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.
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.
Score in detail
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test each product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare things properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.