Article, March 2012
By George Harding,
Treasurer, Tucson Computer Society, AZ
November 2011 issue, eJournal
There are many manufacturers of GPS driving devices. One of the best is Magellan. I was provided with the 9055-LM to review. What a pleasure! First of all, the box contents: Roadmate receiver, mount for windshield, car power adapter, USB cable and handbook (English, French and Spanish). You need to charge the device first, or operate it in your car, connected to the power outlet (used to be called cigarette lighter). The first screen you see is a list of Do Nots: don’t program the unit while driving, remain attentive, obey traffic laws and more. It is wise to obey these, since the temptation is to play with the unit while you’re driving, which may result in an accident.
The main screen is large (a 7” touch screen) and shows where you are and, if you’ve entered a destination, the beginning of your route. To enter a destination you are asked for city, street and number, if you know these. If you just want to go to the nearest McDonald’s you choose a different method.
As you travel your route, you are given spoken directions, although these can be turned off or the volume turned up or down. I found some of the spoken instructions a bit hard to understand. If you stray from the route provided, a revised routing is almost immediately put into place. There is no “recalculating” message, just how to proceed from where you are currently.
The main window has several parts: a One Touch button, distance to next move, how to turn at the next move, traffic icon if there are warnings en route, ETA, zoom out/in, Main Menu, POIs and volume. The One Touch button takes you to a screen where you can save and access searches. For example, to go home, set up a search to your home address, save it in one of the buttons and name it. Other destinations you access frequently can be stored this way for convenient access.
“Distance to next move” shows miles to that spot, which may be a turn to a new street, the way to veer at a Y or simply to go straight on through. The “How to turn” indication is an arrow that is straight, angled left or right or half-right or left. It tells you which way you’ll be turning so you can get into the correct lane.
The “Traffic” icon will warn you of traffic delays or routing if they exist. This function only works when the device is plugged into the car adapter. The unit comes with lifetime service for traffic warnings. “ETA” shows when you are expected to arrive at your destination. You can tap that portion of the screen to get distance, speed and time remaining. Zoom in and out change your view of the display. “Main menu” moves you to a screen with several options for tools: create a route to an address or a point of interest, access address book and user settings. Creating a route may involve inputting an address. You are given an entry panel in which you enter the city, then street, then number. If you don’t know the address, you can enter an intersection instead.
Or you might want to go to a specific business, such as Wendy’s, Costco or Walgreen’s. The result of any of these destination requests is a 3-D map showing where you are and the beginning of the route you need to take. Or you can access the driving directions list, which shows which street for how many miles, how to turn and so on.
The unit comes with lifetime map updates, which is a valuable feature. Street names change over time and new streets come into being about every day.
Two other features differentiate this unit from others, Bluetooth and AAA. The unit can pair with your cell phone so that you can receive calls “hands-free” and have a better speaker for that use than the one in your cell phone. The AAA Tour Book feature makes available locations and ratings for hotels, motels, attractions, events and more, as well as addresses and phone numbers. You can set up any of these as a destination on your map.
An interesting add-on to this unit is the Back-up camera. It fits on your license plate holder and shows the view behind you, replacing the normal map view. The $150 cost may be worthwhile.
There are many more features available to you, but these will be the most frequently used. Magellan provides a one-year limited warranty to the original owner that the unit is free of defects in workmanship and materials, and it will perform according to specifications.Click here to return to top
About: Roadmate 9055-LM
Price: $280 from Magellan