Mio A201 GPS review

3.5 out of 5
£229

For

Large screen, built in GPS, SirfStar III Chipset

Against

Too slow to enjoy

GPS devices are having to evolve if they want to stay in the game and Mio has opted to offer its GPS devices on the back of a Pocket PC device running Windows Mobile. But does it work?

The Mio A201 is an integrated GPS PDA that offers both portrait and landscape mode. This means that you can use the PDA portrait style during the day in those office meetings and then at the press of a button turn it landscape to view the maps.

The 320 x 240 pixel, colour LCD touch-screen seems less reflective than most GPS screens we've seen recently and surprisingly the surface treatment also makes the screen virtually smudge-free even though it's a touch screen.

Along with the screen the GPS antenna rotates as well and uses the SirfStar III GPS chipset, which enhances GPS satellite signal pick up and reception compared to the previous generation, but most importantly means that you can pick up a signal indoors, under trees or in a tunnel.

If that wasn't enough, the device has Bluetooth for easy synchronisation with a PC.

So what's the catch? Mio says that its upped the models performance to include the 312MHz Intel Bulverde processor and 64MB of RAM, which quickens route planning and calculation, however while the PDA functions work like a treat, loading the navigation software powered by Mio's own Mio Map software, is dreadfully slow.

Once loaded and the address selected it's all fine, however getting there seems to take an age.

The software has been given a fresh new interface and it is easy to use and clear to understand. Plus if you opt for the separate TMC receiver you can get traffic updates on the fly across Europe.

Verdict

The Mio has all the boxes ticked. The PDA for the office, the built-in GPS SirfStar III GPS chipset, and that clear large screen, so it's a real shame when you come to use that software that it is not as fast as everything else.

Speed this up and you'd have a Hot Product on your hands as is it, we were left frustrated.