Maiden run: TomTom VIA 280

I tried out the TomTom VIA 280 for the first time during my drive from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (KL) today after receiving the review unit yesterday. Here are the initial impressions.

TomTom VIA 280 on its maiden run on the Malaysian North-South expressway.

TomTom VIA 280 on its maiden run on the Malaysian North-South expressway.

Set up was straightforward. Plug the main unit to the cigarette plug using the USB cable, attach the main unit to the windscreen and you’re set to go.

Once you start the engine, the TomTom VIA 280 switches on. Switching off the engine, switches off the VIA 280 automatically.

Only three components in the box: the main unit, the USB cable and the cigartette plug.

Only three components in the box: the main unit, the USB cable and the cigarette plug.

The user-interface was real easy. The route chosen was optimal. Changes to the route was simple. What impressed me most was how fast the recalculation took place.

I started off using the VIA 280 for a short journey running an errand round the neighbourhood. Just press “Navigate to” icon on the main menu, select “POI” (Point of interest), followed by “POI near you”, and then browse the various categories.

It was easy enough to find the neighbourhood shopping centre and set it as the destination. The map display was clear and the estimated distance to the next turning was accurate.

For the KL trip, I first set it as a “Favourite”. Next I set the route for it under “Plan route”. The recommended route was through the Causeway. But I preferred the Tuas Second Link.

By choosing the “Change route” option, you could ask for alternative routes, to travel via the Second Link or to avoid using the Causeway – which I did.

As I approached the second link, I realised that for the first time in my life, I’d forgotten to top up. The fuel gauge read just more than half-tank.

The Singapore government requires Singaporean drivers driving to Malaysia to have their petrol tanks at least ¾ tank full, otherwise if you’re caught in a spot-check, you’re fined S$500.

First impressions:

For a maiden run, the VIA 280 made a very positive impression.

The VIA 280 strikes me as a no-frills PND which is more than competent to handle all the functionalities one would expect for helping the driver navigate from point A to point B.

Now where’s the nearest petrol station?

Tapping anywhere on the map on the screen activated the main menu.

The following menu options: “Change route” > “Travel via…” > “Point of Interest” > “POI near you” > “Petrol station” revealed a list of petrol stations nearby, according to distance. 15 minutes later, we were back on track to hit the customs.

The drive on the North-South expressway was uneventful. En route, I deliberately deviated from the recommended route to see how the VIA 280 reacted. Both times, it came up with a new route in less than 3 seconds – impressive.

After the four-hour drive, we finally reached our destination 2 minutes before the time of arrival initially estimated by the VIA 280 at the beginning of the journey.

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One Response to “Maiden run: TomTom VIA 280”

  1. […] I’ll be driving up to KL in the morning. We’ll see how it fares […]

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