4-inch GPS devices continue to sell well because they are just large enough for decent visibility while still remaining compact and light. GPS manufacturers are able to cram a simple touch interface in the widescreen display and it doubles as a great size for both 2D and 3D map visuals. 5-inch GPS devices are growing in popularity as the prices go down but looking for something that is larger than that will bring you towards tablet territory. Several 7-inch tablets not only come with GPS but also allow you to install third-party applications that let you take advantage of these features. Unfortunately, the performance is pretty dull compared to dedicated GPS devices and you have to find the right car mount for the tablet if it exists. RV and truck owners can benefit from the larger display and Magellan provides that need. But the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM is a 7-inch GPS device that targets ordinary drivers.
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You can forget about making this 7-inch GPS device a walking companion but when properly mounted, the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM looks great and the large form factor allows a 800×480 resolution screen panel to be used. That means finer and sharper details are shown on the map. The included mount is also heavy duty and the angle is adjustable.
A larger screen should also open up possibilities for a better user interface. But Magellan decided to stick to the tried and tested interface that Magellan users are accustomed to. Turning on the device immediately brings you to a simple home screen with large touchable icons. From the home screen, you may plan a quick route, view the map, change the settings or access a destination saved in your favorites. The icons are larger than standard icons you would see on an ordinary tablet device so it is easy for anybody to operate the device on the road.
Since the interface of the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM is basically a scaled up version of the smaller Magellan RoadMate models, the onscreen keyboard can be a bit overwhelming. It takes up most of the screen and that can be a good thing as you can quickly type in a destination without missing a letter. The QuickSpell feature makes it even easier since it highlights letters in an attempt to guess the correct destination based on your previous inputs.
No matter what area you are looking at, you can bring up the OneTouch menu from the upper right to see a convenient set of destinations. You can add any destination you like and even give it an icon. Tapping any saved destination immediately lets the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM plan a route towards that destination.
Navigating with the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM is a real treat with the large screen and Magellan even decided to make some performance improvements so everything feels faster. It also belongs in the family of “LM” devices which means that it costs a bit more than the standard Magellan RoadMate 9055 but it features free lifetime map updates which is essential if you frequently travel and need all the maps fresh. But even if you don’t download the updates, the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM already has over 6 million points of interest along with complete map data covering the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Planning a route from point A to point B is the simplest thing to do. But if you need to plan multiple routes consisting of several destinations, the process is also simple and you can even give priorities to certain things like saving fuel or shortening the travel time. Once you hit the road and follow the route, the text-to-speech engine guides you by vocally reading the street names.
Highway lane assistance is one of the best reasons to use an automotive GPS device rather a smartphone or tablet for car navigation. The Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM has data covering all the US highways so the device can switch to the 3D lane assist view when you enter the highway. With this view, you can see the lane you must be in as you draw closer to the exit you have to take. Exit signs are also shown and the graphics look great on the 7-inch screen. Once you are in the right lane, you can also use the Freeway Exit Services feature if you want to find places to eat or get gasoline near the exit.
If you didn’t like the older 7-inch Magellan RoadMate 1700 because it didn’t include a traffic receiver, you will be pleased to know that the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM has it. The reception can vary but once it works, you can monitor the traffic conditions in real time. The Total Traffic Network can send you alerts and you don’t have to subscribe or pay to receive them. Once heavy traffic is detected, the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM can use the SmartDetour function to come up with a good alternate route.
Another great feature that is present in premium RoadMate devices is built-in Bluetooth. Just turn on the Bluetooth function in your smartphone to utilize this feature and the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM then becomes the gateway for placing hands-free calls. All of your smartphone’s contacts should be transferred there upon successful pairing so calling a friend or relative should be straightforward from there.
The Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM can also act as a rear view if you install the $149 Magellan Wireless Back Up Camera. This pricey accessory can be useful when going in reverse and you canít see what is behind you very well.
Like just about all Magellan RoadMate devices, the AAA TourBook and AAA Member Roadside Assistance services are available if you need to check out new places or seek emergency help.
The Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM is a nice upgrade over the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM if you are a fan of large devices and need traffic updates and Bluetooth support. It is also a great time to purchase this device as prices dip below the $200 point.