Customer Review

118 of 125 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparing the Magellan 1700 to the TomTom 920T..., October 23, 2009
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This review is from: Magellan RoadMate 1700 7-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
Compared to the TomTom, this particular Magellan unit is very basic. No MP3 player. No RF transmitter. No bluetooth connectivity. No instant traffic report. No free map updates. No bluetooth remote control. No variety of voices. In other words, the Magellan is a basic, yet very functional GPS with a large, high resolution screen. We have been using the TomTom for about 2 years and took it to Hawaii in June. It was great until it routed us in a perpetual loop near Pearl Harbor. Other than that, the TomTom is a lot of GPS for the money, BUT...

The Magellan is soooo much easier to see b/c of it's much larger size. The menus are simple to navigate (not so many endless optional settings as the TomTom) and it includes the AAA travel guide, which we have used in book form for years. Street names are presented in easy-to-read-at-a-glance fonts, for those of us who actually look at the GPS while driving. The screen is plenty bright enough even in bright sunlight to be easily read, even through dark sunglasses. Not so, the TomTom. Also, I like the auto turn-to-night feature, which changes the screen colors to suit nighttime driving. And did I mention, I love the BIG screen! I plan to buy my wife a portable DVD player for Christmas and the Magellan will accept composite video from the player and give us two screens if we choose (but not while driving).

Here's an important feature: the Magellan comes with a very functional windshield suction cup mount which works like one of those small hobby vises you've seen that uses a lever to really fasten the suction cup to a table top. That's necessary since the GPS is naturally heavier than the smaller units. I'm now satisfied that it will hold the device securely after several trips.

The lane change feature should be handy in unfamiliar cities. And did I mention the HUGE screen? Of course I did. BTW, the big screen does have a couple of drawbacks. For one, if you plan to use the windshield mount, you'll have to mount it as low as possible so that it won't interfere with your vision. Mine is mounted so low that it is supported by the dash, which allows me to see over it easily and also takes out the vibration of the unit which occurs on bumpy roads when mounted this way. The other thing I am concerned about is that a passing cop may be drawn to the large "thing" sitting on my dash because of it's silver color (only the back).

So, will I ditch the TomTom? No way. But if I am not traveling by air to a remote destination (it's easier to pack, perhaps) and don't need the convenience of the MP3 player, I'll use the Magellan. It's really more practical and both will probably route me similarly. In this case, bigger really is better.

UPDATE 5/20/11

Just completed a 1,000 mile round trip to D.C. The 1700 performed flawlessly as we negotiated some of the most convoluted freeway interchanges I have faced since L.A. Only once did I have to wait for the unit to "catch up". It occurred upon exiting a multi-level parking garage where we started out on the 4th floor and literally wound our way out into an alley where we quickly made two more 90 degree turns. We then drove one short block and made another right turn. By then, the unit had stabilized and we had no other latency issues.

If you've driven in the D.C. area, you will know that turnoffs are frequently immediately followed by other turnoffs, which are then followed by...well, you get the idea. To put it another way, sometimes you only have a matter of a few seconds to decide which lane you belong in or you will find yourself headed off in the wrong direction. This can be especially likely in heavy traffic if you are on roadways you have never driven and your GPS is slow giving you directions. Happy to say the 1700 keeps up and emits voice directions promptly. We had all manner of road maps with us, but none were obvious enough to get us easily to a destination. The GPS made it a breeze. Remember the large size? Absolutely invaluable! Just a glance at any time, and I was able to know precisely where we were. I even used it to monitor speed so I wouldn't have to look down at the speedometer and it is more accurate. We did discover that we were not able to get info on hotels, gas stations and such for every rural offramp we selected. I understand that you can buy this ancillary data from Magellan.
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