Mio DigiWalker C510
- External controls, Display, Maps, Clear voice instructions, Bluetooth hands-free
- Stubborn window mount, Mixed menu system, Soft voice levels, Small on-screen keyboard, Suburbs not filtered by state
A massive improvement over earlier MIO models, the C510 includes good maps, clear voice instructions and added features like Bluetooth hands free.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The DigiWalker C510 is MIO's latest flagship model in their range of dedicated in-car GPS units. In addition to solid GPS navigation, the C510 also offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing it to act as a mobile phone hands-free system, as well as an MP3 player and picture viewer.
Finished in a dark grey colour scheme with plastic edging, only the chrome piece around the controls really stands out on the C510. Measuring 112mm x 76mm x 20.6mm and weighing 170g, the C510 is on the smaller side for a dedicated in-car unit. Unfortunately, the stubborn window mount means it's hard to quickly remove the C510 unit from the mount and this can become annoying - especially as it's wise to remove the unit from your vehicle when parked to prevent theft.
Perhaps the best design feature of the C510 is the buttons, which are located on the left side of the unit. Their rubber surface means they are comfortable and easy to press, so adjusting volume and navigating back to the main menu is effortless. Unfortunately, the buttons aren't backlit, so accurately pressing them during night time driving is a little difficult. Although most of the unit's operations are completed via the touch screen, it's nice to see the C510 with external volume controls; navigating into the settings menu just to change the volume is quite frustrating, especially while driving.
The C510 display is also impressive. The 3.5in screen performs well in direct sunlight and has an excellent viewing angle. For night time driving, the screen is bright and clear, with colourful menus and easy to read icons only enhancing the navigational experience. We were particularly impressed by the night time maps; the background is dark with a bright green navigational line tracking your journey through streets, whereas the daytime maps have a lighter background with easy to read street names. Furthermore, you can either pick which mode you want, or have the device automatically change depending on the time of day.
The menu system is a mixed bag. The MIO Map main menu is excellent, with clearly labelled coloured icons and a text description making it easy to navigate your way through the device. However, some of the submenus feature smaller icons with no text and these are difficult to make out. Things like a picture of a gear, or a winding road with a flag are less than clear - especially for first time GPS users. While MIO has improved the interface since their earlier models, it's clear some work is still needed to match the competitors.
However while the menu was a little frustrating, we were certainly more impressed with the maps. MIO has used Sensis V13 mapping on the C510 and these are preloaded onto the unit's 512MB of memory. There is an SD card slot on top for extra maps as well. You can quickly change the C510 map view using the cycle maps icon in the top right hand corner of the screen; the unit offers standard 2D and 3D views, with north up, track up and sky view maps. The latter is represented by a picture of a plane and is really only useful for a full view of your closest surrounding suburbs. The maps have a good amount of detail, with street names easily readable and your current location clearly marked by an expanding circle beacon, much like an alarm or distress signal icon.
The C510 is equipped with the latest SiRFstar III GPS chipset and we were pleased to report its performance is fairly speedy. During our driving tests, we found the unit took anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute to pick up a signal after being turned on. It was quite quick and generally responsive, and managed to maintain a GPS signal despite an obscured view of the sky at times.
On the whole, our navigational experience was fairly pleasing thanks to clear voice instructions. Our only complaint was with the relatively soft volume levels, even at the highest setting. That said, there are a wide range of languages to choose from including German, Italian, English, Dutch, Spanish, French and Portuguese, amongst others. The voice is clear and concise and generally quite smooth. Despite the slightly confusing menus, the C510 isn't too difficult to use as most of its operations are accessed via the MIO Map main menu screen. From here you simply tap the relevant icon to navigate to a specific address, a POI (Point of Interest) or any of your saved favourites. You can also view the map (without actually navigating to a location) and check your recent locations.
When searching for a specific address, the C510 doesn't filter suburbs by state, so unfortunately you are presented with a list of every suburb in Australia. Although it does narrow down the search when you start typing, we'd still prefer to be able to select a state first, then a city. Once your city is selected, you can then select a street name and these are filtered by suburb to avoid confusion. The address entry screen uses a large on-screen keyboard, but we felt the keys were quite small and those with large fingers may have problems; you'll definitely need to use your fingertips to ensure you don't accidentally press the wrong buttons.
The usual routing options, such as avoiding tolls and unpaved roads are all supported on the C510. Users can also set a preference for using motorways or normal urban roads and this is taken into consideration when the unit calculates a route. MIO has also included up-to-date speed camera and red light camera warnings and a safety mode which stops you from operating the unit while in motion.
The C510 also allows you to store other files on the unit's memory, including contacts, photos and MP3 files. In the main menu, you'll find a basic photo viewer, contacts list and an MP3 player. The latter is quite notable for a GPS unit as it includes a full 10-band equaliser, playlist support and modes such as repeat, random, intro and sequence. In addition to these extras, the C510 also doubles as a hands-free for your mobile phone thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. Furthermore, if you synchronise your Microsoft Outlook contacts from your PC to the C510 (this is done using the included USB cable and MIO software), you can call them directly through the unit with a single press of the touch screen. Our only complaint with the hands-free was the volume levels; like the navigational voice instructions, they aren't loud enough at the highest setting.
MIO are fairly generous with the bundled accessories as they include a USB cable, an AC power adapter, in-car charger, car window mount and a quick-start guide. Unfortunately, the instructions aren't as in depth as we would have liked and their fold out style isn't ideal if you or your passengers want to have a quick browse of them in the car.
The C510 internal battery is rated at between four and five hours by MIO, depending on usage. Do note that the volume levels, backlight brightness and Bluetooth usage will all affect the length of battery, so this is a variable figure. On average, using the hands-free feature, we experienced between three and four hours of use before a recharge was required.
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