back to article Mio Spirit 695 LM satnav review

These be tough times for satnav makers when, for under £100, you can pick up a good 4in smartphone like the Huawei Ascend G300 which comes with Google’s ever-evolving and improving free navigation, and even entry-level eight grand motors, like VW’s new Up!, feature low-cost optional navigation packages. To compete satnav makers …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No thanks, never a Mio again

    I have bought Mio kit, and the first thing to disappear were the free map upgrades. So I had a brand new device, the promise of map upgrades and, well, no map upgrades. Tech support couldn't tell me anything else than that the device was of a company they bought and they had not integrated maps yet - well, duh, that's the most vital part of a GPS - and then don't promise what you cannot deliver.

    About 4 years later I suddenly got an email I could now buy map updates for the device. Buy, mind you, not get for free for a year as was originally claimed to be included in the purchase price. By that time I'd ditched the things and switched to TomTom on an iPhone, which works great because I rarely forget my phone. Map updates are frequent in mini (download) and macro form (iTunes updates of the whole App) - if they had only stayed away from doing anything with social media inside a device that has to work in a car (generic disadvantage of TomTom is that it requires FAR too much screen interaction - it's clearly not designed by people who use this kit themselves, or who see taking their eyes off the road as a safety problem).

    Apropos the feature of repeating the last instruction: I don't know of other devices, but TomTom does it by tapping on the bottom of the screen. It also reduces the volume of any iTunes playback in progress for an announcement, and it shuts up when you have an incoming call (which I tend to avoid - I don't like driving and making calls, even though I have very good handsfree kit)..

    So, no more Mio for me. There are better alternatives, alternatives you can actually trust..

    1. Studley

      Re: No thanks, never a Mio again

      For relatively small-name players like Mio, you also need to bear in mind that "lifetime updates" are "updates for as long as the company continues to exist / feels like supporting this".

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: No thanks, never a Mio again

        >For relatively small-name players like Mio, you also need to bear in mind that "lifetime updates" are "updates for as long as the company continues to exist / feels like supporting this".

        As opposed to large companies like Nokia who have a well-regarded map system? Okay, your's is a valid point and I'm being churlish, but a even a big name might not be around in a half a decade, let alone a lifetime. [See Palm]

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    From that first screengrab, the 'fastest' route is almost the longest distance, and it is almost the longest time to get there. That's not what I understand by 'fastest route', regardless of what the speedo might say on the way.

    1. Studley

      Re: fastest

      Yes, that's decidedly odd. My guess is that it's the "fastest" route in ideal road conditions (because it's the M25) but that the actual time shown is accounting for the current traffic on the road (because it's the M25).

    2. Ali on the Reg

      Re: fastest

      I have this test I do on SatNavs. North London to Luton avoiding motorways - if it tells you the fastest route is through St Albans town centre (a town centre - wtf!) then avoid it as it has no inteligence of traffic flows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: fastest

        My garmin has the opposite problem. If I wanted the fastest route to my house in Parma, it would make me take the much longer trip around the neighbourhood instead of cutting through it, because precisely of the traffic flow algorithm giving priority to avoidance of urban areas.

  3. Ali on the Reg


    But with TomTom coming to Android soon I'm going to wait and see

    1. mrmond

      Re: tempting

      soon ? I've been waiting two years for this "coming soon" promise

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mini USB

    "who on earth is still using mini USB in this day and age?"

    Research In Motion. Look at any BlackBerry.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Mini USB

      I am looking at a Blackberry branded microUSB cable, and a Blackberry microUSB mains charger (which doesn't work). More coffee, sir?

      But still, no biggie- miniUSB cables are still widely and cheaply available. Asda do one for £3 if you're ever stuck without one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My experience is different

    My wife has a Mio and it's the biggest pile of manure i've ever had the displeasure of using.

    The menu layout is illogical and overly nested (to make the buttons bigger for the crap touchscreen)

    It is immensely slow!

    As stated above the free map updates never materialise and the compulsory, buy your map updates email appears.

    1. tony72

      Re: My experience is different

      Maybe recent Mio devices are a step forward; technology does change and improve, you know. I have a Mio Spirit 685, which looks almost identical to the reviewed model, and it's been very good; very simple, clear interface, good big responsive touchscreen, and seems to work very well. It did not come with free lifetime map upgrades sadly, just a one-time free upgrade to the latest maps, but that worked fine. The only issue I have is that it doesn't always pick up a TMC signal; the TMC antenna is integrated into the power cable, and so can't be ideally positioned for reception, unlike my previous satnav.

  6. Leona A

    it was all looking good until

    I read "TomTom-licensed IQ Routes", I have a TomTom XL IQ routes and its the most frustrating thing we have used.

    In fact I had to disable the IQ Routes, because of its odd behaviour, which included taking side and B roads instead of Major A roads and getting us completely confused and stressed.

    I have had to submit so many error reports to TomTom that I feel they should be paying me for my time!

