The 687 sits at the top of Mio’s new range of Spirit satnavs and is a good illustration of exactly how much navigational kit you can expect to get for £150 these days. For your money you get a 5in, 480 x 272 screen, voice command, Bluetooth, road maps of 44 European countries, free TMC traffic data and some rather handy …
Why Why Why Why Why?
Who needs a widescreen sat nav? I want to see what is AHEAD. Not what is to either side of me. What a waste of money.
Exactly. Another way in which standalone navigation units are inferior to smartphone software.
Extra screen space is useful
Everyone has preferences - mine is for widescreen units. The car windscreen is widescreen, so I find it much more natural to be presented with route information in that format. I've tried portrait-format satnav on my Desire and to me it seems cramped - peripheral vision cues are clipped by the portrait layout, even with speed-dependant zooming.
My Becker unit is widescreen, but can split the screen between the map and an area that contains stuff like speed, current limit, altitude, distance to next junction, diagram of next junction, current road, upcoming place names along the route, waypoints and so on - all useful and shown in addition to the map, which only disappears when approaching motorway junctions when it shows junction pictures and lane guidance.
Much more than the limited range of info that gets crammed around the edges of MrsT's Garmin Nuvi map display (4:3 format - not wide enough for a dedicated information area, but still very readable; just not as informative).
Both are much better than Google Maps Navigation - they use real voices and not speech synthesis, plus react much more quickly to deviations in route and road conditions (roadworks, diversions etc via TMC). I've run both the Becker and Google concurrently on a couple of routes and TBH apart from price the free nav has only one thing in it's favour - it is more up to date on the road layouts.
Buying other satnav software is a different case - TomTom on iPhone is good (with added Brian Blessed shouty goodness too).
The first screenshot is a bit weird --- it suggests the "fastest route -- 1h16min" is slower than all but the easiest ("most economical -- 58min", "shortest -- 1h07min", "easiest -- 1h17min")!?
I can't help noticing in the screenshot that the "fastest" route apparently takes 18 mins longer than the "economical" route!!
Been playing around?
Why on the first screenshot when the "fastest" route will take 1:16 is there an "economical" alternative at 58min?
But kudos for the line about it learning your favourite routes, "Give it a longer learn period and your mileage may vary".
Speed warning chimes
Default setting to "off" please...I'm a biker.
Purely because I wouldn't hear them, you understand, and it'll drain the battery quicker unecessarily.
<--note the icon, daily mail readers. Then look at it again, just be sure.
They've got the absolute crap post-code search sorted out and more accurate maps. I live in Yorkshire but my location on my Mio Navman puts me in Lancashire. Grrrr.. :o)
Can't have that...
So Mio are responsible for trying to Lancastrate another chunk of God's Own? That borders on illegal - residents of West Craven, for example, still consider that annexation by the inferior house in 1974 to be an anomaly...
Why can't a satnav device cater for both roads and off roads?
Say, a satnav device that does route planning on OS maps anyway therefore and hopefully avoiding country lane issues, or routes to car park issues or even cycle along road here to there to get onto "woohoo" off road?
I'll keep using paper maps and a compass until I see a combined in-car and outdoor hiking device that uses 1:25000 OS mapping on a colour screen with an outstanding battery life.
Oh, and it shouldn't cost a fortune for the device and additional 1:25000 mapping files should cost a fraction of their paper versions. I've waited years already, so I can wait a few more but I'm not sure why it hasn't already been done.
I used to use...
... a Navman PIN570 with MemoryMap loaded - full UK North and South map packs at 1:50000, Yorkshire area at 1:25000 by OS on the SD card, plus battery lasted 6-7 hours if the screen was always lit, more if it was allowed to go to sleep. WinMo device, but all in all a good package - they've now got the obligatory iPhone/iPad app, but also do other devices too. Useful more for route tracking, as the version I had didn't autoroute on the OS side (just on the regular Navman side), but route waypoints could be plotted on a PC or on the device.
Probably as near as it got - they've changed the way the maps are bundled, but the OS maps are still pricey - http://www.memory-map.co.uk/
Are we there yet?
Yes, to be fair there are two or three options which come very close. They mostly seem to fall at the price issue though. Take the Satmap Action 10, the hardware is almost perfect with a nice large clear screen and yet not too large to be carried in a pocket. It's fully waterproof and can achieve reasonable battery life especially with the optional Li-ion pack. I'd still love to see a device achieving 2-3x the runtime (12-18 hours at least), solar charging isn't a pancea. They provide 1:50000 and 1:25000 OS maps plus full UK/Europe road and street mapping. Their customer service is also excellent I've been told. The device cost is within reason although more competition would help drive down the costs like it has done for the car-based sat-nav devices.
Three things have so far stopped me rushing out to buy one.
1) The first is the price of the 1:25000 OS maps, the 1:50000 are reasonable but the 1:25000 are insane. Take the Peak District set, I have that area covered on paper maps, it's just three 1:25000 maps at an RRP of £8 (or £5.50 if you buy online) each. That's at most £24 which includes the costs of printing, paper and distribution which don't apply to digital maps. The Satmap 'Peak District' card costs £104.99. Yes it includes the 1:50000 maps as well, so let's be fair and include an extra two paper maps for a total of £40 ... there is still a vast difference £65 difference. It's certainly not cheaper and yet it should be given there is no printing involved.
2) The Action 10 is now 3 years old, in hardware terms it's at best described as middle-aged. I've been a first adopter before and paid the price, I'd rather wait for the second generation of hardware.
3) The Action 10 PC software is terrible and Windows only. You don't _need_ PC connectivity but it's still desirable. I'm a linux user so out in the cold. What's more, Satmap based the Action 10 on Windows CE and run a locked down platform, you can't use third party maps at all. As a regular contributor to OpenStreetMap that's irritating.