Have you ever been lost while in a strange town, or even in your own town? I frequently have to go to new places. Usually, I just go online and print off a map and directions. Now, with Magellan RoadMate 2000, I can just hop in the car and go. The RoadMate 2000 tells me where my turns are and how long it will take to get there.
- Turn-by-turn voice and visual guidance
- Multi-destination routing
- Auto Re-route
- Nearly 1.3 million points of interest (POI)
- 3.5″ color touch screen
Interacting with the RoadMate 2000 is really easy. All interaction takes place by touching the screen. There are no buttons on the outside of the RoadMate 2000 except for the power button. The buttons on the screen are big enough to see clearly and push, so people with big fingers don’t even have to worry about hitting the wrong button. The screen does require a firm press, so make sure the RoadMate is firmly mounted or else it will move when you press the screen. Even with the on-screen buttons it can still be distracting if you are trying to drive and select a destination. It would be nice if there was some kind of speech recognition so you could just tell the RoadMate to activate menus and go to destinations.
Voice prompting is great. This is also a big must for driving. You don’t want to have to always be looking at the screen to see when your next turn is, so the RoadMate will give you prompts. It will start by telling you when you are about 2 miles from your turn, and then 1 mile, and again at about half a mile. Then, just before you make your turn a chime will sound to indicate you are there. This model has all announcements made in a female voice.
The RoadMate 2000 comes pre-loaded with maps of the 48 contiguous United States, so you don’t need to worry about setting it up. I did not see any way to update the maps, but Magellan told me they will provide periodic downloads with new maps that will have the latest streets and roads.
There is an extensive set of configurations and settings that you can change. Some of the options included in those menus are: changing the colors that the maps and other screens are shown in, managing the trip computer, backing up and restoring your settings, address book, and changing the map from 3D to 2D.
SmartDetour will automatically give you an alternate route if it detects that you have not moved very far for a while on a freeway or highway. This option can be disabled in the settings, or at the time it offers you another route you can reject it and stay on your current course. I only had this come on once and that was when I was on an off ramp waiting to turn, but the RoadMate thought I was still on the freeway.
Auto Re-route will make sure that you are always on the right track even if you make the wrong turn. If you get off track the RoadMate 2000 will automatically calculate the best route from your current location. Most of the time it will direct you back to the previous route.
The internal antenna is a 20 channel multi-directional patch SirfstarIII, and it really offers great reception. Except for when I was indoors, I never had any trouble with connecting to the GPS satellites. The accuracy is 3 to 5 meters (10 – 16 feet) – WAAS/EGNOS, < 7 meters (15 feet) – GPS only.
This model also has a Li-Ion rechargeable 1200mA battery. It also plugs into a car with a 12 V DC vehicle adapter or the wall with a 12 V AC adapter. The battery is nice because you can take the RoadMate 2000 with you and plan your routes before you get in your car. The battery offers up to 3 hours of continuous use, which isn’t a lot, but it gives you enough time to setup a few routes and destinations.
This model has no internal memory that is available for use, but you get unlimited storage with the use of SD cards.
The RoadMate 2000 is much smaller and lighter than previous RoadMates. It is only 4.28″ W x 3.15″ H x 1.12″ D and only 7.8 oz. This is really nice because you can take it with you when you leave your car, which reduces the chance of it getting stolen. It mounts on your windshield or dash with the included mount. If you want to mount it to the windshield then you simply suction the mount to the window. If you want to mount this to your dash then you use the included plastic disk with sticky tape on one side. You stick the disk to the dash then suction the mount to the disk. The mount has multiple hinges so you can adjust it to fit any angle. The mount is also very secure. I did not have any trouble with it slipping out of position, although because it is so big it did vibrate a bit with the bumps in the road. The screen is the same size as previous RoadMates. This screen gives you plenty of space to see it from a greater distance and also interact with the touch screen. There is also a single speaker so the RoadMate can talk to you.
The front of the RoadMate 2000 has a 3.5″ color touch screen display which is touch sensitive so that you can interact with the RoadMate. The interface is the same that Magellan has used in all its RoadMates dating back several years. While it is very functional it is old and showing its age. I highly recommend that Magellan spend some time updating the look and feel of the RoadMate software. One thing in particular is how often the map updates while you are driving. It updates about once a second. While this is adequate to see where you are going it is not smooth. If they updated it 3 times a second or so then it would look much more smooth and give you the sensation of more real time tracking.
On the back is where the mounting hardware attaches. The vent on the back is the speaker.
On the left of the RoadMate is an SD card slot, reset button, and a hold button. If the RoadMate ever stops working, the Reset button is used to clear it up and start over. When the RoadMate comes from the factory the reset is on. You need to turn it off before you can use it. The hold button puts the RoadMate into standby, turns off the screen, and turns on the power saving mode.
The right side has the power button, USB port, headphone jack and power plug. Pressing the power button once turns it on, holding it down for two seconds start the shutdown process. The USB port is for updating maps and Points of Interest. The Headphone jack is for listening to the directions, but since it is illegal in most states to have headphones on while driving you will probably never use this.
Using the RoadMate 2000 is really simple. Setup and customization can take a little while if you have a lot of addresses that you are entering. You don’t have to worry about going outside to do the initial setup. The initial setup can be done inside where you don’t have a GPS signal. Things like entering your personal information, addresses, configuring the color scheme, voice prompts and other things do not require a GPS signal. The RoadMate even comes pre-charged so you can start using it right away. The only thing you need to do is switch the reset to off and turn it on. Once you are ready to create a route you will need to go outside.
