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Mio c310x

Mar
17
2007

The Mio c310x is competing in a tough crowd. The entry level, portable, pocketable GPS market. And Mio isn’t a brand that people typically think of first when they think of GPS devices, but perhaps they should. In fact, the the device makers behind Mio also manufacturer GPS devices for several other brands… including some big names. So how does the c310x perform against other devices in this class? We’ve taken the c310x for about 1,000 miles of travel and here is our review.

Hardware

Physically, the c310x is a little bit larger than other devices in this class. While it has the standard 3.5″ display, it is a little bit wider than other devices such as the Nuvi 350 or the TomTom ONE. The extra width accommodates four buttons along right right side of the device. One for power, settings, volume up, and volume down. I do like having the volume buttons on the case rather than in the menu settings, so there is a worthy trade-off here.

the Mio c310x is a really nice GPS… especially at the prices it has been available for recently.

Mio made what I consider a typical mistake of placing the power connector (in this case the mini USB plug) at the bottom of the device. This makes it harder to have the GPS sit low on the dash. With the device higher it is more prone to vibration and may obstruct your forward view a tiny bit more than if it could rest on the dash completely like the Nuvi can.

The suction cup mount doesn’t work extremely well either. It is very thick and you cannot control the up and down tilt of the display without two hands unscrewing the joint. And each “click” of the tilt moves it too many degrees. Side to side angling works okay. But if you can set it and forget it you might only have to deal with those issues once.

The display is a 3.5″ display, standard of GPS devices in its class. The display itself is bright, however much of the interface is drawn with dark tones which occasionally make it seem not as bright as other devices. The Mio c310x has a glossy white housing which also adds to the illusion of the screen not being as bright as it really is. Also the battery/power indicator lights on the left side are bright…. too bright at night and I wish they could be turned off or dimmed.

Routing to an Address

As you enter in the city name, a number to the right side of the display indicates how many cities match what you have typed in so far.

The process of routing to an address works very well. You click ‘Menu’ –> ‘Address’ then select from either your current city, a list of recent cities you navigated to, or another city. As you enter in the city name, a number to the right side of the display indicates how many cities match what you have typed in so far. This gives you great instant feedback and will let you know when you have typed enough so that you can select the city from a list based on what you have typed in so far. A similar search function is provided for the street name.

Once you’ve located the address, a map is displayed of that location. A menu opens on the bottom where you can then click ‘Route to’ and you are on your way.

Finding Points of Interest

Finding POIs is equally as efficient. You click ‘Menu’ –> ‘POI’ and then being navigating the categories and subcategories of POIs. The default search is for POIs around your location, however you can change the reference point to search for POIs in another city. (And yes, they do include classifications for different types of restaurants.)

If your vision is less than perfect, the text in the search results might be a little too small to comfortably read.

When looking at the POI search results, not only is the place name displayed, but also the physical address of that POI. While this is a nice feature, all of the text needs to be fairly small in order to accommodate all of this information. If your vision is less than perfect, the text in the search results (and other parts of the Mio c310x interface) might be a little too small to comfortably read.

User Interface

There are a couple of other issues I have with the interface. The preferences are located in various locations all over the device and can be difficult to find. For example I couldn’t remember how to force day/night modes. At first i went to the settings button on the side, then hit the ‘Tools’ button and looked in ‘General’ with the gear icon. Not there. Then I went back to the settings button on the side, hit ‘Tools’ again, and this time clicked on ‘Advanced’ with the tools icon. Not in there either. Finally I went back to the ‘Cockpit’, clicked on ‘Menu’, then clicked on the tiny gear icon, and clicked the icon with the sun/moon on it. It would be much easier if all of the preferences for the Map mode were in one place.

This brings up my second issue with the Mio c310x interface, the icons. In many, many places they use just icons, no text, to describe the button. Even after using the GPS for about 1,000 miles I still couldn’t remember what each icon’s purpose was. This is why the Garmin devices are so popular… they (smartly) make them so that any four-year-old could operate the GPS.

The news on the Mio c310x isn’t all bad though, in fact overall the Mio c310x is a really nice GPS… especially at the prices it has been available for recently. (Under $200).

Voice Prompts

In fact, the Mio c310x has the highest quality voice prompts of any GPS I’ve tested.

