If you associate Mio with cumbersome PDAs and clunky smartphones, the C220 will come as a pleasant surprise. It's a small, dedicated touchscreen sat-nav that's as home in a handbag as it is on your dashboard -- all at a price that's miniaturised to match: around £130 online.
At last, sat-navs are starting to creep out of cars and into the daylight. While the C220 could never be described as ruggedised or waterproof, its rounded, lightweight (110g) design certainly feels capable of absorbing a few bumps. Its 4.5-hour battery life is just about enough for a day's car-free tourism, too.
Despite the low price, the 89mm (3.5-inch) screen is no budget display -- it's bright, crisp and very colourful. Touch sensitivity is acceptable and voice commands are clear and loud, with dynamic volume control linked to your speed, if you want.
Route maps are smoothly drawn and well designed, with extraneous information ruthlessly stripped away and helpful extras added, such as animated arrows showing which exit to take at roundabouts.
You have a choice of two main views: Cockpit, which shows driving info such as speed, time and next turn; and Map, a tidier view more suitable for pedestrian use.
Satellite acquisition is good, with the C220 locking on in about 3 minutes. Route calculation is also speedy, and you can examine the planned itinerary turn-by-turn, landmark-by-landmark or even squeezed on to a single screen. Re-calculation is also well handled. UK maps are pre-loaded, with European mapping on SD costing a hefty £75. You get a year's worth of speed camera updates included in the price, but a TMC receiver for traffic info is an optional extra.
The 89mm screen is small at the best of times, and if you switch into Cockpit mode, your intended route can be virtually obscured by a spread of icons, data readouts and menu options. All this clutter means that selecting the actual icon you want needs more of a balanced fingertip operation than a rough stab with your thumb.
If you do get it wrong and touch a blank spot on the screen instead, the Mio C220 thinks you want to make that a new 'point of interest' and freezes the navigation -- potentially leaving you without directions. What's worse, if you did actually want to select that point, it's far too hard to add a current or selected location to your favourites in Cockpit mode.
Searching is easy enough, although you can only use the first four postcode digits. Voice guidance is provided by a very prissy chap called Thomas, who insists on pointing out every mini-roundabout and slight turn in the road. Weirdly, while Thomas is the only English voice supplied, the Greeks and Swedes get a choice of genders -- hardly fair!
The best thing about the C220 is that it doesn't feel like it was built down to a price. The screen and guidance are first class, and its small size is as much as a bonus as a drawback. The interface quirks are annoying, but resist the urge to chuck it out of a window -- get used to it and you'll find a fine budget navigator here.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide