But it’s the address entry and search system that really catches the eye. Where most other portable sat-navs force you to split your search laboriously by country, post code, city and street the Mini is intelligent enough to allow you to perform free text searches for your destination, just as you can with Google Maps. This means that, not only can you simply tap in a street name without knowing the precise geographical area in which it lies, but also hunt through points of interest just as easily. Thus you can simply type in “Hotel South Woodford” and it’ll go away and find you exactly that: hotels in South Woodford. Want to be more specific? Type in “Travel Inn London” and it’ll come up with a list of appropriate results. I can’t understand why more sat-navs don’t do this.
Other forms of destination and waypoint searches match this superlative ease-of-use. Creating multi-point trips is a doddle, for instance, not something that every sat-nav can lay claim to. And the on-screen keyboard is pretty usable too, occupying 90 per cent of the screen and including numbers and letters all on-screen at once so you don’t need to keep switching between alpha and numeric keyboards as you do with other small sat-nav devices.
But none of this is any use, of course, if the driving instructions are no good, and I’m happy to report that, in most instances, the Mini works very well in this respect too. The speaker – so often an area of weakness – is loud, clear and free of distortion. The voice instructions are delivered in a timely manner and the device links turns that follow each other together.
Route choices are largely sensible too, and I failed to find serious fault in over 300 miles of driving. Route calculation and recalculation when you go off route is handled swiftly and without fuss, and the Mini even includes a Lorry profile along with the usual car and pedestrian options. This optimises routes for wide vehicles and should keep truckers from getting stuck down narrow country lanes.
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