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Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T - 7-Inch GPS Navigator for RVers

1 rating: 4.0
A product

The RoadMate Pro 9165T offers a 7-inch HD touchscreen (view larger). Spoken street name guidance hear street names and directions (view larger). Magellan and Good Sam have teamed up to produce the all-new Roadmate Pro 9165T, the GPS navigator … see full wiki

1 review about Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T - 7-Inch GPS...

3.5 Stars - Decent but Overpriced Device with Nice Large Screen and Little Else to Recommend

  • May 2, 2012
  • by
Rating:
+4
GPS navigation devices have come a long way. What used to be exclusive gadgets that only a few could afford has become nearly as ubiquitous as the car stereo. In recent years this trend has only accelerated with the introduction of GPS navigation capabilities to the smartphones. Some of these smartphone GPS solutions are really impressive and give the standalone GPS devices run for their money. However, there is something to be said for having a dedicated device that will do one thing and do it well. That's why I have continued to use the standalone GPS devices, and will likely do so for foreseeable future.

The first thing you notice about this GPS navigator is its size. I knew that 7-inch screen is at least two inches larger than almost any other stand-alone GPS navigation system, but I was still impressed the first time I saw it. Its screen is larger than my Kindle and it's on par with the smaller tablet computers. All this screen real estate helps you see your location and directions better, but if you are driving a smaller car it will definitely reduce your windshield viewing area.

Pairing up the navigator with your Bluetooth-enabled phone is pretty straightforward. The GPS unit works well as a speakerphone and it enables you to do the hands-free calling while traveling.

The Magellan GPS navigators seem to be built upon Windows CE operating system. This is probably the reason why they don't work with Macs and non-Windows desktops. I probably would have never known about this were it not for a Windows-like error message that popped up one day while I was driving. Now if you've had your share of Windows errors and annoyances, you would be very disturbed by this. Fortunately the error message was easily dealt with, but it makes me weary of trusting Magellan with "mission critical" travel navigation.

The screen brightness of this GPS navigation unit leaves a lot to be desired. The screen looks distinctly washed-out, and in bright sunlight you will have to deal with a lot of problems with glare. Under such conditions unless you are directly looking at the screen you will not be able to see almost anything. It is definitely inferior to my Garmin. The large screen size somewhat compensates for this shortcoming though.

The screen uses the resistive touch technology, instead of the more expensive capacitive technology that is found in most today's tablets and smartphones. This means that the touch sensitivity is very low, and you have to press fairly firmly before the screen detects the contact. The touch response time is also not very good, nor is the precision. All of these things become very annoying when you are starting your trip and want to get going as fast as possible. If you've never used a GPS navigation unit and are familiar with smartphones, you may be very frustrated when you first start using it.

The windshield mount is very functional and it attaches securely to the windshield thanks to the very solidly built suction cup. Just like the GPS navigator, the mount's arm is very large, and when fully extended can be up to a foot long. This would come in handy if you are driving a very big truck, but otherwise it's too big for smaller cars. One annoyance with the mount is that you need to attach the charging cable to it before you can attach the GPS navigator to it. I've had many situations over the years where I would start with a GPS navigator mounted on the windshield running on its battery power alone, and then I'd be able to switch it to charger later on. The Magellan's mount design precludes this. On the other hand, it helps make the GPS unit attach more securely to its cradle.

When it comes to the actual GPS navigation, this is definitely an inferior product to Garmin's line of navigators. The good news is that it always found the destination that I was looking for, and I was taken there reasonably quickly. However, there have been too many instances of having to take suboptimal routs. This is particularly the case away from the major roads and highways. Furthermore, the amount of useful information on the screen is rather sparse, and the twists and turns of the road are not as detailed as I would have liked. When you go through an intersection the navigator momentarily loses its sense of direction, but fortunately it also recovers it as soon as you are back on the straight road. If you miss your turn there is a bit of a lag before the RoadMate realizes that. The traffic data is for the most part accurate and useful, especially if you are driving through major urban areas. In smaller towns and rural areas it's usually not accessible, but for the most part these places also don't have serious problems with traffic. The navigation software also has the ability to present pseudo 3D views of off-ramps and onramps in major cities, but this is more of a gimmick and is essentially a slightly souped-up regular navigation.

The voice of the announcer is very mechanical and not very loud. The instructions are oftentimes on a bizarre side, like when hundred is pronounced "one zero zero". You really get a feeling that you are interacting with a machine.

Overall I would rate this GPS navigator as 3.5 stars. The washed-out screen, the somewhat finicky navigation, and the mechanical voice leave a lot of room for improvement. I would definitely recommend that you take a look at some of the Garmin navigators. You can get much better functionality for a much lower price. The only category of drivers that might be better of with this navigator are the RVers. For everyone else this would not be such a great deal.

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