The voice navigation instructions were very loud, very frequent, and very clear. In fact, the Mio c310x has the highest quality voice prompts of any GPS I’ve tested. Even at high volumes the voice was still very clear. Unfortunately there is only one US English voice included, “Jason”. At first I thought the GPS might be a little too chatty, but when navigating in unfamiliar areas (why you buy a GPS in the first place) the chattiness is welcome.

Routing Options

There are also a ton of route parameters you can specify which is really nice… if you can find them in the menu structure. For routes you can pick Fastest, Shortest, or Economical. I thought this was very clever. Economical will look for the fastest route, but if it finds another route that will take just a little bit more time, but far fewer miles, it will select that more economical route. The onboard help system also says there is an option to select the “easiest” route which prefers highways (fewer turns) even if those highways make a slightly longer route…. But unfortunately for some reason that setting only exists in the documentation and not on the device itself.

You can also specify the method of transportation which will alter the route settings. You can specify Car, Taxi, Bus, Truck, Emergency, Pedestrian, or Bicycle modes. These different profiles will dictate if things like one way streets are enforced (for example they wouldn’t be on pedestrian routes).

While navigating, the cockpit display three fields of your choice from the following: Distance to destination, time to destination, time to next via point, distance to next via point, arrival time at next via point, speed, time to next maneuver, or arrival time at destination. I especially like that it is highly configurable on what parameters you would like.

Yes, the Mio c310x can create a single route with multiple via points.

You might have noticed that “via” points are referred to. Yes, the Mio c310x can create a single route with multiple via points. After routing to your destination you can continue to look for new points to add as “via” points to the route. If you get some of the destinations in an incorrect order you can easily rearrange them.

Detours

There are also Detour options available. You can select a turn/street from the list of turn instructions and click an ‘Avoid’ button. You can select to avoid the maneuver (they spell it manoeuvre), road, or a certain amount of miles ahead from 1 to 30. This isn’t as easy to use as the detour functions on the TomTom devices as it takes many more keystrokes. However at least it has a detour function which can specify a specific road and distance which is much better than is on most Garmin devices.

I didn’t like how they implemented “favorites”. You can specify two favorites, work and home. If you want to save more addresses then get added as “custom POI” categories. That is fine, but I found the process of creating the custom POI category, then finding addresses, then saving those addresses to the custom POI category non-intuitive.

Extras

Like other devices at this price point, there is no Bluetooth hands-free calling, no traffic receiver, no text-to-speech, and no option to add a traffic receiver later. However at this price those features are not expected. There is an MP3 player, however. It works like most other GPS MP3 players and if you are not going to use it with headphones like an iPod then the quality of the speaker isn’t good enough to replace your car stereo anytime soon. The Mio c310x also comes with the SiRFstarIII chipset which makes signal acquisition fast and reliable.

Purchasing Advice

The Mio c310x is a decent GPS device, especially at the cost. I do have some reservations about the user interface being confusing, so if you are not the most technically savvy person on the planet you might want to consider something more simple like the Garmin Nuvi 350. But if you can get a grasp on the user interface and want a few more sophisticated routing options and preferences than are available in the Nuvi, The Mio c310x could be a great choice. If that sounds like you, then you might want to match the c310x against the TomTom ONE which also has advanced routing functions and generally is considered a little easier to use, but at a slightly higher price and the TomTom ONE lacks an MP3 player.

30 Responses


  1. I agree with the review. Do not give this to your mother or wife or it will become a paperweight. I am quick to learn tech stuff but it has taken 2 weeks of windshield time to figure this one and Im still trying to get used to some of the advanced features.
    If MIO is listening, next time use the KISS method. “Keep It Simple Stupid”

    Still it is hard to regret spending 200 bucks for this feature packed device! I like it, finally.

    G.G. - March 31st, 2007
  2. This is one awesome device … little bit more complicated than the Garmin Nuvi, however highly customizable. In the review it mentioned lack of text, just icons … however with so many people developing custom skins for it, this limitation is easily overcome. Check out the Mio forums at gpspassion.com and see how you can install a movie player on this device to watch movies, use TomTom software to load the latest TeleAtlas maps from TomTom etc …. highly recommended … get it fast if you can find one.

