Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mio C220 GPS First Impressions

I recently bought my first GPS for the car, a Mio C220. What first attracted me to it was that, at $199, it was the cheapest one :). I then read some reviews online, and people seemed pretty happy with it.

What you get
It’s a pocket sized device, with a color touch screen, and a 400MHz processor. The map comes loaded on a standard removable SD card. It’s pre-loaded with the map for North America, but it comes with a DVD with more maps. It comes with a car charger and a suction cup for sticking it to your windscreen. It’s also got a built in speaker for giving directions.

  • The UI was a bit confusing at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly.
  • The touch screen works pretty well, though it’s best if you’re using your little finger and are not driving. Using fat fingers and driving at the same time is a recipe for surprise lane changes.
  • The big thing I initially missed was a ‘text to speech’ function. Instead of saying ‘In 100 yards, take the 66 north’ it says ‘In 100 yards, turn right’. This can be frustrating as freeway turns are often on the same side of the road and close together. At first I had issues which would have been helped if it had said the name / direction of the road to take. However, you gradually improve about ‘seeing’ how far distances are, glancing at the map screen, and generally interpreting what it wants you to do.
  • One of the things that a review said was that it had a quick screen update time. I’d say the screen updates at between 5-10 frames per second. The result is good. I wouldn’t want one which updated slower.
  • The device is pretty small and lightweight, which is nice. Some other GPS devices have bigger screens. That would be nice, but I think the C220 is about big enough.
  • Some other GPS devices can play MP3’s or show photos etc. Personally I’m not a big fan of cross over devices. I like phones which just call people, cameras which just take pictures, and fridges which don’t know when I’m out of yogurt. So I actually like that this GPS just serves one purpose. It means I’m not paying for more than I want, and the manufacturer didn’t have to compromise on the creation of the device, and could focus on its core task.
  • It doesn’t come with a USB cable. Though, the USB socket is a standard small socket, which I already have a cable for. Also I don’t anticipate needing to plug it in to my PC very often; just when I want to swap in the UK map for a visit home.
  • It also doesn’t come with a protective pouch. It’d be nice to have one for when you take it out of the car, as otherwise it just has an exposed screen.
  • Overall, I like it very much. It takes a lot of the stress out of driving to new places.


echoform said...

nice review. i'm toying with the idea of getting one myself. what about new map info? how does it handle that?

Mark Pope said...

You pay to download them from their website. There's no update for the C220 yet. I presume this is because it's pretty new.

They currently have a special offer on for upgrading the map of a different model, which is $25 to upgrade.

The main time you notice that your map is out of date is when you try to visit someone in a new housing development. But you can still route to the nearest major intersection if you know what that is.

I figure I'll likely just keep it how it is for several years, and when it gets annoying just buy a new one. By then they'll have holographic displays, dodge traffic blackspots, spot police cars for you, and advertise to you constantly :P

r2 said...

I have questions about the Mio C220. Can anyone tell me how to cancel guidance? I find that when i have something programmed in and I want to change my destination that it will not LET IT GO! Anyone know how to do that?

Mark Pope said...

I just key in a new destination, and it seems to work for me...

Anonymous said...

I just bought mine on Black Friday. I like my C220, but the inconvenience is that streets that changed names two years ago still have the old names. Doesn't it still have an update?

Mark Pope said...

Not sure. You can keep an eye out on their website for updates I guess. I've not had that issue, or I've not noticed it as I just turn when it tells me to... :)

GRADY said...

I have the 220 for almost a year & it’s my 1st GPS owned. It’s a great little unit, a bit slow to get a signal. BUT it needs an UPDATE!!! If you go to their site, I get an error message when clicking on the support or download tabs. That was very disturbing.... Be happy to pay a fee to get this thing updated. ANY FRESH IDEAS??? Thanks

Anonymous said...


Mark Pope said...

(I don't know, but if anyone works it out, please mail that guy and also post to the, erm, post.)

Anonymous said...

From what I have read in various forums and from the lack of response from MIO, there is no plan for this unit to ever have updated maps. The Unit is obsolete. Because my area has changes so much in a year my unit is completely useless in my area.