- Includes connected services
- Uses TomTom’s excellent IQ routes technology
- Traffic service not as useful as it could be
The addition of connected services should make TomTom’s excellent devices even better, but some deliver uneven results.
The TomTom Go 740 Live is the first GPS device from TomTom to have a built-in cellular radio. This wireless data connection allows the unit to download information relevant to your journey, such as traffic, weather, and fuel prices. While these connected services are a useful addition, they didn’t always make my commute easier–and the services’ costs add up over time.
The TomTom Go 740 Live shares many of the physical attributes of the company’s excellent Go 930 navigation device. You get a big, bright 4.3-inch touch screen and a slim form factor (it’s less than an inch thick). The Go 740 Live includes a car cradle, through which you connect the GPS to its car charger, as well as a desk cradle.
The Go 740 Live delivered accurate and sensible routes. It announced turns well ahead of time, and I found street names clear and easy to understand. The device uses the IQ Routes technology that impressed me on the Go 930: This feature takes into account historical data (collected from anonymous users), such as real-world speeds at certain times of the day, when calculating your route. I found that the Go 740–like the Go 930–consistently delivered accurate, sensible routes. The device also supports TomTom’s Map Share feature, which allows you to share map updates and corrections with other users.
I hoped that the connected features would make the unit’s excellent routing features that much better, but I was disappointed. The Go 740 did warn me about upcoming traffic incidents, but consistently told me that I was “still on the fastest route” rather than presenting me with alternatives. I appreciated knowing about upcoming slowdowns, but would rather be able to avoid them instead of simply anticipating them.
The other connected services, such as the included Google Local Search, weather forecasts, and fuel prices, were more impressive, though still not worth the $10-per-month that you’ll have to pay for them. You can use the Local Search feature to browse through information (such as restaurant reviews) about local points of interest–it’s like a POI database on steroids.
The Go 740 Live’s convenient touches include lane guidance (which tells you which lane you should be driving in) and realistic views of complex intersections. Unfortunately, these images only appear when TomTom has them available, and I found them scarce in my travels around the Boston area. I also wish it was easier to clear a route or to add a waypoint to an existing route you’re traveling; both actions take far more clicks than necessary.
The Go 740 also includes voice recognition, which allows you to talk to the device instead of entering information on its touchscreen. However, I found this feature a mixed bag; it often failed to understand me, forcing me to enter information manually. You also get support for Bluetooth hands-free calling and the ability to view photos on the device.
The Go 740 Live lists for $400 (as of 7/7/09), and the connected services are $10 per month, though you get three months free when you buy the device. If the traffic services were better, they might be worth that price. As they stand, though, I’d opt for the less-expensive TomTom Go 930 and put the savings in the bank.