The voice recognition system was already surprisingly effective in previous TomToms. Now it has also been given greater functionality with the x40 series TomToms, although you don't need to subscribe to LIVE to get this. Instead of just being available for entering addresses verbally, you can touch an on-screen icon once, then enter a host of operational commands. In fact, you can calculate an entire route without needing to touch the screen after the first time. However, we didn't find the voice commands quite as reliable as the address recognition. For example, the system misrecognised the all-important ‘Navigate to an address', regularly thinking we'd said ‘postcode' instead, and on one occasion that we wanted the nearest restaurant. It then keenly routed us to a nearby Pizza Hut.
The GO 540 now also has a screen cradle with a proprietary connection, called Active Dock. Garmin has a similar system in its higher-end devices. You plug this into the cigarette lighter power cable, so that placing the sat-nav on its cradle is all you need to do when heading out. It's a convenient way of sidestepping some of the mucking about involved with taking a sat-nav in and out of your car. On the downside, the PC docking station requires this same connection, instead of USB, so if you don't have this with you it won't be possible to access your TomTom Home account for updates.
The TomTom GO 530 wasn't exactly cheap when it was released, and the 540 is even more expensive. However, whilst the 530's new features didn't seem sufficient to buy it over its cheaper predecessor, the 540's LIVE capabilities are a revelation. TomTom is even giving away £30 of fuel with the 540, which probably isn't delivered along with the device itself. So long as you can stomach the £7.99 per month subscription, the TomTom GO 540 LIVE takes sat-nav technology to a new level.