Top positive review
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A Great GPS Unit On the Market - Better Than Garmin nuvi 1490T at Lower Price!
on September 20, 2009
Unlike other reviewers who have predisposition to certain brand, e.g., someone who used a Garmin for long time and now came to criticize the Magellan, I am a long-time user of GPS of both Magellan and Garmin since 1998. My first Garmin cost me about $1500 and my first Magellan cost me about $2000. My later Garmin and Magellan cost me $800, $500, $300, etc. When the baby TomTom came to market, I also tried it.
One thing that is lacking in most of the previous reviews of this product is an objective opinion. People usually write the review based on their predisposition, not based on objective criteria.
The biggest advantage of any Magellan is its routing capability. For example, when you only have vague idea of the address of your destination, a Magellan would provide adequate context for you to figure out where you need to go. One time, I had forgotten the street number and exact spelling of the street name. I simply type in whatever part that I could remember and the Magellan gave me a list of the road names to choose from. Eventually it took me to where I need to go. Based on that experience, I formulated a test for evaluating any new GPS unit I buy. All the Garmin I tried failed that test. A TomTom unit I tried passed that test.
Another marvel of a Magellan GPS unit is its bell sound signaling the turning point or highway exiting point. This is extremely useful in the complicated highways like in New Jersey, I never miss a turn with a Magellan GPS, but often take a too-early turn with other brands.
The spoken language of Roadmate is clearest of all the GPS units over Garmin or TomTom. When I used Garmin nuvi 680, it would mispronounce "state road 1" as "stage road 1"
I also like the seamless integration of the traffic information into the routing. It only provides the traffic incidents related to your route, or if you do not have a route, it provides only the incidents within 15-mile radius of the current location. It does not provide too much traffic information to burden you unnecessarily. With Roadmate 1475T, the traffic is free forever. In contract, with a Garmin nuvi 680, I had to pay $19/year for traffic subscription! And in nuvi 680, the traffic information is completely separate from the routing, and I have to make decision of which traffic incidents are relevant to my trip.
Other strong points of Roadmate 1475T are its large screen size, clear view of the screen, and its customization of the screen menu to fit anyone's taste.
However, Magellan does share some weakness of all the GPS units. For example, the less perfect map accuracy. There are occasions that a Magellan would say the destination is on the left side of the road when actually the destination is on the right side, and so do all Garmin or TomTom units. One time, my Garmin nuvi GPS attempted to direct me to drive into the middle of a lake! Another weakness of any GPS is the confusion of which direction (left or right) to go at the beginning of the route, and the efficiency within a city. My suggestion of using any GPS is to also print a routing map from Yahoo Maps or Google Maps before you go on a trip so that you have some idea of the routing.
Update on Nov 30, 2009:
I also published a comparison of Magellan Roadmate 1475T and Garmin nuvi 1490T under real-time situations in my car side-by-side. It contains more details of the feature comparison of these two GPS units. To read that review, please click the link "See all my reviews" above next to my name.
More explanation of the bell sound of Magellan GPS I mentioned above: it makes a distinctive bell tone depending on the kind of turn you will be making: a "Dong-Ding" for a right turn, a "Ding-Dong" for a left turn, and a "Ding-Dong-Ding" for a U-turn if allowed.