Best of Stuff: Hands-on with Mio's GPS entertainer

As a breed sat-navs are like your uncle at Christmas - ask them to play games or music and they'll decline before rambling on about the easiest route

As a breed sat-navs are like your uncle at Christmas - ask them to play games or music and they'll decline before rambling on about the easiest route to Rochester. Not Mio's latest GPS gizmo though - it loves indulging in multimedia fun, and we had a barny with it on its UK debut here at the Best of Stuff show.The H610 is a half PMP, half sat-nav device that's as comfortable in your hands as it is in the bundled car dock. It's certainly one of the more attractive GPS devices we've seen, with a compact body and range of fascias (a straightforward iPod white paintjob is an option for anyone offended by flowery patterns).Don't worry, be mappyOn the GPS side, you get Tele Atlas maps of 24 European countries pre-loaded on the unit, which leaves the SD card slot free for your multimedia content. If you're venturing over to Eastern European countries like Turkey, Mio sells extra maps on 1GB cards.The easiest way to get directions is to do a postcode search, and the H610 will direct you from your current point to your destination. It was a tad temperamental in our demo - an attempt to get us to East London sent us over to Africa - but we were assured that this was an unusual glitch.Like most GPS systems, it relies the renowned SiRFstarIII chipsets for directions, although you'll have to buy an extra antenna if you want TMC traffic updates.Continued...

...ContinuedThe 2.7in touchscreen makes it easy to get around the menus, and its 320x240 resolution is good for watching short AVI videos, which the Mioplayer runs in widescreen. If you're unfamiliar with the process of getting video onto an SD card, worry not - the H610 comes with software to help you rip DVDs into the required format.There's a diverse range of games on board, including the Space Invaders-esque Flux Challenge and curious Plumbin' Frenzy (the first plumbing sim we've seen), and there's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack to use with the MP3 player. Game on And how does all this entertainment affect the battery life? We didn't have time to run it dry at the show, but Mio reckons it'll go for 4 and a half hours while using the GPS, or 17 hours if you're just listening to music. The only major feature the H610 lacks is a phone, which Mio's own A701 and Nokia's GPS-loaded N95 both have, but it looks an attractive option for anyone who lacks a sense of direction and likes convergence. The H610 will be shipping from 12th November for £270. For more info, check out Mio's site here.