Installation is straightforward too. If you want to install map data for the whole of Europe you’ll need a hefty 4GB of space available on a memory card, but the installation program allows plenty of flexibility. You can install maps by region (England, Wales, Scotland and so on), for instance, so it’s easy to tailor it to fit whatever space you have available. I installed just the UK and Ireland maps on the Mio A501 I reviewed a month or so ago and was able to squeeze everything, application and all, onto a 1GB SD card. The only hitch I experienced was getting it to recognise the built-in GPS receiver – it wouldn’t automatically detect it and I had to set it up manually.
So what else do you get for your money, apart from useful odometer and truck mode? Well, if you were expecting it to fall short in terms of features you’re going to be disappointed. Pocket Navigator seems to have most of the bases covered. On top of the Truck mode, there’s the option to optimise routes for speed, distance and even price. There’s a pedestrian mode too.
In terms of navigation you get both 2D and 3D navigation modes, an autozoom function that zooms in for a clearer view of junctions, and out again when you’re zipping along the motorway. There’s a banned roads facility – excellent news for all those M6-haters out there – and the route-browsing tools are excellent, allowing you to quickly get an overview of your route and zoom in and out of it without it hitting the performance buffers.
The only omission, it seems, is that there’s no roadblock avoidance tool. You can use the ‘avoid road features’ feature to do this, or simply drive off-route and rely on route recalculation (which is swift enough to cope), but these methods are both compromises and no substitute for being routed around a blockage and rejoining a few miles down the road.
In use the maps are very clear indeed. The route is indicated clearly with a bright pink line standing out clearly against the rest of the map, and the periphery of the navigation screen is clean and uncluttered. There’s a bright, colourful turn icon at the bottom left of the screen and other information is displayed in a semi-transparent black bar at the bottom of the screen, but other options are only activated when the screen or a button is touched.
Routing is fine, and maps seem adequately up-to-date; we wouldn’t expect anything else from a product based on TeleAtlas maps. Even long, complicated routes are swiftly dispatched and the machine makes good decisions, generally speaking, about how it gets you from A to B.