Mio 269 Plus: Test and Review

The Mio269 Plus is the direct descendant of Mio269, a standalone GPS at unbeatable value. They are also identical in every respect, from the design point of view, if it’s metallic logo on the back of the unit. Version 2.5 incorporates a 269 GB hard drive and thus embeds all of the latest European maps of TeleAtlas, 27 countries (note that the French version is available under reference Mio268 Plus 450 euros). It will be possible for backpackers traveling to Greece or Ireland, if it suits them … Or even to take their GPS with them if they rent a car in one of the countries covered. The “Plus” version also integrates logically an update of the navigation software, MioMap CE 2.0, a customized version of Navigon Personal Navigator software. That users of first-generation models are not too disappointed, they can also benefit from this update (free until 30 November 2005).

As already noted in the previous generation Mio268, this GPS is particularly attractive for a newbie: compact, simple to use and customize. His voice guidance is nice and fluid, while displaying maps in 2D or 3D is a model of clarity. The big news of the models stamped “More” is their latest generation of GPS receiver. It is the standard SiRFstar III, which has three main advantages. First progress, this model captures GPS signals in seconds after starting. Those who already own a GPS know the initial location (or “fix”) can sometimes take more than 10 minutes, thus gaining a lot of time to calculate a route and start guidance. Second, it picks up GPS signals even through athermic windscreens and allows to forget unsightly external antennas. Finally, it is much more sensitive (going over 10 meters to 3 meters of accuracy) and even in a valley or surrounded by tall buildings, we do not lose the signal as often happened before. In our tests, we found that TV reception of GPS signals indoors near a window.

Another new embedded processor is more powerful Intel Xscale 400 MHz model. However, RAM dowry remained at 64MB The response times remain a little longer during the address or search points of interest phase and during navigation, typical of access to stored data the hard drive, the operation is slower than the flash memory (for example on memory card). Pure route calculation and automatic rerouting in case of route change, however Mio269 shows swift. Its remote control supplied remote control brings a little more to use the GPS, by the driver himself, or copilot.

Mio269 as its predecessor, this GPS includes some additional functions, it is possible to operate through the free space on the hard drive (500 MB). So will we be able to transfer media files such as MP3 audio files and photos JPeg and use the Mio 269 Plus as an MP3 player (supplied stereo headphones) and photo viewer (the excellent definition screen makes this a very attractive feature ). Note also a calculator function and a contact book synchronized with Outlook. The PC connection software can easily manage file transfers, as well as synchronization. We had previously reported that it was a shame not to be able to interact with the contact book navigation software, to avoid re-enter a previously saved address in the address book. This is now done, but very partially. Available in the contact list of a button to launch direct routing. But testing this feature, we were disappointed that the software was not taking into account that the city and postal code of the corresponding but not the rest of his address. So it took each time enter the street name and the number manually.

The Mio268 and 269 are light and compact. This serves them in terms of sound power: the speaker is a little low in a noisy car, or if you are used to listening to music at high volume. But the advantage on another field: that of versatility, which is not the fort other models like the TomTom GO (see our test models 300 and 700) or Garmin StreetPilot C330. So they can be used outside of a vehicle, on foot or bicycle. And due to the presence of new highly accurate GPS module, this option assumes its full size, particularly in town. In the route options, it is possible to determine its mode of locomotion: bike, motorcycle, pedestrian. For example, on foot, the software does not take into account the prohibited direction. In addition to the suction cup mounting accessories supplied for car, Mio provides another form of a ring to attach the GPS on a motorbike handlebars. Alas, we did not use it either on a bike or a scooter … Its diameter was too big for the first, too small for the second. But it can be adapted to the bicycle handlebar by adding an additional layer of foam

Overall, this GPS is very pleasant to use, even if its lack of responsiveness can sometimes be annoying. Above all it proves easy to understand for novices. It has two modes of use: the standard with the main functions and other advanced with all available options. The first will begin the second will be activated once it has taken over the unit. On the other hand, his interest list of points (POI) is configurable without much difficulty via import pre-formatted lists and uploaded to the Internet. By cons, to be alert, you will acquire additional software POI Warner which costs 30 euros. It probably will interest some drivers who wish to be alerted of the presence of speed cameras. However, there are already a plethora of POI lists stored in the GPS memory, with full contact in certain categories such as hotels or restaurants (addresses and telephone numbers).