I have been testing out the Mio Moov 300/310 for several weeks now driving the highways and byways of the Northeast this spring to check out the latest offering from Mio. The Mio Moov series, including the standard screen 200/210, and the widescreen 300/310 are a big change for Mio, as they adopt a new operating system to carry the brand forward. After the acquisition of Navman, Mio decided to bring the software development in-house and leave the iGo interface behind. Switching to the iGo interface helped to launch the brand in the US and was one that set Mio apart from other GPS brands because it was functional, reasonably good and with their value positioning on the unit cost, not a bad trade-off for the value oriented market. I used and wrote full reviews on a lot of these units including the Mio C310X, Mio C220, Mio C230, Mio C320, Mio 520, Mio C720T. Things are changing though, as the big guys drop prices hard and fast, it leaves smaller slices of the market for value oriented brands. With a more competitive market, the bar raised due to other stronger players (think Navigon) coming to the market, it all raises the stakes for the new Moov line and Mio's new software bet.
From a core product standpoint, the Mio Moov 300/310 comes with maps of the US, and 3.5 million POI on its 4.3-inch widescreened unit. The satellite acquisition times are quick, as it sports the new SiRF InstantFixII chipset. The unit lacks the bells and whistles that are sometimes seen on GPS units, but are barely appreciated; MP3 players, and Picture viewers. The Mio Moov 310 differentiates itself by adding in the TMC traffic receiver for only a few dollars more, and includes a one year subscription to the service which will cost $60 a year afterwards. Pretty good bargain.
The Mio Moov 300/310 is a pretty simple thin flat device, with a mechanical slider switch on the top left of the unit, a small speaker on the back and an interesting mount. The mount is pretty minimal, which slides into a slot on the back of the unit. The mount is also designed to hold the mini-USB power cable which snaps into the mount and then they both slide into their respective slots on the GPS unit at the same time. The power cord has a 90 degree bend to it so that the Mio Moov can snug right down onto your dash it you would like. The mount is a cam lever mount, making mounting easy and confidence inspiring. The unit ships with an adhesive disk to put on your dash if you live in states where putting a GPS on your windshield is illegal (CA/MN). You can investigate a friction mount that can help keep the unit on your dash without actually sticking anything to the dash itself.
The user interface is worth walking through as it is a dramatic departure from the previous incarnation. There are a few things that feel similar, like the icons on the menu for "Home" and "Favorites", but the map and its icons are all a big change.
To start, the Mio Moov maintains a pretty good 3-D point of view which can be toggled to 2-D, and through a look at traffic issues (Moov 310 only) by simply tapping the little vehicle icon/arrow. When you are in the middle of a route to a destination the Moov, you will also toggle through a Route Overview and a Turn by Turn list for your route. I could personally lose the turn by turn list, but maybe someone will like them.
Along the right side of the screen there will be a green box that when tapped, will reveal a list of route parameters that you can watch, including distance to destination, time to destination, speed, Estimated Time of Arrival, and the current time. you can leave this pull-down box open for all of this information, or you can tap your preferred one, and you will now have that in the upper corner of the screen. Going down the right side, the "X" cancels the route, the magnifying glass allows you to zoom in and out.
Mio Moov 300/310 Main Screen - 1 - Next Turn Distance, 2 - Distance to Destination (Configurable to one of 5 settings), 3 - "X" to cancel route, 4 - Zoom, 5 - Tap here to rotate among views (2-D, 3-D, Traffic and Route when navigating to a destination), 6 - Menu Button.
The bottom right of the screen allows you to expand that into four buttons, and see the Mute, TMC Status button, the battery level, the compass direction and the satellite reception strength. Again these buttons can be swapped out by tapping one button which will then collapse back into one button.
Across the bottom of the unit you can tap the bar that displays your current street and you get the Menu screen, or you can opt to hit the menu button that looks like a little waffle, on the lower left. The Menu looks familiar to Mio users with some of the icons a fresh version of what we've seen on older models. They have three menu screens, with a decent combination of action buttons and direct links into POI categories, like: Fuel, Parking, Food, and Tourist locations. There are other more typical buttons like "Favorites" where you can specify your home address as a "Home" for easy access, Recents, which is a list of recent destinations, an address input button and a POI master list button.
Mio Moov does not handle the main POI search well in my estimation, which is a drag on the overall user experience. The big POI searches that you will do are covered by buttons all their own on the master menu level, like Gas and Food. When you tap these, the assumption is that you want these POI near you right now. When you tap the POI button however, and then drill into State, City and then POI category. Confusing and slow. I happen to think that the Garmin and TomTom approaches are the gold standards here, as they assume that any POI search is nearby your current position, and then give you to option to select otherwise before hitting the POI category. Those options usually include, near another city, along your current route, or near your destination.
