After a controversial start, Mio Navman’s new Spirit interface has been shaping up much better, and we actually warmed to it considerably in the Mio Navman Spirit 300. The Mio Navman Spirit 500 is the widescreen sibling of the 300, offering a 4.3in display, but it’s still extremely keenly priced.
Like the 300, the basic 500 comes with just UK and Ireland maps as standard. However, there are also versions with European maps and a Hands-free version which incorporates Bluetooth. As its name suggests, the latter allows you to use the sat-nav as a hands-free microphone and speaker combination, but the Bluetooth connection can also be called upon to provide a mobile data connection, so this edition of the Spirit 500 offers live Google Local Search, which the other two don’t.
All three offer RDS-TMC traffic updates, however. The receiver is built into the car power cable, so you can’t get a signal without this hooked up. You can browse a map showing major incidents, or call up a list of events and scroll through them, then select one to read further information and peruse a more detailed map. The Spirit 500 will let you know if a traffic jam has formed on your current route, and give you the option to calculate an alternative. A lifetime RDS-TMC subscription for the UK is included.
The main menu interface is a grid of large icons, which can be recalled at any time using the rather subtle button with a red line through the centre found in the top left-hand corner of the device. You have to be careful when holding the device not to hit this button accidentally, as it is positioned precisely where your left thumb rests on the screen bezel. The grid shows eight icons at a time, and you can scroll through to find all the options. This single menu incorporates all the main features you’re likely to need.