Sitting near the very top of Mio’s Moov line, the $250 Moov 310 occupies the most powerful and feature-rich territory in the company’s otherwise budget-oriented GPS brand. Despite its affordable $250 price tag, it offers a very well-rounded feature set, friendly interface, and excellent tracking performance. As one of the first devices launches since Mio’s merger with Navman, it also benefits from new and refined software from the partner company.
Features and Design
The Moov’s wide 4.3-inch touch screen places it on the larger side of the size spectrum for navigation devices, but not quite as large as the Moov 500 model, which tops off the Moov line with a 5-inch screen. Other premium features include real-time traffic updates, and a text-to-speech engine for pronouncing street names, and a generous library of 3.5 million points of interest.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
Mio has managed to imbue the Moov with a definite air of quality through smart design and stylish materials, despite its relatively modest price tag. This starts with a satin black, brushed aluminum bezel around the LCD, and extends to the rest of the unit through a clean rectangular profile, discrete ports, quality plastic, and tight tolerances.
The top of the player has a sliding switch to turn the player on, off, and reset it, along with the an SD card slot, while the bottom has a USB charging port, and the side has a jack for a TMC antenna to pull in live traffic reports.
In the box for the Moov 310, Mio includes a fairly standard USB car charger, a USB data cable for connecting the unit to a computer, an exceptionally long antenna with two suction cups to give the unit reception for live traffic reports, and of course, a suction cup mount, with a circular adhesive disc for attaching it to dashboards. While we appreciated the good quality of the extras, we did miss a wall charger, which would have come in handy for topping the unit off at home.
The unit’s window mount, which has been a sore spot for certain other GPS systems, stands out as one of the Moov 310’s highlights. It clamps on to the window with the bite of a Doberman Pinscher and uses a sturdy, smooth-swiveling ball joint, making it easy to adjust the position of the screen on the fly. We were befuddled by Mio’s choice to place the USB charging port so that the charging cable must pass through the mount, though. This makes it impossible to use chunkier non-Mio charging cables, and also forces users to plug in the GPS after it’s stuck up on the windshield, which can require some acrobatics.
In everyday use, the Moov impressed us with its ease of use, clean interface, and accurate directions.
Unlike the earliest (and cheapest) GPS systems that display maps as crude sketches that look like they’re ripped off a PC display from 1995, Navman (which developed the software for the Moov 310) has put some effort into dolling up its data and producing eye-pleasing maps. The entire display has a smooth antialiased look, and the system even pulls neat tricks like extruding the road outline into a green 3D shape to help drivers visualize turns.
The Moov’s 4.3-inch screen is far from the best-looking we’ve seen, but Navman’s design crew did a decent job of milking it to make the most crucial data visible. Distance to the next turn, for instance, is prominently featured in the upper left-hand corner, and time to go and other secondary stats can be selected for the upper-right hand corner.
Finding locales with the 310’s comprehensive address book of 3.5 million points of interest and intuitive address entry system was easy, but could be faster due to this Moov’s slightly sluggish processor. It felt a little tired as we typed on its on-screen keyboard and waited for it to respond to each letter, or watched progress bars crawl across the screen as it calculated routes. A trip from Portland to San Francisco, for instance, took about 20 seconds for it to crank through. That may seem perfectly acceptable, but when you’ve missed a turn and need to know whether to take the next turn immediately, every second counts as it recalculates.
The Moov’s text-to-speech synthesizer wasn’t quite a godsend, but it did the job. You wouldn’t want Samantha (the default U.S. voice) to read you a novel – or even a paragraph – but you can count on her to at least hack together enough of the vowels in a street name to recognize it when it comes up.
While the company hasn’t gone to quite the extent of Navigon or Garmin in offering free traffic for life with its devices, it does offer a free 12-month trial subscription to traffic updates with every device, which run for $100 a year thereafter. Activation through the Web turned out to be a lengthy process carried out through Mio’s online store and requiring its desktop software, but after fooling with it long enough, we had our unit set up and pulling down traffic info for Portland. While we were impressed with the amount of data it pulled up on different traffic situations around town, it didn’t seem to change routes much, if it all, so we would consider the traffic capabilities more of an early warning system than a true solution.
Mio’s Moov 310 sticks to just the basics, and does them right. Unlike similar-priced units like Nextar’s I4-BC, it doesn’t pile on extras like a back-up camera or media player, but it does what it needs to do with elegance and simplicity. If you’re looking for an attractive, reliable and easy-to-use GPS unit, Mio’s Moov 310 will do it all, and for the right price.
• Reasonable price
• Large, easily readable screen
• Intuitive interface
• Simple, effective window mount
• Attractive design
• 12 months of free traffic reports
• Sophisticated traffic setup
• Slow interface