Pros Nice mp3 player, lots of storage, portability (has rechargable battery)
Cons Poor picture quality, poor guidance, slow rerouting
Summary I have a Magellan 700 and I purchased the 800 model because of the nice "features" it has such as an mp3 player and a photo viewer. I traveled for a few days with both of them: the 700 and the 800.
The 800 was supposed to be better but it was a complete disappointment. When I traveled to Massachusetts from New York, the 800 was giving me wrong directions all the way through and it wasn't any better when I took it to work for a couple of days. If I would follow the 800, my trip would be over 50 miles longer and would take one hour more to get to the destination.
The photo viewer is poor quality. The mp3 player plays songs well but the biggest disadvantage of these two features is that you can't use your gps while using these features.
What's the point of using an mp3 player when it's not working while you navigate.
For the price of $800 you can buy a nice 700 model, not 760 or 800 (both have no error correction). For the price of the 800 model, you could buy a 700 model, a separate mp3 player, and a photo viewer. And you will have a nice gps.
Pros Portable, 20GB HD, Touch Screen,
Cons High cost, cannot use MP3/Photo feature concurrently with GPS, possible software issues
Summary This is the first portable GPS road navigation I have bought in my life, so I did a lot of research when I was looking at buying one this year.
I wanted something that I didn't have to load maps on, that was portable and battery powered, that a decent sized screen, and that was the latest and greatest.
Well, the Magellan roadmate 800 definentaly fit the bill. The battery lasts a good while (my guess atleast 2 or 3 hours of use). It has some pretty nice features built in like the re-routing feature; if you get stuck on the freeway in traffic it re-routes you around it. The Garmins will only do this if you have an additional $250 antenna and subscription to their traffic service.
The detailed maps loaded on the 20GB harddrive is really nice. For an additional fee of like $200 you can unlock the already loaded European maps on the harddrive. Oh, and not to forget that you can load MP3's and photo's to a dedicated 4.5GB's which is excellent. Unfortunately, you cannot listen to music or look at photos while the GPS is guiding you.
I've had the unit for about a month now and have used it extensively. I've used it in the suburbs of NYC, LI, and in NYC.
Unfortunately, when I was using it in the city, it made some mistakes in guiding me to the Lincoln Tunnel. This was quite disappointing because one of the main reasons I bought it was for its guiding capablilities within the city. I'm sorry to say I was disappointed with its performance within NYC. When it re-routed me to the tunnel (this is after it said I was on 34'th St when I was actually on 35'th st) it routed me in a direction that was completely incorrect. I think the GPS antenna may have lost its signal, which should not happen (even in the city) with this 12 channel antenna.
As for the re-routing feature, it seems that the algorithim simply tries to get you back to the same route you were on rather than calculating the best route from where you presently are. Once it told me to make a u-turn when i KNEW there was a better route (and thats the route I took, and once I was on MY route the GPS finally caught on).
Another thing I don't like about this unit is that its a little too simple! I would have liked the option to pick different grid systems instead of just Lat/Long like MGRS. More user control over the system would have been nice.
Lastly, sometimes the unit is alittle slow to refresh. Maybe this is due to the processer being to slow for the units 20 Gig HD, not sure.
Overall, the 800 is a nice piece, but it seems there are some issues with the guidance software that I wouldn't mind seeing fixed.
"It's a keeper..."on by markharris
Pros Huge database
Cons Still somewhat bulky
Summary OK, I have been reading so many reviews of my new Roadmate 800 that I decided to take a different approach when writing my review. I am specifically eliminating any mention or emotion regarding the aforementioned sound/picture features which were included in the 800. (I pretend they don't exist, so I don't have any complaints. If I want music or pictures, my iPod Video is right there!).
So, as for the ability for the Roadmate 800 to get me from where I am to where I want to be? NICE! SIMPLY, NICE! It does a great job. Since I just got the 8000 nit last week, I saw that Magellan upgraded firmware to 1.04 a few days later, so I promptly updated my unit and can only review my experience with 1.04 firmware.
