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Mio Spirit 685 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £100
inc VAT

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


Most of the time, you’ll enter postcode. Unlike most 7-digit systems, the 685 presents a list of road names to choose from, so you can’t simply grab a postcode and house number before setting off. Unlike almost every other satnav we’ve tested, it also refused to accept that number 35 existed on a road, forcing us to choose 26 – a house on the opposite side of the road. Another bugbear is the trip planner. This forces you to start the trip at your current location, making it almost useless.

Mio 685 main menu

There is good news, though. A new ‘recent locations’ option has appeared in the ‘Find’ menu, so you don’t have to go to My Places and then tap the list icon – an obscure place which took us ages to find in previous models. Plus, in general use, the 685 got us to our destinations with no problems. The text-to-speech engine may leave a lot to be desired, but the spoken instructions were clear and the auto-zooming map equally so.

We particularly like the choice of routes displayed when the trip has been calculated: Fastest, Economical, Easiest, Shortest. You can select more than one option to compare the routes on the map before making a final decision.

Mio 685 lane assist

There are plenty of other features, including a trip computer for logging mileage and average speed, a walking mode and a ‘learning’ mode which improves routing over time after observing your driving style and routes. You also get safety camera and road speed warnings, where the speed limit is known.

Although it has its foibles, notably with the trip planner, the Spirit 685 is excellent value. A Europa Plus 44 model costs around £130 if you want maps of Europe, but you can also rent maps for 3, 7 or 30 days. As long as you can live without real-time traffic updates or Bluetooth for hands-free calling, the 685 is a great choice.

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AwardBudget Buy


Navigation softwareN/A
Map dataTeleAtlas
Countries coveredUK and Ireland
Traffic informationTMC
Toll road warningyes
Roadblock avoidanceyes
Speed camera alertsyes


Typestandalone satnav
Compatible operating systemN/A
Viewable size5in
Native resolution480×272
Memory card supportnone
Memory card included2048MB
GPS receiverSiRFstarIII + InstantFixII
Accessoriescar charger, dashboard mount
CCD effective megapixelsN/A
ExtrasIQ Routes, Cityseekr guides

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

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