The Mitac Mio A701 is like a swiss-army knife for the urban
environment, with its integration of hundreds of features into a
lightweight, pocket-friendly package. While it features all the usual
PDA functionality, its party piece is its integrated GPS capabilities.
Now we're left to wonder just what they can't cram into an all-in-one
The Mio A701 is one of the smallest Windows Mobile devices available
today. Weighing in at 150 grams and with dimensions of 117 by 59 by
21.8mm, the Mio is definitely a Pocket PC that doesn't need to go on
Atkins. In fact, you can put it in your pocket and not have to worry
about all the "is that a PDA in your pocket or are you just happy to
see me" jokes. It's still larger than phones such as the O2 Atom Exec,
but not much.
On top of its light weight, it's not dull to look at either. The
combination of black and silver, as well as its strongly rounded
corners, give it an appealing look while remaining comfortable in your
palm. The Mio is very well put together, and feels sturdy as well as
elegant, even though the body is made of plastic.
The front panel is dominated by the screen, which takes up most of
the real-estate save for the four navigational buttons and the joystick
that occupy the lower quarter of the Mio. Two of the keys are
user-definable and are preset to launch Windows Media Player and GPS
On the left-hand side of the Mio are volume control buttons while
the right-hand side has an SD slot
as well as a user-definable button which is preset as the camera
shutter release. The right hand side also has a small headphones
connector, and storage for the telescopic stylus.
And the strange looking black stub at the top of the phone? Well, at
least it isn't some marketing guy's idea of "aesthetic appeal" -- it is
actually an integrated GPS antenna.
Like other Pocket PCs, the Mio packs a healthy amount of features into
its tiny footprint. Its 520MHz processor makes light work of most
tasks, and the phone comes loaded with Windows Mobile 5.0, giving it
access to all of its features. In terms of connectivity, most users
will find it adequate as it features Bluetooth, USB, and GPRS.
As a GPS device, the phone works very well, with GPS running on a
20-channel SiRFstar III system. The GPS worked very well in dense city
environments, only dropping out once the entire time for about 10
seconds. The GPS works better on foot than in a vehicle as sometimes
the distance measurement can be a little bit off when you are
As a digital camera, the A710 takes very respectable photos
considering it only sports a 1.3-megapixel camera, however the quality
of the shots is very dependent on the lighting conditions and tend to
be rather erratic in terms of quality.
Overall, the Mio A701 is a very well thought out phone. Its combination
of good looks and functionality make it a good everyday phone. The
520MHz Intel XScale PSA-270 processor certainly has enough grunt to
make things run smoothly and the menus and functionality are intuitive
and simple to pick up. There's also a solid 128MB of ROM and 64MB of
RAM installed in the device. Our only gripes were with the fact that
there aren't enough user-definable buttons, and that the stylus isn't
suited for long-term use.
Battery life is at a healthy 200 hours for standby time, and four
hours of talk time which is about average for Pocket PCs. Standby time
drops significantly if you use features such as Bluetooth and GPS
regularly. Heavy users will find they'll need to charge the phone every