156 of 169 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
Compared to my previous Garmin, here's what I've found
.. I agree with another reviewer that the search functions are much
better. You can find points of interest all kinds of ways, even Walmart's
and whether or not they allow truck parking.
.. I also agree that the mapping for trucks is definitely better in my
experience than my Garmin, and that is what I care about the most.
.. The weather, construction along the route and the green dashboard I
like lot. I leave it on the dashboard most of the time.
.. Great screen, and find it pretty logical and easy to use. There is a
big manual I could download, but I haven't bothered.
.. Doesn't include traffic, but I found I didn't use the Garmin traffic
much anyway, since it didn't work except when I was close to cities.
And once I was in the city, I wasn't going to get off the Interstate and
drive on local streets in a truck.
67 of 83 people found the following review helpful
I've been using this for about a week in my GMC Sierra truck. While it's certainly not the "truck" Rand McNally is referring to in their description, I have been wanting to get a larger NAV unit for this vehicle. Most are much smaller and are naturally harder to see on a large dash that's typically a bit further away than your average sedan. So I will be taking into consideration who this is marketed for as we go through this review.
The GPS itself is certainly on the large side as it is a 7" model. Although since it has been designed to be "rugged," there is extra bulk that you normally wouldn't expect. Both in terms of thickness and bezel around the screen. And I'm not quite sure this extra bulk necessarily adds to any ruggedness as it all appears to be the same plastic/rubberized material.
Other than the screen, there is nothing else on the front. You do have the bright orange power button at the top right side, although it does have to be pressed downwards from the top. On the right there is a MicroSD card slot, Audio Out, and Video In, both typical ⅛" jacks. On the back is the MiniUSB port and a connector for an external GPS antenna. There is also a slot for the mount.
There is also a USB -> MiniUSB cable, DC, and AC power cables. Along with the windshield mount. I should also note that while they are using standard MiniUSB, they have warnings written everywhere to ONLY use the included power adapters.
MOUNT & PORTS
First, the MicroSD slot has no use at this time. It's just there for "future use," as indicated in the manual. And the USB port, which is used for both data and power, is on the back, not the side. If you're using the included suction cup mount, that's not an issue. The problem is that while the included mount is of good quality and has plenty of adjustment, it's way too short. It might work well in a car, but even in my "normal truck," it's way too close to the window unless I mount it high near the visor.
This means I have to lean forward quite a bit to use the device. I'd like to use a universal or generic mount that sits on the dash, however the non-standard mount point and rear USB port will make that difficult as it would simply get in the way. They really need to include a mount with an extension on it, or make one available for purchase separately.
The display itself is very bright and I had no issues viewing even in direct sunlight. It will also automatically switch to night-time driving when it gets dark outside. The color look good and it's overall rather easy to see. However, I did find the touch responsiveness to be inconsistent. Even after calibrating it, which did help, I still found myself having to touch the same on-screen buttons repeatedly.
Sometimes it would even audibly acknowledge that I pressed something, then nothing would happen. In either case, this still requires a bit more pressure than your average garmin would, for example. Nothing major and it's still usable.
The speaker is the loudest speaker I've ever heard from a device of this size. I can actually hear it perfectly fine over my stereo system at normal listening levels. And I can even understand what the nav lady is saying. I never had to go over ½ volume. So that should be quite handy in a noisy 18 wheeler.
I was already planning on using that audio-out jack, but fortunately, it won't be needed.
NAVIGATION & SOFTWARE
The navigation itself is on the average side of the things. The interface feels slightly dated in terms of graphics, detail, and responsiveness. After spending a few minutes using it, I was able to find my way around rather easily, if not quite as fast as I'd like. Although it does have a tutorial and FAQ that I do recommend if you're new to this product. It will explain how the interface works and some new features you may not be aware of.
Choosing a destination, creating multiple point stops, and finding POI's were all straight forward and worked as I'd expect. Thanks to the large screen you do have plenty of information on the screen including speed, elevation, time, and whatever overlay you've selected. More on that later. The text & image showing your next turn and current street are easy to see.
And yes, even after getting the latest update from Rand McNally, there are still limited street names. I'm talking so limited it's enough to cost it a star. It has a few major street names and of course tells you what street you are on as its related to your route. But that's about it.
I can understand in some situations a trucker might not care about anything other than a major highway, but I would hope you could at least turn this feature on/off. After all, some large trucks do need to go venture off the major roads. Especially smaller trucks. This just limits the usefulness for no good reason.
TRUCK MODE FEATURES
We can't forget about these new features added specifically for truckers. The navigation unit will either keep stats as an "FYI" or in most cases, use it to provide helpful information along your route. I should also note that this has a Car and Truck mode. So you can switch to car mode and disable the extra trucker-specific features you may not want. After all, many truck drivers do own normal vehicles. :)
You can add info specific to your rig such as Hazmat type, weight loaded/empty, height, width, trailers, etc. That's pretty much it for the trucker-only features. The rest may be particularly helpful for truckers, but it's something your average driver may also be able to use.
Those features include driving session, hours, 2 odometers, total week hours, maintenance intervals, and several other logs and fuel reports to keep track of how much fuel was used (and how much it cost). During your route there are warnings you can turn on/off, such as sharp curves & hills, how long you've driven, speed limit alert, state border alert, time zone change, weigh stations, toll booth alert, etc.
Basically way more stuff than I'm going to use, but I do like having the options there that cover everything.
EXTRA FEATURES (Wi-Fi)
There are some extra features that take advantage of the WiFi functionality. Yes, it does have Wireless, but it's usefulness is somewhat limited in more ways than one. First you'll need to "Enable WiFi" via Preferences each time you turn the device on and select an Access Point. Then to use these features, tap the round sun/cloud icon in the bottom right corner.
Once there you'll see that it has a basic weather forecast for the next 3 days. You can select various map overlay features including traffic, temperature, weather, chance of rain, type and intensity of precipitation with clouds, dew point, humidity, and local wind speed. Regardless of what you select, you will need a WiFi connection for it to work.
So I turned on my phones hotspot feature. Well, some of these overlays are nice. Such as wind speed and temperature as they are displayed with a nice graph. The rest are somewhat less useful. Weather cloud cover is static (which in real life, it is not) and traffic never did seem to work right.
There is optional add-on hardware for a over-the-air traffic updates that doesn't require Wi-Fi, but that should be standard, and much cheaper.
+ Large & Bright screen
+ Lots of driving features
+ Trucker specific options
+ WiFi Options
+ Loud speaker
+ USB Updates (Not available over WiFi)
- Sluggish performance
- Unresponsive touchscreen
- Very limited street names displayed
- No built-in MP3 player
- No over-the-air traffic updates included
- Short windshield mount
- Rear MiniUSB Port
The issue I have is that my 3 year old garmin has better usability than this particular unit. Although this obviously has far more "driving" features and is not without it's pluses. If you're a truck driver who really could use all of these extra features, it won't be the best NAV out there, but it is worth considering. Although one might consider finding a separate device or app for trucking and buy a better "non-trucking" NAV unit.
For anybody else, you're probably better off waiting until this device gets a little more polish. Improve the responsiveness of the screen, add an MP3 player so we can actually use the MicroSD card slot, and include over-the-air traffic updates. I'd also suggest taking advantage of this large device and swapping MicroSD for full-size SD. And I like what's trying to happen with WiFi, it just needs a lot more work.
So it's not a bad device, but it's not great either. Unfortunately for this GPS, at this price point, there's just a lot of really good NAV units out there.