Thursday, November 17, 2005

Magellan Roadmate 800 Review

At UK SatNav, they have run the Roadmate 800 (RM800) for a week or so now, and first impressions are very very good.

The high end Magellan range (700, 760 and now the 800) have always been very impressive units with great feature sets, lovely screens and data entry and very large address books with multiple-destination routing. This contrasts with the entry-level Roadmate 300, which is best forgotten, and about which we will say no more...

The brand new RM800, released in early November 2006, offers a vastly reduced price compared with the RM760, at just £549. This now brings it into the realm of the Tomtom Go 700 and Navman iCN550, both of which are great systems, but do have gaps in their feature lists. As you can see from the product details on the site, the RM800 adds full MP3/AAC playback and photo viewing to the RM760 spec, plus a rechargeable battery (roughly 2 hours duration) and (for me at least) the key features of 3D birds-eye view and multi-destination-optimisation.

The MP3 playback works fine, though the speaker is a little tinny. Sound playback through the headphones is very good, and will easily suffice for the odd trip on the train etc. The unit is a bit bulkier than an iPod but obviously gives you the navigation features too - it is far thinner than both the TTG700 and iCN550 though. Photo viewing is great too, though I am struggling to find an application for it! A 240v mains supply is provided, so you could leave this at your workplace to charge the unit for the journey home. As the unit is battery powered, I imagine it would be great for finding streets on foot in the Big Smoke. A 20GB hard drive provides masses of space too.

Address entry and routing has worked flawlessly. Both the buttons and touchscreen are very tactile and work well. The unit does only have 5-digit postcodes, but as discussed previously, this really isn't an issue. Only 2-5% of your time with a Satnav system is spent entering addresses, it's the rest of the 95%+ that matters, and the RM800 excels. It has the latest NavTeq maps (so superior to the TeleAtlas ones in cheaper units), and offers many different options for each route. The unit also has the acclaimed SmartDetour functionality for routing round delays on the road. POIs can also be imported onto the unit (camera locations etc.) Very impressive.

The screen is bright and very clear, and the long flexible mount will put the unit close to the driver for those with poor sight. The unit is supplied with both screen protectors and a good case, so the screen should stay in good condition. The 3D view is clear to follow, and cleverly is combined with detailed schematics of each turn as it is approached, before automatically returning to a wider view. The unit also automatically switches to a more muted night-time view (cleverly mapped to the time AND date, so seemingly matching dusk time) which avoids the blindingly bright displays at night that other units (Navman iCN650 for example) suffer. The RM800 also has the nice feature of a chime that coincides with the turning being suggested, thus avoiding distracting the driver at busy junctions/roundabouts, and a bar at the bottom of the screen that graphically demonstrates the progress to the next turn. All nice, intuitive, thoughtful features.

In summary, we liked it, a lot! A great system for the Executive that drives a lot of miles each year, or for those that travel by public transport that would appreciate the combined GPS/MP3 functionality. At £549, this is great value too.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]


Anonymous GPS Systems Guides said...

Although this GPS is a little dated. it's still useful up to this day.

Fri Sep 25, 03:02:00 am BST  
Anonymous gps system said...

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Mon Aug 16, 02:25:00 pm BST  

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