    Joe V - April 17th, 2007
  3. Hi Joe, thanks for the comments. You are correct, the number of skins and customizations had hacks available for this device are numerous. I don’t think the vast majority of people will use the customizations available (they are not quite as into it as some of use are :) ) which is why I didn’t mention them.

    Tim - April 17th, 2007
  4. This is a great little unit. It is so sensitive that it even works in the cellar of my home. I also own a Magellan Roadmate that will not work in any auto without an external antenna, This mio will work even if you place it on the floor. The only negative I see is that the Magellan maps are better and they work in a smoother fashion with fewer re-calculations of the route. The 3 number maximum address does not make sense. In conclusion, for the price of this unit and considering its sesitivity. I don’t see a better deal out there.

    BILL - April 22nd, 2007
  5. I am a wife that happens to love my C310x. My husband has the Tom Tom One and he does not care for my Mio. I do happen to be a techie so I have no problems with it. I just ordered the new Tele Atlas map update which I’m eager to install. Great GPS for the $.

    Terry - July 19th, 2007
  6. One thing that you did not mention which you seem to feel was important in other reviews was the ability to plan a route for tomorrow – picking a starting point in another city for instance the airport at your destination in order to see how long it will take to reach your hotel. Does the C310 do this as well? I did not see it mentioned directly in your review.

    Greg - July 29th, 2007
  7. Is anyone lucky with the Mio map/software update? I have not been successful with the update at all, although I followed the instructions and entered device s/n, DVD s/n, UUID data correctly.

    I just want to know if I’m the few who did not get the update to work. I also followed the tips from folks in gpspassion.com and it was still “no go Joe” for me.

    Trang - August 6th, 2007
  8. I ordered my map update the 15th of july and have still not received it. Has anyone got the map update and how does the firmware look the same?

    thanks

    Jerry - August 6th, 2007
  9. The map update is the pits. It was never tested by an ordinary user. You must copy a 32 digit UUID (whatever that is) but it’s in a 28 digit window. It rejects my serial number. Mio Help says they will update their database with my s/n and let me know – no time forecast. All in all very poorly done.

    John - August 7th, 2007
  10. Got map update working on August 8, try in on August4 when receive the update DVD, it ejects my serial number, contact Mio support…. finally it all works. But it lockout other country map. Beware.
    Good little GPS unit with map update that you actually can use under mid day sun.

    William - August 9th, 2007
  11. I bought my c310 in Australia for my annual visit. I tried to get a map for USA for my last visit to Colorado, but no one seems to sell maps for Mio. Certainly none of the resellers in USA and nothing on the Mio web site. So it has been useless to me for multi-country visits. It has sat in my cupboard for the last 6 months and now the battery won’t take a recharge. Won’t start up at all. Still under warranty, so I guess I have to send it in for battery replacement. Very unfortunate. Worked great for me in Perth.It was a great price, but possibly the wrong choice for me for multi country applications.

    Shaun - September 3rd, 2007
  12. i had to send my c310 x and the update cd to mio office in texas to have it installed it has fixed some issues but some are the same like the exit ramp to my street is not listed and its been there 4 15 years

    phil - September 16th, 2007
  13. I bought my Mio C310x used and I have loved it ever since I put it in my car. I seriously use it for everything just for fun. The shortest route is SO fun, I use roads in my area that I never knew existed. I got the Map update yesterday and had issues at home installing, then at work I had issues until I registered it with Mio ~ then the firmware and maps install fine. I am looking forward to “Jason” telling me where to go. I thonk it is a great GPS for the price.

    Mike - October 5th, 2007
  14. Also couldn’t install the map update.
    Had to fork over 30 bucks to circuit city.

    Frank - October 25th, 2007
  15. I’m looking at the C310x for a Christmas gift. If I bought one today would it come with the updated maps (mentioned above), or would I have to shell out the additional $ for the update?

    Dan - November 7th, 2007
  16. Has anyone used this as a GPS receiver connected to a Linux system for GPS enabled software? How “open” is Mio to outside developers and software?

