With over 1.4 billion active users, Android is the most popular operating system for mobile devices. Android is synonymous to smartphones but the open-source operating system can also be found in televisions and even some other portable devices like MP3 players and GPS navigators. Unfortunately, Android hasn’t really seen much success in the non-smartphone category mainly because the manufacturers involved aren’t very experienced with Android. The Garmin Nuvifone by Garmin and Asus wasn’t very well received but that didn’t stop competitor Magellan from trying something a bit more practical – launching a true GPS navigator with Android innards without the phone. Magellan apparently doesn’t want Android to be a selling point and is even going as far as naming it the Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM which doesn’t separate it all that much from the other non-Android RoadMate devices.
About the Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM
The Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM from the outside looks a bit more premium than the typical RoadMate device because of its 5-inch multi-touch glass display. It feels a lot better than the resistive touchscreens and the multi-touch gestures really help when navigating a map. This is one of the characteristics that make smartphones better GPS navigators than the dedicated ones so it is nice to see this present on a device priced at a cool $150.
This RoadMate device is running a very custom version of Android to the point that it is unrecognizable. Magellan even didn’t disclose the version of Android but it isn’t a big deal because doesn’t have Google’s services. In fact, there is no Play Store, no Wi-Fi and simply lacks the specs to do stuff outside of mapping and navigation. This is not the device where you would want to shove a Candy Crush Saga APK or watch an HD movie. The WVGA resolution is impressive though with the map colors far more vibrant and interface more responsive than a typical RoadMate device. Plus, Magellan did a fairly good job bringing the familiarity of RoadMate devices to the Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM. You just have to get used to the “Home” button placed on the top of the device which gets you back to the map screen from any other screen you are currently in. There are no on-screen buttons or even a “Back” button.
Magellan’s insistence of calling it a RoadMate device is clear once you explore the features. It pretty much mirrors the features found in other RoadMate devices although there is no QuickSpell function. That’s forgivable because the more useful OneTouch Favorites Menu is present so if you bookmark all of your favorite spots, you should have no trouble planning a route.
Unsurprisingly, the RoadMate 5430T-LM comes with free map updates for life and they come directly from Magellan and not a third-party service like Google Maps. That may not seem like much but typical Android smartphone users that use their phones for navigation don’t have the benefit of real-time traffic monitoring. The Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM does and it’s great as you aren’t tied to paid subscription and you are provided with options that make sure that you don’t run into traffic jams. SmartDetour takes care of that and even helps you avoid accidents. As an added bonus, Magellan also teamed up with PhantomALERT to provide traffic camera alerts to the RoadMate 5430T-LM so you will be notified of red lights and speed cameras as you drive.
Other great RoadMate-specific features found in the 5430T-LM include the Best Parking feature where you can get clear directions to a nearby parking garage entrance and find out the opening and closing hours. When driving in highways, you can use the Junction View to aid in lane navigation just other dedicated GPS navigators.
Because the maps are sourced from Magellan, you also get the big 7-million POI database and it covers the US, Puerto Rico and Canada areas. From ATM machines to gas stations, the Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM offers plenty of navigation possibilities. You can even use the address book to store your own personal points of interest.
• The glass touchscreen and Android make the interface speedier and more responsive.
• Free lifetime maps and traffic updates is impressive for a $150 device.
• Vibrant display.
• Doesn’t make use of Android’s other features.
• Can be confusing at first to use because of the awkwardly placed Home button.
• No QuickSpell like other RoadMate devices.
The Magellan RoadMate 5430T-LM basically sacrifices a couple of features for faster performance which might make this Android-powered device compromised but the $150 price tag is attractive and makes for a great basic navigator with a fantastic display.