One area that needed improvement was the antenna, which had difficulty locking onto GPS signals in high-rise downtown environments. According to a company representative, the Mio 168RS's antenna picks up signals faster and does a better job overcoming interference. Unfortunately, we didn't find this to be true in our real-world tests. In San Francisco, the Mio 168RS took about two minutes from a cold start to lock on to the required satellites and get a signal; subsequent starts required about 45 seconds or less. We also lost the signal as we drove between tall buildings and through tunnels. That said, this is a common problem with GPS devices, and the Mio 168RS always provided accurate and clear driving directions and got us back on track when we veered off course.
The 168RS performed well on CNET Labs' performance tests, more than holding its own against other 300MHz Pocket PCs such as the Mio 168 and the Navman PiN. Its overall hardware performance and graphics tests scores were slightly better than the Mio 168's and the Navman PiN's, and its ActiveSync index and battery life were significantly better.
In our battery tests, where we looped a video clip and set the screen brightness to 50 percent, the Mio 168RS ran for an average of 4.31 hours before running out of juice--a full hour more than the original Mio 168. It's important to remember that the device will run for much longer under normal operating conditions. What's more, the inclusion of a car charger makes battery life a nonissue where navigation is concerned.
CNET Labs technician Jeffrey Fuchs contributed to the performance analysis.
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