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I bought my Mio 268 three years ago, when I found out I had got a job where I would be travelling to different places on a daily basis. My geography is rubbish, so I knew I'd need something to help me. I shopped around and eventually picked this one, and bought it on superetrader for £259.99. Needless to say, it's come down in price since then, with it's successor, the 268+, now retailing for around £140.
The unit came with the following items:
A mains charger
A car charger (have since purchased a replacement on ebay)
A 7.5cm stylus which extends to 11cm
A USB Cable to link to PC
A windscreen mount and cradle
An external GPS receiver (The unit has one built in also)
A 256 MB memory card with V1.0 Maps
Mio Transfer software
I also got a free upgrade to V2 maps, which I had to send off for. I had to buy a bigger memory card to put these on as they wouldn't fit on the 256mb card. My unit now has maps for Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, San Marino, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
Excuse me while I catch my breath...
The unit runs on Windows CE .NET 4.2 - a little antiquated, but if it ain't broke... you know the rest.
In addition to the navigation software, it has an mp3 player built in, and you can put music on the SD card using the Mio Transfer software.
In the Tools section you can synchronise your Outlook contacts to the device also by using the Mio Transfer software.
In the Settings menu, you can adjust the backlight, volume, screen calibration, power saving settings, time & date, timezone and language.
The battery lasts for about 3 hours of constant use, but with the car charger, I am never stuck with a flat battery. You can switch off the GPS receiver when not in use to conserve the battery.
On the left side of the unit is the volume wheel and the power button.
On the front to the left of the screen is the mute button, a d-pad style circular control pad and a 'back' button.
To the right of the screen, is the 'Home' button (so you don't have to repeatedly type in your address), the 'Destination' button (this takes you back to the front screen), Zoom in and Zoom out buttons and the speaker.
On the right side of the unit is the slot for the stylus, a headphone socket and the reset button.
The screen measures 9cm corner to corner (7.3cm x 5.5cm).
The whole unit measures 7.5 cm H x 2.7 cm D x 13.5 cm W, and weighs 226g.
Now, onto the important bit - the navigation software itself.
When you start the software up the first screen you see gives you 3 main options - 'Navigation' (point A-B), 'Route Planning' (point A-B-C and so on) and 'Show Map'.
I usually use the normal Navigation mode, but the Route planning mode would be useful for setting out a route for a day out where you plan to visit several places, and you don't want to be faffing about at every stop programming in your next destination.
When you select 'Navigation' you are taken to another screen where you can either put in an address, find a point of interest, or select a location directly off the map.
When inputting an address, the unit recognises postcodes, but only to the first digit of the second part. To avoid then having to scroll through lists of locations, I prefer to just type in the town, then street, then house number. The best way to do this is using the stylus as the on-screen letter keys are a little too small to accurately use your finger. This isn't as bad as it sounds, as the unit does filter the list of locations down based on what you've typed so far (a bit like predictive text).
The Point of Interest function allows you to search for particular types of places either in your vicinity, nationally, in a specific town, or by entering coordinates. Categories listed in the national POI database are: Airport, Public transport, Sightseeing, Culture, Nightlife, Recreation, Sports, School & education, Civil service & police, Harbour. Other POIs include: Petrol stations, Parking, Garages, Car Rental, Accomodation, Restaurants, ATMs, Shopping, Healthcare, Exhibition, Tourist information, and Post offices.
The unit remembers your last 30 destinations, and you can also store 'favourite' destinations to it's memory. If you've synchronised your Outlook contacts, you can also select your destination from your contacts list.
There are many different settings you can use in the navigation software:
speed profile (type of vehicle),
route type (short, fast),
motorway/ferries/toll roads (permitted/avoid/forbidden),
standard/extended user mode,
how much info you want on your map,
whether you want 2D or 3D,
speed limit warnings on/off,
brightness day/night (there is a night driving mode where the colours of the map change)
Autozoom function & viewing mode
Time & distance formats
Handsfree options (radio muting)
So here's what it's like to drive with:
The voice is female, clear and succint. She not too bossy sounding, apart from when she requests you perform a U-Turn. As I drive alone, I end up talking back to her, saying 'No' (or worse!) very firmly when she asks me to do a U-turn somewhere stupid.
The screen is a good size and the maps are not too full of detail that they're mindboggling, but have enough detail to be useful.
She gives you the same instruction 2-3 times before you actually need to follow it - a kind of pre-warning if you like. Arrows also appear on screen with a distance display to show you what you need to do and how soon. I also have mine set up to tell me the name of the road I'm on, the name of the road I'll be on next, my speed, ETA, distance left, and height above sea level.
Whilst driving, if a road is blocked you can use the roadblock option to tell her how far the current road is blocked for and she'll find you a way round.
You need to have some idea of where you're going to use any Sat-Nav, and you need to read the road signs. She won't tell you to give way or which lane to get into. She once told me to go the wrong way up a one-way street and also to do a U-Turn on a dual carriageway. (Admittedly, the confusion in the latter incident was due to the dual carriageway having been built after the maps were published). But there's no excuse for telling my fiancé to join the motorway by driving off the flyover above it!
So, the maps are now out of date, and in some places just plain wrong, but these are isolated cases and for the most part she behaves herself. Unfortunately, Mio don't supply updates for this model any more, but there was a V3 update which I didn't get in time and now I can't find it anywhere.
Designed to stand out, not stick out, the Mio268 looks good in your car and feels great in your hand. With a sleek, smooth, flat body and fully integrated GPS antenna, it really does fit in your pocket. Nothing sticking out, nothing snagging at your clothes, and nothing that can easily break off.