Simple and straightforward are the watchwords for the Mio Navman 575. Sat-nav manufacturers have all reacted in their own way to the smartphone-powered cloud of doom that hangs over dedicated GPS systems, and Mio's plan is to stick to solid performance and good value. You don't need to be Duncan Bannatyne to know that it's a business plan that works.
Not for Mio the strategy taken by the Navigon 8450 or Motorola TN555, which throw in every possible feature bar 3G to entice people away from the smartphone. With its large colourful icons and functional design, though, the Mio Navman 575 is practical rather than beautiful, and it relies on old-school tech to work. Its killer feature is the price.
The Mio 575 is just half the cost of the TomTom Go Live 1000, for example, and although the screen is low resolution, it's large and the mapping interface is easy to follow. Most importantly, it has no problem locking onto a satellite and finding a route, fast.
Live information is restricted to traffic updates via RDS/TMC, rather than a 3G system, which means there are no internet-enabled frills like Google Local Search or extra information about your destination. But you do get full coverage of UK and all of Europe included, which is more generous than most.
The Mio also claims to work out what sort of roads you like to drive on with its LearnMe technology. Or so it says - it never once diverted us via Route 66 or Pacific Highway, so clearly doesn't know us that well...
So long as you don't care about extra features and don't mind its chunky appearance on your dash, the only real complaint to lay at the Mio Navman 575 is that the menu system is slow. It's not helped by an old-fashioned resistive touchscreen – whose filter is clearly visible as a grid over the LCD panel – but there's clearly a paucity of processing power inside, too.
Compared to the snappy Garmin nuvi 3970T or latest TomToms, it's an unfortunate throwback to the days when sat-navs had no competition from snappy smartphones.
It's not a problem once you're on the road, but waiting for the onscreen keyboard to catch up with your fingers can be a drawn-out process.
At this price, there was always going to be some sort of compromise and that's where the Mio Navam 575 draws the line. If you demand more, you'll have to pay for it.