Mio DigiWalker 169

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Mio DigiWalker 169
  • Mio DigiWalker 169
  • Mio DigiWalker 169
  • Mio DigiWalker 169
  • Expert Rating

    2.00 / 5

Pros

  • Landscape to portrait mode toggle button

Cons

  • No Bluetooth, No Wi-Fi, Annoying audio notifcations

Bottom Line

While not as visually appealing or easy to use as other GPS unit we have reviewed, the GPS on the 169 did its job. The PDA however, lacks Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support.

Would you buy this?

Apart from perhaps the Garmin iQue M5, here at the GoodGearGuide we are yet to see a combined PDA/GPS unit that we would recommend. This is because we have found many of these devices typically implement one of these features well, but often at the expense of the other.

The Mio 169 Mobile Navigation System is one such combination of a GPS and PDA. While Mio has conveniently included a Windows based pocket pc on the device, they have neglected to include support for either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is just about standard on all newly released pocket PCs these days and we can't understand the reason behind this glaring omission.

Whether or not this detracts from the unit will really depend on how you use it. If you primarily use the 169 as GPS, then it won't make much of a difference. But for those who want the added convenience of both a fully fledged PDA and a GPS, the lack of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi could be a potential deal breaker. In Mio's defence, infrared is supported and can be used to beam information from the Mio 169 to a PC, while a USB Cable and MS ActiveSync are also provided in the package.

The Mio 169 runs on Windows Mobile 2003 second edition and as such, allows users to read email, enter in appointments and work with documents using programs like Pocket Excel and Pocket Word. The specifications of the Mio 169 are notable only for their lack of anything remarkable. While the unit ships with an Intel XScale processor, we experienced a decided pause when accessing some of the menu options and using applications.

To us, the Mio looks like a GPS unit with Windows Pocket PC functionality merely tacked on. The Namvan PiN 570 is a similar kind of device, but offers the ability to enter a contact in windows and then navigate directly to that contacts address using the GPS. The 169 offers no such handy integration. Perhaps the feature we find most innovative on the 169 is the ability to easily toggle between landscape and portrait views using a menu button to the right of the 3.5" LCD touchscreen.

The map screen on the 169 was fairly standard, with the menu options displayed on the left and current speed/time details displayed on the top. A variety of navigation modes are available, ranging from using the map with visual notifications in different sizes, to just plain text notifications. Navigating through system menus was simple with this unit, as all options are laid out logically and the menu buttons are clearly labeled.

Searching for an address was also quite simple, with unit retaining the search capabilities we liked so much on the Mio 268. Users can also navigate to an Intersection, POI, Favourite, preset Home/Office location, recent route or a set of coordinates.

Routing options as including/excluding tolls are supported, although interestingly, the unit prompted us each time a toll road was used. We also liked the safety warnings on the 169, with a speed camera, red light camera and black spot warning all enabled. A Trip Computer can be found in the system menu and displays details such as distance, speed and time parameters.

It's really a matter of personal taste, but we found the sound notifications on this unit highly annoying. While the instructions themselves were clear, the voice tones and the system alerts began to frustrate us after long periods of use. Not only is there no option to change these sounds, you can't even turn them off. We did however, appreciate the addition of a volume button the side as it made increasing the volume much simpler than navigating through multiple menus.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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