    Dan - November 7th, 2007
  17. I have a Mio 310x for a year now and I have to say I hate it.
    Never (not even once!) found an address we were looking for.
    Rest is great – customizable, tons of features, UI is OK, sound is strong, MP3 player, etc. But it does not get you to your destination…!
    If you want a pet – but a pet. If you want a GPS – buy something else…

    Alon - November 12th, 2007
  18. Well I really miss my little Mio 310x, sadly someone ripped it off. I went upscale and bought a more exspensive Maggellan 4050 which is a pain to use and clunky compared to my Mio 310, it goes back tommorow by the looks of it in my $400 price range the LG 740 or the Mio C520 r the best bets anybody have a opinion on that?

    M L - November 16th, 2007
  19. I’ve had this device since March 2007. I love it. Yes, I do agree the user interface is a bit involving. But once you find your way around after fiddling with it for a week or two, it packs a lot of functionality. The GPS tracking is smooth (does not cut off during trips – a flaw to look for in other GPS when researching). Overall, it’s been good to me. I also like “Map” view if you want to use/view it as a plain map, and along with the “Cockpit” view which is handy when actually driving. Also, within the “Cockpit” view, it has other styles of viewing such as 3D, 2D, aerial — really nice and handy. Can you get these things from the other GPS?

    Martin - November 23rd, 2007
  20. Yes. The Pioneer AVIC-S2 uses exactly the same navigation software as this Mio model (iGO MY WAY 2006 by Nav N Go Ltd). The Pioneer also gets “Cockpit” view and automatically zoom in and out as you drive around. Even the US Voice is also called “Jason” in the Pioneer GPS (I prefer the US woman voice “Amy” though).

    In fact, I can load the Mio POI file (iGO.db) into the Pioneer and it works just as fine. However, the maps are not interchangeable unless you also have the correct licence.db file (even though they come from the same vendor, Tele Atlas, with the same file format).

    The hardware, however, are different. For example, the power connection of the Pioneer AVIC-S2 is on the side rather than at the bottom.

    What baffles me is that, while people generally say good things about Mio in various forums, they give bad reviews about Pioneer.

    Y Chan - January 23rd, 2008
  21. I bought my MIO301 in early 2007. The user interface is the most unintuitive I have every used, but once I figured it out, the unit is great. We travelled from Nova Scotia across the Canada, down to California and back through the US. We drove through new cities with confidence, and only very rarely did the GPS give us a bum steer.

    My problem is that there is not enough memory to hold detail maps of all of Canada and the US. I thought that extra state maps could be accessed from the SD expansion card, but that was not the case. I needed to load them in from my laptop and one needs to be technically savey to do that (good thing I was).

    If anyone out there knows how to access extra maps from the SD card, please fill me in.

    Richard - June 5th, 2008
  22. I’ve been looking at the Moov 310 at the local outlet of a chain of large electronics stores. The advertised price is $200. Yet when I go on the Mio website, I can find few mentions of the Moov 310, and no support; no map updates; nothing. Is this a niche device? Was it mainstream when new, of just released to a few chain stores? Can I get a map update if needed? Is it supported? Is $200 a good buy?

    Bob - June 20th, 2008
  23. I have found that to buy maps for other countries cost more than the unit itself. So if I want maps for USA and Australia, I may as well buy a second unit in that country. You can find pretty prices if you look around or google for it.

    Shaun - June 21st, 2008
  24. What is the difference between the “310″ and the “c310x” ???

    Bob - June 21st, 2008
  25. I find that map updates from Mitac are disastrous if any are provided at all.
    The GPS’s themselves are very good but the after sales service and updates are non existant
    don’t buy one of these if you intend keeping it for any length of time

    Brian - November 25th, 2008
  26. Has anyone ever used the Truck mode? Is it accurate? Why are GPS systems for trucks so expensive ($400+) while the MIO c310x goes for under $100?

    Bobby - November 26th, 2009
    • The Mio goes for cheap because it is an extremely old model.

      Tim - November 27th, 2009
  27. I am completely dissatisfied with my MIO C320. They just finally got updates for this model and I’ve had it for one year. The Maps are 4 years old! Now they want to charge me an extra $70.00 to get the update. Not happy with them, their site or their product. I would suggest a different company!

    David - March 30th, 2010
  28. How do I get a map update ? Their website is not helpful.

    Maureen - May 4th, 2010
    • I don’t think Mio is selling map updates for that device anymore.

      Tim - May 4th, 2010



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