A year ago, I was in the market for an affordable GPS unit.  This was my first GPS purchase so I didn’t have a lot of pre-conceived notions about what features a GPS should or shouldn’t have.

My decision was based on the following criteria:

  • Price – it had to be affordable
  • User Interface- it had to be really easy to use
  • Visibility – it had to be easy to see from different angles
  • Voice – Turn by turn directions
  • Built-in maps of the United States
  • No subscription fees.

While I was looking one unit went on sale at Costco.  The Magellan Roadmate 1412 seemed to fit the bill for everything I was looking for.

User Interface

The user interface is very easy to use.  Just enter the desired destination and select the desired mode of transportation (fastest, shortest, most use of freeways, least use of freeways) then press the route icon and you’re off.

One note about the address is we had to get used to entering zip or city first, then street name, then the number.  But after using it for awhile, we got the hang of it.  We started taking advantage of the built-in hint features.  For instance if there are many street with similar names, a list button will be enabled which will give you the opportunity to select the desired street from the list instead of typing the entire name in.

Another feature we just discovered was when entering a destination, there are some icons below which allow you to list previous addresses.  So, you don’t have to retype any information at all.  This is a very cool feature.

You can zoom in to see more map detail or zoom out to see the bigger picture.

Driving displays:

  • Map – Displays map, compass direction
  • Turn by turn – lists step by step directions, also includes estimated time left
  • Direction – Compass direction, elevation, speed, nearest streets, longitude & latitude

The voice volume level can be adjusted or muted.

The screen is very readable.

It has a route planner that we have used several times.

We’ve been learning about some other features as we become more familiar with the interface.  For instance, it has a location save mode.  When in the direction display mode there is a save button.  When you are at a site or near a site that you would like to recall press the save button, then you would enter the name of the place you would like to recall.  This is a very handy feature.

Issues

 A question might be asked, are there any issues you have with this GPS? I only have a few.

  • A few times, probably due to extremely hot temperatures it appeared to be non-functional.  However, after I held the unit in front of the Air Conditioner for a while, it cooled down and started running good again.
  • It does not have replacable batteries.  It gets it’s power from the 12vdc car accessory power.  If the car sits for an extended period of time and the power is tied to the ignition this might be a problem.
  • The buit-in maps seem to reflect http://maps.google.com this can be good or bad.  If you notice there is an error on google maps then this same error might be reflected in the GPS unit.  It never hurts to have backup directions, just in case.
  • The map updates are pretty pricey in my opinion, almost half the cost of the unit.  Not a good value, in my opinion, for a one shot deal.  If the cost of the map updates was for a lifetime subscription or if there there was some kind of software package that had unlimited map updates for the Magellan Roadmate 1412, I would consider buying it without any hesitation.

Recommendation

Knowing what I know now, would I buy it again?  Absolutely.  Would I recommend this unit to friends and family?  Yes.  It a great value for the price?  Yes.  Who would I recommend this GPS to?  Anyone who is looking for an affordable entry level GPS.

Till next time, I’m on the road enjoying my GPS