Nothing is more telling about a PND (portable navigation device) than how it performs on the road on a real, long distance trip. That is exactly the use to which I put this new ($299 suggested price) Magellan RoadMate 3065 portable GPS.

Road tripping from home base in SoCal to Houston via indirect route was just the ticket!  And when I returned to home base at Gadget Central I’ve been using it for local drives as well.  I’ve been quite pleased with the experience and can safely recommend it and other Magellan RoadMate units to you, including the nearly identical $249 (suggested price) RoadMate 3055 (see below for differences).  Do not be deterred – shop online for best prices!



What’s hot?

• NEW, INNOVATIVE on-screen interface – See text

• Accurate & timely, spoken turn-by-turn directions in clearly understood male or female voices, mostly accurately pronounced – best at this as compared with other brands

• Provides complete highway/freeway exit information, including – Exit name & number, other identifications as may be available in data base

• Highway lane assist presented on-screen and with voice guidance informs the user when approaching choices – take one highway over another at a fork, for example, with advice to keep to right or left, followed by instructions for next immediate move, such as to then exit, move to the right or left, or make any other move

• AAA tourbook info built-in – with ratings, AAA descriptions, phone numbers and addresses for places to stay, dine and for members to save money (membership not required for access to useful info)

• Extensive database of Points of Interest (POI) – 6 million

• Crisp 4.7-inch screen automatically adjusts for day/night viewing

• Multiple, easily selected routing choices – fastest time, least use of freeways, shortest distance, most use of freeways


• Multi-destination routing – Easily able to make additional along-the-way stops according to points of interest, address or other criteria; may be optimized for efficiency or user selected in any order

• Select 2D or 3D mapping with desired zoom level

• See turn-by-turn directions listed at any time en route in map mode with a tap of the upper left corner

• Includes FREE lifetime real-time traffic alerts and updates (in areas supporting the technology) allowing users to see and choose alternate routes, if available

• QuickSpell feature aids and speeds searches

• Zip Code entry choice can aid in speedily finding routing instructions

• AAA Member Roadside Assistance shows AAA phone number and exact location on the screen for easy reference in time of need (requires AAA membership for Roadside Assistance feature through AAA)

• Go ahead, miss a turn; Magellan automatically re-routes without annoying the user

• On-board battery operates unit for two hours (minimum)


• New, easier-to-use windshield mount with power cord “keeper” (see images below)

• Speed sensitive volume capability so the unit automatically, variably ramps up volume in recognition of higher speed, which would produce more in-cabin noise.

• Smart City Search – predicts city name entry based upon current position and previously visited cities

• OneTouch favorites menu – user-chosen, instant access to bookmarks, favorite places & searches – access is via the top right of any map screen, then the user may edit as seen fit

• User-selected QWERTY or ABC keyboard layout

• Micro SD card slot. (A micro SD card is optional and can be used to back up and restore data) – it is shown above at the left


• Coupon offers appear (using traffic receiver technology) during travel and may also be presented in relation to a POI search – tap the banner for more info about the offer and to see more offers

• Built-in Bluetooth for connection to user’s mobile phone, with address-book transfer from phone to PND; for hands-free calling through the device

• Traffic wake-up feature perfect for commuters – Traffic info is usually not immediately available in any PND, so the 3065 can be set for day and time wake-up, twice daily, to be at the ready for the user to see traffic issues at the daily time of need, before leaving for work or before leaving work for home

• And there are more useful integrated features too numerous to list and settings allowing personalization for the user.  See User’s Manual for even more!


What’s not?

There was just one thing with which to quibble: I was not able to use Bluetooth to connect with my phone, Sony Ericsson C-902, for more than a few minutes the first time it was attempted.  That’s it. That’s all.  I tried it with another phone, an LG CF360, a plain-Jane model for AT&T.  No go, again!

Undeterred, I waited until back at home base to figure this out.  I deleted all references to former pairings, including deleting the transferred address book.  Starting fresh did the trick, and now, after repeated uses, when leaving my phone’s BT on and then firing up the 3065, it automatically connects.


How is the BT quality in action?  This is a subjective judgment based on several factors.  If the user is a regular BT user and has an ear-mounted device, Magellan’s BT capability may not be desirable or even needed.  Then, there are users who, like me, use visor-mounted devices such as the excellent Motorola T-505.  I like and prefer, however, the quality of hard-wired headsets from theBoom.  Without peer, serious callers are best advised to buy one of these products offering performance superior to ANY BT or other headset, whether for a mobile phone or cordless phone, dictation (such as with Nuance products), Google Voice, Skype or for any other similar purpose. That said and recognizing that any Bluetooth option while in a mobile environment is simply inferior, Magellan’s effort in this device comes up at about a B-.

