More than any other GPS manufacturer out there today, Mio has really focused its attention on creating GPS devices for use outside of the car, such as the Mio C710. The company's latest device, the Mio H610, is the most ambitious to date in terms of being a hybrid navigation and entertainment gadget. It has an ultraportable design that makes it great for on-the-go use and the unit's multimedia functions aren't bad at all, but the compact size also makes it less than ideal for in-car navigation as viewing maps and entering information on the small touchscreen is difficult.
We think it's a better navigator for cyclists or city dwellers on foot -- drivers who want a navigation-first system should take a look at other devices, such as the Magellan RoadMate 2200T or the Garmin StreetPilot c550.
The Mio H610 is available now for around £270.
At 58mm by 84mm by 20mm and weighing 108g, the Mio H610 more closely resembles a PDA or an MP3 player than a portable navigation system, which helps in its function as a handheld entertainment device, though not as an in-car GPS solution (more on that later). With the compact dimensions, the H610 easily slips into your bag without weighing you down and feels comfortable to hold in the hand, albeit slightly slippery. The device also has a pleasing design with its curved edges and white casing (à la iPod).
There's a 69mm (2.7-inch) TFT touchscreen on the front that displays 65,000 colours at a 320x240-pixel resolution. Text and images were sharp and bright, but we noticed that it often picks up glare that makes it difficult to read the display. In addition, the smaller size of the screen doesn't make the H610 ideal for in-car use. It can certainly help in a pinch, especially when coupled with the voice-guided directions, but you'd have to look pretty closely at the screen to see everything on the map, and that's not exactly the safest thing to do while you're driving.
We think the H610 is perfect if you're navigating a new place on foot and perhaps even if you're on a bicycle (though you'll have to come up with some kind of mounting system), but if it's a serious in-car GPS device you seek, we'd recommend looking at other systems.
Overall, the interface is pretty intuitive. The main menu page has clearly marked, large icons for all the major functions of the H610. Once you get into the subsections, however, things can get confusing. For example, the map view takes some acclimation as the on-screen icons are sometimes hard to see -- they blend in with the map or are hidden in the corners. Plus, it's not always clear what they do. We recommend you give the Quick Start Guide a read before setting out to familiarise yourself with all the functions of the H610. Also, the on-screen keyboard for entering information is really tiny. The included stylus helps, but once again, not ideal for use inside the vehicle.
Other design features on the Mio H610 include an SD card expansion slot, a reset hole, a lock switch on the right spine and a customisable shortcut key on the left side. The power button is on top, and there is a mini USB port, a headphone jack and a loop for attaching the wrist or neck strap.