Mio Cyclo 105C cycle computer review

Despite the daily threat of physical harm and death I do like cycling to and fro on London roads. In part this is because traffic makes buses agitating and the tube is a hot mess of sweat and agravataion in the summer. But also I like to think that I’m somehow magically getting fitter with all these rides to and from Hackney. I even got a fixed-gear bicycle so I’m peddling the whole time and not coasting down hills or relying too much on gears. But how fit am I really getting? Well the best way to find out is with a cycling computer and Mio were kind enough to lend me one for a week or two to find out (if the suspense is killing you the answer is “not very”).

Mio

Mio have a range of stylish bike computers that record time, speed, distance, altitude and calorie consumption. The computers are equipped with an anti-glare 1.8” screen, simple menu structure and a customisable dashboard. To top that off their computers come with built in GPS so they can track your movements. Not bad for a little device that looks like a chubby Casio watch.

There’s very little set up needed and there’s a distinct “out of the box” feel to package. You will need to place sensors on your wheels and pedals to log all this data and the 105 H which I was testing also had a strap-on heart monitor that you’ll need to pop on around your chest before getting started. The Mio Cyclo 105 series comes with a built-in ANT+ sensor and is compatible with every power meter, so the user can easily monitor performance. The Mio Cyclo 105 H is the same product, but includes a wireless heart-rate monitor in the box.

Cyclo-105_front

The computer itself is a little on the large side and clashed with the polished sleek aesthetic I’ve been trying to hard to achieve on my “ride” but if you’re less vain than I am (i.e., most people), then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The casing is rugged and waterproof so ready for most London weather. There’s a charger to power up the device (and the 18 hour battery life is more than good enough for most rides) and you can sync data back to your computer via a micro-USB cable.

This is my main issue with the device actually. It does a *beautiful* job of recording my movements when I’m on the bicycle and is simple and easy to use. But it really falls down at the last hurdle with PC syncing. I simply don’t want to be plugging things into my computers anymore. I’d much rather we entered the world of wireless background syncing. Maybe (definitely) I’ve been spoiled by the world of smartphones and smart personal fitness devices like the FitBit Zip but I want things to be logging my data in the background and then spitting info back at me via an app – the Withings WiFi scale and the FitBit Zip are both perfect examples of this technology. It’s a great way to actually interact with the data you’re providing – and harnesses the power of a computer you actually have on you.

This gripe aside it’s a great device and if you’re serious about your cycling fitness it’s worth checking out.

The Mio Cyclo 105 H is out now for £169.99

Mio Spirit 695 LM and 697LM: Free map upgrades for life

There’s no getting around the fact that Navman and Tom Tom have dominated the satellite navigation market for some time now, mainly because they have consistently managed to improve their product offerings, a strategy that has left them with an even firmer grip. This is key in a market like this, where we continually demand more from these little boxes of tricks and in many cases have come to depend on them.

Mio-Spirit

Mio has made a name for itself primarily with bikers, where its Cyclo range has become almost legendary. Someone at Mio has clearly decided there is ample opportunity within the in car sat nav market for an alternative product that can compete not just on price but also in areas where the big boys have perhaps missed a trick.

The Mio Spirit 697 and Mio 695LM cover both of these bases with a promise of free map upgrades four times a year for the life of the unit and some novel new features which include an option to find your car when you’ve forgotten where you left it, (how many times does that happen in the car park at Asda) as well as an expanded route choice  that adds ‘easiest’ or ‘most economical’ to the usual duo of ‘quickest’ and ‘shortest’.

The 5 inch colour screen 695 together with its higher end 697 stable mate, which also includes hands free Bluetooth and voice activated  input also contain other useful features, including IQ Routes (additional data from other drivers)  LearnMe Pro (where your short cuts will be remembered for next time), Lane Guidance, Parking Assistance and a very useful Pedestrian Mode.

Spirit 697 LM: £169.99  Spirit 695 LM: £119.99

Mio also has a range of entry level products which have also had a makeover and a software upgrade; the Mio Moov 410, 413 LM, 610 and 613 LM.from £69.99 to £99.99.

www.mio.com

The Mio Cyclo 305 puts bikers on the map.

We’ve all heard them; the constant whining of cyclists chastising drivers (mainly lorry drivers to be fair) for not giving them enough room on the road. And in many cases they have a point. Having said that, I’m sure we’ve all been cut up by a cyclist at some point too. All in all though they are the poorer citizens as far as road management is concerned. Perhaps now though, they might feel a little more loved as they now have their very own custom sat nav systems to play with courtesy of personal navigation specialist Mio.

