Review: Magellan RoadMate 1430 GPS
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Reviewed by Ryan McLaughlin on 08/03/2008
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  • Brian

    As an outdoorsman and avid user of handheld GPS devices, I recently had the opportunity to take a Magellan RoadMate 1430 on a vacation to Santa Cruz. First off, let me say that this technology is very, very cool. It is incredible to think that the day of maps and getting lost are over! Literally! If a person has a working GPS, a destination and a way to get there, its a done deal. Even in my wildest dreams, I would not have ever imagined 20 years ago that we would have this technology today.

    To me, this technology has been very well implemented. With visual and audio indicators, once a person learns to trust the svelte but not too sexy female voice, unknown and foreign trails (streets) are easily conquered.

    Having come from the handheld GPS world, converting to the RoadMate was a bit intimidating. I was use to having to plan a trip before it began. I would create routes and waypoints of major intersections along the way. Then I would transfer all this information to my handheld then along the way, I would pay strict attention to the road signs as I would approach waypoints or intersections. It took considerable planning beforehand and a certain amount of concentration during the trip. The beauty of this system over a road map however, was that I still could not get lost. I always knew the direction to the next intersection even though I didn’t necessarily know the direct path to get there.

    Enter, the RoadMate! Once I threw out my old way of thinking and simply entered an address as a destination, I didn’t need to worry about anything else. Just listen and follow directions (I guess this was tough for me because I am not always good at listening to a woman telling me what to do. My wife concurs!). The thing that amazed me most was the accuracy of the intersections. WHEN THE CHIME SOUNDS, YOU BETTER BE TURNING! Once we got the system figured out, we were racing around the streets of San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Cruz like we had been raised there. It was fantastic! In fact, Maggy (short for Magellan) as we soon started to affectionately call her, became our trusted 5th companion in the car. But oh how nice it was to be able to turn her off or down when she became a little too bossy!

    It totally amazed my friend when he announced that he was craving a shake from Dairy Queen. Too bad that we don’t know where one is at! he said glumly. At that, I punched a few buttons, handed the RoadMate to my wife and told her to type in Dairy Queen. Half a minute later, it announced that we were 1.68 miles from the closest Dairy Queen. Less than 10 minutes later and to the total amazement of my friend, we were parked smack in front of a Dairy Queen. Wow, he said reeling at the prospects of his inventing mind. I wished I would have been the one who came up with and capitalized on that idea.

    As great as the RoadMate is, it is not without its faults. And we are lucky enough to have more than one manufacture to choose from. But whos implementation is best? Well I am not sure of that but I do know this for sure: I will not be spending my money on a new unit that does not have a QWERTY keyboard. Having had a lot of experience with Magellans hand held models, my frustrations with this company go back several years for seemingly simple but stupid marketing decisions. In my opinion, their first huge marketing blunder was in their implementation of the 3-D topographical map program for their Explorist line of handheld devices. Magellan changed their source of core map content with this program. In doing so, they REMOVED all of their trails and most of their dirt roads in favor of including the feature to view the map in a 3-D mode on a PC. To an avid outdoorsman, trails and dirt roads are Holy Grail. If you remove that and you remove one of the major reasons of having a handheld GPS in the first place. Is the ability to view your maps in 3-D cool and useful? Sure, but not at the cost of no trail or dirt roads! This is simply unacceptable and the reason I switched to Garmin! Period!

    Now, back to the QWERTY keyboard, another Magellan marketing oversight! Who owns a GPS that has never typed on a keyboard? Give me a break! Every time I would have to type something into the RoadMate, I would be hunting and pecking like a technology klutz. It felt awkward and easily took me two to three times longer to enter the information than what it should have. Every time I had to endure this ordeal, I became more and more frustrated. Even my wife, without any preconceived notion about this irritation, commented several times about how stupid the keyboard was. As stated previously, this was enough of an annoyance that I will not buy one that does not at least give the option of a QWERTY keyboard. Even at this time, the oversight continues with their most recent models.

    Working with waypoints or landmarks (locations saved by the user) was not a strong point either. The interface was not intuitive and I had to hunt for saved locations. Another feature I missed was the ability to know the level of zoom of the main screen. Oddly, this information was available on the screen at all times when in 2-D mode was missing on the 3-D screen. It would have been nice to have it in both places.

    Another smaller inconvenience was in routing. It does not always seem to pick the best route to your destination. For example, when doing some testing in my neighborhood, I always take a certain path home from work. Why? Because it is the fastest! The optimal street is a major road that has the fewest stop lights. However, the RoadMate, when set to find the Fastest route kept wanting me to turn off the major road and onto a parallel side street that was a more direct route but slower. However, knowing the massive amount of information that must be sifted through to estimate the best possible route, I can forgive this small and infrequent quirk. The bottom line is this: It always got us to our destination!

    My final answer: The RoadMate is close to being a perfect travel companion. One major hang-up prevents me from spending my money on one yet. Whichever manufacture comes out with a comparable unit with a QWERTY keyboard will get my money.

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  • Danny

    I am very dissapointed with the one I bought. Can not get any help with it and the warrenty is soon running out. I think that is why they are delaying an answer. Mine will not give you directions. the only directions it gives is in th simulate mode.

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  • Ben

    I have been using the 1430 for a few days now with reserved satisfaction. Comparing to my BMW CD based nav the maps are well illustrated. As for routing, I notice the refresh slower in the 1430 than on my car, althought I am not intending to watch it like a movie.
    Interesting the comments above are accurate in my case. While the routing is pretty good, the unit does not pick the best route for my drive to work. I have tried the different route select settings (fastest, shortest, most highway, least highway) If I was visiting from out of town, I think I would be fine either way.
    I put in several locations using zip, postal code, and POI. It is user freindly and much easier than my BMW unit.
    Agreeing with above, I would prefer a qwerty keyboard, but then the focal point for pushing buttons would be smaller, and more mistakes typing in the info.
    As for the price of 159.99 including 1 year live traffic and a software update on activation…that is the biggest reason that I bought this unit for my 2nd vehicle that has no nav.

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  • Because of other reviews, and an article in the AARP magazine, we purchased this GPS (after waiting AND waiting to buy one). Prices have been steadily dropping. Bought this one because of the integrated traffic receiver.

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  • George D.

    A new 1430 can be purchased from Tiger Direct for $129.99. A map upgrade from Magellan is $79.99!! For that price I will just purchase a new GPS but not from Magellan! Why doesn’t Magellan offer a file download to upgrade the maps. Wouldn’t this be cheaper and less trouble for all??

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