Mio 687 satnav - a review

I bought a Mio 687 satnav for my wife at Christmas and I must say it's been a great disappointment. It fares very badly in comparison with the free satnav that's on my now ancient Nokia E71. Here's a list of the reasons I think you should avoid the Mio 687, and as many of the issues are software related, you should probably give the entire Mio range a miss.

  • The first unit I received had a faulty screen. The vendor (Lemon Digital) gave me a load of grief about charging me £30 if it wasn't faulty - which is actually illegal under UK distance selling law - and to add insult to injury they didn't refund me the £8 it cost me to return the broken one.
  • The Mio website was down for most of the two weeks after Christmas due to it not being able to cope with the post-Christmas load, so I couldn't update any of the software on the satnav - you only get a limited period to download the latest maps.
  • When I did update the software it promptly blew away my initial 3-month speed camera subscription, and despite a long email exchange with Mio tech support, they didn't manage to actually get it fixed before the three months was up.
  • When you upgrade the software it deletes all your saved locations, no warning.
  • If the download of an update fails it leaves the partially downloaded file lying around and all subsequent download attempts then fail. I had to figure out the fix myself, Mio support were no help - in fact, they are pretty hopeless.
  • The satnav quite often gets in a state if you update it from the PC. When you reboot the satnav it either tells you it was disconnected during sync or that there is a problem with the maps, even when neither of those things is true. The only way I found of fixing this was to do a Windows format of the satnav USB disk device and reinstall everything,
  • The 'smart restore' function in the PC software is neither. It gets to about 25% and then hangs forever. And once that happens, your satnav won't work. The only fix is to reformat the satnav entirely and reinstall from scratch.
  • Mio support sent me a link to an unpublished version of the software (http://download.mio.com/ServicePack/Desktop/Mio/Leopard_Phoenix/latest.exe) as a 'fix' for my problems, It installed ok, but when I used the satnav after installing it, every route turn was preceded by a voice instruction to either exit even if you were staying on the same road, or to do a u-turn if you were turning off.
  • The postcode search only uses the first 4 characters of the postcode you enter, you have to know the street name and number as well. Even the free Nokia satnav is better than that.
  • You can supposedly tether a mobile to the satnav so it can use to do google lookups. However the satnav only manages to pair with my Nokia about 1 time in 10, effectively making the feature useless.

I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten as well - I've had so many issues it's all become a bit of a blur, and I've lost count of how many times I've had to reformat and reinstall the bloody thing. I bought the Mio because it seemed like a good deal for the money, unfortunately not. I'd like to say I got what I paid for, but I don't consider £140 to be particularly cheap, although I would describe the 687 as rather nasty. If you need to buy a satnav, my advice would don't by anything from Mio, and don't use LemonDigital.

Categories : Personal, Tech