Route 66 Mini Regional Sat-Nav - Route 66 Mini Regional

By Jonathan Bray

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Route 66 Mini Regional Sat-Nav

Summary

Our Score:

8

The Mini's one weakness is the clarity of its maps. Most of the time these are fine, with clearly marked turnings and routes. The slimline, TomTom-style info panel, which can be displayed either as a sidebar or run along the bottom of the display, doesn't occupy too much of the screen either. But the maps aren't the cleanest or clearest and, just occasionally, things get confusing particularly when you come across complex turnings that have roads running either above or below them. Charlie Brown's roundabout in east London, for example, has a complex network of fly-overs passing overhead and this confuses the display somewhat, with those overhead roads indistinct from the complex road layout underneath. CoPilot on my TyTN II, for instance, never gets this confused and has a much clearer display, and it's the same with Mio's excellent budget sat-nav - the C220.

The Mini also isn't the most fully featured sat-nav ever: there is a photo-viewer, but you don't get Bluetooth connectivity, or live traffic updates via TMC, and for this money, of course, you only get maps of UK and Ireland. However, you are provided with up-to-date speed cameras on purchase, which you must install via the excellent sync software in the box. This software, à la TomTom, also provides a central area that you use to upgrade other aspects of the product, from maps to a series of free extra voices and Rough Guide travel guides. TMC and Bluetooth phone functions can be added at a later date via various add-on accessories as and when funds allow.

Verdict

So, if your funds don't quite stretch to a TomTom Go 520 and you've got £100 to spend, you shouldn't let the occasionally unclear map view and lack of fancy extras put you off considering this product. Not only can you add to it, should you want to via the excellent sync software, but the Mini is also a highly polished product in all the other core areas.

The biggest bonus is that it's cheaper than the excellent Mio C220 at a very-reasonable £99.99. The fact that it manages to combine this with TomTom-rivalling ease-of-use, the most intuitive sat-nav search around, and high quality navigation means it takes over from the Mio as the best budget sat-nav around.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Features 7

Alan 1

July 1, 2008, 3:12 pm

Having read good reviews about this satnav, and Halfords had reduced the price to 㿻.99, I got one. While I agree with Jonathan's review, there are a few problem areas which I need to mention. First, to get the speed camera database and do any updating, you need to connect the satnav to a Windows PC (so no good for Mac or Linux users). Not only that, you need to download and install Microsoft ActiveSync (if you run XP) or Microsoft Mobile Device Centre (if you run Vista). Second, the version of Route66 sync provided on the CD doesn't work. You have to download the latest copy from the Route66 website (www.route66.nl) and install that. Having done that, you can easily install the speed camera database on the satnav (and extra voices, colour schemes, etc.). Then you hit problem number 3. From time to time the GPS software seems to get confused as to where you really are. Not to worry, there is a GPS firmware update on the Route66 Website which you can download to your PC then install onto the satnav. Trouble is, you need an SD card slot on your PC to do this. The good news is that having upgraded the GPS firmware, it is better but can be slower when getting your position after switch on. Then comes problem number 4. When you are out and about, the unit is great until you pass a speed camera. The speed camera alert pops up and after that, there are no more voice commands until you reset the satnav (using the factory reset button), or the software crashes and the satnav reboots itself. Not much fun halfway through your journey. The good news is, there is an update on the Route66 website which you can (in theory) install. However, my attempts to do this have resulted in the install process stoping after 20% and I have had to do the factory reset to reboot the satnav. If I do get the update installed to fix the speed camera/no voice/crash problem, I am hoping there isn't a problem 5!





In summary, A nice cheap satnav and if you are happy with it out of the box with no speed camera database (and the odd GPS hiccup), great. If you want speed cameras you are going to have to hook the satnav up to the internet via a windows PC to get all the updates.

Alan 1

July 2, 2008, 2:29 pm

Update: On the third attempt, the satnav managed to update the Route66 software and the best way to do it is to factory reset the satnav (so you have a fresh reboot), connect it to the PC, then do the update immediately. It does take a while so be patient.





The update does fix the speed camera/no voice/crash problem and the new software matches the user manual more closely. I did wonder why some of the items mentioned in the user manual were missing. I have done a couple of test trips and it is working fine. It looks like the speed camera database is valid for a year and it will cost 9.95 EUR to renew which isn't too bad.





Having gone through the update process, I am pleased with the unit. However, not everyone will be PC literate enough to do the same. On the plus side, not only is this now down to 㿻.99 at Halfords, the widescreen version (Route 66 Maxi) is down to 䀏.99.



routegodknowswhere

February 9, 2009, 6:01 pm

My route 66 mini really is awful, it resets itself mid journey, constantly tells me to re load the software becuase strings go missing, and freezes up. This is all after the firmware/software updates.





The route 66 support must have gone to the same customer services school as BT and i might as well tell my dog about how or why it doesnt work. Now its stuck with no maps so i can only use it to navigate my way to London or Southampton, ive taken it back to the shop and got a new one god knows how many times, each time i have to have a fight with route 66 support just to get the cameras i paid for put on to the new device.





You really do get what you pay for with this, mine is about to navigate its way out of the car window.



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