Back in May, we reviewed the Mio C220 portable navigation system, which we loved for its ease of use and affordable price, but ultimately we had to diss it because of an awful screen. Well, we're happy to say that its successor, the Mio DigiWalker C230, offers the same intuitiveness and budget-friendly price plus an improved display and text-to-speech functionality. It's rare to find the latter in an entry-level GPS device such as the C230, so that's a nice surprise and gives it an edge over its competitors, including the Garmin Nuvi 200 and the TomTom One. Our complaints are minor, having to do mostly with the design; for example, the extreme compactness of the device makes it a bit difficult to interact with the touch screen. However, if you're looking for a very basic navigation system or are new to GPS, the Mio C230 is a good choice, especially with its $250 price tag.
The Mio DigiWalker C230 is one heck of a small portable navigation system. At 4.2 inches wide by 3.2 inches high by 0.9 inch deep and 6.2 ounces, the C230 is more compact than most PDAs, and while the size is great for transporting between cars or for use on a bike or on foot, the C230 seems almost too petite for in-car use.
However, Mio still manages to fit in a standard 3.5-inch touch screen that displays 65,000 colors at a 320x240-pixel resolution. Maps were bright and sharp, and thankfully, unlike the Mio C220 we didn't have any problems seeing the screen content even in bright sunlight so that was a relief. The main menu icons are large and easy to press, but the onscreen keyboard is a bit cramped to easily punch out addresses and when in map view, it can be difficult to accurately tap the different navigation options. Users with larger fingers will have problems, so the inclusion of a stylus would have been nice.
The rest of the Mio C230 is as simple as its feature set. There's a lone power button on top, while an SD expansion card slot and a mini USB port are on the bottom. On the left spine, you'll find an external antenna jack, and on the back, the system's speaker and the master on/off switch. Though we like the minimalist design, we do wish there was an easier way to adjust the volume on the C230. You can mute the audio with a simple tap of the onscreen speaker icon, but you have to dig through several menus to change the volume.
The Mio C230 comes packaged with a car charger, a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), a software DVD, and reference material.
The Mio DigiWalker C230 is a basic, navigation-only device. It's equipped with a 20-channel SiRFstarIII, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and comes with TeleAtlas maps of the United States and Puerto Rico preloaded on the device. To start a trip, you can enter a specific address, select a destination from your My Favorites or recent destinations list, or tap a point on the map and hit the Route To option. The C230 can calculate directions by the shortest, fastest, or most economical route. Otherwise, if you don't have a specific destination or trip, you can use the Follow option to have the unit track you as you drive around.