The Good The Mio C520 GPS device offers a thin and sleek design with a spacious touch screen. The system also has text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, and multimedia capabilities.
The Bad The C520 was slightly off the mark when tracking our location, and route recalculations weren't always efficient. In addition, the Bluetooth and multimedia features are slightly limited in functionality.
The Bottom Line The sleek Mio C520 is a good-value GPS device, packing in advanced navigation features, a large screen, and other extras for an affordable price. However, you can get a better user experience and smoother performance from competing systems.
Mio C520 Navigation Receiver
The last portable navigation system we reviewed from Mio Technology didn't fare so well in our tests. It's a shame, because the Mio C220 had so much going for it--affordable price, good performance, compact design--but its screen was a complete wash. Fortunately, Mio's latest GPS device, the Mio C520, delivers a better experience and packs in even more features at a wallet-friendly price of $399. For that money, you get a large 4.3-inch touch screen, integrated Bluetooth, multimedia capabilities, and accurate directions. It's certainly a better value than the Magellan Maestro 3100. That said, the C520 has its downfalls: the Bluetooth integration is limited, and real-time tracking and route recalculations could be better. If navigation and usability is of the utmost importance to you, and you can find a good deal on the Garmin Nuvi, you'd be better served by that device instead.
The Mio C520 is one of the best-looking portable navigation systems we've ever seen. The charcoal-gray-and-silver color scheme is attractive, but even more alluring is the thinness of the device. At just 4.9 inches wide by 3.2 inches tall by 0.8 inch deep and weighing 6.7 ounces, it's extremely sleek, so much so that of all the multimedia-capable GPS models we've tested, the Mio C520 is one we'd almost consider using as a portable media player--almost (more on this later).
There's also beauty in the simplicity of the design. Aside from a power button on the top of the unit, there are no other external controls cluttering the device. Instead, all functions and text are entered through the C520's spacious, 4.3-inch touch screen. It displays 65,000 colors at a 480x272-pixel resolution, making the maps and images look vibrant and text sharp. Also, much to our relief, we could still read the C520's screen under sunlight, unlike the Mio C220 whose screen washed out to the point of being unreadable. We still wish there was a bit more brightness and contrast to the maps, but still, it's a much improved experience over the C220. We should note that some address and POI listings are hard to read since the font size is pretty small.