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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mio C720t review

Mio_c720t_review

UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For current recommendations, please refer to our auto GPS buyers guide or check out our other Mio GPS reviews.

I’ve spent the last few weeks trying out the Mio C720t, a new high-end GPS navigation device from Mio. Like the Mio C520, the C720t is equipped with a 4.3″ touchscreen, text-to-speech, Bluetooth for hands free cell phone use, and the SiRFstar III chipset. The C720t adds to this feature set with live traffic info, an integrated 2 MP camera, and photo geotagging. You can use this feature to navigate to locations you’ve taken a picture of.

Since the Mio C720t’s navigation functions and layout are virtually identical to the Mio C520, I’m going to concentrate on improvements and new features in this review.

Compare prices on the Mio C720t

12 million POIs

One item that has been improved is the number of POIs — a whopping 12 million! Consider that all Garmin units have around six million, and that this has been considered high end until now. I think they literally have the entire yellow pages in here. I found lots of bookkeeepers and therapists in my residential neighborhood, and was impressed to find some fairly new businesses listed.


2MP camera and photo navigation

Mitac, the Mio parent corporation, recently acquired NavMan, known for its NavPix navigation capabilities. The ability to navigate to a location by clicking on a photo has now been incorporated into the C720t. It’s not quite ready for primetime yet though. Here are a few downsides:

  • You have to exit MioMap, the navigation software system, to select an image to navigate to.
  • I tried unsuccessfully to navigate to an image from the NavPix library.
  • Nor could I use geotagged images from Flickr.
  • You
    cannot play MP3s and click to navigate to a photo at the same
    time. This results in an error message.

Having said that, the integrated camera readily takes geocoded photos that you can navigate to.

Bluetooth

I’ve had problems with Bluetooth on Mio units before, so I was curious to see if this was improved. Unfortunately the answer was no. My phone, an LG VX8300, could see the C720t, but the Mio couldn’t see it. My wife’s Motorola V325i and the Mio could see each other, but the Mio could never complete the connection.

Traffic

I tested the Mio C720t’s traffic features during rush hour on two consecutive weekdays in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have to say though, I was disappointed.

First of all, the unit was slow to find incidents. Each time I connected, it took 15 minutes or so to locate traffic events. You could be well into your commute before the unit even starts working.

Second, the unit displays all traffic incidents, not just those along your route. This information is confusing and nearly useless.

The separate antenna is another beef. I prefer traffic receivers incorporated into the power cable, ala Garmin. Plus, the traffic antenna plugs into the headphone jack. That wouldn’t be so bad except that it kills the sound to the speaker when you plug it in, so you no longer have voice prompts! UPDATE: This last point has been disputed by a commenter below.

Other notes

The Mio C720t mount is improved over the one I tested with the Mio C520. No longer do you have to thread the power lead through a slot on the mount.

I have to thank Mio for being nice enough to provide a case with the unit. Too many manufacturers are skimping here, even on their top of the line units. I’ll name names too – Garmin is guilty of this with their 700 series.

Recommendation

I say skip it. If you want a nice Mio GPS, get the C520. 12 million POIs is nice, but it’s not worth the extra cost. And the traffic and photo-navigation features aren’t up to snuff yet.


More Mio C720t reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…


Other Mio C720t resources


Compare prices on the Mio C720t at these merchants:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Walter Plinge says:

    “Plus, the traffic antenna plugs into the headphone jack. That wouldn’t be so bad except that it kills the sound to the speaker when you plug it in, so you no longer have voice prompts!”
    Not so – the TMC antenna plugs into the cradle. Perhaps there’s been a change in design shortly after release.

  2. Walter,
    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll make a note of it in the review.

  3. I have this unit for 2 months now. It is a good unit except for one MAJOR MAJOR flaw. It takes my unit 2 to 4 minutes average, sometimes longer, to recalculate a route. I have actually driven over 20 miles while waiting for it to recalculate. by the time it figures out the recalculation i am past the point it wanted me to make a turn or change direction so it recalculates again and I’m past that point and so on and so on. I have talked to Mio customer support and per there instructions i have removed all extra files (I.E. pictures, mp3, video etc) from the unit and SD card (4gig) and even reinstalled the map software form the disk that comes with the unit. I am waiting to hear from Mio again. Did you see a similar problem with the unit you tested?

  4. Awaytogo,
    I don’t recall having that sort of problem, and I’m sure I would have noticed it.

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