Mio H610 GPS receiver review

4 out of 5
£280

For

Small, plenty of features

Against

Small scree difficult to read when driving, no traffic support, why not opt for a smartphone with GPS

Satnav's are so manly aren't they? - Well according to Mio, they are, and so it's taken the satnav out of the car and into the handbag with the Mio H610, which of course comes complete with a series of decorated interchangeable covers. Fashion faux par or useful gadget? we take a closer look.

The Mio H610 is a small handheld unit the size of a compact mirror that features a 2.7-inch touchscreen and not much else bar the software interface.

Getting plenty of oohs and ahhs from all the women we showed, including Mrs Pocket-lint, it’s a case of turn it on and away you go.

The unit features maps of 24 European countries and over 1.8 million POI provided by TeleAtlas, but hoping to be more than just another satnav, the H610 also offers a digital compass, a contacts book, a collection of games and something Mio calls WorldMate a software application that provide information on weather, currency, conversion, measurements, dialling codes, and clothing size conversions.

The mapping software is easy to used and is based on Mio's v3 software with seven-digit postcode search so you can find where you are going and as we said, comes bundled with UK maps and the major road of Europe pre-installed on the unit. It's a case of open the box, charge it up and away you go.

In-use and the interface is easy to read and master. Finding certain elements such as road avoidance and toll road settings did cause us some issues, but a quick check of the manual solved the query. However something to bare in mind is this doesn't support the company's traffic solution so you won't be able to avoid the jams.

In addition to offering useful tools or satnav for that matter when you are out and about, the H610 also sports an MP3 player and image viewer and users can either view or listen to files on the units internal 1GB storage drive or via an SD card in the slot provided.

Realising that most will want to use this away from the car, the H610 also comes with an AC charger. Car users will still get the car charger, a USB cable, carrying case, replaceable covers, neck and wrist straps, and windscreen mount.

Verdict

In practice and the Mio software is easy to use and the only catch is the small screen when it comes to using in the car.

Out of the box we had no problem tracking a signal no doubt thanks to the SiRFStar III GPS technology, and the default male voice was a change from the prim and proper female voices so many manufacturers use as standard.

With so many smartphones now coming with GPS included it will be interesting to see how long the shelf life of this product is.

However in the meantime, Mio has created a useful product that although expensive compared to other units on the market - you are paying for the size - will no doubt find its way into handbags across the nation.