The Mio 268 is housed in a stylish black case, with a bump on one side for the GPS antenna and an SD card slot on the top. The controls on the front of the unit are sleek and stylish and clearly marked. The unit features a 3.5" LCD touch screen that provides crisp resolution on even the most detailed maps and a charge indicator on the front to indicate battery status.
The unit ships with all of the accessories you may ever need, including chargers for both home and car, as well as a USB cable and car mount kit. There is also a remote control included in the kit, but it is difficult to foresee how you could use both the remote and drive at the same time.
There is also a custom carry-case included which is quite handy, as it would be difficult to find a generic carry case the exact size and dimension of the unit. If you do a lot of driving in the city and have problems finding a GPS signal amongst the urban jungle, there is also an optional external car antenna that you can buy.
The unit comes with an SD card that is pre-loaded with Australian maps -- you can literally unpack the unit, pop in the card, plug it in and be up and running in about three minutes. The user interface itself is easy to navigate and follow, even if you don't want to read the quick-start guide (and who ever does). To enable navigation, you will need to enter an end-point for where you are going, which is made easy with a "smart entry" option, which narrows the selections down to only the correct combination.
For example, if you select NSW then Surry Hills, the keypad will highlight to only show the letters of street names in Surry Hills. You click the C and a list of street names appear which you can select from. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature to quickly click through to where you want to go. You can also store these locations, as well as home, work, etc.
Once you are underway, it takes the unit a few minutes to start navigation -- this can be annoying but the unit needs to get a GPS fix on your location, as well as enough data to determine which way you are traveling. There are a number of different navigation methods, including on-screen, text, voice, etc. but the "split mode" is probably the best, with a map shown on the LCD and driving directions spoken aloud.
The sound from the MP3 player is a bit "tinny" but you shouldn't expect stereo sound from a unit that size. There is a headphone jack on the unit, but if you are serious about taking your MP3s on the move and want good sound quality, look elsewhere.
In addition to all the features you would expect from a GPS navigation unit, there are also some pleasant surprises, like an audible warning that there is a speed camera in 500 meters, and if you miss a turn, it will give instructions on how to get back heading in the right direction.
One moderately annoying feature was the inability to quickly change the settings while the car is in motion. The unit has a "safe mode" which operates when the car is underway that will not allow you to change destination, etc. until the car has stopped. While a safe mode is good for users who are driving by themselves, it was annoying when there was a passenger in the car to handle the navigation. With that said, it was a minor annoyance at best.Performance
For recharging the unit, it took less than 2 hours but if you are going to use it in the car, you will probably keep it plugged into the charger anyway. When using the device in "text mode" the battery lasted longer then when the unit was speaking the directions, but it was not a major inconvenient as the unit stayed plugged in to the car adapter the majority of the time. The battery life actually exceeded the manufacturer's specifications and we got about 5 hours of text navigation from a single charge.