface is easier to navigate. The package comes with the EasyPort Mount, Adhesive Disk, USB cable with car charger and documentation.
The EasyPort Mount is one of the unique characteristics of a typical TomTom VIA device and the VIA 1515M has it as well. This mount easily attaches to the main TomTom device and doesn’t add considerable bulk. It looks as if it is part of the device itself and as the name suggests, it is very simple to mount to the device to the windshield. The adhesive disk can be used to attach it to the dashboard.
It is normal for entry-level GPS navigators to not have anything but basic navigation features but fortunately TomTom brought some of the proprietary technologies like IQ Routes to the TomTom VIA 1515M. IQ Routes uses special algorithms to get a very accurate estimate on when you will arrive to a destination. It also uses the internal map database to come up with the fastest routes.
It is impossible for the maps to be too outdated because the VIA 1515M comes with lifetime map updates. Every few months, you can obtain the latest maps of the US, Canada and Mexico to keep the GPS device fresh and eliminate the need to buy a new one unless you need more features. Of course, there will be times where a speed limit might not be accurate and an update isn’t available yet but there is a solution to that – Map Share. Map Share taps into the TomTom community, where you can download shared maps uploaded by others. You can make map changes and share to the community as well.
Like just about every other mainstream GPS navigator, the TomTom VIA 1515M has a lane assist feature with junction view so your eyes are treated with visual indicators showing the proper lane you need to be in once you have to take an exit. This basic feature comes with a unique twist – the ability to put the junction view on one side of the screen while the other side features the typical map. This split-screen view looks great on the 5-inch display.
It is important to note that the lane assist and IQ routes feature is only available in places in the US and Canada but if you take the whole North American coverage into account, the VIA 1515M has a very big database consisting of more than 10 million points of interest and you can take advantage of the spoken street names and turn-by-turn directions no matter where you are.
• IQ Routes really works.
• More points of interest than other entry-level devices. Map Share feature pretty useful.
• Only costs $110.
• Easy to use and install.
• Interface not as responsive compared to the TomTom GO devices.
The 5-inch TomTom VIA 1515M is really worth the extra $10 especially since the device will remain mounted in the car. A large screen really helps with navigation and TomTom-specifics add some great value without jacking up the price.