Friday, August 7, 2015

Tomtom VIA1515M Portable GPS Navigator Review

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We recently traveled from Tennessee to Toronto, Canada, which is almost 1000 miles, much of which was unknown territory for us.   The rental vehicle did not have a built-in GPS, so we purchased a Tomtom VIA1515M Portable GPS Navigator.  That was, by far, the best purchase we have ever made for a road trip!  After discovering the benefits of the Tomtom GPS, I can assure you, I will never leave home on a road trip without it again.  I couldn't even begin to count how many hours or how much stress this one little unit saved us.  Not only did she map out the trip for us, she give essential warnings and directions that kept us from taking wrong turns or getting caught in the wrong lanes and unable to move over when needed.

As the passenger/navigator on the trip, I was still able to look at the printed road map and compare routes, but each time I found the Tomtom recommendation to be the best.  More importantly, she could plan a new route around construction faster than I could physically do it, which saved us having to pull over to study the map at length.  Several times I simply told my husband, "just do what she says".  That was so much easier than trying to read tiny street names on the map in time to give my husband fast and accurate directions.

One of my personal favorite extra features is the ETA function.  I loved seeing the estimated length of time for our trip constantly displayed in the lower right corner.   Since we actually divided the trip over 3 days, we were able to plan each leg with an ETA for each day.

Also, we did not make hotel reservations in advance since we were not sure how far we would actually be able to drive each day.  With the nifty Tomtom "point of interest" feature, I was able to look up near-by hotels, choose one and call them to see if they had a room available all before we even reached the exit.  What a huge time saver!  No more physically hunting for a hotel, stopping and asking about room availability only to discover they didn't have any rooms for the night and having to move on.

She also told us, in advance, the location of gas stations and restaurants.


Pros of the Tomtom VIA1515M GPS


  • Includes USA, Canada & Mexico Maps 
  • Displays the Speed Limit plus Your Current Speed  (Speeding Alert)
  • 5" Touch Screen
  • Turn by Turn Guidance
  • Lane Guidance
  • Colorful Display that Make Reading at a Glance Easy
  • Spoken Street Names, Warnings & Directions
  • Advance Warnings, Lane Recommendations  & Instant Re-Routing after Wrong Turns or Detours
  • Mileage Display with ETA (estimated time of arrival)
  • Separate Display for Points of Interest such as Gas Stations, Restaurants, & Hotels/Motels
  • Included Phone Numbers for Points of Interest  (so we could call ahead if needed)
  • Can Set to Metric or Imperial Units Depending on Where You are Driving  (Converts the Local Units to Your Selected Units)
  • Satellite Powered - Still Works When Cell Phones Don't! 
  • Battery Life - 3 hrs. for Out of Vehicle Use



Cons of the Tomtom VIA1515M GPS


Haven't found any yet and we used it on a 1000 mile trip!



Recommended Accessories for Your Tomtom VIA1515M GPS


Be sure to buy a pillow for your Tomtom!  Since we didn't own the vehicle we were driving, we purchased a weighted pillow for our Tomtom.  It worked perfectly.  It kept the Tomtom from moving around or falling.

Also, a carry case will allow you to take your Tomtom inside with you so it will not get stolen from your car.  Plus, you can easily switch it between vehicles this way.  The case simply protects it and makes it easier to carry.



One Final Note


In case you are wondering, we loved Canada!!!

And yes, the GPS worked perfect in Canada too and saved a world of misery for us since we were completely unfamiliar with cities, streets, street signs and using Canadian kilometers.   That little Tomtom was well worth the cost for that one trip alone, but I have no doubt we will be using it frequently now that we have one.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

11 comments:

  1. Cynthia, it sounds very reliable, especially when traveling to another country. To think you drove passed our town on the 401 on your way to Toronto (we're in the west end). I'm presuming you came by way of the 401 into Toronto. That's a long drive! My brother drives my mom south to Arizona each year, and that's about 3 days when they stop at respectable hours, around dinner time or just after.

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    1. Yes, indeed! We did travel via the 401! It was definitely a long haul in a U-haul and we required those breaks each day Barbara. Even if it had been our own car we were driving, I do think making those road trips over a period of days is just wise and I really won't consider making a road trip without a GPS ever again.

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  2. We did a long road trip this summer, too, and used a GPS (a different brand, but similar features). I totally agree with you - it was awesome! Ours was a family trip and the GPS belonged to our son, but we'll be buying one, too, for our next trip. It takes a lot to win my husband over to "newfangled gadgets," but he really liked having the navigation assistance. I can't imagine taking another trip without that. One note, our son has had his GPS for a while and didn't update the database before the trip. That did create a (small) issue for us at one point on the route (new road). I don't know how the Tomtom updates, but just be sure that it IS up-to-date next time you use it. Great review!

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    1. It is very easy to update Susan! It plugs right into the computer and downloads updates. Even though it was brand new, we did update it before we left. It took about 2 hours to update.

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  3. We did a long road trip this summer, too, and used a GPS (a different brand, but similar features). I totally agree with you - it was awesome! Ours was a family trip and the GPS belonged to our son, but we'll be buying one, too, for our next trip. It takes a lot to win my husband over to "newfangled gadgets," but he really liked having the navigation assistance. I can't imagine taking another trip without that. One note, our son has had his GPS for a while and didn't update the database before the trip. That did create a (small) issue for us at one point on the route (new road). I don't know how the Tomtom updates, but just be sure that it IS up-to-date next time you use it. Great review!

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  4. I'm glad you had your GPS to guide you. I find them wonderful when we go on our lighthouse photographing trips. Lighthouses are often down out of the way roads and our GPS has always gotten us to where we need to go. The review of the one you bought sounds great! Glad you enjoyed Canada too!

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    1. I can easily imagine that would be a necessity for finding those out of the way lighthouses Mary Beth! I know you have shown me some really interesting lighthouses over the last few years. I am very pleased you found them in the first place so you could share them with all of us.

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  5. For the past few years, I have had to do my traveling alone to visit my children/grandchildren in the Midwest - thus have no map navigator to help. Without my GPS I would be lost (literally and often...lol). On my last trip (from Savannah, Georgia to family in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri) I actually DID make two wrong turns because my 8 year old GPS has out of date maps and is so old that it does not have the 'free' lifetime map updates. Therefore, before next summer's Midwest trip I will be in the market for a new GPS with traffic details. This review makes my upcoming shopping easier.

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    1. The fact that this unit had free updates was a big reason why we chose this particular GPS. Plus, in our case, we needed one that would cover Canada too, but the free updates were essential. Too many areas & streets change just way too often to actually keep up without help.

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  6. This would have been a godsend on my cross country trips, but it hadn't been invented yet, then. Besides the initial cost, do you have to pay a monthly fee to get that satellite connection? I can see where I'd definitely want it on future trips. Even the places I used to live have changed so much in twenty years I don't know my way around anymore.

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    1. No, there are not additional charges of any kind, not even a satellite connection fee. I do know exactly what you mean about places changing in the last 20 years. I can easily get lost in the surrounding cities now with so many new subdivisions and streets.

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