Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Traditional GPS But Lacks Innovation of the TomTom, October 20, 2011
This review is from: Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM GPS navigator (Electronics)
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Except for the size I have nothing but good things to say about the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM, but in terms of functionality while driving, to me, it doesn't beat out my TomTom VIA 1535T 5-Inch Portable Bluetooth GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic. Hopefully by comparing the two you can decide for yourself which is better for your style of driving.


My TomTom has a 5 inch screen and the Magellan has a 7 inch screen. You wouldn't think there was a big difference but the Magellan is comparatively gigantic. In fact, when I switched back to using the TomTom its 5 inch screen seemed tiny.

But this Magellan unit is really too big for my dashboard. I drive a Honda Element which has a coffee table size dashboard and has a very generously wide and tall view out the windshield, but the Magellan is so big that it creates a major blind spot (pictures to follow). So instead of mounting it above the dashboard I had to extend the mounting arm far enough that the GPS could hang over the edge. The problem with that is it causes me to look away from the windshield and it also blocks a vent.

[ADDITION TO MY ORIGINAL REVIEW: We installed this in my brother's Subaru Outback and had no problem with the size. He loves the Magellan compared to the Garmin he's been using until now, and I have my TomTom that I simply prefer, so I gave him the Magellan. The difference is that the dashboard on my Honda Element is so big, you can't really extend the mounting arm far enough that it's not blocking either my view out the windshield or something on the dashboard such as the stereo controls or a vent. However, in the Subaru Outback this was no problem at all due to its normal size dashboard. You place the unit even a little better than it would be placed if it had come installed in center dashboard of the car.]

The quality of the display and intuitive function of the operating system make this a real winner for people who are constantly driving to places they've never been before, and this is where it easily beats out every other GPS I've ever used. I can find exactly what I want with the Magellan based on a rumor or even a mood--kind of like using but with navigation. Having both the Magellan database and the AAA database make this unit a virtually mobile library of things to do and places to go both for practical and recreational purposes.

Everything makes sense on the Magellan screen, unlike my TomTom which gives me unclear icons and little to no information on the destination once I find it. Not only does the Magellan give me all sorts of information such as the address, phone number, and type of place I've found in its database, but I can update it with additional information that I find personally helpful or interesting. The Magellan is far more customizable.

The Magellan provides lifetime maps whereas the TomTom does not.

VOICES: The Magellan gives you a choice of English, French, or Spanish with only one, robotic voice per language. The TomTom gives you a selection of human sounding voices in most any language as well as the option of downloading custom voices of famous celebrities including Rodger Moore, Bugs Bunny, and KITT (the car from Knight Rider).

TRAFFIC: Both feature lifetime traffic but the Magellan traffic and alternate course calculation feature isn't nearly as good. In fact, it's exactly the same as the Sprint Navigation on my cell phone. You get an icon telling you how long the delay is, and it's up to you--while driving--to press the button, look over the current versus alternative route, and choose the one you prefer. The TomTom simply pops up a screen and audibly says things like, "The delay on your route is now 16 minutes. There is an alternative route which is 30 minutes faster. Would you like to take this route?" So with the TomTom you can keep your eyes on the road and simply choose yes or no, but with the Magellan you actually have to read the display as there is no audible information.

TURNS AND LANE CHANGES: When it comes to audible instructions on turns and lane changes, the TomTom easily beats the Magellan. On the Magellan you get one audible instruction, and the next one doesn't come until you have performed the first. So for example, when I'm coming off the RFK Bridge into Astoria, Queens the TomTom tells me I have to "take the exit right" , "stay in the left lane, then stay in the right lane" in order to not land myself on the Grand Central Parkway heading out to Long Island. The Magellan tells me to take the exit, then keep left, then it's Hello Long Island!

OK, but since I know how to get off the bridge and avoid entering the Grand Central Parkway, I should be alright, right? Nope. The Magellan then tells me to make the first possible left turn and go around several blocks to get to my street. This is actually normal for every GPS I've used except for the TomTom, which gives me the best and simplest possible route--so why doesn't the latest, greatest model of Magellan do that? I'm a bit mystified.

Out on the highway as well, the Magellan really doesn't fulfill its claim of telling you which lane you need to be in. The TomTom gives you an on screen diagram of all the lanes, and highlights the ones you can be in while also providing an audible instruction; the Magellan however simply gives you a graphic of the upcoming road sign (which the TomTom does as well). So if you're in the right-most lane and that one leads you to the wrong exit you're either going to end up taking that exit or risking a crash by suddenly turning into the next lane. If it weren't for other cars on the road, I could practically just look at the TomTom screen, whereas with the Magellan I really need to know the road ahead of me to avoid mistaken detours.

BOTTOM LINE: The TomTom provides you all sorts of information on the screen in addition to the map--including your ETA, how much time is left until you reach your destination, your current speed versus the speed limit, and how far to the next bit of traffic along with how much of a delay each piece of traffic will last--whereas the Magellan's focus is on the map.

On the other hand, the TomTom fails completely on information about your destination and what little information it gives you is a bit cryptic. If I was taking a trip to someplace I've never been before--say the Grand Canyon--and I really had no idea what to see, do, and where to stay, then I would want the Magellan. For daily commuting, shopping, and trips over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house where I've been hundreds of times before then the TomTom is the better machine in my opinion.

The Magellan also features Lifetime Maps--which of course includes any updates to its immense library of information--whereas TomTom does not.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2012 5:08:30 PM PST
What a breath of fresh air this review was! I have been researching for months now regarding an update to my current Garmin Nuvi. Really hadn't found much helpful info on the relative merits of the TomTom or Magellan, till this review. I was tempted by the 7" screen on the Magellan, maybe to the point of losing sight of the other things that are important to me. Thank you for a well balanced, thoughtful review. I am now seriously considering the TomTom Via1535.
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