Out of the box, the TOMTOM VIA 280 was a cinch to setup. The illustrated “getting started” menu showed me exactly what I need to do. After starting my engine, locking in the mounting, plugging in the power cable and locating the power switch, I was immediately up and running.
Review: TomTom VIA 280
Deciding to test the unit with brute force, I didn´t immediately hook the unit up to my PC, preferring to just set the unit up there and then, in my car. Indeed, without any software updates, the VIA 280 was immediately put to the test. Starting from Bangsar, I planned a new route to USJ Subang Jaya. The large touch screen (5-inches) clearly indicated my options. After a round of fiddling with the route buttons for a minute or two minutes, I found the destination I was looking for and set off! The VIA 280 showed a 2D Map of the route it initially suggested. However, I opted for an alternative route, which the GPS recalculated pretty quickly. To put the 280 through its paces, I headed out to the main road, quickly navigating towards the NPE. Surprisingly, the directions given were accurate. It certainly helps the default English UK voice was clear and professional, and I resisted the temptation to go through all the voice options. As I sped past the Kerinchi exit, I touched the screen to reveal more of the settings. I saw a voice control feature and turned it on. On my first attempt, the unit “understood” that I wanted to view the route in 2D and swiftly altered the map to my desired settings. Very impressive!
The rest of the journey saw me spending the rest of the 5km to Subang Jaya excitedly browsing through and toggling the rest of the features of the 280. After arriving safely to my destination (home of course!), I plugged in the unit into my PC and followed the instructions to download the latest software and maps, which barely took a few minutes. With that done, I eagerly decided to go on an errand to test the unit further. Switching from English UK to Bahasa Indonesia, which didn´t quite take to the Malay dialect, I planned a route to a particular Point of Interest (POI) which I easily found – my bank. Barely 2 km away, the directions given were precise and when I deviated from the planned route, the GPS, just like much earlier, suggested a new route instantaneously. Certainly faster than some of the devices I had tried before. The next destination after: home again and once more, the navigation was seamless. It´s a nice touch that as I pulled up to my driveway the resounding voice of “Irene” the Indonesian, announced my arrival in such a cheerful manner. It amused me so much, I couldn´t help but smile. The VIA 280 also features a Bluetooth handsfree calling option, which is a major plus point for this model. Another unique feature is the Advanced Lane Guidance capability, which clearly shows which lane to take at junctions with photo realistic junction views. This function was particularly helpful at major junctions and intersections, especially with some of the more complicated highway convergences. All in all, the VIA 280 is feature packed with intuitive user guides and interfaces. It also comes with a bonus 1 year map update service, which saves you at least 15% for the first year. In addition, it comes with a latest map guarantee, which it allows you to download within 90 days of purchase.