There are several 7-inch tablets that are priced over $200 and serve as decent GPS devices providing you find a good mount for them and have a fast mobile Internet connection. The tablets that fall below $200 often sacrifice in performance and may not even have a built-in GPS. But drivers settle with these large and cheap devices anyway because of the large screen. Magellan wants to capitalize on that demand by offering the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM. Priced at $200, this large GPS navigator is worth a closer look.
The RoadMate 9400-LM has a 7-inch display so it really resembles a budget tablet although it is naturally intended for a landscape view so you can see a lot of detail in the 3D view. It has a 480 x 800 display resolution which might sound low by tablet standards but it actually doesn’t matter as you won’t be watching a movie or reading an eBook with this GPS device. The maps look great and are easy to read even under direct sunlight. The view changes to Night View automatically at the appropriate time so you get better contrast. The large screen also makes the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM a useful tool for truck and RV owners although it lacks some of the dedicated features you will only find in the Magellan RoadMate RV models.
The RoadMate 9400-LM has a fairly dated and visually unappealing interface but it is still easy to use whether you are a first-time GPS user or a Magellan RoadMate enthusiast. The menus and icons are big, making navigation simple and the OneTouch Favorites Menu continues to serve as a great way to quickly plan routes. The idea is to add all your favorite places to this menu so you can quickly obtain directions on how to get there by simply touching the OneTouch button on the upper right of the screen. Getting directions to a place that isn’t on OneTouch is pretty simple too thanks to the QuickSpell feature which highlights certain letters as you type to make it less likely to misspell a destination. With SmartCity Search, suggested results are generated after keying in a few letters so you don’t have to type the complete name of the city.
The bird’s-eye view looks fantastic on the 7-inch screen and is useful if you simply want to see your current location, destination and surrounding points of interest. Over 7 million POIs are included right out of the box and they cover the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. You can update the map databases 4 times every year for free so the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM stays fresh.
Moving on to the route planning features, you can plan an entire trip consisting of multiple stops. If you prefer a simpler way, you can have the RoadMate 9400-LM come up with the most efficient route. The results can be altered too if you prefer a route with the shortest distance or fastest arrival time. You also have the option to avoid freeways or prioritize them.
No matter what route you plan, you will always be constantly guided through spoken street name prompts. Freeways are simple to deal with too since the view switches to the Junction View which makes the important freeway signs more visible and shows you the lane you must be in in order to make the proper exit. As you approach the exit, you can have the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM bring up highway exit POIs just in case you need to refuel or take a break.
New Magellan RoadMate devices including the RoadMate 9400-LM also come with the PhantomALERT service. This service provides traffic camera alerts so you won’t miss any known speed cameras or fixed red lights. It relies on crowd-sourced data so the coverage is adequate, and you can contribute by reporting the information about new locations. This service can be used without extra charge for a whole year. You may consider opting for a premium service which also shows the locations of accident prone areas and school zones. Even if you are not subscribed with PhantomALERT, you can still obtain speed limit warnings.
The Best Parking feature is another handy Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM feature that helps you find a suitable parking garage near your current location. You can get vital info like the hours of operation and entrance addresses as well.
The RoadMate 9400-LM is a large GPS navigator with a great set of navigation features. While it does lack some of the extra features like Bluetooth and voice navigation which are increasingly common in today’s midrange GPS devices, the $169.99 price makes it pretty hard to avoid. Going back to the tablet comparison, you won’t have to worry about the mount as it is included and Magellan’s GPS technologies are far more accurate.