Sat Navs are fast becoming one of those extinct species. While their features being replaced by apps such as Waze and TomTom Go, they are looking to improvise and innovate. We looked at Garmin DriveAssist which looks at packing a dash cam and many clever features into their Sat Nav. Mio, the European manufacturer of cycling gear and dashcams, isn’t far behind with their latest MiVue Drive 55LM device. With the latest suite of features, Mio hopes that not only will you buy their latest device, you will also happily let it replace whatever app you may be thinking of using.
It comes with the following features:
- Distinctive 5 all-in-one solution: High end car navigation with integrated extreme HD dash cam – 1296p at 30 fps
- Superior recording – glass lens, F1.8 aperture and 140 degrees wide angle view
- Lifetime map updates and lifetime safety camera updates, full Europe maps (44 countries)
- ADAS features: Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) and the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
- Built-in TMC (traffic information), Bluetooth, IQ routes; also includes 16 GB micro SD card
In the box
The box comes with the following:
- Mio MiVue drive 55 LM
- Car charger
- Windscreen mounting
- Software and documentation DVD
- Quick start guide registration leaflet
- Warranty docs
- 16 GB micro SD card
Look and feel
The device comes with a 5.5″ screen, as is evident from the name. It is a resistive screen, though it feels soft to the touch. This means it can not only be operated with your bare hands (though a bit harder than a capacitive screen, such as the one on your smartphone), but also while you wear gloves, or even with a pointy device such as stylus or a pen.
The front also features an LED that gives you the status of the device, i.e. on/off as well as battery status.
The back has the power button, the camera as well as the speakers.
The bottom has the SD card slot for recording videos.
Interestingly, there is also an SD card slot on the left to use this as a memory card. I imagine this could be used for software updates or maps. On the same side are also two MINI USB (yes, they still use them on Sat Navs and Dashcams) slots. One is to charge the device and connect it to the computer. The other is to connect an optional rear camera (if you have one). We didn’t, so we didn’t look at that option.
The car charger
The car charging cradle that comes with the device also includes an antenna which will be used to look at traffic information via FM. While the device pairs to your phone, it won’t be able to access it to use any traffic information. This means that if you do use a different cable to power the device, this feature may not work.
What you don’t get is a USB to Mini USB cable. This makes it awkward to connect the device directly to a computer to view your recordings or photos. I resorted to using a Micro SD card reader.
The setup is a bit more complicated than one is used to. It involves keying in a code that is included on the box when you first start up the device. After that, you key in your home address and have a little play.
Interestingly, it doesn’t ask you to calibrate the camera. However, past experience has taught us that it is a very important part of using a dashcam, specially one that comes with extra features built in, so we hit ‘Camera’ from the main screen where it gave us that option.
It is also important that if you want the advanced driving assist features, such as lane assistance and forward collision warning, you do need to go in the menus and enable them.
Usage as a Sat Nav
The experience was a mixed one. The device offers three routes:
- Most Economical
As a fan of the environment, I found that the most economical option suited me best. This is a feature that isn’t available on other devices/apps.
It can find most POIs as well as addresses easily, but doesn’t quite have access to Google like an app or a more advanced device may do.
You can also configure your device to be a car, a truck, etc, so more suitable roads are chosen for you.
It will read road names for you, and near junctions it will guide you into the correct lane.
The traffic updates, while they did happen, were not as fast as you may get in an app. Quite a few times I ended up in traffic while an app may have steered me away. When it did report traffic, I was either stuck in it or it was too far away to worry about.
As far as the GUI is considered, it is fairly simple and intuitive to use, but nothing special either.
The Dash Cam packs in a few extra features. There is the obvious one of recording videos as well as capturing events (i.e. jerks, sudden movements, braking, etc), and taking photos if needed.
It also can be configured to give you forward collision warning as well as lane assistance to monitor if you drift through lanes while driving. Both of these need a well calibrated camera, so make sure you do that. The process of calibration is simple. You just adjust the back of the camera to face the middle of the road, and look towards the horizon.
The dash cam captures video rather well, though the assistance features were not very accurate and often became a nuisance rather than helpful.
The following is a video that shows a video sample as well as lane guidance/forward collision warnings. It also shows the device capturing an ‘event’, which is basically me jerking the device off the wind screen.
More information on the MiVue Drive 55LM can be found on the Mio website. There is also a version with a bigger screen, the 62LM.
It retails from around £229 and can be bought via various online retailers such as Amazon.
The device ticks a lot of the boxes, but the execution isn’t quite as great as it could be. The navigation is okay, but a bit lacking. The extra features such as lane assistance can be bit of a nuisance. The hardware is all there, but like many other Mio products, the software can do with a bit of improvement. However, as always, we live in hope and think that a couple of firmware upgrades could make this a must have for everyone.