GPS Devices Guide
First Looks: TomTom Via 620
A Beast Amongst PNDs
According to TomTom, bigger is better, and with that, they have introduced the new Via 620. Featuring a 6-inch display, the Via 620 is their largest personal navigation device yet, and quite easily the largest we’ve tested as well.
Considering that the largest personal navigation devices currently tops out at five inches, you might think that the additional inch of the Via 620 isn’t going to make that much of a difference. However, In practice, the additional one inch that the Via 620 packs is easily appreciable. Firstly, the Via 620 has unparalleled legibility. Because of its sheer size, in our trials, we found it very easy to see just where we were going. For senior drivers with presbyopia - a condition where with age, the eye develops difficulty to focus on near objects - the Via 620 will make navigating much easier. It also helps that with a display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, images on the screen were really sharp and defined.
On top of the excellent legibility, the large touchscreen keypad was also very easy to use since the keys were also considerably larger - thanks again to that huge 6-inch display. The larger keys means you don’t have to be as precise in your inputs, which is especially useful if you are trying to key in addresses or points of interests while on the move.
That said, the Via 620’s large screen is at the same time its best asset and also a liability, as it might be a bit of an overkill for some users. Personally, we thought it was a little distracting at times and would be more content with a regular sized 5-inch display. Its size can also be cumbersome in smaller vehicles whose dashboard and windscreen have limited real-estate.
On the software front, the interface should be familiar to anyone who has used a TomTom device. On a whole, the user interface is not as user-friendly as Garmin, but it is more functional and provides more features for experienced drivers. For example, the Via 620 prompts users when the calculated route includes tolls (ERP) and can try to find an alternative one that doesn’t. Also, when requesting for a route to a destination, users can choose specific roads or highways that they want to travel via or even avoid specific roads.
One could also leave it up to the device to figure everything out and this is where TomTom shines because of its enhanced maps and navigation engine. This is because TomTom adds a lot of layers of information to help users navigate more quickly and efficiently. Community updates via Map Share ensure that the maps are as up-to-date as possible, while IQ Routes, a technology which aids navigation by using historic speed data of roads, helps pick the quickest possible route to your destination.
At S$299, the Via 620 is reasonably-priced for its size. More so if you purchase it before the end of October, because TomTom is also offering free lifetime map updates for not only Singapore, but also seven other Asian countries - Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brunei, Macau and Hongkong.
In summary, the Via 620 is a competent navigator and for those who likes their gadgets big, personal navigation devices don’t come any bigger.