Magellan Meridian Color Traveler GPS Review

Magellan Meridian Color Traveler GPS
Value Pack with 64 MB
Secure Digital Memory Card


From Magellangps.com :
The Meridian® Color GPS Traveler Value Pack has everything you need. You get the rugged Magellan® Meridian Color to guide you on the trail, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing or wherever your outdoor adventure takes you. Plus the advanced Magellan MapSend® DirectRouteTM software to give you turn-by-turn street guidance while driving, riding or walking around town or across the country. This complete package also includes a 64 MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card for downloading and storing detailed street-level mapping data, vehicle mounting bracket, PC data cable with cigarette lighter adapter and two AA batteries.
ZD-Net Customer Review:
Pros:
Great GPS and mapping, directions right on. Alerts well before each turn. Uses standard SD cards for data storage.

Cons:
Data transfer is using a serial cable. This is S..L...O..W. It's 2004. They could at least give you USB speed. Downloading a 20Mb map of the Bay area took about 1 hour. And lots of newer computers don't even have a serial port. And if you have a Mac, you don't need their software...No voice prompts. It does beep to tell you when you're approaching a turn, but you need to look down to see what direction. If I had to do it again, I'd get the standalone color Magellan, then find software that can dump data straight to an SD card reader, so I could move data faster.
From amazon:

Overall, we were pleased with this car navigation kit. The Meridian's color screen definitely helps with quickly viewing details while driving (or while hiking or mountain biking), though it did take awhile to get used to looking at the screen when alerted to a turn. If you do worry about the hazard of having to divert attention from the road, you should think about moving up to the Magellan Roadmate, which offers voice instructions. --Agen G.N. Schmitz

Pros:

  • The kit has everything you need to get maps easily loaded into the GPS receiver
  • Color LCD is very readable--routes and icons pop off the screen
  • Mounting bracket has a strong, firm arm that bends both vertically and horizontally
  • Mapping software is easy to use and transfer
  • Cons:

  • SD memory card slot not easily accessible
  • Mounting bracket suction pads aren't 100% secure and are not quickly adjustable

  • What's in the Box
    Meridian Color GPS receiver, MapSend DirectRoute software, 64 MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card, PC data cable with cigarette lighter adapter, 2 AA batteries, vehicle mounting bracket, and user's manual.

    Amazon customer review: [link]
    This is the coolest gadget I've used in a long time!

    Setup was simple - just follow the onscreen instructions and soon the unit will be searching for satellites and locking onto your location. From my bedroom window (house is on a hill) the Meridian Color was able to find 5 satellites within a couple of minutes and then keep the signal as I moved to the other side of the house to my office. Very impressive.

    As far as the MapSend software goes, it loaded fine and quickly found the COM port that had the GPS unit attached. The only tricky spot was having to upgrade the firmware on the GPS unit itself since the pre-loaded version was 3.4x and the upgrade was 5.1x. The instructions provided on the upgrade CD-ROM didn't match the software setup at all.

    Fortunately the software has limited options so it wasn't difficult to figure out (Go to UPLOAD and select Program Code Only making sure that the unit is on and has a fresh set of batteries installed. Then find the right .hex file for your GPS unit that's on the CD-ROM provided.) Don't freak, just read the instruction sheets before trying to do the upgrade.

    Anyway, the unit appears to be working great. The color screen is terrific and has a High/Low setting (hold the PWR button down a few seconds) to save on battery life.

    The unit also insists that only one mapping image can uploaded into the unit at a time. Not good if you want to visit more than 1 region over a period of time. The trick is to "pretend" you're uploading a region but have the GPS receiver turned off or disconnected. Proceed with the map preparation until the software says it can't find your unit then cancel out. Go find the .img files in the Program Files/Magellan/MapSend DirectRoute NA/Export/Images directory and then copy them to your SD card using Windows Explorer just as you would any other file. Sounds complicated but it's really just a basic file transfer.

    After the files have transferred, stick the SD card back in and power up. The maps can be found by pressing MENU/CARD UTILITIES/CHANGE MAP.

    Unfortunately, it's the battery life that's the reason this GPSR gets only 4 stars and not 5. This unit is a battery hog! If you use the color screen on high don't expect more than 6 hours per set of batteries.

    Because of this I've ordered a separate 12v cigarette lighter power cable for the car and will keep the power/data cable for home use. The cable only comes with a 12v cigarette plug so I've also purchased a 110v to 12v adapter so that I can use household current. I also bought a swivel mount to use at home as a cradle -- no need to use the attachment screw on the connector and the unit is upright and viewable. Extra stuff to clutter my desk but it should save me from a lot of aggravation.

    Overall the Magellan Meridian Color appears to be a great GPS receiver and the point-to-point routing features for use in the car (MapSend DirectRoute software comes with the Traveler's Pack bundle) is terrific. The expandable standard SD card capability is a feature only Magellan seems to have (Garmin, are you listening?) and that, along with the color screen, should be reason enough to get this snazzy little unit.

    Happy triangulating!