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View Full Version : Got a Magellan Roadmate 500 GPS for Christmas


bmw325
12-28-2003, 11:35 PM
Same idea as the Garmin Streetpilot 2610 (and streetpilot before it)-- a small dash-top auto-routing GPS unit w/ color touch screen, maps downloadable to CF cards, etc. The Roadmate 700 is the same thing-- but it has a built-in 10GB hard drive w/ all of the US and Canada maps on it (and costs about 200 more). I just took it on a long trip, so I can now give it a good reivew. Yes, I know TTIWWOP-- but anyway:

Pros:
-High res, colorful easy to read touch screen
-very fast, easy to use interface
-very accurate (For example-- it brought me to the edge of the driveway of a house in upstate NY on a long, windy rural road)
-seemed to choose good routes when I selected "fastest time" for the routing algorithm.
-you can exclude certain roads from the chosen route (a very nice feature).
-Fast routing (calcuates rout in about 2-4 seconds)
-Includes info on restaurants
-speaker is part of unit, rather than on the powercord like the garmin unit
-Same nav-tech maps as used in the "higher-end" built-in nav systems (2610 also uses these maps). I think these are the current 2003 maps.
-has WAAS (unlike the 2610) for greater accuracy.

Cons:
-extremely bad manual and info on website. Had to call tech support to get help with a proiblem that should've been discussed in the manual or the website. Its one of those manuals that explains all of the really obvious stuff in great detail-- but nothing more.
-I'm kind of a "gadget" person and this unit doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles on it. It does what its supposed to do very well, nothing more, nothing less. It is definitely not a GPS for geeks. I love to see all sorts of useless statistics-- so this is kind of disappointing. There's also not much you can customize.
-For example, it doesn't even display current speed-- only "average" speed.
-Restaurants aren't sorted by cuisine- I think Garmin does do this.
-PC software is only for selecting maps to download. I think Garmin's software also lets you plan routes, etc.
-It comes w/ a 128MB CF card. That holds NY and NJ. But, if you want to buy a bigger card, you have to pay Magellan $50 for a code to "enable" the card. This does seem atrocious-- but atleast you get one free unlock code w/ the unit so you can buy 1 extra CF card.
-No batter powered option-- has to plug in to the lighter or to a wall outlet to run. I guess this really isn't a big deal, since I don't think you'd use this unit to go hiking anyway.

Ambivalent:
-Come with a dash air-vent mount that seems kind of sketchy-- but it did hold in place over curvy and bumpy roads. Supposedly, they'll send you a windshield mount goosneck if you ask tech support-- i forgot to do this and dont' feel like waiting on hold another 30 minutes.

Overall, I think this unit is actually superior to anything BMW has used and is using (including the new DVD nav systems). Why?
-the interface is faster and simpler-- and touch screens are always nicer than twisting knob. Seems very quick and responsive-- more so than any BMW OEM unit i've used. Perhpas this is due to the fact that it doesn't need to read map info off of a disk-- its all on CF memory.
-I think the routing algorithm runs faster
-You can move it from car to car
-Less moving parts-- no separate dvd or cd drive
It'd be cool if BMW would package this or the Garmin unit into something that could be semi-permanently mounted in the lower console, and have it look more integrated. This would be better than any of their other add-on offerings.
-cheaper
-Admittedly, it doesn't have the dead reckoning capability of a built-in nav (since its not connected to the speedometer)-- so if it loses satellites for any length of time you might be out of luck. However, this didn't happen once to me. It is likely to happen in NYC-- but I so rarely drive there (and don't need a GPS when I do), that this is kind of a non-issue.

Although it worked quite well-- I'm tempted to exchange it for the Garmin iQue 3600--- now THAT is a gadget--- MP3 player, PDA, GPS w/ autorouting, toe-nail clippers, toothbrush, etc. Has the same maps and processor as the Garmin 2610 streetpilot w/ a bigger more colorful screen. Cheaper price means that I could also throw in the auto mounting kit and a big 1GB CF card for less than the cost of the Magellan. I'm kind of torn though because I really do appreciate the functional elegance of the Magellan unit-- it does what its supposed to very well--and it worked perfectly on this trip I just took. Also, using a Palm interface w/ a stylus to control the GPS doesn't seem like such a great idea in a car-- and I'm pretty sure its not going to calculate or re-calcuate routes as quickly as the Magellan does (i've read reviews taht say the 2610 and the ique take about 20 seconds). And, as a PDA, it seems kind of bulky. :dunno: Maybe I'll buy one and try it out for a day and then decide which one to return (if I can find a local store that has them in stock).

nealh
12-29-2003, 09:35 AM
I can not speak for the Magellan but I do have a Garmin 2610 and it works great..I spoke to people about the WAAS and I can not imagine it makes a big difference..

