Friday, March 5, 2010

Magellan RoadMate 1700 7-Inch GPS Receiver Review

There are a few things you can always count on: death, taxes, and improvements in electronics. GPS receivers have also evolved. Bigger tends to be better. While the norm used to be 3.5” displays, we then went to widescreen displays in 4.3”, 5.0”, and even larger. Up for review today is a product that shows the upward trend. It is the Magellan RoadMate 1700 with a 7.0” widescreen display.
When it comes to GPS receivers, there are a few things that I look for. While GPS receivers have received more features, their core feature is still as a GPS to provide direction. This includes case of use and viewablility. After all, you will be using this while you are driving. Getting into an accident would not be on your list of things to do while you are out driving.
The Magellan RoadMate 1700 does have its share of features. They include:
-OneTouch favorites menu
-7 inch wide color touch screen
-A/V input
-Preloaded maps
-AAA Member Roadside Assistance
-AAA Tourbook
-6 million points of interest (POI)
-Highway lane assist
-QuickSpell with Smart City search
-Qwerty keyboard
-Multi-destination routing with route optimization
-Spoken street name guidance
-Highway exit POI
-Branded POI
-Smart Detour

The OneTouch favorites menu is kind of like a computer desktop. It is the main menu, and gives you instant access to your bookmarks of favorite places that you like to go. With a single touch, you can find your way to home, work or to your favorite restaurant, or any other favorite place, and you can find your way. There from any place, in any city.
The 7 inch wide WVGA is a color touch screen display. The ultra-clear touch screen display gives you four times the detail of a standard GPS. This helps to make it easier to see, thereby keeping your focus on the road.
The A/V input lets you watch video from a media player.

Preloaded maps gives you directions and info including POI as you travel. The Road Mate 1700 is preloaded with maps for the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Maps for Mexico are also available through an upgrade.
AAA TourBook – This is a feature that provides ratings for services. Whether it is a restaurant, hotel or just play, you will receive reputable ratings and descriptions.
AAA Member Roadside Assistance- A toll-free number provides assistance in finding help. Now you will be able to locate an AAA approved tow service or repair shop. And thanks to the location of exactly where you are in the menu, you can help them to locate you.
6 million POI- Whether it is a gas station, bank, restaurant, or many other categories. These are all preprogrammed and searchable based on your location.
Highway Lane Assist – ever been on a 3 lane highway with each lane an exit for a different location? The RoadMate 1700 knows where you need to go, as well as what lane you need to be in and will tell you so.
QuickSpell and SmartCity search – as a GPS unit, it knows the cities out there, as well as streets. As you type in the address and city, the street name and city may pop up without having to type it all in. It’s a very convenient time saver, with the QWERTY keyboard.
Multi-destination routing with route optimization – this lets you plan your trip using many stops in the order you want, and also lets you optimize your trip for what route is best for you.
Spoken street name guidance – this feature will actually speak the street names as they come up. Giving street manes of when and where to turn makes finding your destination much simpler.
Highway exit POI – want to make a pit stop for food or gas along the way? This feature will show the POI along the freeway to find what you are looking for.
Branded POI – looking for a Starbucks, or the kids want McDonalds? This feature shows you your favorite places with their logos.
Smart Detour – come across an accident or traffic jam? This will get you around that obstacle with the best route to get you where you want to go.
Customizable route method – want the fastest way to get there, least use of freeways, or maybe shortest distance? This feature will get you there the way you want to get there.
Birds eye 3D view – helps make your navigation easier using 3D objects so you can see the objects around you.
Auto re-route – if you missed an exit, or made a sudden pit stop? Now this will get you back on track.
Auto Night View – adjust the screen automatically when it gets dark for color and contrast that is best for night viewing.
I love electronics. And I guess part of it is because they usually make our life simpler, or easier. And I guess when you get a gadget like a GPS receiver, there can be a bit of excitement to see if it really works the way we expected. I have used GPS receivers before, and while most of the time usually get you where you want to go, there can sometimes be hiccups. I am pleased to announce that with the Magellan RoadMate 1700, I did not have a single wrong direction. And with a GPS receiver, that is one of the best compliments you can get.
There is a built-in battery, but the battery life is short. Having a built in battery does give the device some added functionality. But partially due to the size of the screen, it only lasts for about a half hour. So if you need to go mobile and take it out of the car, just keep that in mind.
The other features worked great as well. The large display had great resolution, was easy to see, and I loved the AutoNight View! One thing to keep in mind is the 7” display. Based on what vehicle you drive, it could be too big. The preloaded maps and POI’s worked extremely well and made searching very easy. The AAA roadside assistance and tourbook are also great features for AAA members.
QuickSpell and SmartCity search did make searching for a location easier. I also really liked the highway lane assist. There were multiple times in traveling doing the review that figuring out which lane to be in when I was not used to the freeway and exits was very difficult. But the RoadMate 1700 had me in the correct lane, with clear voice and visual guides every single time. The route optimization worked well, as with the re-routing feature. The OneTouch menu is also great.
I would have to say that using the RoadMate 1700 was an extremely smooth experience. It did its job as a GPS receiver flawlessly. And the voice directions were also clear to hear and nice and articulated. The included mount also worked well, and the manual is also well written and easy to follow. If you are in the market for a large GPS receiver, I would highly recommend the Magellan RoadMate 1700. It does its job in spades. And at $299 it is a real bargain. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at