Going Hands-On with Mio’s New Spirit GPS Navigators

Back in early May 2009, Mio Technology unveiled a whole new series of Moov GPS navigators, the S series, which, besides a slimmer external design and some certainly improved hardware features, were also meant to introduce an innovative user interface, called Spirit. Today, at a local Mio event, we had the chance to go for a quick hands-on with some of the devices from this new series, with the overall result being a very impressive one.

The models that we were able to toy around with were part of the S500 series (the S505 and S555, to be precise), featuring 4.7-inch touchscreens and 13.9mm ultra slim design, as well as very impressive extra features, such as multimedia playback support and a Bluetooth module (the last two available only in the case of the S555). Plus, for some reason, Mio decided to ditch the SD support and went for the MicroSD format instead.01

Leaving aside the obvious improvements in the design area, what we’ll have to focus on here is the Spirit interface, which is absolutely fantastic, compared to Mio’s previous offerings. What we’re talking about here is a very intuitive and simple GUI, which is extremely responsive, especially with the help of the physical Menu button placed on the left-hand side of the PNDs, which allow users to easily go back to the main menu, regardless of where they might be at any given moment.02

Other interesting features are the TruMap map view, which removes cluttered information on the top of the map, providing clear and clean maps for easier navigation, as well as the Lane Guidance function that displays clear lane instructions, whilst Junction Views provides realistic 3D images of signposts and turn indicators, for making the right turn at the right time.0304

Additionally, the all-new Explore Mode offers a fresh way to explore one’s surroundings by browsing maps and seeing all nearby POIs at a glance (similar to an app available for the iPhone), while the integrated Travel Book delivers details like historical data, business hours and other useful facts regarding certain POIs in locations around the world.