Saturday, October 18, 2008

mio c220 GPS

Our Garmin Nuvi 200 series GPS that we received as a gift is fatally flawed.  Last week in Boston while trying to use it we realized that we frequently need a reliable GPS. Garmin has a great user interface and wonderful maps that are easily flash updated.  It's routing has been perfect in the USA and in Europe wherever we used it.  However, our unit cannot operate while charging and it frequently spends 20 - 30 minutes finding satellites.  On ocassion it takes a few hours.  So in Boston we decided to buy a new GPS.  When we arrived back home, I ordered a Mio 220 from Circuit City for $75 (with free shipping).

It arrived today and I eagerly unboxed it.  I pulled down the latest version of miopocket.

and it works like a champ.   I tested it while picking my daughter up from the train station in Seattle.  The GPS finds satellites instantly.  It plays MP3 files and movies.  The touch screen games work well.  I installed other Windows-CE software that also works.  It functions while charging in the car and the suction cup mounting is much better than Garmin's.  It holds on to the windshield firmly and extends further towards the driver.  It is also sturdier and appears less failure prone.

I have not tried any of the GPS programs other than the MIO software and maps that came on the DVD.  I hope the Garmin software will work with my maps from the Nuvi but I doubt it

Unlike Garmin's female voice (whom the kids call Maya), the Mio has a male voice.  The default US English units are yards (on Garmin they are feet).  Both the Mio and the Garmin had problems with the Amtrak station in Seattle but the street directions are fine.  I am more accustomed to the Garmin interface so I don't yet like the Mio.  Also, the Garmin's screen is much bigger.

I think it's pretty cool that the GPS runs windows so I can run lots of great software.

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