The RoadMate 9055-LM starts, like most PNDs, with a touch screen. Only instead of a 3.5- or 5-inch display, the RoadMate 9055-LM boasts a massive 7-inch screen (measured diagonally). Magellan markets the RoadMate 9055-LM to owners of big trucks and RVs and you may be thinking that a screen so large is probably overkill for the average passenger car -- that certainly was my first thought upon attaching the RoadMate 9055-LM to the windshield of our tiny 2007 Chevrolet Aveo test car. However, after a bit of adjustment of the PND's mounting arm, I found that the extra square inches of real estate really could be helpful in a passenger car.
Massive screen aside, the RoadMate 9055-LM isn't dramatically different from your standard Magellan navigator. Look closely at the device's glossy black bezel and you'll find the pinhole opening for the device's microphone. Along the top edge is a power switch that gives users manual control over activating and deactivating the unit. The unit's power can also be automatically controlled by the USB power connection located on the bottom edge of the RoadMate 9055-LM unit -- plugging in to power causes the unit to spring to life and disconnecting brings up an onscreen prompt that give users 10 seconds to decide to operate on battery power before automatically powering off.
The bottom edge of the unit is also home to a microSD card slot that can be used for installing map updates and a video input that is used in concert with Magellan's Wireless Back-Up Camera. Check out the full review of that product for more details on how this works.
The back surface of the unit is where you'll find the RoadMate 9055-LM's speaker and the grooves that are used to attach the unit to its mounting cradle. You'll recall that I mentioned that this cradle's adjustability was key in bringing my opinion around on whether or not the RoadMate 9055-LM's 7-inch screen was too big for a normal-size car. Most suction-cup mounts for PNDs feature a single point of articulation (usually at the point where the neck meets the back of the device), are only about 2 to 3 inches long at best, and can only be mounted to nonporous surfaces like glass. The RoadMate 9055-LM's cradle features three points of articulation (one at the base, one midway up the arm, and a third where the arm meets the unit), measures about a foot in length at its longest (but can also be shortened to about 8 inches if necessary), and can be mounted to almost any smooth surface without the aid of an adhesive mounting puck thanks to a mounting cup that makes use of a combination of a tacky adhesive material and a lever actuated suction cup. The price that you pay for this level of flexibility is that the cradle assembly is rather, well, flexible. Tapping the unit's touch screen (or even going over a large bump) causes the RoadMate 9055-LM unit to jiggle about like a bobble-head doll, which can be rather annoying.
Of course, my first instinct was to install the RoadMate 9055-LM on my test car's windshield like I would with any other PND, but I quickly realized that placing a massive screen directly into my field of view while driving was a bit foolish. However, after a bit of fiddling with that flexible mounting arm, I was able to settle on a configuration that uses the suction cup's ability to mount to a dashboard to hang the unit below the dashboard level and down into the center stack area where the car's stereo and climate controls are already located. The result is that the large screen ends up sitting about where a similarly sized screen would in an OEM navigation system. In this configuration, I was able to keep the entire windshield and forward view clear, keep the screen within my peripheral vision, and simultaneously reducing the reaching distance required to interact with the unit.
Users are able to lock the included 12-volt power adapter's Mini-USB connector into the base of the cradle so that it automatically plugs into its port on the base of the RoadMate 9055-LM when locking the unit into the dock. Although the RoadMate 9055-LM is too big to be placed and removed with one hand, this tiny feature did eliminate the need to wrangle with the power cable every time I entered and exited the vehicle.
The RoadMate 9055-LM at its core has many of the features that we've seen in the rest of Magellan's RoadMate lineup. The map screen places its controls in each of its four corners and along the screen's edges, with buttons for OneTouch, volume control, the Main Menu, zoom in and out, travel information, and traffic. While navigating, the 9055-LM gives live updating spoken turn-by-turn directions with useful features such as spoken street names, highway lane guidance, and speed limit alerts. We especially like the way the system uses chimes instead of speech to signal when it's time to turn, so the system doesn't feel like it's jabbering on endlessly.