back to article TomTom Go 550 Live

With turn-by-turn navigation rapidly becoming the favoured give-away on smartphones, it's reasonable to ask what the future holds for the dedicated in-car satnav makers. Arguably, there will always be a market for cheap entry level satnav units, because not everyone has a smartphone. At the top end of the market, larger screens …


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  1. lIsRT
    Thumb Down

    It *runs* Linux, but...

    Unless TomTom have changed things very recently, it will not usefully connect to any computer unless it's running Windows or Mac OS.

    No satnav for me, and quite a few others, until they get that sorted.

    1. Russ Tarbox


      That is all.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When was this written?

    >as well as finding some impressively cheap petrol - 89p a litre - just outside Knutsford. <

    It would almost be worth the drive from dahn sarf to fill up.

    1. SuperTim

      dont believe the hype...

      The petrol aint cheap in knutsford. Maybe some clever garage punking TomTom to get more traffic their direction....

  3. James Hughes 1

    When was this review written?


    89p/litre petrol - bloody hell, its £1.14 here in Cambridge.

    Just goes to show, there are benefits to living up t'North.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Cheap petrol

      Blimey, that is cheap. You could drive a petrol tanker to Knutsford, fill up with (conservative estimate) 30,000 litres at 89p, drive to Cambridge, offload at £1.14, bosh - £7500 gross profit per trip.

      And before the pedants weigh in, yes I know nobody will sell me 30,000 litres of fuel on the forecourt, I haven't got a tanker or a licence to drive one, or a petrol station to sell it in, blah blah blah. It's just an illustration.

  4. -tim
    Thumb Down


    I bought a 750 for use in Australia and the traffic receiver option doesn't work at all. The system also seems to use the computer voice to match what you say so if you want to talk to the thing, you have to mispronounce words the same way with the same accent. The unit seems to have some serious deficiencies such as no concept of "local traffic only" or the ability to avoid roads that share light rail or trams. It also appears that the HQ data seems to contain road travel times but seems to be lacking the stoplight waiting times. It seems to avoid U-turns in routes even when there are fixed points for U turns to avoid crossing traffic. The bluetooth will not cooperate with car kits so you can't use its voice dialing to set up a a call and then have your car's built in car kit take over. It also appears that its internal map segments aren't well connected so when you say "avoid road XYZ" then you have to tell it a few other segments or it may route you around then ask you to make a U turn on the road you want to avoid. The worst part about the new TomTom units is that they no longer offer an API so you can fix problems or add features so its yet another closed GPS systems.

  5. Al Taylor

    Cost of a gallon.

    I was surprised by that too. It was early last week (w/c 15/02), but today it's up to 92p according to the TomTom. Wish I'd had a couple of jerry cans in the boot - or that I lived closer to Knutsford.

  6. Dino

    Those fuel prices are bogus

    There are a lot of bogus fuel prices. The data is constantly out date and to report them they insist on submitting a form with long/lat coords of incorrect prices.

    I have found several (12 in london) that prices are impossible and the top 5 don't even exist.

    I then tried to find cheapest fuel coming back from gatwick and found one just off the M3. The price showing on the tomtom was 9ppl cheaper than reality and my neighbourhood BP which is usually not the cheapest around was cheaper than that.

    So Ignore petrol price data as it's absolutely incorrect and they don't seem to be interested in doing anything about it.

    I've already logged 2 calls about this with them and they still haven't updated this crappy data.

  7. Chrome

    generally speaking, it's quite hard to get lost in a tunnel

    I, sir, shall take that wager... I can get lost in a phone box

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Alternate Reality

    (not the game for the Atari 400/800)

    "Devices like the TomTom GO 550 Live give the lie to suggestions that stand-alone satnavs will vanish in the face of free smartphone navigation apps even when they have features like Street View"

    And free news on the internet isn't going to affect the sales of newspapers either.

    I bought an 950 from Amazon at XMAS and had to return it - I had previously had to return a 920. TMC is dire, the Live services are very expensive, the 950/750/550 are not small and corners have been cut on the manufacturing. Garmin offers better routing (OK, perhaps more important for Pizza delivery guys) though I have to say I prefer the TomTom GUI and the new mount is an improvement. The Canadian mapping on the 950 is a joke (you have to know the local names - e.g. North York, can't just specify Road or Post code and Toronto).

    Did this review come from TomTom some time ago ?

  9. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Still wonder why there needs to be a screen on while driving, If the voice prompts are accurate then you don't need to look at a screen.

    In the split second it takes to look at a screen you could easily smash into the back of another car (sudden speed drop on the motorway).

  10. tony72

    Subscription fees

    The £8 a month Live sub is £96/year. That's the cost of two budget satnav units, or almost half the purchase price of the Go 550, every year. Call me a cheapskate if you will, but that is not an inconsiderable cost in my book. I wish the review gave two scores, one covering all the features as given already, and one based on excluding the features that require the Live subscription.

  11. KenBW2

    All road lead to, er, London?

    Does Tom Tom not believe there's anywhere else worth travelling to?

