271 of 281 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
UPDATE follows this review
I've owned and used GPS units from all three of the major manufactuers - Garmin, TomTom and Magellan.
When it comes to interface Magellan units usually shine. The 2045T is no exception. However, as at least one reviewer noted, the edit function within the address book is not user friendly. That, however, is the least of my complaints about this unit. Before I get to my complaints, I want to mention the things that are great about this GPS.
Unlike my TomTom, Magellan GPS units are very logical as you enter in a destination. When you enter the first letter of the town or city it automatically starts to suggest places near your current location. If your near Bangor, Maine it doesn't suggest Boston. That's exactly what my TomTom does and it drives me insane. So Magellans are intuitive on this count.
Secondly, the AAA guidebook that comes with Megellan units is just great. It's perfect for finding stores, restaurants and attractions when you're in a place you don't already know. A major kudos for this.
Despite these great features, I have two major beefs.
One, there's something wrong with Magellan's software and how it determines fastest route. In the space of two days the unit failed to know the fastest route at least half a dozen times. These weren't just mapping errors, these were the unit's inability to just know that one route is faster than another. This is NOT a problem I've seen in any of the units I've used up until now, including older Magellans. These weren't major mistakes, but they added a minute here and there. On a long trip I could see them adding up.
The second beef I have is with the traffic function and estimated time of arrival. I'm self employed and part of my work is getting from place to place in a timely fashion. A few minutes late could actually result in lost income in my line of work. I was on my way to a business event and I followed the Magellan's suggested route that took me off the major highways. It was around 5pm in the Boston region so traffic was really bad. The Magellan gave me an ETA that indicated I'd only lose a couple of minutes due to traffic. So I followed its suggested route. It didn't work.
Instead of bumper to bumper traffic on the highway, I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on secondary roads. The ETA was off by almost 20 minutes. Thankfully I had built in enough buffer that this didn't harm my work. Nonetheless, it caused me to distrust the traffic function. There's no way I can know if it would have been faster to stay on the highway, the most direct route. All of which just creates more confusion.
I haven't used the traffic function on other GPS units so I can't compare the Magellan to other units. Fastest route, however, is something that's a glaring problem compared to other GPS units, including previous Magellan units I've used. I also have to be honest and say that the only GPS I've used that's just outright failed was a Magellan.
I like using a Magellan GPS and the 2045T is no exception. However, I have serious reservations about its usability. So with that I give it three stars.
After using this GPS on dozens of trips I now cannot recommend this GPS even for its good points.
Here's why: This GPS simply does not know the fastest route if it involves secondary roads. It's hardwired to assume that highways, no matter how many extra miles, are faster. And in turn it adds massive amount of travel time to secondary roads.
The most glaring example of this was on a trip in which the GPS added an entire hour(!!!) to a route that didn't involve highways. Because the calculations are so lopsided the GPS unit refuses to adapt as you drive. It will insist on telling you to do a U-turn to "save time" when you're already a half hour into the actual shorter route. All other brands of GPS I've used quickly (usually within a couple of minutes) realize you've chosen a different way and recalculate. Not this GPS. It insists you've taken the wrong way and wants you to go back to the highway.
I now only reluctantly use this GPS when I'm in an unfamiliar area. Based on multiple experiences on roads I know well I have to assume that this GPS is not giving me the fastest route to my destination.
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I have had two Garmin Nuvi 600 and Nuvi 660. The original Nuvi cost $500. The 660 a couple of years later cost me half as much. This Navigator comes in at a fraction of those models, and it has a more robust menu system, better screen brightness/resolution and features that make my Nuvi's antiquated. The integrated GPS in my Acura MDX is not even as user friendly as this model.
What comes in the box:
Easy to follow map and turn guidance prompts
Expansive Points of Interests (POIs)
Lifetime map updates
Lifetime traffic alerts
Only one voice
No other selectable icons
Carrying case is not included
For me, I have a Mac OS system which is not supported. I resorted to charging the unit and turning it on. The cradle is cumbersome. The power cable must be placed in the slot of the cradle and then the GPS must be guided along a track to snap into place. This is a two handed operation, unlike my Nuvi which can be released rather easily with one hand.
First time the unit powers up, the satellite localization takes no longer than its competition (except for when it is compared to an integrated GPS in a vehicle). Subsequent startups are rather faster than a Garmin.
