Looking for a satnav device? Then Mio is offering something a little different: the V575 Spirit TV, a traditional in-car device that doubles (presumably when you’re not behind the wheel) as a freeview TV with media playback capabilities.
Simple but stylish
Finished in a sleek black, the V575 Spirit TV features two touch-sensitive controls, a micro SD port, on/off switch and mini-USB connector. Its fascia is featureless, aside from a connector to attach an external aerial for TV reception. The device also includes a built-in aerial that can be extended for use in areas with good enough reception.
In truth, though, we felt the headline Freeview capabilities were the main thing that let this device down. Aside from the fact that the mono speaker is very quiet – and there’s no headphone port to let you plug it into your stereo – we struggled to get good enough reception. And that was despite trying it in a number of areas. We found channels frequently dropping off, requiring a rescan.
And while we’re at it, the device’s media capabilities are pretty underwhelming too, consisting of a simple MP3 and video player with limited format support.
Thankfully the device fares better as a satnav – and while it’s basic, voice and visual directions are very clear, and it’s easy to plan a journey, or get more information on directions and nearby locations. The device offers useful features such as traffic updates, advanced lane guidance and IQ Routes, which uses real-life information from other drivers to help avoid congestion during busy times.
We were generally happy with the Mio’s performance on the road, and though it’s not particularly customisable, we reckoned it handled this core functionality very well.
Unfortunately that’s not enough to save a device whose main selling point doesn’t really work as described. Given that you’re paying a premium for this functionality, there are better basic models available for less money that do just as good a job on the road.