The feature is, however, convenient for some users, supporting voice control on phones with this capability.  It’s also nice to have the phone’s address book transferred and at hand with just one device to deal with.  If on a call, Magellan will break in with voice directions during the call, with the screen reverting to the map and directions shortly after the call is begun.

Independent settings are provided for phone volume and BT mic gain independent of other PND volume settings.  Nice, very nice.

On such a road trip as mine, through areas of nowhere for hundreds of miles, there were numerous areas not “lit up” for traffic coverage, part of the FM radio spectrum.  There was no need for this info in those areas!  Where there was traffic data, we often found it to be indispensable, allowing us to reroute and occasionally save time.

Operationally, using the unit presented a fun, enjoyable experience!  What’s best is that it was easy to add stopping points on the fly, en route to our next stop.  Many, in fact, most restaurants we sought out were in its database.  All hotels were listed.

I’ve used many, many PNDs, many more than any normal consumer.  Over the course of this experience, I’ve had the opportunity to witness progress within the industry.  Magellan has, in my view, been the most impressive, especially over the past year.

This new series represents a coming of age for the company.


Set up was easy as could be.  Two menu screens, shown above, provide the user with all the settings and most of the personalization available. The One Touch screen provides the remainder of personalized settings.

The only apparent difference between this RoadMate 3065 model and the Magellan RoadMate 3055 ( is the traffic wake-up feature. I just saw the 3055 on for under $195 with FREE SHIPPING.

The company has done a fantastic job with the new mount! Not only does the unit slide so easily onto the mount, but the power cable tip base can now be kept in a slot on the bottom of the mount. In this way the cable stays put in the mount while the user slides the PND onto and off of the base. Neat, really neat, that is, the cable is neatly positioned out the back of the bottom of the mount and the PND itself sits on a little landing as it bottoms onto its windshield mount’s base.

As for the PND (Personal Navigation Device) itself, this new Magellan is quick to respond and sports new and worthwhile operational characteristics and features. First, when tapping the lower left which defaults to trip ETA, a “tree” rises with elevation, speed, direction, distance and time remaining to destination. After about 10 seconds, the tree descends and disappears. Previous models resorted to tap and toggle through the info. This innovative new presentation is just plain smart.


I also like the included lifetime built-in traffic. Tapping the traffic icon when it appears to alert of traffic ahead reveals a new split screen – on the left is the current status with delay and, if there is a better suggestion, it appears on the right, showing that something is possible and how much time would be saved with the detour. The user selects at the bottom of either column. If there is nothing better, nothing appears on the right of the split. Simple and intuitive, just as I have come to know and appreciate of Magellan, especially in the past few years.

This unit continues its helpful feature whereby it can take multiple destinations and save them for you in the order you choose OR click to optimize your route automatically. This has been particularly useful as we trekked across the great expanse of interesting and unusual natural wonder toward Houston. For example, we entered the day’s basic destination. Then, later on, when we figured out where we would stay the night, we entered more precise info and deleted what was just a city center listing. Then, we figured out where we would be going for dinner, added that location in the order of our choice. We clicked on the check mark in the lower right of the screen and continued on our way, without leaving the basic nav function or the directions already in progress. Of course, only the passenger was operating the PND while the vehicle was in motion!

Also essential has been the built-in AAA tourbook info on this and other Magellan PNDs. ONLY Magellan has this agreement with AAA to feature its useful information.  For example, when I looked up the Painted Desert as a point of interest in Arizona, it was most easily found, with other useful info by choosing the AAA info to search instead of the Magellan’s nav database.

I like that the volume can be selected as speed sensitive, so at higher speed, it becomes louder as interior vehicle noise is naturally greater at higher speed. These little things add up to a lot of value from Magellan.

Oh, and as we drove from Arizona into New Mexico, I watched as the ETA automatically added an hour as we entered the Mountain Time Zone.

Another strong point for this new Magellan and all their others is their excellent spoken directions. Not only are they timed just right and in just the right amount, but Magellan, above all others I’ve tested, speaks in the best, most understandable, properly pronounced English. Very impressive!

The entire package and all features make for a truly excellent product at the top of my recommended list of PNDs. Magellan is king, as far as I am concerned, though you’d be led to believe otherwise by other companies marketing efforts.  OK, so Magellan is not marketed as well as I’d like to see, but the fact remains that they are at the top of the heap when compared with other brands, feature for feature and in overall performance.

Before closing, I want to suggest one more of their products to consider.  Though just now coming to the market, I am interested in how these compare, feature wise, to the Magellan RoadMate 3045-LM.  The LM stands for Lifetime Map updates! Selling for about $230, it lacks Bluetooth and the traffic wakeup feature, but the other features seem to be intact.  Check out the manual and compare!

Whichever Magellan you may choose from among this new generation of products, I believe you can’t go wrong.  Priced right, well-designed, excellent performance, useful and easy-to-access features.  Nice job, Magellan!

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