In January 2008, Mio Technology and Navman formally merged under the Mio name, and we're now seeing the first products of that marriage: the Mio Moov line. The series includes four models--the Mio Moov 200, the Moov 210, the Moov 300, and the Moov 310--and combines Navman's software with Mio's hardware. For our review, we took a look at the Mio Moov 310, and we thought it offered a really nice bundle of navigation features, including a text-to-speech functionality and a free year's subscription to the Traffic Messaging Channel, all for an affordable price of $249.95. Unfortunately, the Moov 310 just wasn't up to the task, as it suffered from sluggish performance and slow route calculations. It all led to a disappointing and frustrating experience, so drivers beware.
Despite the Navman acquisition, the hardware of the Mio Moov 310 is decidedly Mio. It's got a sleek black casing and a slim rectangular shape that's similar to the Mio C520's, measuring 5.1 inches wide by 3 inches high by 0.7 inch deep and 6.4 ounces for easy portability.
There's a spacious 4.3-inch touch screen on the front with an antiglare coating and 480x272 pixel resolution. The display is sharp, but colors tend to wash out a bit in bright daylight. You can, however, adjust the brightness and map colors (in addition to day/night/auto map color settings) to help improve the visibility.
If you've ever used a Mio portable navigation system, you'll notice a new menu system and user interface; this is because the Moov 310 is now using Navman's software. It's a little more involved than Mio's previous software. For example, entering and selecting addresses as well as choosing points of interest requires a lot more clicking and scrolling. The user documentation is pretty poor, and we found it practically useless. As such, we'd recommend playing around with the device before hitting the road, particularly so you can familiarize yourself with the functions of the different icons on the Map screen, as it can be somewhat confusing. However, this isn't our biggest complaint. Our major gripe is that the system is sluggish; initially this made us think that the touch screen wasn't calibrated or that the software was buggy. The more we played with the device, the more we realized that the Moov 310 is just slow, resulting in frustration. See Performance section for more details.
On top of the unit, you'll find the on/off/reset switch and a SD expansion slot, while there's a mini USB port on the bottom. The left spine houses the TMC antenna jack, and finally, the speaker is on the back.
The Mio Moov 310 comes packaged with a car charger, a TMC antenna, a USB cable, a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), a software CD, and reference material. The car mount is simple to install, and does a good job of holding the unit securely in place. Our only gripe is that the TMC antenna does prove to be a bit of an eyesore in the car since you have to run a wire cord along your windshield.
The Mio Moov 310 is equipped with a 20-channel SiRFstarIII GPS receiver with SiRFInstantFixII (for faster satellite acquisition) and comes preloaded with maps of the United States and Puerto Rico. Planning a trip can be done in a several ways. You can enter a specific address, intersection, or zip code. Or, for quicker access, you can select a destination from your Favorites list, Recent destinations, or go straight to Home. Alternatively, you can tap any point on the map and navigate to it. Under the Preferences menu, you can customize how you want route calculations--fastest time, shortest distance, most or least use of freeways, with or without toll roads, and so forth. Unfortunately, this seems to be a car-only device, since there's no pedestrian or bicycle mode.
On the upside, Mio includes a free one-year subscription to the Traffic Messaging Channel for real-time traffic updates. The traffic page shows you problem areas with color-coded areas (for instance, red for heavy congestion), and the Moov 310 will also show you the number of incidents in the area as well as details on exact location and the type of traffic.
The Moov 310 does support multidestination trips, and there's a database of 3.5 million points of interest (POI) to help with any services or attractions you might want to visit along the way. The catalog includes all the major categories as well as specialized POI, and there are 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.
Maps are presented in 2D or 3D view, and you can toggle between them using the arrow icon on the lower-right side of the Map screen. This will also take you through other screens, including a list of text-based directions and traffic along your route. You can pan and zoom in or out of maps. The top of the screen will show you the street name, direction, and distance to your next turn, while your current street will appear at the bottom of the screen. More trip information is available, and there's a Tripmeter to summarize all the data.
To complement the visual aids, of course, you get turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions. Even better, they're text-to-speech voice-guided directions, which means you'll hear actual street names rather than more generic directions like "Turn right in 100 feet." The Moov 310 also supports automatic route recalculations and has a detour function.
As we mentioned earlier, general performance on the Mio Moov 310 was sluggish. There would be a lag between the time we tapped an icon to the time it launched the specific application. Our patience was also tested when entering addresses, since we had the wait for the system to catch up to our keystrokes--and even then it would take more time for the Moov 310 to create a list of possible matches.
For our road test, we took to the streets of San Francisco, and from a cold start under overcast skies, it took the unit about 7 minutes to get a satellite fix--and subsequent starts weren't that much faster, despite having the SiRFInstantFixII chip. Once locked on, the Moov 310 did a fair job of tracking our location and held a steady fix, even through sections of town where tall buildings blocked a clear view of the sky.
We entered in our standard trip from the Marina district of San Francisco to CNET's downtown headquarters and once again found the Moov 310 to be slow. The unit took longer than other systems we've tested to come up with a route, though the directions were accurate. Once on the road, the voice directions were loud and clear and did a fair job with street pronunciations. We purposely missed several turns to test the rate of route recalculations, which was mixed. Sometimes the system was quick to get us back on track, while other times it would tell us to turn just as we were passing the street. In all, it left us feeling pretty unsure about this device. The Mio Moov 310 might be affordable, but we want more of a reliable navigator for our money.