Review: Mio Knight Rider GPS

It’s been a rough couple of decades for Knight Rider fans. In 1982 the show’s co-star, an AI-enhanced Trans Am named KITT, stole our nerdy hearts. Seven years after the series ended, everyone’s favorite talking car started a downward spiral…by moonlighting as a high school teacher. And don’t even get us started on the stinking zombie resurrection that is Knight Rider 2008.

It’d be great to hearken back to the glory days of ’82 – ’86. Thanks to Mio, fans of the Reagan era television series can rehash this magic with the Knight Rider GPS unit. This svelte handheld doesn’t just mimic the physical style of KITT’s trademark dash console. It also provides turn-by-turn directions in KITT’s original voice (aka William Daniels).

…and, yes. It greets you as “Michael” (with synchronized flashing LEDs!) when you boot it up.

Unfortunately, that’s where most of the fun ends. Sure, hearing KITT smoothly tell me to “turn left in 300 feet” produced all the expected geekgasms. But they subsided when I realized actual streets names were nixed from the voice prompts. Another foible was the unit’s POI system. As a whole, the Knight Rider GPS borrows its user interface from Mio’s Moov units. This turned out to be great for simplicity and ease, but it also meant the interface’s crippled POI search functions were along for the ride.

These were relatively small gripes considering the unit’s quick ‘cold’ acquisitions and consistently reliable routing (via Tele Atlas). But let’s face it – this is a pricey vanity gadget, not a groundbreaking piece of Knight Foundation tech. So, here’s the bottom line: if a love for KITT (or a perverse William Daniels fetish) ranks higher than cutting edge features, this is your ride. Otherwise, one of Mio’s (cheaper) Moov units make for a more sensible choice. Well at least far more sensible than watching the re-booted TV series. Sorry, Val Kilmer!

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