    I do not drive, but my partner does, and I am responsible for the navigation, I have to check what route the TomTom 'thinks' it should take every time now and each time I find a problem, its not something I can rely on and I worry whenever my partner goes out alone with it, I wonder what nightmare journey it will take her on.

    The unit is only a year old, they tell me to update the maps, right at £45 a pop, I don't think so.

    So something like this with, maps for life, seems ideal.

    But before I part with any cash, I want to test it, I know the routes that will let me know if its worth buying or not.

    I'll not be buying another TomTom device, and not keen on devices that use TomTom code, but if the IQ Routes rubbish can be disabled, then it might be worth a look.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: it was all looking good until

      I wouldn't bother with the TomTom map updates, to be honest. I only use it in Madrid now. The 2nd businest motorway in Madrid was changed and a major junction was closed and a new one added. 2 years later, it's still not in the update. Another junction changed, and if you follow the TomTom, it takes you the wrong way down a slip road, heading the wrong way along a dual carriageway. Guess what? 2 years later, still the same

  7. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Eagerly requested features on a new sat-nav

    A favourite game in our car is annoy the sat-nav. Ignore the instructions and wait for the mandatory "u-turn when safe to do so". However it would be far more fun if the sat-nav voice got more and more frustrated, ending with "Oh please yourself"

    A back seat nag mode. "your going too fast","mind the traffic at the next junction", etc. For those times when your normal co-pilot is not with you

  8. Bored Stupid

    Fastest <> fastest

    Maybe it's just a crap example, but from the image on the first page:

    Fastest = 50.3 miles, 1h16m.

    Economical = 37.7 miles, 0h58m.

    Easiest = 52.7 miles, 1h17m.

    Erm, that means economical is a whole lot faster than fastest, assuming fastest means shortest time.

    So does fastest maybe mean highest speed? Well no, 'cos easiest is a higher average speed than fastest.

    Maybe the maps are brilliant, but it looks to me like their maths is crap!

  9. Fuzz

    lifetime updates

    Unless I'm mistaken, lifetime support, lifetime warranty, lifetime guarantee, lifetime updates, on any gadget, refers to the lifetime of the gadget rather than the owner.

    This means that you will get map updates for the time the device is on sale plus some unknown time that mio will continue to support the device for. My guess is that you will get 2 or 3 years of map updates which is still better than nothing.

  10. Helix

    Google maps navigation

    Google maps & navigation on a smart phone is not a good alternative for a dedicated GPS device. The biggest problem with Google maps is that it requires internet access. Without access, maps & navigation don't work. And that is a big problem when you're traveling abroad and paying for data roaming.

    Also, the Mio is much better in handling complicated intersections.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Google maps navigation

      Google Maps on my Android - now with added "Make available offline" that quite nicely adds a rectangle of map you specify into the phone later use in your coverage blackspot.

      No idea if it syncs it as maps are updated...

      1. Helix

        Re: Google maps navigation

        Yes, you can cache maps in Google Maps, but searching for an address or calculating a route still requires an online connection to Googles server.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lifetime updates

    As someone who owns an Evesham Nav-Cam 7700 GPS that hasn't been updated in years due to the company going tits up, I honestly don't see the selling point in offering 'lifetime updates'. Why not just say it comes with 'free updates'? At least that would not raise expectations too much!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wife navigating

    I bought a tomtom for my wife about 10 years ago, and we've never updated the maps on it. It's very rare that it can't get us to where we're going. There is some amusement factor as we appear in the middle of a field on its display due to some bypass or other and it screams "Turn Left!!! For the love of god turn left!!!"

    Well it doesn't swear. But you've got to get your kicks somewhere.

    It has saved our marriage mind. We never argue about directions we just set the tom tom off, and then we can both swear at it if it drives us into a field.

    It still takes her through the centre of Bath though! I normally get a phone call "I'm stuck in a bus lane. Somewhere in Bath." First advice is to stop. Then I have a hope at locating her. Perhaps I'll turn on the GPS on her android ;)

  13. PEF

    Mio? Absolute rubbish, never again,

    Bought a Mio Spirit 595 on previous Reg Hardware recommendation. What a piece of rubbish! Out of date maps, unresponsive touchscreen, unpredictable routing, one single horrible voice which can't be changed. It won't record favourite locations, so I have to enter EVERY destination EVERY time I use it. But the worst thing is that she has a speech impediment and isn't able to pronounce round-a-bout or High ("hig-her", really?). Pathetic piece of crap, I shall stick to Tomtom

  14. Chris 171

    Nokia Maps

    The above on my N8 has made my previous device look a bit Fisher Price. 15k miles and counting.

    Offline maps, huge poi database, clear visial lane guidance, nice lady voice who also warns of cameras, traffic info/rerouting too and all for free. Public transport update the most recent I think.

    Plus of course, I only have one device in my car also handling music and the inevitable pita call concurrently.

    Gets a bit warm when I'm also shooting images/video with it but hey.. I take a charging cable.

    Lumia has a big trick up its sleeve in the mapping content Nokia has.

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