Mio Moov Spirit V505 TV review
Mio's new Spirit V505 TV is very similar to the Spirit 500 that we reviewed seven months ago. The main difference is that the V505 has a built-in Freeview tuner, allowing you to use the slightly larger 4.7in screen to watch TV shows when you're not using the device for navigation.
It might seem that, given the £170 price, the V505 represents good value. Unfortunately, there are several problems that make the Spirit TV frustrating to use. The first is the TV itself. Like every portable TV we've seen, reception from the built-in aerial is poor. In all the areas we tested it, we had to attach the bundled external aerial, which gave better, but not great reception. This has two suckers for attaching to a car window, but it can also be used indoors by sticking the aerial to a window.
Mio doesn't provide a mains adaptor, which is a mistake since the short battery life means that you'll only really be able to use the V505 in your car. If you do buy a USB mains adaptor, make sure it's compatible as those we tried put the V505 into PC connection mode and was unusable until charged.
Next on the list of woes is the awful TV interface. The EPG only shows programmes for the current channel, so you have to exit the menu, change channel and return to the EPG to see what's on on other channels. The channel list isn't in the usual order, and there's no way to skip directly to a channel; you have to scroll through every channel to reach the one you want. Another problem is the absence of a headphone socket, so you have to use the V505's built-in speaker - not much use if you want to avoid annoying others. Finally, and perhaps most annoying of all, the TV function is disabled when driving, so passengers can't watch a show if you don't need the satnav to guide you to your destination.
Aside from the TV, the interface and navigation software is identical to the Spirit 500. As with that model, we found the touchscreen sluggish to respond, and disabled the iPhone-style finger scrolling as it was easier to jab the up/down arrows.
The main menu's large icons make it quick to access the main features including finding an address, planning a trip and finding a petrol station, car park or cash machine. Entering an address was easy and you can also search the V505's database using keywords, which proved useful for tourist attractions.
The default zoom level remains too far out and, even with the larger screen, there was too much of the surrounding area shown. At least the device auto-zooms in for junctions and shows lane guidance. We were disappointed that there was still no option to adjust the volume from the driving view, though. Routing was fairly sensible most of the time, but it favoured motorways even when we'd have chosen to avoid them for short journeys. Voice instructions are clear and detailed, reading aloud road names.
Unlike the 500, the V505 has maps for only the UK and Ireland, and has 1GB rather than 2GB of RAM. There's no Bluetooth either, but a TMC receiver is integrated for traffic information. Safety camera information is from 2008, so you'll have to pay for the latest locations.
While the TV should make this a desirable satnav, the poor interface, lack of a mains adaptor and the fact that it can't be used on the move mean we can't recommend the V505. If you can live without the TV tuner, TomTom's Go 550 Live is a far better satnav for a similar price.