TomTom GO Live 820

TomTom GO Live 820 review: The TomTom GO Live 820 is one of the first GPS units in Australia to feature TomTom's HD Traffic service

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TomTom GO Live 820
  • TomTom GO Live 820
  • TomTom GO Live 820
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.00 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)


  • Ease of use and design
  • HD Traffic and Live services
  • Slick navigation experience


  • Voice commands hit and miss
  • IQ Routes still prefers main roads
  • Live services cost extra after 12 months

Bottom Line

TomTom's GO Live 820 is an impressive GPS unit, but the real story here is the integration of the company's HD Traffic service. While not perfect, its integration is seamless and easy to use. The GO Live 820 is good value at this price, but we wish the Live services were free for life and not just 12 months.

Would you buy this?

TomTom's GO Live 820 GPS unit is a mid-range navigation device with a large 4.3in touchscreen. Its also one of the first GPS units in Australia to support TomTom’s new HD traffic service, which forms part of TomTom's Live services suite. The GO Live 820 represents excellent value, and combines a strong features list with a stylish and practical design.

Read our guide to the best TomTom GPS units.

TomTom GO Live 820: Design and user interface

There's only so much you can do with a plastic box that sticks on your car windshield, but TomTom has definitely scored some points for the GO Live 820’s design. It has an attractive, etched finish on the front, with a silver band around the bezel breaking up the all black colour scheme. The GO Live 820 is thin and light, but feels relatively well constructed.

The TomTom GO Live 820 includes an integrated mounting system. It allows the unit to tilt in multiple directions, and the circular lock system makes it easy to quickly attach and remove from a windscreen. The GO Live 820 doesn’t require excessive force to mount, and did not fall off our window during testing.

TomTom GPS units are well regarded for an easy to use interface, and the GO Live 820 is no different. It borrows almost the same look and feel from the previous GO 1000 and GO 1050 units. Features include rounded edges on selection boxes, the ability to make your own customised "menu" on the map display, and an excellent on-screen keyboard to aid text entry.

The TomTom GO Live 820 allows you to navigate to a destination using voice control. There are more than 140 commands available; in addition to navigating to an address you can also avoid a roadblock, zoom in and out of the map, increase the volume, and add a location to your favourites. The voice command function is available by tapping the microphone button on the home screen. Simply tap the button, say a command and the GO Live 820 will react. Like most voice recognition technology, it is far from perfect; we found it often struggled to understand our commands, and you need to speak relatively closely to the built-in microphone on the unit for it to work effectively. In most cases, we found it quicker and more efficient to enter a destination manually.

TomTom GO Live 820: Navigation

Once you've selected a destination, the TomTom GO Live 820 displays the fastest route available using IQ Routes and allows you to alter it if necessary. Here you can avoid a roadblock, calculate an alternative route or travel via a waypoint. The IQ Routes technology used by TomTom is based on real-life user data rather than the traditional maximum speed method. It determines a route by considering all possible routes and then selecting the one that supposedly takes the least time, with the technology aiming to avoid main roads where necessary. In our experience the TomTom GO Live 820 still preferred to calculate routes using main roads rather than backstreets that are often faster. The GO Live 820 is moderately fast when recalculating a route, usually taking around five or six seconds.

The TomTom GO Live 820 has text-to-speech technology, which means that it speaks the names of streets as you approach them. The unit pronounces Australian street names relatively well thanks to an Australian text-to-speech voice. Fixed speed and red-light camera warnings are also included and remain constantly updated as part of TomTom's Live service suite.

Advanced lane guidance is also included on the GO Live 820. On multilane roads, an icon in the bottom-left corner of the map screen highlights which lane you should be in, depending on your destination. At busy highway junctions this is enhanced by arrows indicating the lane direction combined with a static image of road signs. The signs are the same colour as the ones displayed on the road, in order to minimise confusion.

TomTom GO Live 820: HD Traffic and 'Live' services

The key feature of the TomTom GO Live is HD Traffic. TomTom claims the new service is the "world's most accurate and detailed" as it combines both live incident data, and real time flow of traffic from multiple sources. It provides Australia-wide coverage in both metro and regional areas via a live data connection: the GO Live 820 has a built-in, non-removable SIM card. The connection allows the unit to receive information from state traffic authorities, while data is also automatically collected from other TomTom GPS users.

