Release cycles for GPS devices are usually yearly and GPS manufacturers do not really bring too many new features to their newest products. Many consumers should be contented with the features already present with the GPS devices released a couple years ago. Of course, those that haven’t bought a GPS device yet and have plans to do so will benefit from the latest features and more importantly, maps updates. But with a handful of big players in the automotive GPS industry, choosing a device can be tricky and there are various price ranges to consider. TomTom is attempting to make their VIA family of devices more premium with the TomTom VIA 1535TM being one of the models to lead the mid-range pack.

TomTom VIA 1535TM

TomTom VIA 1535TM

Design

One of TomTom’s signature features lie in the curved designs of the TomTom models. But this TomTom VIA GPS device breaks away from that tradition by going for the standard rounded rectangle design. However, the 5-inch TomTom VIA 1535TM still strives to be unique from the rest of the common GPS models by having a brushed-aluminum finish which is becoming an increasingly more common choice for manufacturing laptops and smartphones. Build quality is good as a result and the overall device is quite thin too. There is also an integrated foldaway mount on the back of the GPS device to make dashboard mounting a step shorter.

Interface

5-inch GPS devices should be much easier to use than smaller devices but the TomTom VIA 1535TM comes with a few additions to improve that touch experience. For instance, it takes fewer steps to do certain things like planning a route or looking at the map. Voice recognition can also be used during those times when you need to focus on the road and avoid touching the screen.

Navigation Features

Previous generation TomTom VIA models had a good set of navigation features and these features found their way to the TomTom VIA 1535TM. The IQ Routes technology is one of the most useful features as it processes a planned route by looking for possible ways to reach the destination. Special algorithms aid the TomTom VIA 1535TM in choosing the best possible route. Several things are taken into consideration like the day of the week and rush hour traffic. Because this VIA device has the “TM” suffix, you can freely check traffic conditions anytime. No payments are ever required and this feature never expires.

While these technologies are designed to help people reach their destinations faster, simple mistakes such as being in the wrong lane can lead to a missed exit. This can cause significant delays due to unnecessary route recalculating but the Advanced Lane Guidance feature can help straighten things out. This feature can be triggered when you are in a highway and it uses a 3D interface to point out what lane you have to be in so you will not miss the exit.

The TomTom VIA 1535TM offers plenty of map coverage so US, Canadian and Mexican residents can all benefit from the route planning features. TomTom also provides free map updates for a lifetime to the TomTom VIA 1535TM so there is no need to worry about outdated map data. Once a route is planned from the map view, the text-to-speech engine handles the rest by guiding you towards the destination.

The VIA 1535TM also gets Bluetooth which is a common feature for the high-end TomTom GO devices. Bluetooth connectivity is a great feature to have for business people that are frequently on the go and use their smartphones often. This makes smartphone usage while driving a lot safer since you can just pair the mobile device with the GPS device before driving so you will not have to hold the phone whenever you receive a call. The TomTom VIA 1535TM allows calls to be made or received once a connection is made. There is a loudspeaker so you can listen to the other person and talk back hands free.

Bottom Line

The VIA series continues to represent the mid-range category but if you are looking for an affordable device with some extra capabilities, the TomTom VIA 1535TM is a good pick. It is on the top tier of the VIA devices but it manages to be cheaper than those feature-rich TomTom GO models.

Right now, the TomTom VIA 1535TM costs about $200 but it is likely for this price of this model to go even lower. It is a good deal because that money is spent on a large screen with both free traffic and map updates as well as Bluetooth. Factor in the unique design and thin profile and the VIA 1535TM is pretty competitive at that price too.

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