The C710 is Mio’s top end sat nav system, designed to provide an all-in-one solution to your navigational needs whether you’re driving, cycling or walking. The wealth of features includes full postcode recognition, speed camera locations, Bluetooth handsfree connectivity, Outlook contact synchronisation, MP3 playback and photo viewer and, more importantly, fully pre-installed maps of 24 European countries and built-in TMC traffic alerts.
And that’s all bundled up into a very compact package too. The device weighs in at 170g, with dimensions of 110 x 70 x 20mm and it comes with a range of connectors for bikes, cars and a belt pouch for walkers.
The main strength of the C710 is its sleek compact design, which looks very much the part for a top-end piece of technology and will fit easily into any pocket or bag. The hard plastic chassis feels surprisingly sturdy and the four rubberised buttons on the side feel very well built too. The touchscreen has also been designed well enough to let you perform some reasonably precise controls with your finger tip and not making you wish for a stylus.
Basic operation of the device is a pleasure; the map movements as you travel along are extremely quick and smooth. The screen is sharp enough to read the names of passing roads and spot symbols for things like speed cameras very easily. The only real problem is that Mio has forced a lot of other symbols (zoom, angle, direction, satellites, battery level and Bluetooth) onto the map screen as well which can leave you feeling a bit cluttered.
Sound quality for voice instructions, handsfree calls and MP3 playback was also good enough for comfortable listening and is perfect for making phone calls, even when driving in noisy conditions. The mic also manages to cut out the callers voice too so the person dialling in isn’t faced with any annoying echoes.
Menu design is one area that needs some serious tweaking – you’ll find that although there are a lot of options to be played with, but these are often buried deep within multiple layers of menus or behind obscure symbols. The Bluetooth menu itself has absolutely nothing in the way of labels to suggest what each button might or might not do, which just seems daft.
A good example of this problem is the postcode recognition system, which actually took me a very long time to track down. To access it you have to press Menu, Address, Change City, followed by Other City – and only then does it even mention a postcode tool. This longwinded system does allow you to keep a good record of previous destinations and journeys that should help if you are regularly looking for the same destinations, but this would be better off integrated within the favourites section.
The battery life isn’t all that impressive either. It is fine for listening to MP3’s but if you are reliant on battery power for navigational purposes, you are going to struggle to get even a day’s worth of use out of one charge.
The C710 can also take a long time to find and lock on to satellites, and it occasionally just failed altogether, meaning that I had to reload the software to make it try again.
CPU: Samsung 2440 – 400Mhz
Display: Touchscreen, 3.5″ color Resistive LCD, LED Backlighting, 65K colors, Anti-glare
FM TMC Receiver
OS: Microsoft WindowsT CE .Net 4.2 Core version
Maps: 24 countries in 16 languages
Safety camera locations, free updates for 1 year
Dimensions: 110 x 70 x 20mm, 170g
The shoddy menu design is what really lets the Mio C710 down as it means a steep learning curve and a lot of time wasted fiddling around in different options to find what you want. Apart from that flaw though, this GPS is a fantastic piece of kit which provides a lot of functionality in a smart little package. And, if you are prepared to spend time learning the device’s nuances (or have owned a Mio before) then you’ll be able to get as much as, if not more than, you can from any rival device out there. It ain’t cheap at £360 but I do think you are getting your money’s worth.