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Mio has taken the convergence mantra to heart with its higher end sat-nav systems over the past year. On top of mapping hardware and software the more expensive devices in its range have sported photo viewers, the ability to play MP3 files and can act as Bluetooth speaker phones.
But in truth, though such extras look nice on a features list, in my experience they're very rarely used. You'll still take a music player with you for MP3 playback and a proper camera for taking and viewing your holiday snaps - even if your sat-nav will do this for you.
At the end of the day, the success or failure of a sat-nav device ultimately comes down to its accuracy, usability and practicality, not technological bling - a test that Mio's top of the range C520t fell foul of. Can its 'low-end' C220 remedy the situation?
It certainly isn't laden with as many features as its big brother. It doesn't have a widescreen and its 3.5in screen isn't the largest around either. But small doesn't always mean bad when it comes to portable sat-navs. For instance, drivers of superminis, without acres of windscreen to mount the latest widescreen monster on, will probably agree that the smaller the device is the better.
The smaller dimensions also allow for much more flexible positioning in your car. Instead of having to place it below the eyeline, a smaller sat-nav can sit quite comfortably higher up the screen without impinging on your field of view - no more squinting to see it or stretching to reach the thing when you need to make adjustments to your route. And, of course, smaller sat-navs are easier to carry around in your pocket.
The C220 doesn't come with the luxury of TMC as standard either – a system that uses the FM radio frequency to receive traffic warnings. But considering how rarely the system in this country provides accurate and timely information, that's no great loss. There's no MP3 player, Bluetooth or photo viewer, but I doubt you'll miss these features.
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