Mio Spirit 685 review

Jim Martin
11 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

At this price, we can forgive the 685's flaws. It's easy to use and has a larger than average screen


Unlike most budget satnavs, the Spirit 685 has a large 5in resistive touchscreen. Its resolution is no higher than the standard 480x272 resolution, but everything is much larger and more easily readable.

There are also several other upgrades compared to previous Mio devices we've seen. One is the inclusion of TomTom's IQ Routes, which uses recorded traffic speeds at different times of day and days of the week to calculate the optimum routes. There's also better lane guidance than before, with a clear graphic of the motorway junction and a huge road sign that matches the real one on the road. We'd love this feature to be extended to every multi-lane junction, but so far, no satnav has this capability.

Mio 685 navigation screen

Another tweak is that the menu button, which was previously touch sensitive, is now a real button. This fixes the annoyance whereby you'd constantly brush the button while tapping the screen and end up looking at the main menu. This is unchanged and has five options: Find, Map, My Places, Settings and Explore. The sixth onscreen button takes you to the rest of the options, which include traffic information (the older and not as up-to-date TMC system that uses FM broadcasts), a trip planner and a button to take you home.

If you'd prefer the home button to be on the first menu screen, you'll need to install the Windows-only MioMore application. There's no mini USB cable in the box, but as these are standard, they're very cheap. It's a shame that menu customisation isn't available directly on the device, as it is with some Garmin satnavs.

Mio 685 choice of routes

You can use a variety of methods to find a destination including points of interest near you, POIs in a city, address, postcode and keywords. The latter proved a little unreliable in testing, searching hundreds of miles for 'Brands Hatch', and finding nothing in its database. The next day, when we tried again, it found the racing circuit almost instantly.

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