On a more everyday level, the V735 includes a safety camera database and can be set to warn you whenever you exceed the speed limit. Lane Assistance is available, with 3D Junction View. This pops up a realistic three-dimensional image of an approaching multi-lane motorway interchange, showing which carriageway to be in. Virtually every sat-nav now offers this, so not having it would actually be more noteworthy. There’s even RDS-TMC traffic built in, with updates providing the option to reroute if there is a severe jam on your current route. This wasn’t functioning in our early sample, but previous experiences with other Mio devices have shown its RDS-TMC implementation to be effective.
Although the screen is primarily meant for the TV viewing, it pays dividends when navigating too. The Spirit interface already sports a very clear map view, and on a 7in screen it’s very easy to read indeed, although only if you are looking straight at the device. The only display element obscuring the map is the bar along the top telling you the next turning and its road name, with a corner rectangle providing your choice of information such as ETA, distance to destination, or current time. On a display this big, however, Spirit’s Spartan approach almost seems a waste of screen real estate.
At first glance, Mio’s Navman Spirit V735 TV could seem like a desperate attempt to grab headlines, or even a potentially dangerous new way for drivers to distract their attention from the road. But it would make a lot of sense for some types of traveller. If you’re off on holiday in your camper van, it will help you get to your destination and then provide some evening or rainy-day entertainment when you get there. Best of all, it costs under £300, which is relatively competitive for a premium widescreen sat-nav with European maps and TMC traffic – and that’s before you even consider the massive display and built-in TV. So whilst it’s not going to be an ideal general-purpose personal navigation device, it’s great value if you’re after a portable digital TV as well.
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