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Tags: 5045LM · 5Inch · aldemon · Lifetime · Magellan · Maps · Navigator · Portable · prefer · RoadMate · Traffic · Widescreen
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If you have been a longtime Magellan user you may want to consider a few things before getting on the Garmin bandwagon. I want to make it very clear that this isn’t going to be a review to bash the Garmin 1450LMT, the particular unit I bought and returned, but more of comparison. Let’s start off by getting what Magellan users have known from the very beginning about Magellan’s issues out of the way. Magellan has always had poor customer service, terrible POI information, slow or old maps/updates, and subpar quality control issues both hardware and software, and not Mac compatible. Garmin is better in this respect, most of the time. If this is what you are concerned about, stop reading here and purchase a Garmin you will be very happy. The Garmin 1450LMT is solid and reliable, and Garmin customer service and tech support is top-notch. I’m saving the issue of routing errors or confusing routing until later because I have experienced routing errors on Garmin as well and they were just as frustrating as some people claim about Magellan.
With that said, being the owner of the Magellan 760, 2200T, and 3225. I have never had an issue with the hardware or software in any of the models I have owned. I have known a few people that have, but I personally have not. This may be due to the fact I never leave my GPS in the car, never throw it around, abuse it, or leave it exposed on the dash in a parked vehicle. I wouldn’t say I “baby” the units, but I respect it as a complex electronic device and a potential item for thieves, so I never leave it in the car or glove box. Of course, this may just be coincidence, I’m sure there are just defective units out there whether you take care of them or not. I figure I will buy a Square Trade warranty to cover the unit in case it dies on me.
As I had fore mentioned, I purchased a Garmin 1450LMT due to so many negative reviews about the Magellan units, particularly the 5045LM. They ranged from bad maps, sticky glue residue, screen lock up, bad routing, you name it! I had the Garmin 1450LMT for 30 days, returning it the last day only after several frustrating routing failures in Las Vegas. Yes believe it or not, the Garmin had some routing issues, contrary to all the positive reviews. I actually switched back to the Magellan 2200T because of this mid vacation. In addition to the routing issue with the Garmin, I didn’t like the overall Garmin user interface (UI), the routing logic, and the overall navigational style it uses. Not that they were bad, it just wasn’t for me and my style of driving. There was also one occasion that the car icon, was in the middle of the map and not tracking properly. This never corrected itself until I reset the unit. It seemed like the Garmin was not able to track the satellites correctly. This is now the second time I had a Garmin and went back to a Magellan both times.
Here are the main differences of the Garmin operating system (OS) and what I prefer about the Magellan OS. You can see a clear evolution of the 2 operating systems from their earlier models such as the Garmin 350 and the Magellan 2200T. Both models retain nearly all of the traits of their respective predecessors and not really changing much to the core operations. Let’s start!
THE “DING DING” – Magellan gives a “ding” or a “chime” when you need to make a turn. Garmin does not.
Garmin has no “bell” or “ding” when instructions are given. As Magellan users know, when instructions are given on the Magellan there is a “ding ding” when it is the final move of the instruction. So when you need to turn at a certain point, the instruction will be given, followed by a DING DING. Seems insignificant right? But you might miss this feature more than you think. I found myself looking at the Garmin after a turn because I was never sure if that was the “turn” I was supposed to make. Garmin only gives you a final verbal queue to turn by saying “TURN LEFT (street name)”.
“ROUTE CHOICES” – Magellan gives 4 different route choices; “fastest time, shortest distance, most use and least use of freeways”. Garmin has 2 choices (thanks roegs for the info) fastest time and shortest distance with no freeway exclusion offerings.
Garmin has 2 route choices of fastest time, and shortest distance but does not have “most use of freeways and least use of freeways”. Magellan has had these from the beginning dating back to the Magellan 700. Garmin has a setting that avoids things like HIGHWAYS, TOLL ROADS and such; however, these are settings NOT pre-route choices. I don’t always want to avoid highways, but there are times that I do. Why should I have this as a permanent setting? My parents or my wife who prefer to avoid highways if possible, always use the route choice of LEAST USE OF FREEWAYS. In this case you can have the Garmin setting to avoid highways permanently, but my parents won’t be able to remember…
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I had really high hopes for this GPS. I shopped for quite awhile and owned a Garmin that was due to be updated but decided to replace the unit rather than pay to upgrade. After reading a lot of reviews of the Garmins with quality control issues I opted to give Magellan a try. I have owned the unit around 2 months. I took a trip from Indianapolis to Santa Fe, NM and used the unit the entire time. Last weekend I drove from Indy to Chicago and back again. I guess I have used it about 3000 miles and here is my impression.
First the bad points:1. The unit will power down occasionally. It has happened to me 4 times so far.
2. The spoken directions ie..”Turn right” are crystal clear. The problem is when it says the street names. The street names are muffled. Usually I can understand what it says but other times I have to look at the screen to figure out what street it is talking about.