Mio-Cyclo

The Cyclo 300 and 305 come with pre installed maps from top digital mapper TeleAtlas and are more or less ready to go straight out of the box. Fitting snugly on the bike frame, the Cyclo’s big on screen buttons are super friendly for cyclists (can you feel the love growing) and make navigation a breeze. There’s even a ‘surprise me’ option when planning a route to take you on a magical mystery tour to your chosen destination. The unit itself is able to handle many kinds of weather situations given that it’s impact resistant and waterproof whilst the 3” anti glare screen provides clear enough instructions for recreational cyclists or even the more demanding needs of a trained mountain biker.

To make bikers feel even more loved they can share key route information such as time, speed, distance, height and calorie consumption with other users using Mio’s desktop software. If you go for the 305 version though, you get an additional wireless wheel sensor to monitor and record your heart rate and fitness levels that you can also share with other pedal bashers if you want to.

So is this the dawn of moan free cycling?  After all, with cycle friendly routes at your very finger tips, pedal power’s never had it so good!

Mio Cyclo 300 with Western-Europe Maps    £299.00

Mio Cyclo 305 with Western-Europe Maps    £349.99

Due out early 2012. www.mio.com/cyclo

PURE’s EVOKE Mio – Abacus Flower Edition: Chic, simple and environmentally-conscious

The latest example of a fashion designer teaming up with a technology company is the EVOKE Mio – Abacus Flower Edition, a portable FM radio by PURE. PURE’s newest radio has been designed by the internationally renowned designer, Orla Kiely and features her signature stem print.

Pure-Evoke-Mio

The EVOKE Mio – Abacus Flower Edition is the second PURE radio to be designed by Orla Kiely, and follows in the footsteps of the hugely popular PURE EVOKE Mio. Kiely’s second collaboration with PURE mirrors much of her first, in that it features the designer’s signature stem print , mirror chromed handle, walnut veneered cabinet and cream fascia. In fact the only difference between the two radios, is that the Abacus Flower Edition comes in slate grey and is imprinted with flowers, while the EVOKE Mio possesses a front and back embossed with a bright, multi-coloured leaf pattern.

Whilst the Irish fashion designer assures us that stylistically the two radios “contrast well” and will the functional and down to earth designs will “complement any home interior”, internally there are little differences.

The EVOKE Mio – Abacus Flower Edition, likes its predecessor, features both FM and digital radio and an input for a MPS player and iPod. Thanks to support for the optional ChargePAK that allows up to 24 hours of portable listening between charges, this boldly designed radio can be taken outside the home and would act as a ‘colourful’ addition to picnics and barbeques.

The Abacus Flower Edition – yes I couldn’t be bothered writing its full name – features an alarm, kitchen timer and 30 pre-sets. In possessing textSCAN and Intellitext, information can be stored and browsed through at a later date scrolling text can be paused and controlled.

In-keeping with PURE’s commitment to looking after the environment, its latest radio has received a recommendation by the Energy Saving Trust and is part of the EcoPlus, meaning it’s reduced power consumption , use of recycled materials, and smallest possible packaging, minimises its environmental impact on the planet.

This chic and environmentally-conscious radio costs £149.99 and will be available exclusively at John Lewis from the end of August.

Mio get Spiritual with a new range of Spirit Sat Navs

It seems the SatNav market is hotting up once again as other manufacturers strive to combat TomTom’s dominant market position. It’s a highly lucrative market now with the emphasis clearly on traffic avoidance and ease of use and with increasing investment providing better technology the race is definitely on.

Mio

Korean Taiwanese manufacturer Mio who in 2007  swallowed up Navman, one of the early contenders to Tom Tom’s crown, has just released  a number of additional units to its Spirit range of SatNavs that offer many high level functions at an entry level price.

Whilst the 480 series and upwards offers some new functions such as Parking Assistance which automatically shows a list of close by parking spaces and an excellent Pedestrian mode for when you’re out of the car, helping you explore new places on foot, it’s the 680 series in particular which stands out.

This has a large 5” colour screen over 30% bigger than traditional 4.3” screens and accepts voice commands so now you can simply tell it where you want to go. Having voice recognition also allows it to handle Bluetooth enabled mobile calls giving you hands free capability for your phone too. The 680 also offers you a choice of four different routes in your screen: fastest, shortest, easiest and most economical so you can choose the route that best suits your needs.

There’s premium traffic information available subscription free and also a handy AV In port to connect a rear view camera (sold separately) to help reversing into tight positions.

Mio also provide cheap virtual ‘rental maps’ to download for those situations when you only need a map for a limited period. An excellent idea.

The Mio Spirit series is available from £79.99 up to £149.99 giving you a lot of functionality for a highly affordable price.

For more information head here