If you ever dreamed as a child (or as an adult) of owning a car like KITT of Knight Rider fame, your dream is about to come true...sort of. Unless you're rolling in money, you can't have the actual Trans Am or David Hasselhoff, but you can have the next best thing: the Mio Knight Rider GPS. The GPS manufacturer partnered with Universal Studios to come up with a Knight Rider-themed portable navigation device (PND) that uses the actual voice of William Daniels (the actor who provided the voice of KITT) to present you with audible directions. It is, indeed, a trip to hear KITT tell you where to go, but it's more than just a novelty act. The Knight Rider GPS is an easy-to-use and solid entry-level PND that comes with a pretty reasonable price tag of $269. The Mio Knight Rider GPS certainly won't be for everyone, but definitely makes for a nice present for any Knight Rider or car fanatic in your life.
The Mio Knight Rider GPS doesn't necessarily capture your attention at first glance. Aside from the Knight Rider logo above the display, the portable navigation system looks like a number of other in-car GPS with its slim profile and black chassis. Once you fire up the device, however, the PND really comes to life with flashing red LEDs that flank either side of the display. It simulates the "scanner" lights on KITT and pulsates with any audible instructions. It's pretty cool ... the first few times, but then it can get old, so thankfully there's an option to turn it off completely.
The unit measures 5.5 inches wide by 3.1 inches tall by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 6 ounces, so it's nice and portable for multivehicle use. That said, we couldn't help but think the plastic casing felt a bit cheap, so definitely take care when transporting between cars.
On front, you'll find a 4.3-inch touch screen with a 480x272-pixel resolution. The display is sharp and vibrant, making it easy to read maps and menus. You can choose from a number of map colors, and there's a day/night option that will automatically change the map colors once the sun sets for better nighttime viewing.
We found the user interface to be pretty intuitive. All the menu pages feature large and clearly marked icons. As we've noted in other Mio reviews, the address entry process isn't quite as streamlined as a Garmin or TomTom unit, but the Knight Rider GPS has predictive text so it will automatically come up with a list of possible results as soon as you start to enter letters. We did notice a bit of lag when entering and selecting destinations, but it wasn't as bad or crippling as what we experienced with the Mio Moov 310. Also of note, the onscreen keyboard is available in QWERTY or ABC mode.
On top of the GPS, there's a power button and an SD card slot, while a mini USB port is located on the bottom. The Mio Knight Rider GPS comes packaged with a car charger, a USB cable, a vehicle mount (dashboard and windshield), and reference material. The vehicle mount consists of one part and is very simple to install and securely held our GPS during our road tests. We also like that there's a locking mechanism for the suction cup mount for that extra seal with your windshield.
Though the voice of KITT makes the PND quite flashy, the Mio Knight Rider GPS is very much an entry-level system. It's equipped with 20-channel SiRF StarII InstantFixII receiver and comes preloaded with TeleAtlas maps of the United States and Canada. The trip-planning process is pretty standard; you can enter a specific address, an intersection, a zip code, or city center. As a shortcut, you can also choose a location from a favorites list, recent destinations, or navigate straight to your home address.
The Knight Rider GPS supports multidestination trips, and you can tap any point on a map and add it to your route as a waypoint. The PND also has more than 4 million points of interest (POI). The database includes all the major categories as well as more specialized interests. In addition to the general catalog, Mio includes menu shortcuts to more popular POIs such as fuel, food, and parking. We checked out several of the categories and found the database to be pretty comprehensive, but as usual, we found some listings to be out of date.