Finding points of interest (POIs) is rather easy, as well as entering destinations by address. The estimated time of arrival is at the bottom left of the screen, the toolbox for settings is in the bottom center of the screen, and the menu is accessible in the bottom right hand corner. Orientation of maps are heading up and north up, as well as 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional screens. One negative is the inability to change the icon from anything other than a triangle. The voice cannot be changed, either. Aside from those minimal quirks, this system is great.
Searching POIs by categories closest to your location is intuitive and really makes a great tool in those times necessitating spontaneity. Even searching for POIs by name worked with some obscure businesses in my smaller city. I was truly impressed with how quickly this works and I have found it to work for me when indoors (unlike my Nuvi).
On the screen, you can display certain icons to represent categories of POIs (such as Emergency, Shopping, Gas). As you drive, icons appear for shopping centers. If you click upon the icon, you can see what stores are in the certain shopping centers, including the telephone numbers. One of the most impressive features of this system is the AAA Tourbook which gives ratings and descriptions of POIs.
The free lifetime traffic alerts is a valuable feature. It gives guidance to avoid traffic when traveling. This won't work for those on a daily commute but it will help when traveling through areas that a user is unfamiliar. My area is not covered but my travels to areas that are covered will help when average speeds go down. Note that traffic is only available with the OEM DC power cable. If you don't use it, it won't work.
Turn by turn guidance is clear and a door chime notifies you exactly when to turn. At the top of the screen, the next turn is shown with the distance is displayed. Redirects are relatively quick but not as responsive as a Garmin Nuvi. Again, this is not a dealbreaker for a device at this price point.
Aside from serving as a GPS navigator, this unit is small and lightweight enough to be used on walking tours.
The power button is located in the top center that slides to the left. The screen is 4.3 inches, bright and the touch screen is responsive. The housing is hard plastic which is durable feeling but it doesn't appear to be impact resistant. If dropped, this will likely break very easily.
This device is a great value at its price point for lifetime maps, traffic updates and features.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Over the last few years, I've owned several GPS devices including the following:
TomTom Go Live 1535M (I'll refer to this as "TT1535")
TomTom XXL 540T (This will be TT540)
Magellan 2045T-LM (M2045)
Magellan 9055-LM (M9055)
Garmin nuvi 265 W (Garmin)
I've already written a review comparing my TT540 to my Garmin. This review will echo many points in that one, but will also incorporate the newer Tom Tom and the Magellan GPSs. I will post this same review in the other new models, so the comparisons will be more comprehensive than if I were to individualize more. I have broken the review up by model, so if you are only interested in this model, skip to its section, below
Let's start with the
**** Garmin ****.
Navigating style: First = "Continue 1.6 miles, then turn right." Nearing = "After 500 feet, turn right on Elm Street." At turn = "Turn right on Elm Street." OR, if the next step is quite soon, "Turn right on Elm Street, then stay in the right lane."
1) Of all the units, the Garmin has the best name pronunciation. That is, it sounds the most like a human speaking and/or pronounces the names of streets correctly the most often. Not perfect, but the best in the group (the Tom Tom is also very good--sometimes arguably better).
2) The suction cup is very easy to use
3) Sending an address from your computer to the GPS (look it up on Google maps first, then send the address to the device via a USB cable) is BY FAR the easiest to do on the Garmin. You only have to download an active x control (happens automatically, with your consent, when you use the "send" function in Google maps) and you are good to go. The other brands require you to download a full app that is always running in the background. Updating the maps is also very simple.
4) To me, the user interface is very simple and intuitive.
5) The point of view in 3D mode is just right--not too high in the air, not too low to the ground.
1) No lane guidance. Here I am referring to when you are driving on the highway and you have an exit coming up--on the other devices, you get a picture of the highway and lanes and what-not. The Garmin just sticks with "Keep left" or "Take exit xxx on the right." Honestly, I don't think there is a whole lot of benefit to the "Lane guidance", but it is a nice little feature that would be nice on this unit. Note that my Garmin is several years old--the newer models may have this. Note also that lane guidance is only useful when it is correct. An interchange near where I live used to have 3 exit lanes, but about a year or two ago, they changed it to 2. Both the Magellans AND the Tom Toms incorrectly show 3 exit lanes for their lane guidance. This is the exception (they have been correct in all other instances that I have noticed), and yet, bad data is always worse than no data.
