The TomTom Go series models have the standard touch-screen-and-suction-cup design. The TomTom Go 2535 M Live features a 5-inch glass capacitive touch screen that is quite glossy, which could mean too much glare in certain situations, but the screen is bright enough to remain readable during the daytime hours. At the top-left corner of the unit is a stealthy power button that doubles as a charging status light. Around back is an attractive asymmetrical rear panel that hides the Go's loudspeaker behind a grille.
Finally, along the bottom edge of the Go chassis is a proprietary connection point for its 12-volt power cable. The power cable uses a 20-pin connection and locks into the Go's chassis with a pair of small magnets. Unlike, say, the power cable of the Go 2405 TM, the Go 2535 M Live's cable does not feature an in-line traffic antenna. In this case, the device's GSM data receiver is located within the chassis. A removable SIM card is hidden beneath the FCC identifying sticker on the base of the unit, but don't mess with it as it could cause problems with data connectivity. An internal data receiver means that you can access TomTom's Live Services while the device is operating on battery power, which makes it easy to check travel times and traffic status before you enter the vehicle.
The power cable now terminates in a removable 12-volt-to-USB power adapter. The TomTom Go still lacks an SD or microSD card slot, and the decision to go with the proprietary power cable took away the Mini-USB port that has typically been the standard power and syncing connection point. To connect to a PC to update maps and software, you must use a proprietary USB adapter--which is fine, but can be difficult to replace if misplaced.
The car cradle itself has a suction cup that locks into place on a vehicle's windshield with a twisting knob. A ball joint at the base of the cradle's neck is the single point of articulation. A strong magnet embedded in the face of the cradle holds onto the Go's metal rear plate. This neat feature, combined with the locked-on magnetic power cable, makes it easy to snap the Go 2535 M Live in and out of the cradle with one hand when entering or exiting the vehicle.
The Go 2535 M Live features the same updated WebKit-based operating system that we've seen in the rest of the current Go models.
The main menu is dominated by two large icons in the top two-thirds of the screen for "Navigate to..." and "View map." These lead to the TomTom's two destination selection methods. The former is menu- and search-based, and the latter is visual and map-based.
The lower third is home to a collection of smaller icons for "Plan route," Live Services, Settings, Help, and Done. We'll cover "Plan route" and Live Services later in this review. Settings leads to the settings; Help leads to options for navigating to emergency services, relaying your current position, and accessing an electronic product manual; and Done returns you to the live map.
Speaking of map screens, the TomTom Go has two of them. The live map is the main screen used during navigation that updates in real time with the position of the vehicle and displays turn-by-turn directions. Touching anywhere on the live map takes you to the main menu, so it's not very interactive. The second map is the browsing map, accessed from the main menu's "View map" icon. The browsing map is used for searching for destinations and points of interest and can be used to initiate a new trip plan or modify the current trip plan. This map can be scrolled and zoomed by swiping and pinching, and displays user-selectable POI icons. At first we found the dual map setup a bit confusing. TomTom tells us that the live map is a low-distraction interface for use while the vehicle is in motion, whereas the browsing map is a more flexible, interactive screen that comes into play when the vehicle is stopped and drivers can devote their full attention to the unit. It does make some sense and, after spending time with the unit on the road, we've gotten the hang of the maps and their respective functions and limitations. However, we can't help but note that other manufacturers manage this juggling act with only one map screen.
The menu and map screen interfaces are fairly flexible. You can adjust the color of the map and the amount of data displayed in the status bar along the bottom edge of the map, or move the status bar to a vertical orientation along the right edge of the screen. There's also an option called "Make your own menu" that lets you select custom shortcuts to be displayed on the live map screen--for example, shortcuts can be set pointing to the phone menu, voice command for the system or address entry, muting sound, contacting emergency services, or finding the nearest parking structure. If you choose one or two of these shortcuts they display directly on the map screen; selecting three or more creates a fly-out menu.
Under the aforementioned Live Services icon in the Go 2535 M Live's main menu is a collection of connected services accessed via the device's always-on data connection.