3. I put in a route to take me home from a casino near Chicago. It said there were roads that were closed in my route. A road closed icon even came up on the screen. I thought OK it will just route me around the closed road. Well I got up to where I could see the barricades and it told me to turn on the road it knew was closed. I went on past the closed road of course and it recalculated a different route it took a lot longer to go that way. It would have been quicker to go back the way I came in which would have been back tracking a little bit but the unit was not smart enough to realize this.
4. I was almost home the other night and knew what exit I needed to take on I-65. It was telling me to go 1.3 miles further then take that exit. I didn’t even think there was an exit 1.3 miles further on the interstate so I took the exit that I knew was right and I checked when I got home and there wasn’t another exit for around 10 miles. This makes me wonder how often it sends me on a wild goose chase in areas that I am not familiar with. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
5. Sometimes the auto zoom will zoom out so far it looks like a satellite view. And to top it off this happens when you are in a really congested areas where you really need a lot of detail. It happened to me once in Oklahoma City and Chicago.
6. When typing on the keyboard the unit pauses and hangs up causing you to have to press the same key a several times before it registers. This makes entering an address frustrating and time consuming.
7. Adds show up on the screen while you are driving. I understand that the Garmin adds only show up when you are stopped. I didn’t find the traffic alerts helpful. It has an icon on the screen that turns red when there is trouble ahead. Instead of just automatically rerouting you it requires you to click on the icon and then it will give you alternate routes. You select the one you want and then it will take you on your new route. You have to do this while barreling down the interstate at 75mph. Kind of defeats the purpose if I kill myself in the process. I just wished it knew which route was the least congested and route you to that one automatically.
The only good point for me is the screen is big and easy to read.
I am going on another trip next week. I am going to take it to Las Vegas and drive to Tucson, AZ then to San Diego and then up to LA then back to Vegas. If it performs any better I will update my review.
All of the other reviews were so positive but I am really disappointed in it’s performance. Perhaps the others just haven’t used it as extensively as I have. I am probably going to replace it with a Garmin. Even my old Garmin is light years ahead of this unit.
Update 11-16-10Just got back from another long trip. I had my mother along and she is around 70 years old and not very tech savvy. By the end of the trip she was making fun of the GPS unit wondering how bad it was going to screw up every time I turned it on. This unit is not able to do basic routing about half of the time. I don’t understand all of the positive reviews. The phrase I hear in my sleep at night is “When possible make a legal U turn.” because that is what it says more often than anything else. I wish I could return to Amazon but its been too long. Save your money and buy something else. You have been warned.
I previously had a Magellan Maestro from 2006 but it recently was stolen. I loved the unit and wanted to replace it. When I found this RoadMate for under $200, I thought I would give it a try. I have several observations:1. 2010 maps provide a lot better navigation experience than the old ones from 2006.2. RoadMate has a comparatively huge display that is very appealing3. RoadMate does not support voice command, while Maestro did/does. However, I was never able to train the voice command system to consistently accept my voice commands. Not only do I not miss this feature, I somewhat prefer not having voice command, obviating any temptation to use it.4. RoadMate traffic alerts work well, especially since unlimited usage is included at no charge, ever. A small triangle display shows a red border when an incident exists en route or near. There is no audible announcement. One must tap the icon to see a summary. Often but far from always, at least one alternative route will be offered. Simply tap the appropriate “detour” icon to change to that alternative route. One must tap the “Report” button from the summary screen to see a map indicating all incidents. That is slightly tedious, but I cannot think of a more efficient way to do it. The major downside is that sometimes I have run into traffic jams that were not reported. I don’t think I can legitimately blame the unit for that. Overall I find the traffic feature useful and intuitive.5. This unit gives audio directions along with the visual. The audio is much less verbose than the Maestro, and therefore I find it greatly improved. It also is a lot smarter about calculating routes. Older maps often routed me circuitously. This unit almost always chooses sensible routes.6. Use the auto-expand feature to better select the proper lanes through an intersection, turn, or other situation, such as a freeway split. This is a big improvement over the older models.7. Overall, navigation is greatly improved. The timing of audio cues is much more appropriate. For example, the chimes indicating a turn come only after passing the last possible wrong turn. Still, they keep up. For example, I have made three quick freeway ramp changes, one after another, and the lane directions were still in time to be followed.8. Magellan and AAA data bases for “points of Interest” are separate and often must be queried separately to find all “hits”. This is only a slight inconvenience, noticeable mostly when using “Search by Name”. The “one touch” feature is nice, but actually I have little use of it. If you have many many addresses, it could be very useful. I also like the address book having a lot of new features where a lot of information can be entered. All good stuff.
Overall, I rate this an excellent unit at the price point of under $200. I would purchase it again preferentially over the $350 Maestro. Then again, I don’t use voice command.
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