The Garmin comes with adhesive mounts or a bean bag mount which actually works really well...there is a remote control for the unit..no need for stylus

I think it calculates very good overall routes and does so quickly..recalc if off course is fast but I am not sure how it would compare to Magellan..
You can exclude roads.such as hwy, tolls etc from routes..

My only beef is i prefer hwy routes and sometimes when it picks fastest route it still picks non hwy..but if you change the speed(increase hwy speeds) on the roads this does improve...

What you may want to do is get the Garmin try them side by side and see which is better..when i bought mine in Oct for my wife the Magellan was not out..did not know they were making one..

Also the Garmin 2650 has dead reckoning ability but you need a authorized reseller that does installs...it is still portable...

gfeiner
12-30-2003, 08:10 AM
oops. edited my original reply. I misread the first time. Good review. I've been thinking of getting a roadmate 700.

F150BOB
12-31-2003, 10:58 AM
I received a Roadmate 700 for X-mas. I didn't expect it, so I was not even sure what it did. I did do some research on the net about it and the alternatives. I also tried it out last night. It seemed to work very well, outside of freezing-up after it was first turned on. It worked fine after we restarted it. My wife really liked it when it gave verbal directions. We drove into some really messy (road wise) neighborhoods until I was pretty sure we did not know exactly how to get out of the neighborhood and asked for directions to a shopping center. It took us right out. I guess that is what it is supposed to do. :thumbup:

The main thing I am concerned with is getting the map updated. With all of the building here in Sacramento County, it will be out of date in 6 months.

I still don't know if I am going to keep it. It is a lot of money for a toy. I did really like the Garmin iQue 3600, but there is a lot of negative reviews of that product. The others products just didn't appear to have any greater value to me.

BOB

H330cic
01-02-2004, 02:22 AM
I got a Roadmate 500, too for Xmas. Just wanted to add a few thoughts to what's already been said:
The first time I turned it on, it took quite a while to figure out where we were. Maybe ~10 minutes or so. Ever since then, it has taken a minute or less. Wow! Probably has something to do with turning it on near where you turned it off.
The A/C vent mount at first wouldn't stay put when making turns or going over bumps (this is in a Mazda Tribute), but when I put 90deg. bends at the tips of the two mount legs that are supposed to be vertical, it held much better.
The routing is very, very fast, but not always accurate. Once it told me to turn on a street to go under a freeway. I could see that the street dead-ended before the freeway, so I didn't take the turn. The nice thing is that it re-routed me after a few seconds and the second route worked.
Some of the directions are a bit confusing, for example, it will say "Stay to the left" when it really means "Go straight / Don't take the exit".
Also, once there was a fork in the road and it didn't say which way to go, so I went straight-ish/left-ish when I really should've gone right. Again, within seconds, it put me on a new route. I believe the GPS signal might have been spotty at the time so there's an instance where hooking up to the speedometer would've been nice.
My main concern is someone breaking into the car and stealing the unit... so for now, I'm disconnecting it and hiding it or bringing it with me everytime I leave the car which is a real PITA.
I'll be getting the built-in DVD nav on my upcoming BMW, so we'll see how it compares.

beware_phog
01-20-2004, 08:05 AM
Anybody used these in Germany?

beware_phog
01-20-2004, 08:06 AM
I got a Roadmate 500, too for Xmas. Just wanted to add a few thoughts to what's already been said:
The first time I turned it on, it took quite a while to figure out where we were. Maybe ~10 minutes or so. Ever since then, it has taken a minute or less. Wow! Probably has something to do with turning it on near where you turned it off.
The A/C vent mount at first wouldn't stay put when making turns or going over bumps (this is in a Mazda Tribute), but when I put 90deg. bends at the tips of the two mount legs that are supposed to be vertical, it held much better.
The routing is very, very fast, but not always accurate. Once it told me to turn on a street to go under a freeway. I could see that the street dead-ended before the freeway, so I didn't take the turn. The nice thing is that it re-routed me after a few seconds and the second route worked.
Some of the directions are a bit confusing, for example, it will say "Stay to the left" when it really means "Go straight / Don't take the exit".
Also, once there was a fork in the road and it didn't say which way to go, so I went straight-ish/left-ish when I really should've gone right. Again, within seconds, it put me on a new route. I believe the GPS signal might have been spotty at the time so there's an instance where hooking up to the speedometer would've been nice.
My main concern is someone breaking into the car and stealing the unit... so for now, I'm disconnecting it and hiding it or bringing it with me everytime I leave the car which is a real PITA.
I'll be getting the built-in DVD nav on my upcoming BMW, so we'll see how it compares.

Why would you buy the build in DVD? You can't download updates and you are stuck in your car with old hardware? I was going to do BMW NAV but now am going to get one of these portables.