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Reviewed - Mio Moov 310
Posté le 18 avril 2008 à 21:34:51 par gpspassion.

Article written by Paul, moderator of our forums and experienced user of GPS Assisted Navigation, first on PocketPCs, then on AIOs and smartphones. If you have questions or comments you can use this topic in the forums.
MIO MOOV - 200, 210, 300, 310
Navman Software - SiRFstarIII - SiRFInstantFixII - TeleAtlas - TMC



The Basics

As I reported from CES, Mio is coming out with a refresh of their product line and will be using the software it acquired from Navman, instead of the Navngo software it has been using for a number of years. Mio was good enough to send me a review unit of their new top of the line, the Moov 310. This unit includes a TMC module with a year of free traffic alerts, a 4.3" screen, TeleAtlas maps of the US and Puerto Rico, text to speech, 3.5 million POIs, and a SiRF III chip with InstantFixII.


The 310 is much more attractive, to me, then any of their earlier units. It is thin and has a brushed metal bezel on the front and a matte black casing. There is a thin silver band that runs around the bezel. Actually, I think it looks rather elegant.

Below you can see to top and back of the unit. On the top is an on/off slider switch and an SD card slot. In a clever design move, if you slide the switch all the way to the right you can reset the unit. No more looking for paper clips in the car. There is nothing on the right side. Volume is controlled from the software, unfortunately, and it would have been really nice to have a hardware volume control instead of trying to fuss with the screen while driving in traffic. The volume setting on the screen is pretty sensitive and it is hard to use it without accidentally invoking the back light setting, so I found I could only change volume while I was stopped. The speaker on the back is loud and doesn't distort at high volume.



The box contains a car charger, mount, plastic disk to glue to the dashboard, USB cable and the TMC antenna.


The mount is small and unobtrusive. In a clever move the USB cable slides into the mount where it is securely held. It is a cheaper way of building the power connections into the mount. You simply pull the unit up and no fooling with cords. That is, unless you have TMC. In a not very well thought out design move, the TMC connector is separate and you still have to manually plug and unplug it into the machine. Since this is a bit fiddly, it takes away all the convenience Mio was trying to design into the mount.



The screen is fine and bright, but I did notice that in direct sun it tended to wash out more than the other units I was running along side of it (Mio 220, Dash, Ipaq 310, TomTom One 3rd edition). Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture for you.

The Mio has the new SiRF InstantFixII, but I can't honestly say that I saw a difference in fix time between the 310 and any of the other units I mentioned above.

TMC

As I mentioned earlier the 310 comes with a TMC module built in and one year of free alerts. We can dispose of this topic pretty quickly. The TMC feature just didn't work. There were two major problems with it.

First, I could almost never get a signal, despite using the large antenna that comes with the unit. I used it extensively in the New York City area, and in a drive down and back to Washington, DC and it was very seldom that I got a signal. I can't tell if this is a Mio problem or a TMC problem, but I will say that I had the same problem with the two Cobra units I tested. TMC seems to be hard to receive.

Second, when I did get a signal the reports were uniformly wrong. They would tell me of blockages that weren't there and then not report blockages I was caught in. I had about 700 miles of driving to test this. Here is a typical example. I was driving into New York City and caught in a huge blockage at the Lincoln Tunnel. For once I was able to get a TMC signal and the unit reported "no alerts". Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of that text, but here is the 310 showing me no alerts at the Lincoln Tunnel, while the Dash is showing a red line indicating the heavy traffic I was experiencing.


As to another matter, TMC is a FM broadcast and requires a decent antenna to pick up the signal. Here you see the antenna strung across half my windshield.


Personally, I don't consider this acceptable. At the funeral I attended the first thing people asked about when they saw my car was what was the "ugly" wire. This, of course, is not Mio's fault, it is just the way the technology works. It's time for something better to come along.

Navman Software

Of course this is probably what most people are interested in. To give you the bottom line first: it is nice, workable software that is nothing really special when compared to other units in its price range. It is responsive, easy to use and has a nice colorful display. Since everybody is pretty similar nowadays, I won't go through it feature by feature, but will just post some shots to give you a feel for the new GUI. By the way, there was a CNET review severely taking the Mio to task for its being unresponsive to screen taps and rerouting. I certainly did NOT see this and the 310 was just a fast and responsive as any other unit I've tested.





Now, which software do I prefer? The old Navngo or the newer Navman? Well, and this is a personal choice, I'll take the old software. The fluid screen scrolling was a pleasure and the "airplane or overview" view was an extremely useful feature that set Mio apart from some others. I'm glad I still have it on my Ipaq and my older Mio 220.

I always considered the Mio software to be overly complex, but if I could have chosen I would have opted to put a simpler interface on the Navngo software and this would have given me a state of the art GUI. Then I'd have worked to approach something similar to the Navigon reality view or TomTom lane guidance and bring the product closer to what the competition is doing - bringing in new features, not just revamping old ones. Overall the Navman software is serviceable, but nothing to write home about.

MioMore PC Software

The 310 comes with a DVD that contains a program called MioMore Desktop 2008. However, this product is clearly not ready for prime time!


The PC software allows you to back up and restore your unit and to re-download maps that you have paid for. It also allows you to buy maps of Canada, but not Europe.

So far, so good, but now here is where it gets very confusing. (By the way, there is a primitive 310 manual included on the DVD, but there is no manual or Help for the PC software itself). The PC software allows you to buy traffic subscriptions and, when I connect the 310, it tells me I have to go to the Mio website and get an activation code for my free one year of traffic. However when I go to the Mio site there is no way to get a code for the 310, just for earlier units. On top of this the unit has been receiving traffic, although not very well, even without this code!

OK, next there is something called a Photo Album, but there is nothing that says what it does. Seemingly I can import NavPix, whatever they are. I can also transfer something to my Mio - either an album or NavPix, it doesn't say what. And, of course, it doesn't say why I would want to do this, and there is no mention in the 310 software, itself, of anything to do with pictures or albums, so even if I "transferred" them there doesn't seem to be anything to do with them. A puzzle.

Then there is something called Image Search that seems to let me do something with Flickr, but they don't tell me what, just that I have to abide by Flickr's terms. And, again, there is nothing on the 310, itself, about images, so even if I search for them I don't know what I would do with them on the unit, or even if I could display them at all. Another puzzle.

A tab allows me to add different voices and languages.

Finally, the last tab lets me Activate something. It doesn't say what is to be Activated - just asks me to enter a code. It can't be traffic because that's activated above. It can't be the 310, because everything on the 310 seems to be working. A final puzzle. Your guess is as good as mine as how to solve any of them.

I will state flatly that it is unforgivable to sell a consumer product with software such as this that is confusing, clearly not finished and undocumented. It's as if Mio deliberately wanted to befuddle their purchasers and, as a user, I find it insulting that they would take my money and give me this garbage - even the lowest price TomTom units come with the excellent, polished TomTom Home program.

Pricing

Amazon is selling the 310 for $249 and the 300 (without TMC) for $229. Both are reasonable prices. Personally, I would not spend the extra money on the TMC.

Pro: average price, colorful software, good text to speech

Con : TMC doesn't work well, antenna is clunky, limited POIs, no reality view or lane alert, "me too" software, confusing PC software

If you have questions or comments you can use this topic in the forums

 
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