Widescreen GPS Navigator For Concise And Clear Directions
By Mendelson Tiu | Monday | 06/08/2007
A new widescreen navigator from Mio that has tons of features besides its built-in navigation system has arrived to address the demand for larger and clearer GPS devices. This new generation of in-car navigation system aims to give everyone the most up-to-date maps and accurate directions available, resulting to shorter travel times.
Add features like an audio player, a picture viewer, a contacts directory and Bluetooth capabilities to a GPS device and you get the new DigiWalker C520 from Mio - a 4.3-inch GPS device that mums and dads can rely on anytime, anywhere.
The Mio DigiWalker C520 is a stylish, thin, and lightweight in-car GPS device with its silver front, 19.9 mm thickness, and weight of only 190g. Its 4.3-inch Touchscreen LCD is exceptionally bright at its maximum setting and manages to stay visible even when exposed to direct sunlight.
But what sets this unit apart from other GPS devices is its split screen interface display that lets a user view routes, upcoming turns, and even nearby point-of-interests. The idea is simple - users will be able to see the navigation map on Â¾ of the screen, while features like time and speed, nearby POIs, or next four turns are displayed on the rest of the screen. Of course, this really depends on the user and what he/she wants to see on the smaller part of the screen. But for us, the option that we often used was the turn display. The DigiWalker C520 runs on Windows CE Core 5.0 and uses MioMap with the latest Sensis R14 mapping software pre-installed, giving you a powerful guide for the road ahead.
|We first brought the C520 along for a walk, changing its route parameters from car to pedestrian with the fastest route chosen. After a short walk, we were able to get to the nearest restaurant without any hitch. The navigator was loud enough and "her" instructions were clear and concise, allowing us to just place the C520 on our hands without having to take a look at it.|
We then installed the Mio DigiWalker on one of our cars, changed the route parameters to car with the fastest route chosen, and decided to go to a mall 10km away. To do this, we simply clicked on Menu, clicked on the POI button, chose the nearest shopping center, and clicked the "Route To" button for the C520 to start calculating the route. Generally, the navigator did a great job in navigating us through roads with its clearly labeled icons, loud navigation instructions like "Turn right after 100 meters to Pembroke Road," and automatic zoom that shows the driver the exact road he/she should pass through. Users can also change the C520's map view just by pressing the map icon located on the top right corner of the navigation screen, making it easy to see the route from any distance.
The C520 also has various routing options like avoiding or allowing tolls, highways, unpaved roads, crossborders, U-turns, and ferries. Users can also set routes to Fast, Short, and Economical when choosing "car" as your vehicle. In addition, users can also choose Bicycle mode, Taxi mode, Bus mode, Truck mode, and Emergency mode, in case a user has another kind of transportation available. The Mio also has a speed camera and red light camera warnings as well as a Safety Mode that prevents a user to operate the unit while the car is in motion. Finally, the DigiWalker C520 has several guidance languages like German, French, Spanish, Dutch, and English (Australia, UK, and US) to choose from.
|Although minor, we were still able to notice some problems with Mio's C520. There were times when the navigator struggled with some street names, resulting minor two second hangs and stutters. Moreover, there were times when I was prompted continuously that I was "driving over the speed limit" when in fact I was well under it. Driving back to the area revealed that it was a school zone, with a speed limit of 40 during from 8:00 to 9:30 and 2:30 to 4:00. But instead of placing it as a school zone, the C520 made the stretch of a major road a 40 zone all the way when I could definitely see that the road was a 60km/h zone.|
Besides its GPS function, the DigiWalker also has other features that makes this device worth purchasing. It has an audio player that supports MP3 and WMA formats, a picture viewer that supports BMP and JPEG images, a contacts list for storing contact details, and a Bluetooth function for both mobile phones and compatible Bluetooth headsets (for audio steaming). The unit also has an SD/MMC cars slot for additional memory, with a 3.5mm audio jack for those who are planning to use the navigator as a music player.
All the additional programs work like a charm, but it's the C520's Bluetooth function that we really found quite useful. After pairing it up with our Nokia N95, we were able to dial and speak to the person on the other line clearly and without any interruption using the C520. If one is currently using the navigation device when a person calls, a screen automatically pops up and displays the person who is calling.
|The Mio DigiWalker C520 comes with a manual, an in-car charger, a windshield mount, an AC adapter, a USB cable, a software and documentation DVD, and a user manual. Its Lithium battery cell lasts for 4.5 hours with its backlight set to its middle range and GPS on full power, but will probably last shorter if its other functions were accessed.|
The Mio DigiWalker C520 is one of those navigators that we'd recommend to anyone looking for a comprehensive in-car navigation system. It has an excellent widescreen display, split screen interface display, user-friendly interface, comprehensive list of Points of Interest (POI), and extra features like music player and picture viewer to boot. An RRP of $699 may seem steep for some, but be rest assured that this device is well worth it.
Mio DigiWalker C520 | RRP: $699 | | www.mio-tech.com.au
Specifications and Features
GPS Chipset: SiRFStarIII module built-in (20 channels)
Memory / ROM: 1GB
Memory / RAM: 64 MB SDRAM
Memory Slot: SD/MMC
Display Type : Touchscreen, 4.3 " Transflective LCD, 65K colors
Display Resolution: WQVGA - 480x272
Display Orientation: Landscape
Battery: Built-in Lithium battery cell
Battery Capacity: 1300mAh
Battery Life: 4.5 hours (backlight on middle range & GPS on full power)
Speaker: Built-in loud speaker (1watt)
Headphone Jack: 3.5 mm jack
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Key Features: 16.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor; 3-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen; Sensor-based image stabilisation; ISO 100 - 51200; 1920 x 1080 at 30fps
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