Magellan RoadMate 300 Review

Magellan RoadMate 300 Vehicle GPS with Voice Prompting

Amazon Features: [link]

The RoadMate 300 is billed as the first vehicle navigation device made for everyone, but that doesn't mean Magellan has scrimped on features. Designed from top to bottom for simplicity and ease of use, its user interface is the same as that found in the Hertz NeverLost system and the RoadMate 700.

Quickly locate amenities and points of interest along your route.
It uses powerful, 14-channel GPS positioning that's accurate to within three meters thanks to Magellan's TrueFix technology. Turn-by-turn voice prompts guide you on your way and automatically recalculate your route when you get off track, while intelligent routing lets you plan a trip based on shortest travel time, most or least use of freeways, or avoidance of tolls.

Meanwhile, the locate feature displays your current location and allows you to save it to the address book. Finally, you can select destinations by entering an address or intersection, selecting an address from the address book, touching a point on the map, or by choosing from more than 1.7 million points of interest like airports, gas stations, and restaurants. All of these features make the RoadMate 300 a snap to use right out of the box.

Performance of Magellan RoadMate 300

"Magellan has always produced accurate GPS products, and the RoadMate 300 is no exception. The first time we fired it up, we had to wait for close to five minutes for the unit to obtain a 3D fix (four satellites), which was longer than we expected but not unreasonable. Subsequent start-up times were typically 5 to 10 seconds. We maintained a strong lock throughout our drive from Long Island to Manhattan, losing reception only when we hit the Midtown tunnel (which is normal) and for a brief moment down near the Wall Street area. Our position on the map was spot-on, and the driving directions were flawless. The RoadMate handled an unplanned detour off the Expressway without skipping a beat, guiding us safely through unfamiliar territory and back onto the main road."
via [CNET]

Customer Reviews from Amazon and CNET

Took me to Vegas:
"I bought the Roadmate 300 to help navigate my drive from San Francsico to Las Vegas for the CES 2005 show. At first it took a long time to get a signal but after it got hold of our location, it worked great. The first time you use it it will take a while for a signal...about 15 minutes sometimes. Also if you turn it off and take it to another place far away and then turn it on, it will take a while to find you. If you leave it on everywhere you go then it finds you fast because it knows where it left off.

To solve this long signal delay problem I have experimented and found that if you go to Options and then specify your general current location to the device, the satellite will pick up the signal quite quickly. Basically if you turned the device off and moved to another place far away before turning it on again, it has a harder time finding you so you can help it by telling it where you are: I do this by hitting the Options button and going into the menu to set the general current location like a street intersection, etc. I believe it is labelled "SET GPS LOCATION" or something like that (have to double check). Then I type in the street intersection or an address I am close to and
it seems to pick up the satellite signal rather quickly afterwords. I guess it is because you have given it a general location for it to find you again after the long move or change of location while it was off.

It took me to Vegas with no problems and the points of interests listed Chinese restaurants in the area when my parents wanted to have some Chinese for dinner instead of Vegas buffet. :) Really cool.

There is room for improvement in this technology but for navigating and getting you there it is great!

The suction cup stays on the windshield and is very strong but the device is a bit tough to remove when you want to hide it when parking. The mounting plate is hard plastic with a tight fit grooved design so it requires two hands and a relatively forceful slide to get it off the gooseneck. This can be improved to be an easier release in the future (Hey Magellan, hire my company to design your next product casing, I'm an industrial designer ha-ha!

I took some wrong turns and it always recalculated and got me back on track. Sometimes it does take a round about way to get somewhere but in general you will never get totally lost again with this in your car.

Sometimes the touch screen will require you to press it twice as it doesn't register. Sometimes the device does not ask you to resume the trip if you stopped and turned the car off when getting gas or stopping for a rest (but I just use "Previous Destinations" button to select it again..a few times I had to re-enter my final destination. But that is a minor software glitch to me since the important thing is if it gets me to where I want to go safely and accurately.

I got a 256MB SD card to load the entire West Coast into the device but sometimes it is hard to quickly get the address I want as it begins to list a whole bunch of cities. I would take their advice next time and just load the cities I will be travelling to. I just got lazy and selected entire states...took a while to load all that data into the device from my PC but it is not something I have to do all the time so that's OK.

I would recommend this product to anyone who wants to do away with reading maps and stressing out on a trip to unfamiliar territory. So far I have been relatively satisfied with what it can do. As the technology evolves I am sure all the issues I mentioned will be resolved but for now it does its job quite well and I am able to find and drive to places without much headache or fear of getting lost."

CNET Customer:

It is awesome! searches for any restaurant by name, and gives their phone number too! step by step voice directions and re-routes you if you don't follow the computer's voice directions. Was suprised that 32mb internal memory was more than enough to handle all of the intricate details of 4-5 surrounding states. If I need more, just buy a little memory card.

Just make sure the antenna is pointing to the air, or you are not going to get signal. Also takes about 5-10 minutes to find your location. Don't get frustrated though

View the product manual [Download: PDF, 6MB] - source: Amazon