The Magellan SmartGPS, the latest GPS device from Magellan, is the perfect product for people who don’t already have an Android smartphone or an iPhone or for people wanting the added benefits of a dedicated GPS device.
Magellan SmartGPS Overview
The Magellan SmartGPS does fairly well with navigation. Search by address, place of interest, recent places or saved favorites and let the Magellan SmartGPS take you there. A dedicated car mount with a movable arm displays your GPS beautifully and effectively in your car. Spoken directions allow you to keep your eyes on the road and drive safely. If a wrong turn is made during navigation, the device will quickly recognize your error, and re-route you in seconds.
In addition to navigation, the Magellan SmartGPS also comes with a host of extras. Choose to have you current speed or the current speed limit overlaid on the map. On the large, 5” screen, additional areas of customizable content also appear next to the map display. Fill these ‘smart squares’ with a multitude of different types of information, all of which update in real time. View the latest data on Yelp restaurant ratings and points of interest as you speed through town. If all of this seems like information overload, swipe your finger from left to right across the screen, pulling the map over to occupy the entire viewable area.
Magellan SmartGPS Video
While in the car, give your Magellan SmartGPS access to data on the go by pairing the unit with your smartphone. Through this connection, get the most up-to-date information about the world around you as you drive, including current weather, traffic information and gas prices.
Use the ‘My Places’ feature on the Magellan SmartGPS to store your favorite locations so you can navigate to them over and over again with ease. Plan an upcoming trip, loading stops and other data so you can be ready to put the pedal to the medal the second you get in the car. Also, don’t worry about ever needing to remove your SmartGPS from your vehicle; instead, use the Magellan SmartGPS iPhone or Android application from your home or office and then sync all data wirelessly to your Magellan SmartGPS.
Magellan SmartGPS User Review
The Magellan SmartGPS was designed to take navigation the next level, moving beyond simple maps and directions to integration with additional useful types of content that people might want to know about while driving. Although seemingly simple, this task is actually much more complicated.
There is so much data and information available in today’s connected world that to decide what is actually useful to people while driving is challenging. Would people care about garage sales, apartments for rent, houses for sale, yoga class times, and events happening that day for instance? Maybe some would, but others definitely wouldn’t.
Also, time of day is no doubt a consideration. Exercise class times, for instance, might be relevant after work or on the weekends, but not while in a hurry to get to the office. How, then do you give the user as much as possible of what they do want and as little as possible of what they don’t? Magellan’s solution with the SmartGPS is Yelp and Foursquare data feed integration. Yelp¬¬– the largest collection of restaurant, bar, hotel, shopping and other reviews– and Foursquare– the preeminent location-based social networking application– are good choices in theory.
However, oftentimes on the Magellan SmartGPS they are more annoying then useful. Knowing all the time where the nearest restaurant or place of interest is not necessary. However, in Magellan’s defense, the best way to make use of location-based content and technology is no doubt one of the most challenging questions facing the digital industry today and we can’t blame Magellan for trying.
Regarding navigation, I did not find Magellan SmartGPS navigation that impressive especially compared to Google Maps on my smartphone. First, the navigate-to input feature on the Magellan SmartGPS is cumbersome. To input an address, for instance, the user has to go in reverse order of normal mental operation, first typing in the city and state, then the street name and then the street number of the place they are looking for. Like reciting the alphabet backwards, this task is difficult indeed, especially when compared to the easy Google Talk feature available on Android smartphones. The Magellan SmartGPS also did not do as well as my smartphone with directions on mountain or backroads.
Last but not least, the Magellan GPS unit seemed bulky relative to the size of the screen (the unit is thicker, wider and taller than my smartphone although screen size is almost the same). Also, to my disappointment, the battery on the unit did not last long (only one hour) when unplugged from the cigarette lighter. This made it hard to also charge my smartphone on long car trips.
Despite the downfalls of the Magellan SmartGPS, there are a few useful features. First, I loved the speed limit notification, as oftentimes in new areas I was unsure how fast or slow I should be driving. Also, when on calls, it was nice to have a dedicated navigation device as then I could use my phone for talking only, not navigating and talking. Also, in areas with poor or no cell service, the Magellan SmartGPS was a godsend.
Magellan SmartGPS Final Recommendations
Overall if you already have a decent smartphone, the added value of purchasing the Magellan SmartGPS is questionable, especially at $250. However, if you lack a smartphone but do have wi-fi at your place of residence, the Magellan SmartGPS might be the perfect investment as it brings more than just navigation to the table.
Read this review, evaluate your needs, and decide accordingly. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.