Mio 268 GPS navigation system
Or, there and back again
Review The price of satellite navigation kit is has fallen to an affordable level, but does this mean corners have been cut? I put the latest entry-level GPS from Mio to the ultimate test: a British Easter Bank Holiday weekend, writes Stuart Miles.
Bank Holiday driving is horrible at the best of times. On my weekend trip down to Dorset from London I experienced traffic jams, burnt out camper vans and a closed road. So how did the Mio 268 cope? On the whole very well. There were some problems, of course, but at a price of £300 for an all-in-one unit rather than the more typical £500, I suppose you have to expect this.
The 268 sports a 320 x 240, 3.5in colour touch screen and the addition of 'quick access' buttons down the right-hand side of the unit to allow you to zoom in and out and control the cursor if you don't want to get the screen grubby with your mitts. The unit also comes with a stylus tucked away in the back. There's a four-way naviagation control on the left-hand side. Overall, the finish has a slightly plasticy feel to it, but nothing that should cause too much concern.
For car travel the unit sits in a cradle sunction-fixed to the windscreen, though our cradle arrived broken, making it next to useless.
Turn the unit on, and the MioMap navigation software is easy to use, although again not without its faults. For example, you can't enter an address by the postcode. This can cause problems if you are - as we were - visiting friends that don't actually live in a town, but on its outskirts. Yes, you can type in the street name but when you don't have this either you're left phoning for instructions when you get near.
And the software sometimes went a bit mad, asking me to do U-turns every so often. Worse, it asked me to turn right on the motorway rather than just stay on when the road spilt up ahead.
The 268 successfully guided me from A to B, and for those of you traveling to new destinations on a regular basis, this as a good cheap option for allowing you to do just that.
So did the Mio allow me to get through the Bank Holiday unscathed? Yes and no. It did eventually get me to my destination, and had it not been for the traffic jams and road closers. But if I'm told to "do a legal U-turn where possible" by the female-voiced software again, I'll throw the Mio out of the window. It's one thing having the navigator nag you to make the next turning - it's safer than constantly peering at the screen - but it's another thing altogether to have the same computerised voice calmly suggesting you should do it every couple of minutes for three and a half hours.
|Pros||The price; the large touch screen.|
|Cons||The flaws in the software.|
|Price||£300 inc. VAT|
|More info||The Mio site|