The HD Traffic service promises live traffic updates to users every two minutes. The total traffic delay on a route is shown in the top right corner of the GO Live 820's screen, while individual events or congestion is shown on a bar on the right side of the screen. If an alternative route is available the service will ask if you want to re-route, though this can be set to happen automatically if you wish. We found HD Traffice an effective solution overall, and the was fairly comprehensive. On face value, it certainly seemed more reliable and up to date than the SUNA traffic system used by competitors Garmin and Navman.

HD Traffic is part of the TomTom's "Live Services" suite. Other features include a constantly updated database of safety cameras, local search through Google, a quick GPS fix that promises to gain a GPS position within 30 seconds, and a weather forecast service. The Live Services subscription comes free with the GO Live 820 for first 12 months, and will then cost users $69.95 a year to renew.

Battery life is rated at up to three hours. TomTom disappointingly doesn't include an AC charger in the sales package, so you'll have to charge the GO Live 820 via the included USB cable or cigarette lighter adapter.

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Read more on these topics: GPS devices, tomtom, GPS, TomTom HD Traffic, TomTom GO



Is there a way to select A roads only



I was reasonably happy with the TomTom GO LIVE 820 my wife bought me for my birthday in November 2011. Today 28 June 2013 it is no longer usable. I can get the drum beats after about 15 seconds and a very slight illumination of the screen but no menu. I rang TomTom service to check if there was anything they could suggest I try, to rectify the problem. They informed me that it was out of warranty and there was nothing they could do for me. I do believe that a product costing $299.00 should last more than 19 months..... If this is the life expectancy of a TomTom product I certainly won't be purchasing another TomTom or recommending it to others. I will also mention that I would only use it one day a week when I would travel from Sydney to Albion Park and back and would keep it in its original box at my desk when it was not in use. I certainly could not justify paying this amount of money if i couldn't get at least 5 years minimal use out of the product.



I bought an 820 two months ago. I found the maps seriously out of date especlly in the Sutherland , Sydney Au area. Dead end roads where I got looped back and had to over ride the device. Roundabouts with 4 ways the tomtom showed 5. I found the over speed alert not reliable like the old uniden (yes I run 2 one for over speed in Sydney traffic for 12 hrs a day). The Tomtom over heats on the wind screen too so I put the air con vents on demist to keep it cool. I need a mongrel, part tom tom part garmin, part uniden



My TomTom 820 Go Live has also become defunct after about the same time as Gary's. It seems from others on the internet that it is a battery problem - which seems to be common for TomTom. Yes it should last more than this length of time and I believe we could get some action from the new Australian Consumer Law act.



My TomTom 820 lasts exactly 16 months. Battery is dead flat. According to Tomtom it is not replaceable. Now I know why they offered lifetime maps for free. You will not enjoy them for long.



My Tomtom 820 live now has a battery problem also, and this is after buying it new just 8 months ago, it will not accept any charge from any source at all, so I am off to Goodguys today hopefully to get it replaced, fingers crossed. My advise to anyone buying a GPS is to pay for an extended warantee.



Hey guys, Same problem here with battery in my 820. Found a youtube video that shows you how to replace the battery . . . fiddly but not rocket science. Am now going to search for a battery. The site that posted the youtube video sells them but it is Americanas not local.

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Michael Hallre



East of use, cost of buying
Yearly fee for HD Live
• • •

I have had a Tom Tom Go 820 Live for about a month now. I do a lot of driving mainly on main or artrial roads. The unit clearly shows the speed you are driving and the speed limit in the area which is great in Sydney where the speed limits change so rapidly. It points our red light and traffic cameras very clearly with plenty of time to stop. I have not had a problem with finding a street at all. I find it a great user friendly unit. I do wish something went of when I was doing over the speed limit though, maybe it does I just cannot find it. Cheers,

Chris Preston



Can't acquire a GPS Singal
• • •

As this is a GPS device a complete inability to pick up a GPS signal renders this unit useless. I have updated the software correctly and still it will not work. Avoid this unit at all costs as you will see from other reviews this is not an isolated issue.

Apparently TomTom are aware(according to the retailer, yet they still continue to sell and actively promote this unit!

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