If your needs are more service-specific there’s a useful Near Me menu with preloaded search shortcuts to the likes of the nearest petrol station, cash dispenser and parking to your location. Other search options can be added and saved manually, so you can easily find the nearest McDonalds.
Near me options
Another nice touch is, to avoid having to actually search for car parks, once you get within a mile of a pre-selected destination the Mio Spirit 695 LM automatically shows nearby choices. Just tap one and navigation diverts to that point.
Once a destination is selected the TomTom-licensed IQ Routes planner shows you options for the fastest, most economical, easiest and shortest route, after which a rather pleasant and fully-TTS enabled female voice provides guidance. For more complicated journeys, the route planner is not only flexible but very easy to use.
I need to say a little more about the quality of the vocal guidance here because, put simply, it is superb. From the option to have distances read out as fractions of a mile – rather than yards – to the excellent grammar, the new Mio Spirit 695 LM is a model of how this should be done. On a more practical note, this is the first satnav I have ever used that has provided entirely unambiguous guidance across my nearest – and rather complex – motorway junction. I'm impressed.
Map view steers you clear of confusion
Traffic congestion warning comes in the form of a free subscription to TMC, which, if not as advanced as TomTom’s HD Traffic, is more than adequate for the vast majority of road users. It certainly spotted a closure of the Barton Bridge M60 flyover in good time and guided me around it.
One feature I don’t recall coming across before is the tap of the top left hand corner of the map to repeat the last instruction. Handy if your passenger(s) won’t shut up while you are driving. If you still miss what was said don’t worry, the Tele Atlas maps are very easy to follow.
Next page: Cross country running
No thanks, never a Mio again
I have bought Mio kit, and the first thing to disappear were the free map upgrades. So I had a brand new device, the promise of map upgrades and, well, no map upgrades. Tech support couldn't tell me anything else than that the device was of a company they bought and they had not integrated maps yet - well, duh, that's the most vital part of a GPS - and then don't promise what you cannot deliver.
About 4 years later I suddenly got an email I could now buy map updates for the device. Buy, mind you, not get for free for a year as was originally claimed to be included in the purchase price. By that time I'd ditched the things and switched to TomTom on an iPhone, which works great because I rarely forget my phone. Map updates are frequent in mini (download) and macro form (iTunes updates of the whole App) - if they had only stayed away from doing anything with social media inside a device that has to work in a car (generic disadvantage of TomTom is that it requires FAR too much screen interaction - it's clearly not designed by people who use this kit themselves, or who see taking their eyes off the road as a safety problem).
Apropos the feature of repeating the last instruction: I don't know of other devices, but TomTom does it by tapping on the bottom of the screen. It also reduces the volume of any iTunes playback in progress for an announcement, and it shuts up when you have an incoming call (which I tend to avoid - I don't like driving and making calls, even though I have very good handsfree kit)..
So, no more Mio for me. There are better alternatives, alternatives you can actually trust..
I have this test I do on SatNavs. North London to Luton avoiding motorways - if it tells you the fastest route is through St Albans town centre (a town centre - wtf!) then avoid it as it has no inteligence of traffic flows.
But with TomTom coming to Android soon I'm going to wait and see