A good performer, but this GPS is slightly let down by power issues
Magellan is one of the oldest and best-known names in GPS navigation systems, and the Roadmate 300 looks much more like a traditional GPS system than the current crop of ‘Pocket PCs in disguise’.
To the right of the screen there are zoom buttons and a circular navigation pad surrounded by Option, Enter, Cancel, View and Locate buttons – no obscure icons to decipher here. There’s no internal battery, so you’re dependent on the car power or mains adapter.
When connected up, the buttons are all backlit in a range of colours, which helps ease of use. Another useful feature is support for multiple users, so that each person can have their own favourites or address book, which can be invaluable for families sharing a car.
The screen is touch sensitive, so you can find a location by browsing the map; the Locate button tells you exactly where you are and allows you to save the location. Most importantly, the voice is clear and loud so you won’t have any problems hearing the directions.
Each action is confirmed by voice and when you enter information using the on-screen keyboard, letters are spoken and those that won’t follow the one you entered are dimmed and non-selectable.
It’s not all perfect, however. We were disappointed that there’s no postcode support and the buttons have a bit of a spongy, plastic feel, especially the multi-way navigation key.
There’s a good range of POIs to help navigate by, but we felt that a little more information would be helpful when you’ve searched by name – there was no icon indicating, for example, whether the Alexandra Palace on the list was the railway station or the Palace itself, leaving you to read the address details.
If our few minor complaints about this unit were rectified, then it would be a winner, standing head and shoulders above many of the others on test.
This article is part of a group test of satellite navigation systems. Others
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Pros: Clear directions; good interface; multiple user support Cons: Needs power cable; no postcode support Overall: The performance you’d expect from Magellan, but sadly let down by lack of postcode support and internal power
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