**** Magellan ****
Navigating style: First = "Turn right in 1.6 miles." Nearing = "Turn right in 500 feet." At turn = 2 dings. For a left turn, the first ding is a higher pitch, for a right turn the second ding is a higher pitch, and for continue straight, the 2 are the same.
1) Fastest route calculation. When I missed a turn, the Magellan was ALWAYS the first to have a new route planned and start telling me about it.
2) Current speed is in tenths (1/10) of a mile per hour. You can also display your current elevation. These strengths are totally trivial, but these units were the only ones that had this data.
3) "Lane guidance", although I didn't really like the way it was displayed because it would show 1 sign saying which way to go, and another sign saying which way the wrong way to go was. The idea was to make it look exactly like the freeway signs. The incorrect one was slightly shaded. I didn't like this method--until I got used to the unit, it took more than a mere glance to figure out which lane I was supposed to be in because it wasn't intuitively obvious which sign was the "correct" one. I very much preferred the Tom Tom's method of lane guidance.
4) The 9055 has an input so you can attach a backup camera to it. It is also quite large, so you can see much more map (or backup view) at a time. The size is both a strength AND a weakness--see below.
5) Both models are easy to put in/take out of their windshield holders--they sit in a cradle and when you pop them in, it plugs the USB power in at the same time. This makes it really easy to take the unit out of the car and put it back in every time. (see weakness #5-c, below)
6) The 9055 is Bluetooth enabled and can be an in-car speaker phone when paired to your mobile device. It was OK. Not fabulous, but OK.
7) Included with the various points of interest are Triple A ("AAA") points of interest and events, although they didn't seem to update with the rest of the device. Even though I had updated my unit, it was still showing events from last year and nothing for this year. Still, being able to search for a near-by restaurant by AAA rating was a great feature.
1) By far, the worst, most difficult model to update via computer (map version updates). You have to go download their little app and have it running in your system tray and you can't do it on Windows 7 64-bit. I don't know if you can do it on Win7-32, but I tried 3 different Wind7-64 computers and couldn't get it to work. I involved tech support and they had no idea what was going on. I'm the one who figured out it was OS dependent--they were totally unaware of this problem. Note that it works fine on my Win XP-32 computers (I tried 3 of these and they all worked). ...Oh, and don't even bother trying to send a location from Google Maps--you can't do that at all. This more than anything is a deal breaker! Minus 2.5 stars for this alone!
2) The UI was not intuitive to me and entering in addresses was the most difficult. Remember that you cannot send an address via your computer, so if it is also the most difficult to type in an address, you can see that these units become quite a bit less useful.
3) No speed limit data. You see how fast you are going, but you never see the posted speed limit. Both the Garmin and the Tom Tom show the posted speed limit, though only most of the time--there are several stretches of roads where there is no speed limit data for any of the models.
4) "Dings" instead of saying "turn right" or "turn left" when you get to your critical point. This may be a trademark or something, but it's one I think they should lose.
5) The 9055 is HUGE! This is both a plus and a minus. On the plus side, you can see a lot of map at once which gives great perspective. On the minus side,
A) it takes up a considerable amount of windshield view.
B) Even though it dims at night, it is so big that it adds a lot of light to the inside of the car at night which slightly impairs night vision.
C) the mount is enormous, unruly, and is not just a suction cup, it requires them to put some sort of glue on it to really hold it in place which made removal VERY difficult, and it's not the kind of thing you will be putting up and taking down on a regular basis. Note that it is really easy to get the unit itself in and out of the mount (see strength #5 above), but the mount "ain't goin' nowhere". If you wanted to buy 1 unit and move it between 2 cars as needed, you'll have to get a second mount or (better yet) one of those little pads you set on you dash and rest the GPS on. A second problem with the non-removable mount is that a thief passing by may see the mount and decide to break into the car because the GPS unit itself may be in the glove box.
6) Worst name pronunciation.
**** Tom Tom ****
Navigating style: First = "After 1.6 miles, turn right." Nearing = "After 500 feet, turn right on Elm street." OR if the next step is somewhat close, "After 500 feet, turn right on Elm Street, then take the third right." At turn = "Turn right on Elm Street." Or, "Turn right on Elm Street, then take the third right."
