I love watching companies evolve and improve.  Magellan GPS keeps improving and evolving.  Their new $249 (list price) RoadMate 1470 is the first product from the company’s marriage with MiTac International Corporation.  I like it!

I am completely accustomed to and comfortable with the easy usability of Magellan best sat nav GPS products and this RoadMate 1470 is no exception.  I like that it is immediately usable from the moment it is switched on for the first time.  Take their online product tour.  You might be impressed enough without reading more so that you are already inclined to buy it!

I found affordable, class-leading performance that is a pleasure to use!

Its OneTouch menu is both useful and easy to use, and the 4.7-inch wide touch screen display seems just the right size with just the right visual sharpness.  It starts up and locks in satellites quickly and provides routing instructions that are easy to follow.

OneTouch is accessed with a touch at the top right corner of the display. The unique OneTouch menu feature allows users to personalize buttons for instant access to such things as favorite places to eat or often used destinations.  It’s up to the user!

Not only does the RoadMate 1470 provide directions, a touch at the lower left corner of the screen will toggle through displaying estimated arrival time, vehicle speed and amount of time until arrival at the destination.

With on-screen text at the top of the screen showing the next move to its turn-by-turn spoken directions, let Magellan point the way.  Some units provide only spoken major route instructions with tones to signal the next move or simple voice prompts that say only to turn.   The street or highway entrance or exit name is spoken, clearly and understandably.  This reasonably priced Magellan RoadMate 1470 alerts to upcoming moves two miles in advance, then again at about one half mile, speaking the name of the street or freeway maneuver with not only names but highway numbers and exit numbers as may be applicable.  One thing for which I applaud Magellan is their ability to create speech with accurate syntax far more often than not.  Correct syllabic emphasis as well as general correct and understandable pronunciations of spoken words sets Magellan apart from some other brands tested. That the company provides such a robust array of useful info, both on the display as well as complete spoken instruction at this price is an accomplishment worthy of note and worthy of our support as customers.

The extras that cost no extra include highway lane assist to point users to the right exit.  When on a highway that is about to split to another, at least here in southern California and in drives to and from Las Vegas, the screen shows what appears as an overhead freeway sign showing the correct highway to take as well as the dimmed view of what not to take right next to it.  You can see this on the product screen shown above and, of course, in the online product tour linked above.

A tap at the upper left of the screen brings up a list of turn-by-turn directions so each move along the way can be seen.

Volume controls are easily accessed with an icon on the screen.

Magellan has joined with AAA in a business arrangement whereby the popular and ever so useful AAA tour book data is embedded in each device.  There is no need to be a member to gain access to this valuable information. AAA members will benefit from the capability to call up support information quickly – the Auto Club phone number for the area of the breakdown.

Text entry is sped up with their QuickSpell with SmartCity Search. I prefer a QWERTY keyboard, but this one has it in alphabetical order.  Oh, well.  It attempts to guess the complete word you are about to enter by adding dimmed letters as you enter text.  Once you see it is correct, you can touch the check mark at the lower right of the screen to indicate it’s OK to proceed to the next step.

Each RoadMate 1470 comes with US, Canada and Puerto Rico maps.

Speaking of bonuses, absent, and thankfully so, is Bluetooth.  I’ve tested many units that allegedly offer an alternative to a hands free Bluetooth headset for your mobile phone.  I wish these companies, including Magellan, would give it up.  It’s too tough to get Bluetooth right in a unit the size of a nice GPS unit.  Their speakers and amplifiers are not up to the task, certainly not at an affordable price as compared with buying a standalone Bluetooth speakerphone that clips to the visor.  What IS a bonus, an option on the RoadMate 1470 is traffic.  I do not find any worthwhile GPS units with built-in traffic reporting for around $200.  I do see them for upwards of $300, and some are with annual subscriptions, and some have clunky stick-on-the-glass antennas.  Magellan offers an optional Traffic Link for $80 that includes lifetime service.

Traffic Link is a replacement power cord with the radio receiver built inline. Once the checkmark is made in the unit’s settings, all that is needed is to plug in the new cable.  Traffic automatically appears like magic!  If there is traffic along the route, users will see it via the icon on the display.  The feature operates in many major market cities around the country, but not everywhere.  I like that it is an option.  Reported traffic affords the driver the opportunity to avoid upcoming incidents and be rerouted around the delays.  I’ve tested the option and it works as advertised.

Search online for the best price as I did through Google’s Shopping link where I found it for as little as $55.  By the way, do the same when shopping for the Magellan RoadMate 1470 and you may find it as I did for $200 or less.  Also shop at Amazon for both items.

In addition to all of the above, there are more useful and worthwhile features built-in.  Let’s say you are on the road and want to take a break to find gas or get something to eat.  Easily find nearby food or other points of interest. Let’s say you are heading to multiple destinations on your upcoming travels.  The RoadMate 1470 allows not only input of multiple destinations but route optimization that determines the best order of the stops and the most efficient route to take for each.

While planning a route, users can choose from fastest time, shortest distance most or least use of freeways and to avoid toll roads.  If there are no reported accidents even if you do have the optional Traffic Kit, the device will still allow you to re-route while en route to avoid an area that for no apparent reason is just plain slow.

I even use it when heading to a known destination along a known route.  If there is a bottleneck, I am ready to look for an alternate route without having to set up the GPS unit.  I’ve taken detours I never knew existed though I have lived in SoCal my whole life.  This is a good habit to have!

Of course, there is an address book to create and store contact info as well as the ability to recall recent destinations that are not saved.

An internal battery, when charged, will power the 1470 for up to three hours so it can be set up for trips outside the vehicle or inside when the vehicle is off.

No GPS I have found near this price can do more and do it as easily for the user.  It is unusual that I find little with which to quibble on such a product.  The only thing I wish would be different is the position of the power cord relative to the windshield mount.  The cord enters the bottom of the unit and bends sharply through its connector at a 90º angle off to the right, which interferes with the slide-on mount.  In other words, one cannot slide the 1470 on or off its windshield mount while the cord is in place.  On balance, I can live with this.  I just do not know the reason why they designed it this way.

In my view, this is clearly the best $200 one can spend on a feature-rich portable GPS unit that can save time and money by efficiently routing anyone to just about anywhere, and, since it’s portable, take it along when renting a car or when traveling in any car not your own.

More information is at www.magellangps.com or call 1-800-707-9971.

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