  12. Stacy
    Thumb Up

    Lost in Tunnels? Yup - that can be done

    In the UK tunnels may be nice simple affairs, but I've found many in Holland, Italy and Germany that confuse all but the best sat navs. With multiple exitis midway through the tunnel. Not fun.

  13. Pyers

    I want this...

    ... functionality In my TomTom iPhone app. It's got a data connection on tap so why no live services!

  14. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    @Giles Jones

    You, Sir, are an idiot, and probably a dangerous one at that. If you truly cannot glance at an instrument without the risk of rear-ending the vehicle in front, you need to learn to drive properly.

    Personally, I turn off the voice on my TomTom, I find it much more distracting than using the screen.

  15. Sparc

    Is it just me?

    I got one of this but my enthusiasm for it diminished a little when while driving to East Dulwich (set destination as City Centre), it was insisting me to drive into what appeared to be an entrance of a park- it instructed me to turn left to Forest Hill Road at Wood Vale, and then immediate left! The Sat Nav has the 'latest' maps downloaded/updated.

  16. Vicchi

    If my memory serves ...

    ... we drive on the left hand side of the road in the UK so driving to London on the right hand side, as illustrated, might be a tad dangerous.

    Unless it's the London in Ontario, Kentucky, Texas, California, Ohio (and so on and so on) in which case you're OK.

    1. Steve Sutton

      Drive on the right?

      The instruction depicted is not to drive on the right, but to keep in the right hand lanes which go off to London. If you look at the instruction bar at the bottom, you'll see that the two left arrows are greyed (or rather blued) out, indicating they are not traffic flowing in the opposite direction, but rather just an alternate set of lanes heading to a different destination, which you do not want to be in..

  17. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    They aren't reliable enough

    When the tomtom live works it's up there with the best bit of kit ever. I travel a lot in the SE of England and it's a useful piece of kit. Like I said - when it works.

    Here's what happens in my experience at least once a week.........Turn it on - plan a route. Wait for the live traffic to load. It doesn't and tells you there's no network coverage. Turn it off and on again. Traffic might load. If not hold power button for 30 secs to reset device. Traffic loads OK(unless it's a weekend, when there's a fair chance that the server will be down. You won't find this out until after sending a support request - following the instructions to re-format the hard disc - wasting 4 hours of your Sunday afternoon doing this 3 times - only to be told on Monday after ringing the help desk that the server was down). So, having got traffic working I want to connect to my mobilephone via bluetooth. It doesn't pair automatically (I've had 3 different phones and none of them pair automatically with the tomtom) Although you only paired it yesterday it won't pair and just tells you there's no response from the phone. Turn phone off and on - no pairing. Turn TomTom off and on - won't pair. Delete pairing from phone and TomTom. Go through the nausea of the discovery and pairing again. Of course - now you've turned the tomtom off so there's a fair chance that the traffic isn't available (GOTO start).

    By now you're either 15 miles up the M3 without having looked at the road once or you've been sitting in the car park for almost 10 minutes and any time the tomtom might have saved on your trip has been used up in making it work. Oh - by the way - if the car park is not on the map (new industrial estate) then you can't do any of the above until you get onto a piece of road that it recognizes -- it just sits in an endless "planning route" loop. You have to drive to somewhere it recognizes, find somewhere to park, then do it all.

    The map update service is useful - but beware because it deletes all your favourites, your home and work locations and any map overlays you've downloaded. TomTom will tell you there's a way round this by copying to and from PoIs; it's true but you won't want to do it.

    I agree that Nokia will never replace this type of device, and on the rare occasion that I get into the car and it just works it is a fantastic bit of kit, but it's just not reliable enough and the compay is not interested in fixing bugs.

  18. Steve Sutton

    @ Headley_Grange - have to agree

    I have to agree with Headley_Grange here. I have a 540 (upon which el Reg says the 550 is based - no surprise really), and on paper it looks like a good bit of kit. However, I have had plenty of problems with it being unable to connect to the server, random reboots, failure to acquire a satellite lock from time to time. My favourite, is that, when I'm sitting in the carpark at work (the Sat Nav even shows me positioned in the road), It will usually tell me "no route found" to anywhere, until I drive off a few tens of yards, and try again.

    IQ Routes does not appear all that it is cracked up to be to me. "Drive like a local" they say! Yeah, right. The planning appers to favour main roads, and I often find myself ignoring instructions and using a couple of local roads, which I'm pretty sure are quicker.

    Also agree that TT customer service is utter, utter pants! Their standard advice to every problem seems to be to reset everything (by various means), which causes loss of carefully entered settings, favourites, and so on. The advice to set your favourites as POIs instead does appear to be the best way to do it, but I even lost those once! My first point of call for service and support is NOT TT customer services, it is a fairly well known independent GPS forum, and I find the advice I get from them to be considerably more convincing, reassuring, and successful than TT's own customer service department.

    Having actually bought a 540, I'll stick with it (don't have much choice really, unless I want to fork out more money on something else, and the 540 does work well enough most of the time), but I'd think very carefully about buying a SatNav descended from the 540 in the future, and I'd probably try something else instead.

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