1) Something the Tom Toms do that neither of the other 2 brands do is detect when you come to an intersection where you can turn left or right but you cannot go straight. In this case, it says, "at the end of the road, turn right on Elm Street." I really like this because it is quick and easy to understand and you really cannot mess that up.
2) The best thing that the TT1535 (Go Live) has going for it is the "HD" traffic thing. I have found this to work pretty well, but don't expect TOO much out of it--my experience has been that it only occasionally rerouted me to avoid traffic when my other units didn't. That is, if the TT1535 was rerouting me, usually one of the other ones did too and if the other ones weren't rerouting me, very seldom did the TT1535 try to do so. And don't expect it to reroute on the block level as is shown in web advertisement--the delay needs to be at least somewhat significant in order for it to bring it up. HOWEVER, there is one traffic-related thing that TT1535 does that the other do not do and that is it shows on the map where it knows there is traffic. I LOVE this about it because I can be driving and see there is traffic on a road right near me and then see if the TT1535 knows it is there or not. What's more, if the traffic is somewhat light, it shows on my map as yellow, but if it is quite heavy, it shows as red. My experience is that this is pretty accurate most of the time, but, as mentioned above, only if it is significant enough. Not only does this instill confidence, but it allows me to leave the map somewhat zoomed out and quickly see if there is any traffic between me and where I'm going. This is useful if I'm driving between two points I know well and don't want to have to program the GPS to navigate me to (or I don't want to listen to it giving me turn-by-turn directions when I already know where I'm going).
3) The TT1535 also has the best graphics. The curves are smooth, the roads are proportionate to their actual size and the points of interest are marked with nice-looking icons. Contrast that to the Magellan units--very angular and... I don't know, just less pretty to look at. One thing that bugs me about the TT1535, though, is that in 3D view, they put in a false horizon--the top ¼ inch of the screen is the sky. What a waste of space! This has to do with (and is also made worse by) the fact that in 3D view your "eye" is closer to the ground (less of a bird's eye view) than with the other models. In my opinion, it is TOO low to the ground. My real view is all the way low to the ground--I KNOW what THAT looks like. I want the GPS to give me more of an aerial view so I can get my bearings. I certainly prefer the 3D view to 2D (or 100% aerial) because it gives me a sense of looking at the same thing out my windshield as on the map, but I ALSO want to see what's AROUND me and if the GPS "comes too low to the ground", you can only see what is immediately around you and the stuff that is further off kinda' disappears. My opinion is that both of the Tom Toms are "too low". Magellan was a little better, but only the Garmin is "just right".
4) Lane guidance that is quick and intuitive to use. You get a series of arrows at the bottom of the screen that represent individual lanes. The correct lanes are bright white.
5) The TT1535 is Bluetooth enabled, though I didn't use this. It also has voice recognition, but I only found this to be marginally useful as you have to activate the voice recognition by pressing a button on the screen.
1) The worst thing about either Tom Tom is the mounting system. I hate it. You have to stick it up to the window and then turn this knob--something that feels very awkward. Once you get that mounted, the TT1535 is held too loosely so that when you press buttons, it pivots and moves in its holder and the TT540 sometimes falls out of the holder. Come on, guys, you can do better than this!
2) Going back to "wrong data is worse than no data," the TT1535 prominently shows you what your next turn will be and how far away it is. This is great, except that it seems to ALWAYS be 50-100 feet off. You wouldn't ever notice, except that there it is saying your turn is in 50 feet when you're in the middle of the intersection. For all the other models, they tell you how far your turn is, but once you get under 0.1 miles, they just say to turn here (on xxxx street).
3) Although updates are MUCH easier than the Magellan, and you CAN send locations of interest to the device through your computer, the Tom Tom still requires you to download an app that sits in your system try in order to do this. It is still not as easy as the Garmin.
If I'm driving to a new location and I don't know where I'm going, the Garmin is still my favorite. On the other hand, if I'm just driving around town and I only want to know about things like traffic, my speed vs. the speed limit, etc., then I like the TT1535 best. Both Tom Tom and Garmin make great units and I think you would be very happy with either one, but if I HAD to choose, I'd go with Garmin. On the other hand, the Magellan is easily my LEAST favorite (both models). Not that it is bad--it isn't. It works correctly, it helped me avoid traffic more than once, it is easy to follow and tells me fun things like my current elevation... BUT most everything that it can do, the others can do at least as well and often they do those things better.