Mio has launched a new GPS navigation series, and it came at the most opportune moment as the travelling season has just begun. In order to withstand the competition posed by tablets and smartphones which can be used as navigation systems Mio took the example of Garmin and is now offering a robust, autonomus gadget with free updates to preinstalled maps.
The 2014 Mio Spirit series has both 4,3 and 5 inch models, with different options depending on the model – Bluetooth, TMC or lorry route mode.
Today we will talk about the Mio S6900 LM, a medium-sized car gps navigator with a fair quality-price ratio. It is a robust device with enough routing features to satisfy both the daily user and the most pretentious one.
Appearance and connections
From a design perspective we notice a shift from the glossy case of Mio (Navman) to a more matte, graffite-coloured one. At first glance the Mio S6900 vaguely resembles the TomTom gps navigators launched in the last couple of years, but all the similarities stop here.
Other new changes in the design include giving up the On/Off/Reset button we were accustomed to in the old Spirit series in favour of a simple button which puts the device into standby at touch and turns it off by pressing the button for a few seconds.
As for connectivity, the Mio S6900 LM has a micro SD card slot on the East-European versions and an AV in connection for those of you who want to hook up a video camera or a car DVD player.
Software, maps and routes
There are small changes in the menu interface of the S6900 LM. It is almost the same one used on the other Spirit models.
The search can be either introduced in a single field or manually done by selecting the country, city, street and building number.. Depending on the destination the Mio Spirit S6900 can offer up to four different alternative directions for the same destination and the possibility of adding waypoints for a complex route.
The new series also introduces the Learn Me Pro software designed to adapt the paths to the user’s preferences by analysing the routes previously chosen and offering us better alternatives. From the navigation menu we can choose between the short, fast or economic routes and we are also able to select from automobile, emergency, pedestrian or lorry routes.
There are both good and bad sides to this feature, as on pedestrian mode the Mio S6900 has a great autonomy which can go as far as 3 hours and moreover it can remember the location of the parked car for an easier acces to a return route but on the lorry mode, despite the weight, axes, height and all other variables linked to large vehicles contained in the navigation settings of the Mio Spirit S6900 LMU, they will not be taken into consideration unless we purchase a separate licence from the producer’s website. Only after doing that will the driver be able to use the car GPS unit/navigator not only for setting up holiday itineraries but also for a job in the case of professional drivers.
As mentioned above a great advantage of the new Mio Spirit navigator is the free update of the acquired maps for life (the average use life of the gadget). It is an advantage to be considered, but not an unusual one, as Garmin and TomTom offer the same benefits at the purchase of selected packs, features which reduce the cost of annually buying a new pack of maps.
Here’s a short video which presents the new Mio S6900 LM navigator.
Updating the Mio (or Navman), the user will need to initially instal a soft on their personal PC, which is included on a CD that comes with the pack.
The Mio Spirit S6900 LM mapps are from Tele Atlas ( TomTom now have ownership of the company), which are great for Central and West Europe or US , and with major updates in Eastern Europe in the past year.
Referring to its features, the Mio S6900 LM can easily be considered a great acquisition which pays off by free updating of the maps. The bright touch-screen has a great response time and is sensitive to soft interactions, which makes it a successful gadget in the recent battle between dedicated navigation systems and tablets or phones with GPS mode included.
- Screen - 90
- Features - 80
- Performance - 75
- Software and routing - 65