However, apart from these new convenient ways of accessing them, the LIVE Services have not been altered. The main component is HD Traffic, which remains the most significant gridlock information resource currently available. This provides more detailed and more frequent updates than RDS-TMC, and whilst it is less effective in cities, remains the best technology currently available for avoiding jams.
The LIVE-enabled TomTom sat-navs rely on an integrated mobile data link. This provides access to Google Local Search via the device itself, so you can find locations that aren’t listed in the built-in Points of Interest database. We have found it generally very effective. We have already mentioned how LIVE provides more frequent updates to the Safety Camera database, making it more likely that mobile detectors are included. We also touched upon the Fuel Prices system, which lists the petrol costs for filling stations so you can find the cheapest rather than just the most convenient. There’s also a LIVE Weather service, giving you forecasts for your current location or an area of your choosing. The final LIVE function is QuickGPSfix, which regularly downloads a database of GPS satellite locations so the TomTom can lock onto them more speedily.
However, just as the LIVE Services themselves haven’t changed, neither has the main reason why you might think twice about getting them: they cost £7.99 a month. LIVE is unquestionably effective, and HD Traffic in particular will pay for the subscription alone in saved time if you have a regular daily commute of any length, or travel a lot for business. But more occasional users won’t find the subscription price so easy to justify.
The only major difference here is that TomTom has been promising wider coverage for its LIVE Services for a while, and the 750 and 950 now offer LIVE when in certain European countries. Aside from the UK, support now extends to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal. Not all of these countries offer all of the services, however. HD Traffic and Google Local Search are available in all of them, but Switzerland doesn’t allow notification of safety camera locations, nor are fuel prices included. Portugal is missing the latter as well. Naturally, with UK-only maps, the 550 doesn’t offer LIVE beyond Great Britain.