As with my previous GPS units, It takes an expected few moments to locate all satellites to start the process, but from that point on, it works fine. Many of the strange or inaccurate screen and touchscreen issues mentioned in other reviews have been addressed in the 1.04 firmware. The female voice is clear, and the maps are easy to follow. They have a nice 3D view (like factory NAV systems on many cars), and they have eliminated the duplication of street names on the same display. I really like the auto volume adjustment (based on speed) and the auto display coloring (based on ambient light). Most importantly, the maps seem to be very accurate, and the POI database is HUGE compared to other units I tested. Even the older Roadmate 500 and 700 series units have a much more limited POI database. They even show roads that have only recently been cleared for new developments to be built.
Overall, I rate this unit nearly perfect. It is battery operated as well for non-car usage, even if a bit bulky for that task. Keep in mind that the USER INTERFACE is probebly the most important detail when choosing a GPS for the car. I needed to find a GPS unit that can take limited input from me, while driving in a new city, late at night, on a unfamiliar road, at 70 miles an hour. Hence, cool features are less important than a well thought-out, "HERTZ Neverlost" like interface. I know anyone can use the interface on the RM800 right out of the box. No manual needed, no need to stop the car and figure out what to press next. The GUI is superb!
Pros Ease of use, preloaded maps, large HD
Cons Map updates non-existant, bulky for portable device
Summary The maps come from NAVTEQ but updates to the map must come from Magellan. I have found many errors with the maps and the directions (interstate exits appear as forks, missing streets that have been there at least 5 years, different routing depending on direction). I have sent queries to Magellan and only received the automated replies, but never the answer to my question.
Magellan web site dowload page for the device shows no map updates, only the manual and firmware. FAQs do not address how to get map updates.
I know I can report map issues to NAVTEQ but it is not clear if the problems I encouter with directions should be reported to Magellan or NAVTEQ - but if it should go to Magellan, then I fear it will be ignored just like my other questions so far.
As for bad directions - I recent went from Atlanta to Destin. Going took about 5 hours and the route it took me was fairly direct. But coming back, it had me exit I-10 at a very west location (compared to where I got to I-10 coming to Destin). This time the route to Atlanta took over 7.5 hours on some back country roads with low speed limits. I have experienced this multiple times where the route it wants to take going to a destination is differnt than the route returning. My advice is take a road atlas or maps and use the GPS primarily for destination assistance.
Other issues I see are that the device will want to take more congested routes - for example I-70 to I-695 (baltimore) to I-95 (north) - the GPS wants me to take 695 south to I395 (tunnel) to I95 (congested and more tolls) while the signs on the interstate intesection of I70 and I695 tell me to take I695 north and east to get to I95 North.
Near my home, there is a residential road that takes me between to state highways (picture this as an "H" - but the GPS does not want me to take this road connecting the two highways - an 8 mile difference in the correct route vs. the GPS supplied route.
I used it once to get around a traffic tie-up and it did well. But I also tried to use it for a Home Depot location and it took me to an empty rural location (just a wooded area).
Magellan delivers it with many POIs and once I tried to find the local Walmart (I was in central Virginia) and it showed me a Walmart in Pennsylvania as being the closest. Obviously they put in Walmarts as POIs but not very many of them.
Finally, don't consider this unit because of the MP3 or photo viewer. It is a GPS and functions best as that - use the other functions and the GPS is not usable.
Pros Bird's-eye view, clear display, rechargeable battery, not too heavy.
Cons Doesn't say street/road names, needs to be louder, freezes up easily.
Summary My girlfriend has an 2004 Acura TL with a built in DVD based GPS system. After having used this to get to all sorts of places and finding gas stations, restaurants, department stores, locally and while travelling I decided I needed to get some sort of GPS system.
