Finding your way around any city is a pain. Even the most helpful person can send you offtrack, because he offers you the best route that he knows. Most of us have been told by helpful cyclists, on lonely stretches, to go straight—only to find that the last time a road was built there was when Sher Shah Suri had just been defeated in battle by Humayun.
That’s why I love GPS. However, most GPS devices in India have not been up to global standards.
That changed last week when TomTom launched its Via series in India. The Via 125 comes in a brushed aluminium finish with a 5 inch touchscreen. It also has a USB cable, to charge the unit and update its maps. It also incorporates voice recognition so that you can ask it for help, rather than fiddle with it while driving. And, you can choose to receive directions in a language of your choice: be it Hindi, Tamil or Punjabi.
But what sets this apart as a GPS navigator is that you can use landmarks around your destination to plot a route. For example: nobody knows the name of the street in Delhi on which Jamali Kamali’s tomb is situated. But if you know that it is somewhere near Qutab Minar, the Via will give you all the landmarks near it—including the tomb.
You can also mark frequently visited places with icons. So, you can just choose an icon marked ‘pub’. And no matter where you are in the city, it will plot a route for you instantly, no questions asked.
Some of the other features are: Eco Routes, which gives you the shortest route; Quick Fix GPS, which enables the GPS to login faster; and Advanced Lane Guiding, which shows large diagrams of the lane you are driving in, so that you don’t miss that turn.
No wonder that TomTom is known as a disruptive player. Via is its first launch, and it will be interesting to see how it performs in India.
The Above review appeared in the Open Magazine, Issue Dated 13-19th October, 2011, Volume 03, Issue 28