Creating a route is extremely easy. All you need to do is enter your destination and if you are in a place that you can receive a GPS signal it will create a route from your current location to the destination. There are several ways to select a destination. The first way is to choose one of the 1.3 million points of interest that come preloaded on the GPS. The next way is to enter the address manually. This is made really easy with the QuickSpell technology. QuickSpell intelligently sorts, searches, and checks spelling for rapid address entry with minimal keystrokes, accelerating your data entry by matching letters to the available destinations. For example, if you typed the letter S for the city the RoadMate will only show letter that could follow that S in a city name as the next letter. Also, if you have typed enough letters that there are no more variations possible, the RoadMate will automatically switch to a list of cities and let you choose the one you want. The last way to get a destination is to choose it from the address book. This is a list of previously entered addresses.
Once you have your destination in you can choose one of four different paths. You can choose Shortest Time, Shortest Distance, Least Use of Freeways, or Most Use of Freeways. Most people will probably use the shortest time, but in case you don’t like to use freeways, then you can choose the least used freeways. You can also link destinations together to create a route. If you are taking a trip across the country and you have several places that you want to see then you can plug them in and the RoadMate 2000 will find the best path for you.
If you are moving it takes longer to find your current location and calculate a route. It can take as long a 40 seconds if you are moving and as little as 1 second if you are stationary. You should be stopped when you first create a route. It may take an even longer time to find your location if you turned off your GPS in one location and didn’t turn it on again until you moved away.
As you move along the route the RoadMate 2000 will keep you informed about how far you are away from your next turn. Your first prompt will come at about 2 miles out. You will be reminded of the turn again at about 1 mile and again at about .5 miles. The final announcement will be telling you your turn is approaching. When you get to the turn you will hear a short chime. There is a different chime for left and right turns. There is also a prompt for when you are getting close to your destination, and when you actually arrive at your destination. If two turns are really close together it gives you both in the same audio.
Sounds are not the only indicator that you get when you are approaching your turn. The screen also has information about your location and how far away you are from your turn and destination. In addition to the map which has a big purple line marking your route, there is also a series of numbers under the map which indicate the distance to the next turn, the time to destination, the direction to destination and your current distance from your destination. When you get close to your next turn a small progress bar will appear to show how close you are.
If you happen to make a wrong turn the RoadMate 2000 will recalculate the route and tell you the best way to get to your destination, most of the time it will just tell you to turn around and go back to where you made your wrong turn. It is possible that you go so far off track that it will recalculate a completely new route. If you keep going the wrong way then it will continue to recalculate so that it can keep up with your current location. There were several times when recalculating it seems the RoadMate did not choose the best path.
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get lost while I had the RoadMate 2000 with me. I did go on a couple new roads that were not in the RoadMate’s maps. These areas were just blank, and the RoadMate did not recalculate until I approached a road it knew about. Parking lots are a good example of this. I parked in a parking lot that happened to be close to a freeway. When I started the RoadMate up it calculated the start of my route on the freeway instead of the road that attached to the parking lot. Because of this I ended up having to find my own way to the freeway and the freeway ended up not being the fastest way to my destination.
Even though I say I never got lost, there were a couple times that the RoadMate lead me down the wrong street. This particular RoadMate seems to prefer taking back roads and neighborhood streets. When making a routine trip back from work I had the RoadMate set to the fastest time. When I got close to my neighborhood the RoadMate told me to actually turn early and go through another neighborhood to get to mine. This lead me winding through the small, slow streets until I finally got home. My normal route takes a much larger and faster street and it gets me home much earlier. Maybe the RoadMate is not aware of the speed limits so it looks only and distance.
Also, some of the maps and points of interest are out of date. While driving around the RoadMate 2000 tried to lead me down a road that no longer existed. It looked like a new road had been built in its place. I don’t know how long the road had been there, but I could tell it was at least a couple months old.
I also wanted to point out that I had the RoadMate 2000 crash on me several times. Each time the RoadMate would reboot. This would not require me to click the agreement again, but I did have to reselect my route. During a long trip across several states the RoadMate claimed it lost its connection to the satellites. I checked the satellites screen and it showed that it was tracking 9 satellites, but it would not show a route and the signal strength said zero. I tried rebooting it and I tried shutting it down, nothing seemed to work. So as a last resort I flipped the reset button. This actually did the trick. When I moved the reset button back the RoadMate started up and started tracking me again.
|RoadMate 2000 in action|
Warranty and Support
The RoadMate 2000 comes with a one year warranty. This is actually down from previous models that used to have a two year warranty. This is horrible as far a warranties go. Especially since there are no moving parts it should last longer.
Another thing you want to take into consideration when purchasing a GPS is the frequency of updates. A GPS with old maps is more than useless, it can get you lost and make your trip very bad. Magellan does not publish how and when map updates will appear, so I had to ask. According to my contact at Magellan they do not offer any updates for their RoadMates until they have been out for at least a year. For a map this is a really long time. Other GPS companies seem to offer monthly updates. I would recommend to Magellan that they consider increasing the frequency of updates. For example, in just the last month my city has demolished some streets and built some new ones. The RoadMate does not know about this and so it often tries to send me down streets that don’t exist. If I was in a town that I was not familiar with this would cause a huge mess as I tried to find another route. Perhaps Magellan should offer an option on the RoadMate to “find an alternate route” so that you can automatically go around these streets. Also, if the RoadMate could learn, you could tell it that streets don’t exist any more and it could plot new streets as you drive on them.
The RoadMate 2000 offers all the features that a road warrior could want. I could not think of a single feature that I would want that the RoadMate did not provide. I highly recommend it for anyone who is on the road a lot and often in unfamiliar territory. Because it is portable it would even be good for someone who flys and rents cars to get around. Because of its short battery life, large size, and lack of topographical maps it is not for campers and hikers, you may want to consider the Magellan eXplorist 600. At the time of this review the RoadMate 2000 costs about $399.99, so spend your money wisely. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|