There’s lots to like about the general Mio Spirit interface. The main menu has a number of pages, but the icons are large and clearly labelled. Whatever level you reach in the submenu structure, you can always get back to the home screen with a physical button in the top left-hand corner of the fascia. Beneath this is another very useful button, adorned with a push-pin icon. Press this and you will be given the option to save your current location as a favourite – very handy for storing destinations that you travel to regularly, which don’t have discrete addresses. The Mio Spirit interface’s most unique feature is still in evidence – the keyword search across addresses and POIs. This goes at least some way to make up for the lack of full postcode search we already commented upon.
The usual widgets we’ve come to expect from satellite navigation are in evidence. Safety camera locations are included, although only with updates for three months. After that it costs £19.95 a year. There are full-screen graphics at key motorway junctions, and Mio has more of these than most other sat-nav manufacturers. The regular lane guidance icon is also very good at explaining which carriageways to use. Overall, Mio takes a very simplistic view to the map, with colour reserved for important route features such as speed limit and camera warnings, and turnings on the road ahead. This makes the map easy to read, although the 687’s screen can be hard to see in bright sunlight.
The Mio Spirit 685’s near-£100 price makes it a unique proposition. But the 687 doesn’t have such a notable speciality. Although you do get a reasonable range of extras for the £50 surcharge, the £149.99 SRP places the 687 somewhere between the 685 and TomTom’s GO LIVE 825, which has much more sophisticated traffic and mobile data services, or Garmin’s nuvi 2460LT, which offers a better screen and the best voice control in the business. So whilst Mio’s Spirit 685 is a shoe-in if you just have around £100 to spend on a sat-nav, the 687 will have you yearning for a little more funds to step up to the next level. Our advice would be to let that yearning guide your decision.
Score in detail