While Nokia has recently been muscling in on the GPS market with the , big names in the sat-nav world such as TomTom and Navman have shown no interest in creating phone-enabled GPS devices.
Mio, however, has been brave enough to step up to the plate with the DigiWalker A501. It brings all the features of a GPS unit, phone and PDA together in a single device that will set you back around £320 SIM-free.
Most of Mio's sat-nav devices are powered by Windows Mobile technology, so it's no surprise that Mio has chosen Windows Mobile 5.0 for the A501's operating system. It's also added a few extras on top including its Mio Menu, which is launched via a dedicated button on the front. This presents you with a screen full of large icons giving you quick access to applications such as the sat-nav software, media player and Web browser.
Although the menus in the navigation software aren't as well laid-out as they could be, the actual maps are very easy to read and the audio instructions are clear and precise. However, if you miss a turn, the device is sluggish in re-calculating a route to get you back on track.
The A501 performs pretty well as a phone. We had no problems with reception and the call quality was always top class, as the built-in speaker sounds great in both normal and speakerphone mode. The battery life was also good by the standards of most smartphones. It's got enough juice to cope with 4 hours 30 minutes of talk time, and it'll keep running on standby for around 8 days.