More than any other GPS manufacturer out there today, Mio Technology 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 half bad; but the compact size also makes it less than ideal for in-car navigation as viewing maps, and entering information on the small touch screen is difficult. We think it's a better navigator for bicyclists or city dwellers on foot, and drivers who want a navigation-first system should take a look at other devices, like the Magellan RoadMate 2200T or the Garmin StreetPilot c550. The Mio H610 is available now for $499.99.
At 2.3x3.3x0.7 inches and 3.8 ounces, 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 a bit slippery. The device also has a pleasing design with its curved edges and white casing (a la iPod).
There's a 2.7-inch TFT touch screen on the front that displays 65,000 colors 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 city 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; however, once you get into the subsections, things can get a bit confusing. For example, the map view takes some acclimation as the onscreen icons are sometimes hard to see because 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 familiarize yourself with all the functions of the H610. Also, the onscreen 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 customizable 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.
Mio packages the H610 with a number of accessories, including a vehicle mount (windshield or dash), a car charger, a USB cable, a neck strap, a wrist strap with attached stylus, a pair of earbuds with remote control, and reference material. While we certainly appreciate the breadth of extras, we wouldn't mind a carrying case to help protect the pretty H610 from scratches.