A few years back, you would have to spend more money if you want a larger GPS device. While 4-inch devices continue to be the preferred size for many drivers, there is a growing demand for bigger GPS devices. Magellan along with a number of other GPS navigator manufacturers are competing to make the 5-inch devices cheaper. The Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM represents one of the company’s attempts in 2012 and it manages to shoehorn some extra navigation features to take it a small step up from older budget models.

Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM

Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM

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Design

Compared to the recent 2013 GPS models, the Roadmate 5230T-LM looks fairly outdated but it shouldn’t be so bad for people that don’t care about generic looks. The 5-inch transmissive color display has a standard WQVGA (480 x 272) resolution. Plastic is the main material choice here and it makes the GPS navigator fairly light weighing 6.1 ounces. The included windshield mount is quite easy to set up.

Interface

The large display makes the simple user interface very easy to understand. The icons on the screen are considerably larger than what you see on a typical smartphone and the GPS functions are more accessible. There is no need to skim through a user manual to figure out basic things such as planning a route.

There are a few features that make standard navigation even easier. Setting up the OneTouch Favorites menu is recommended if you want to use the Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM efficiently. This feature lets you add all of your favorite destinations so you won’t have to manually enter them. This bookmarks menu can be accessed by tapping the OneTouch button on the upper right corner of the screen. It is always visible while you are on the map view.

During those instances where you have to enter a destination you normally don’t visit frequently, the QuickSpell feature tries to make route planning as quick as possible. As you complete the name of your destination, certain keys on the onscreen keyboard will light up. The highlighted keys are the ones to press to point you to a complete destination. It basically serves as a guide to help you type faster and it works well. When entering lengthy names like streets, QuickSpell can be a great time saver.

Navigation Features

The navigation experience is where the budget nature of the Roadmate 5230T-LM really shines. The device performs a little bit sluggishly and there are some minor delays in recalculating routes. But what you get with this budget 5-inch device is some complete features including a vast database of 7 million points of interest covering all 50 US states as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. With lifetime map updates, you can acquire the latest Magellan map database right after purchase.

There are a few special features that make navigating with the Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM a bit more pleasant. A new feature that this GPS navigator brings is Landmark Guidance which uses landmarks as references when issuing directions if there are landmarks in the area. This is useful if you are driving in areas where you are not so familiar with the street names. It also uses the SayWhere technology which is Magellan’s text-to-speech engine that is capable of speaking any of the street names present in the map database.

While you drive in the map view, the speed limit of the area you are in is displayed so you can make adjustments. Once you enter the freeway, the Junction View will trigger and show you which lane you have to be in so you can make the correct turn to stay on your planned course. If ever you need to park your car, you can activate the Best Parking feature which highlights the locations of parking garages along with their hours of operation.

The Roadmate 5230T-LM also comes with free lifetime traffic updates so the routes you plan are designed to help you avoid traffic jams. Updates are issued in real-time so you can change your route if the traffic suddenly accumulates. This feature is always available and doesn’t expire. The Traffic Camera Alerts feature can also issue notifications if there are speed cameras in the area.

Bottom Line

$149 is an attractive price to pay for a 5-inch GPS navigator with a nice set of features. As long as you are okay with the small performance sacrifices, the Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM can help you out to some degree.

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