The Mio Cyclo 305 HC brings a raft of cycling stats and comprehensive route-planning with GPS to your handlebars. With a larger touchscreen and friendly-looking rounded casing, it doesn't look like the average bike computer. In a market dominated by Garmin models such as the Edge 800, can the Mio compete?
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Setup
As with most GPS cycle computers, basic setup is fairly painless. You don't need to attach anything other than the handlebar mount to get a speed reading via GPS. However for improved speed accuracy and cadence (that's RPM for your legs) you'll need to cable-tie the two-in-one sensor to the bike and attach a magnet to the left crank and one to the back wheel. The 305 works out the size of your wheels automatically.
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Navigation
Enter an address or point of interest and it'll find a route to the cafe or bike shop within 15 seconds or so. There's even a difference between bike and car directions – the Mio successfully picks quiet side roads rather than busy main roads where possible. The Surprise Me feature is a nice idea – suggesting three random routes based upon desired ride distance or time. There's also a choice between TeleAtlas (better for roads) and OSM (better for off road) maps. The MioShare online route-saving and sharing service isn't a patch on Garmin Connect, but look around and you'll find the web is full of .GPX route files which you can easily drop onto the Mio via PC.
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Display
The 3-inch resistive touchscreen display isn't as responsive as your high-end smartphone's capacitive one, but it gets the job done and works even with gloves on. The bigger problem is that it's rather hard to see in bright conditions and lacks "glanceability." Although you can rearrange the screen layout to show just the information you want, it never appears big or clear enough, and we felt we were spending too much time squinting at the display instead of the route ahead.
More after the break...
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Accessories
The HC moniker means this version comes with both a heart rate belt and cadence sensor, both of which are quickly picked up by the 305. The belt is relatively slimline, with a popper fixing system that's easy to get on and off. The cadence sensor takes a bit of cable-tying and alignment with magnets, but since it's also wireless is also relatively straightforward.
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Mounting
Make no mistake – the Mio is big, and dominates the handlebars. Its twist-lock mount design is simple to get on and off, but astoundingly didn't allow for mounting it in the middle on the stem which we would have thought essential given its bulk. Its slightly chubby form lends it a novice rather than pro feel, and considering most novice cyclists would shy away from paying almost £400 on a bike, never mind an accessory, the Mio 305 could fail to appeal to exactly the market it is selling into.
Mio Cyclo 305 HC – Verdict
The Mio Cyclo 305 HC ticks lots of boxes in the specs department and its routing capabilities are impressive, but in use it falls a little short of the standard we'd expect from a bike computer costing nearly £400. Most of all the display quality lets it down though it's bigger than that of rivals like the Garmin Edge 800 it lacks the clarity of layout and contrast required to convey information quickly without taking your eyes off the road or trail for too long.
Mio Cyclo 305 HC Western Europe
Comprehensive features and navigation but loses its way with a lacklustre display and bulky mounting