Last year I purchased a system for an old Dell laptop with a GPS antenna attached via USB cable. Software was loaded to the hard drive. I powered the laptop with a power inverter connected to the cigarette lighter. After making a platform for the laptop to fit on the center console of my 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche I decided that having the laptop placed there was an inconvenience. It obstructed the cupholders and I had to take my eyes off the road to see the screen.
This past April I purchased a Magellan Roadmate 760 and took it on a road trip from Atlanta to Florida. I liked the Magellan's size, touchscreen feature, and its text-to-speech capabilities (Telling you street names where possible. Oddly, it sometimes uses the less known state route numbers instead of more popular interstate or common street names. In unfamiliar territory this could get confusing.), volume was adequate, the screen was bright and clear, and has hard drive based maps; no need to pre-plan a route and load to a memory card. The unit would automatically increase the volume when it detected your vehicle's speed increasing. It also automatically dimmed the unit for evening use, so as not to night-blind you when driving after dark. What I disliked was that hard drive ran very hot. At first I thought the sun beaming through the windshield directly on the unit was responsible, that wasn't the case. I plugged the device in at home and left it alone for a couple of hours. When I returned to it, it had heated up to the point of being uncomfortable to handle. I worried about the unit's longevity so I returned it as soon as possible. I don't know if this is common to the RM 760, but I thought it best not to find out after the warranty expires.
I saw the Roadmate 800 for sale at local warehouse chain for $500; $100+ less than the 760. There are some significant differences between the 760 and the 800. The major difference between the two is the text-to-speech feature of the 760. The 800 doesn't have it. It doesn't even say major freeway names! It just says, "Make a left/right turn in XX miles..." Then it has two audible tones (one for left, another for right) when you're to make a turn. The RM 760 does this as well, but it announces the street name in advance. Prior to making a turn you get a sliding scale along the bottom of the screen as you get within 200 feet of a turn. (Anyone familiar with installing software or downloading files on a PC will be familiar with this animation.) The RM 800 has bird'eye view that the RM 760 didn't. This does nothing to make the unit easier to use, but I like the vantage point of "flying" directly behind the car-like in a video game-as opposed to floating directly over it. There is an icon on the screen to toggle between the two screen types. The big bonus (for me) between the 760 and the 800 is the 800 has an internal rechargeable battery. I recharged the unit the night I got it. The next day I just mapped out a few locations around town, intalled the suction cup mounting arm to my windshield and drove around for a few hours. (Wasteful of gas, I know.) I didn't use the included cigarette lighter cord, just the battery. The unit never got hot. Stangely the 800's volume was not as loud as the 760, even though they seem to have the same parts. The buttons on the 800 are larger than on the 760 and that makes navigating one-handed all the easier. And even though the 800 comes with a built-in battery it felt lighter than the 760. I don't recommend typing anything while driving, though. Your insurance company would seriously frown on any accidents because of this device. Park it to use it is the smart thing, I think.
Here's a couple of features that has NOTHING to do with the 800s abilities as a GPS. The RM 800 has a built in picture viewer and mp3 player. Why is this important? It's only important if you think having a mediocre camera on a cell phone is a good reason to buy it. You cannot use either the MP3 player or the picture viewer at the same time with the navigation system. I suppose Magellan wanted to make the device irresistible. Hmm...as an MP3 player the unit is too big, but as a mobile picture viewer...not too bad, if you're the sort of person who bores everyone around them with pictures of your latest vacation/child's baseball game...Whatever. You can load files to the device with USB 2.0 or with the built it flash card reader. Nice feature, that. If your significant other likes to tote around a photo album, this device could win you some points.
Be prepared to be patient, though. The unit needs time to process what you want, otherwise it will lock up. Re-powering the 800 clears this up. Check the Magellan website for features and compare between Magellan products. As a GPS device the 800 works great. I appreciate the lightweight and built-in battery. I would love to have the text-to-speech feature, but for the price I can't claim I am dissatisfied with the unit. I'll let you know how it goes later this summer when we head up to New York for a long deserved vacation.