TomTom VIA 180 GPS device

TomTom VIA 180 review: A mid-range GPS with IQ Routes and safety camera notifications

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews (5)
  • Buy Now 1
TomTom VIA 180
  • TomTom VIA 180
  • TomTom VIA 180
  • TomTom VIA 180
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.50 / 5 (of 5 Reviews)

Pros

  • IQ Routes, points of interest, safety camera alerts, lane guidance, hands-free operation

Cons

  • Not set to metres by default, map display sometimes got confusing even in places with a clear view of the sky, screen not always responsive

Bottom Line

The TomTom VIA 180 is a mid-range GPS unit with plenty of features. You get IQ Routes, fast route calculation and re-calculation and it also offers safety camera warnings, lane guidance and hands-free operation. It performed well in our tests, guiding us safely through the unknown, and we think it's a good unit to consider if you're in the market for a new GPS.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

The TomTom VIA 180 is a mid-range GPS device with plenty of nifty features and a reasonably easy to use interface. It has a 5in resistive screen that's not always responsive, but if you hit it hard enough it will bow down to your commands. It rests between the GO 1000 and Start 10 in TomTom's car navigation range, and it represents pretty good value for money.

Read reviews of the best TomTom GPS devices.

Like most good GPS devices, the TomTom VIA 180 isn't just a device for getting from A to B. It can also warn you when you are approaching red light cameras and speed cameras, it can tell you which lane you should be in, it can display upcoming service stations along your route, and it will even let you display points of interest (POIs) such as parking bays and shopping centres.

Setting up a route is very easy; after the GPS gets a satellite fix and finds your current position, you can enter your destination street as well as either a house number or a cross street, and the unit takes very little time to calculate the shortest possible route. You can tell the device to avoid toll roads if you wish, but this may end up adding a lot of extra scenery to your journey.

After the initial route calculation, the TomTom will tell you how long the journey should take and will give you an estimated time of arrival after also factoring in some time for delays (it can't receive SUNA live traffic updates though). The interface of the VIA 180 is clean and logical. It can display maps in 2D or 3D mode, and you can reach the main menu screen of the unit by tapping any location on the map. The screen displays speed limits, your current speed, the distance until a turn, and the time you will reach your destination. It will beep when you approach red light and speed cameras, and the current speed (which is displayed in the bottom-left corner) will turn red if it catches you over the speed limit.

Initially, the TomTom is set up to display (and speak) in yards, so you'll have to go in and change it to kilometres. The default voice is that of a computerised English lass and she does sound soothing. She announces street names, but does have a penchant for mispronouncing certain roads, which is annoying at first, but somewhat cute once you get used to it. For example, she said Bork instead of Bourke, and she always put the emphasis on the second syllable of highway when saying 'Princes Highway'. There are many built in non-computerised voices to choose from (including an Aussie named Ken), but these won't announce street names. You can also choose to buy famous voices for $18 off TomTom's site. We don't think it's worth ponying up that much dosh for a novelty voice, but if we were so inclined, we'd definitely want Bugs Bunny telling us where to go (and that we should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque).

We didn't have any problems with the navigational capabilities of the TomTom VIA 180 — it took us where we needed to go. If you get sick of punching in suburbs and roads, you can try using the unit's voice recognition feature as an alternative. However, its success rate in our tests was abysmal, especially when telling it to look for multi-syllable road names.

Although the TomTom got us to our destinations safely, our journeys weren't always smooth sailing. At certain points in some of our journeys, the unit became befuddled and the map and route spun around dramatically for a few seconds before re-establishing itself on the proper route. This usually happened near roundabouts or with overpasses nearby in busy areas, which wasn't convenient. When we took a wrong turn, route re-calculation was swift, but many times it told us we'd save time by back-tracking and following the originally planned route. If we kept going our own way it eventually re-calculated an alternative route.

In addition to road routes, the TomTom VIA 180 can be used to calculate routes for walking and cycling, which is handy. It has safety features that will give you your exact current location, guidance to the nearest police station, and if your phone is hooked up to it you can even get it to call 000 for you. Indeed, along with being a navigational aid, the VIA 180 can also act as a passthrough for your phone using Bluetooth. This will allow you to make and answer calls hands-free through the GPS unit.

The TomTom VIA 180 doesn't look flashy, but it's not altogether ugly either. It has a USB connection on the rear that can be used to connect it to your car's cigarette lighter for power or to your computer for software updates, and the power button is somewhat inconveniently located on the rear. We had no problems with glare off the LCD screen, but we did have to use a fair bit of force when pressing it.

The unit can be mounted to your windshield easily using its suction point, which folds neatly behind the unit. You can also mount it on your dashboard using an optional holder — the screen will auto-rotate to suit the way you've installed it. The built-in suction mount holds very securely once you turn the locking cap. However, it held a little too well in our tests and we managed to break it (the mount, not the windscreen) when removing it. That's just because we're brutal on our test products; if you're gentle with it, you won't have any problems with it.

All up, the TomTom VIA 180 is a GPS unit that will serve you well, whether you need to travel to a specific location, or a point of interest in a place you aren't familiar with.

Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Read more on these topics: tomtom, TomTom VIA, GPS

Digital Ash

1

Purchased recently at Dick Smith for $280 it appeared good value. Nice features such as using the handsfree couldn't be setup and my phone wasn't compatible for reading out SMS's (great feature though).
Haven't had much value from the IQ routes for route optimisation (Suna is probably more powerful)... But here's the real killer: with a map upgrade the speed cameras are permanantly wiped from the device, its a known bug which they'll send you back to the store for a credit...

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

John

0.0

1

Pros
n/a
Cons
Tom Tom VIA 180
• • •

I recently purchase a Via 180 (from Dick Smith), the battery seem to go down very quickly when the GPS is off. When I on the GPS again, I need to wait about half an hour before it’s able to pick up the GPS signal. The first Via 180 I got did not pick up the GPS signal at all and I had to exchange it. What seems to be the problem?

Mark Cross

5.0

2

Pros
Ease of use from box to car
Cons
Nothing yet
• • •

Got this via180 for Xmas and has given me no trouble at all. I was using a similar Tomtom in Australia last year while on holiday and the interface is the same so no trouble with using it for the first time. I can only assume that some of the negative comments are one offs, possibly due to software changes since it's release. Everything about the via180 works really well. The bluetooth works well, but not with all phones, so may need to check compatability if bluetooth is key to buying one. The touch screen is fine and doesn't require a heavy hand, and no issues with downloads and updates. And as a bonus by redemption I get 3 years free map updates. Brilliant!! As for documentation, you can download from the TomTom website. I would highly reccommend this unit to anyone.

Rich

4.5

3

Pros
most things
Cons
blue tooth connection
• • •

This is my first GPS and so far its great, the only issue i have with it is the bluetooth connection it worked a treat once and thats been it since the unit finds the phone but the phone cant find the unit (not sure if its the phone or the unit) apart from that it does what its good at getting you to your destination

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?