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.
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.
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