The Mio Moov has an SOS button that gives you quick access to a cross category search of medical facilities, and police stations. Unlike some other brands, this emergency button does not display your current location either as an address or as coordinates.
TMC Traffic (Mio Moov 310 Only)
The Mio Moov 310 (like the standard screen Mio Moov 210) comes with TMC traffic capability. In order to get the unit registered with your free subscription, you will need a PC, and an internet connection. After loading the MioMore Desktop software, you will get an activation code at the Mio website, enter it into the MioMore desktop software, which will activate the TMC subscription. Easy process, except for entering in the enormously long serial number into the website.
Traffic in more tightly integrated into the new Mio interface, which is a big step up; again, by tapping on an icon on the main screen you can rotate through 2D, 3D, Route and Traffic overviews. The Traffic Overview will give you the ability to see where there are traffic issues in your region. The unit is configurable to allow alerts of various types.
Issues with Alerts - The alerts can help when driving in traffic and when traffic is along your route - hey, that's what this thing is for. There are just too many alerts, and honestly it left me clamoring to shut them off. I drive into Boston from the Southwest which leads me through plenty of traffic around the beltway and up I-93 otherwise known as the Southeast Expressway. The traffic is never really good, and it is highly dynamic, so as I commute in over the 40+ minutes, the situation changes regularly. As a result, almost every time the Mio Moov 310 received TMC updates, the unit set off the alert saying traffic changes happened along my route - I am talking about every 3 minutes.
Otherwise, the alerts were accurate, and the unit offered to re-route me (configurable to automatic) which then allowed me to find a better route. The routes were along major highways, not surface roads. Of the two major routes into Boston the Mio Moov 310 picked the Southeast Expressway (good), then offered to take me in from the West; the Mass Turnpike (good choice), but once the Pike backs up, the Mio was stumped and kept me on that option, not finding a surface road solution. To be fair, I am not sure there is a better solution, but the virtual shrug of the shoulders was a surprise.
I have noticed a subtle improvement in the map quality with this release of TeleAtlas maps in the Mio Moov. There were a couple of streets that weren't totally right in previous map iterations, even since their big improvements of early 2007. I would imagine that their diligence, and Map Insight program are starting to kick in. As far as routing goes for the Mio Moov, I like it and have no complaints. The unit has the ability to offer some customizations in the Preferences menu. The Mio Moov walks you through four screens to get your routing customized. It has a slider for Fastest Time to Shortest Distance, as well as use of highways; More Often to Less Often. The next screen allows you to set up a two stage situation for Toll Roads, "Unsealed Roads" (does that mean unpaved?), and Ferry Routes. You can elect to avoid all together, or just get warned when the routing puts you on one of these. the third screen allows you to set up a warning not to use the Mio while driving, and a speed alert when you are driving over a certain speed limit. Finally there is an option to enable GPS Logging, which I should give you the ability to leave a virtual trail of where you have been.
In my testing, you have to be pretty heavy handed to notice differences on shorter trips if you want to slide the Fastest/Shortest and highway sliders. I am pretty impatient with routing so I pretty much always pick fastest, unless I really want to stay off highways due to a perceived traffic issue. I would imagine that I would set these once and forget them until I had some special need.
The voice commands are clear and are above average for their pronunciation and overall fidelity considering you are pumping this out of a 1-inch speaker. There are two "US" Text to Speech voices to choose from (Tom/Samantha), a nice change from previous models that only had one Text to Speech choice. There are also two non-TTS voices to choose from (Male/Female), which is nice, but not as useful. Love to see Mio blow these out a bit and offer a few more TTS voices here.
The Mio Moov allows you to select auto-zoom, which is pretty well done, zooming in when you slow to make a turn. I never realized how important this feature was until I recently used a unit without it, but find it almost critical to driving and making turns accurately. The Moov 300/310 allows you to zoom from the main screen with a quick selection of the magnifying glass, allowing you to temporarily override the auto-zoom.
The folks at Mio clearly had a big task ahead of them to get a new operating system implemented in their new line of units, and overall I think they pulled a lot of it off well, considering the more value-oriented nature of their market position. At this writing, the Mio Moov 300 is below $200 retail which puts it more than $50 cheaper than other Widescreen, Text to Speech models in the marketplace.
There are some concerns with the ease of use with the POI menu and some of the choices that they made in making the screen a bit more cluttered than I am usually comfortable with, especially when routing. These issues aside, I think that the Mio Moov 300 is pretty solid, and is a reasonable choice to consider when looking in the value end of the market. The traffic implementation on the Mio Moov 30 is better than the Mio C720T, that made getting to the traffic screens nearly impossible, but the alerts need some tweaking. It will certainly help those commuters to understand their traffic situations a bit better than not, especially with the free 1-year subscription to TMC that is included free with the unit.