Mio Informative - First impression of Mio C230 GPS
WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA -- Owned this unit for several weeks. Paid 169 at Radio Shack. Lately, web prices have been as low as $119.
I was originally considering purchasing a Navigon 2100. After a side by side comparison of the Mio and Navigon at Radio Shack, quickly forgot about the Navigon. The Mio had a more refined and realistic presentation of the maps.
Best feature is Text To Speech, or TTS, at a very reasonable price. Units with this feature will announce the street names as part of the navigation instructions.
Up to this point, I've used it only in familiar territory. This has allowed me to compare the GPS's ability to calculate routes in an area that I'm already familiar with. The unit gets more than a passing grade in route selection. The user is allowed some input into how the routes are selected via the route selection setting. There are three route selection settings: Economical, Fast and Short. I've found the best setting for getting around town is the "economical" route setting. When on a longer trip the "fast" route setting appears to be the best choice.
It is also possible to instruct the unit to avoid certain roads or intersections. This allows you to avoid very busy or confusing portions of routes. This allows some fairly granular influence on the routes that are generated. The avoided roads/intersections are taken into account for any subsequent routes that are generated.
For most functions, the unit seems fairly easy to use. Some of the menus are four levels deep. But options at that level will rarely be changed. Basic functionality is easy to learn. The lower level menus will only come into play as you become more familiar with the unit and develop your preferences.
If you've set up your home address as a favorite, it takes three clicks to instruct the unit to calculate the route home from your current position.
If you stray from the unit's planned route during your trip, the unit will re-calculate the route within three to four seconds.
You can build a route with several via points. The order of the via points is totally editable. A very nice feature if you have a day filled with several stops. This feature can also help you optimize your agenda.
Points of Interest are a concern. This version of the Mio has about 900,000. Judging by the local POI's in the unit, restaurants are covered very nicely. Wal-Mart and Target is another story. You can populate POI databases onto an SD flash card using points of interest downloaded from POI Friend or other sources.
This makes a very nice entry level GPS. This is my first GPS. I've been very pleased with the unit's performance. It's also worth noting that computer hobbyists will also enjoy this GPS because of the well documented tweaks that can be found on the web.