Garmin are the dominant force in the on-bike GPS market but a new brand – Mio – has just arrived in the UK looking to steal a share of the pie and we’ve been handed one their Cyclo 305 HC GPS units to test.
Mio might be a new name to many but the company’s heritage is in car sat-navs so they’re not going to send you down a cul-de-sac, while Paligap, whose brands include Avanti, Ritchey and Torq, will be looking after distribution in the UK.
Mio are launching in the UK bike market with two units, the 305 and the 300. The difference between the two? The 305 comes with a heart rate strap and cadence sensor, and can be bought with UK maps for £309.99 or Western Europe maps for £349.99. The 300 doesn’t come with a strap or sensor and has UK maps only, and that’ll set you back £259.99.
Pull the 305 out of the box and you have a rugged and well made unit, designed in Belgium and assembled in China, which is bigger than Garmin’s top-of-the-range Edge 800, but with a three-inch high-res and anti-glare touch screen which clearly displays the pre-installed Open Street Map and TeleAtlas maps, plus it’s very responsive and is easy to navigate around. Mio use a similar stem/handlebar mount to Garmin – twist the unit and it’ll lock into place.
The 305 boasts all the features you’d expect from a GPS unit; you can navigate to an address, a point of interest (including bike shops, emergency locations and cafes/pubs/restaurants) or a point on the map, while you can also follow a route you’ve plotted online and uploaded to the device.
Most interesting, however, is the Surprise Me feature, where you select the length of your ride (in time or distance) and the Mio will map three possible routes in three directions. The success of this depends on the device’s ability to select a route suitable for cycling so we’ll see how we get on, but it’s an interesting feature nonetheless. Once you’ve finished your ride you can upload the data to the Mio Share desktop application.
Battery life is 12 hours, while in the box you also get an instruction manual, mains charger, USB cable, mount, heart rate strap and ANT+ sensor. So there’s a quick overview of Mio’s debut cycling-specific GPS unit. We’ll give it a whirl and let you know how we get on.