GPS car navigation is still a competitive market despite the wide variety of affordable and high-end GPS-enabled smartphones. Even the most powerful smartphone features limited GPS functionality and services although there might be some apps that might add extra navigation features. However, GPS manufacturers like Magellan still manage to add valuable services and features to all of their products. Magellan even hopes to compete with other GPS manufacturers by targeting specific niches. The Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM, for instance, is a special automotive GPS device for trucks and RVs. The screen is significantly larger than any smartphone but the price is lower than a decent tablet. Considering the fact that this Magellan GPS device comes with a car mount, the RV9145-LM looks promising.

Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM

Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM

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Design

The Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM is best described as a larger version of a typical modern RoadMate device. It has the same bezel which is a good thing because it really highlights how large the 7-inch display is. It is fairly similar to the size of 7-inch tablets you see being sold today but the main purpose isn’t for reading ebooks or watching movies. Instead, the large screen allows you to mount it in a truck or RV using the heavy duty extension mount. You can mount smaller GPS devices as well but the small screen can be a problem for RV owners since the mountable area is usually far from the driver’s seat. The 7-inch screen is great for these scenarios.

Interface

The user interface really shines on the 7-inch display and because it has a WVGA (800×480) resolution, the menu and map elements appear larger so you can still see them from afar. If you have used a previous Magellan RoadMate model, you should feel right at home with the RV9145-LM as many of the familiar interface features are present along with some extra functions that RV owners should appreciate.

One common feature that makes Magellan RoadMate devices famous is the QuickSpell function and the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM has it too. This feature reduces the time it normally takes to enter a destination. When the touch keyboard appears, you can type as you normally would but as you complete the name of the destination, certain letters start to highlight to help you type the right destination faster. It is a handy text prediction feature that should help you avoid spelling errors. You also have the option to choose between a standard QWERTY or ABC keyboard to suit your preference. If you prefer a list of your favorite destinations, you can skip the keyboard altogether and utilize the OneTouch Favorites Menu instead. All you need to do is add places you frequently visit such as your house or favorite place for hanging out and assign an icon. The menu is capable of displaying 15 icons on at once so you can add plenty of other favorite places. The interface can also automatically adjust itself depending on the time of day so once it is night time, the color scheme and contrast change to make the menu elements are more readable.

Navigation Features

Today’s tablets may come with impressive navigation software but the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM comes with a great navigation experience along with plenty of preloaded maps covering all 50 US states along with Canada and Puerto Rico. Since the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM has been available since early 2012, it is possible for some of the maps to have obsolete information out of the box. This is where getting the “LM” version is beneficial because you get free map updates (2 major updates every year) without expiration. The device does a great job in rendering the map in 3D and there is a bird’s eye view available if you wish to see more points of interest on the massive display. More than 6 million points of interest are already included making it simple to find any gas stations, restaurants and hotels nearby. If the latest map updates lack key areas, you can add a personal point of interest using the Address Book feature for your own reference.

Because the target audience of the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM is truck and RV drivers, there are a few more navigation features available. You can make use of these special features by going to the “Settings” screen which lets you create your own vehicle profile. You can enter the specifications of your vehicle so the system can come up with the best route possible. Once generated, you can still customize the route depending on your priorities such as shortest distance or fastest time. You can include or exclude freeways as well. The Multi-Destination Routing feature also opens up the possibility of setting multiple stops which is useful for planning a long vacation.

Driving on a freeway with the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM can save you a lot of time because the Highway Lane Assist feature makes sure that you won’t miss any exits indicated on the route. It works by telling you to be in the correct lane beforehand so you are prepared to take the sudden exit. For added convenience, there is a Highway Exit POI Search function that scans area surrounding the highway exit for gas stations, hotels and restaurants. In case of those rare instances where you miss a turn or run into traffic, you can use the SmartDetour feature so you can get right back on track.

Extra Features

Magellan teamed up with Good Sam by integrating the Good Sam Trailer Life Directory which can be handy for travelers. All you have to do is enter the city and bring up the directory to get valuable information on the best resorts, parks and other areas worth checking out. Every area on the directory has a rating based on numerous factors.

Bottom Line

$379 is a fairly high asking price for a GPS device that doesn’t have Bluetooth and voice navigation features. But car owners can find smaller RoadMate devices with similar features for much cheaper. But RV owners will get the most out of the Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM because of the large screen and there are hardly any decent alternatives available.

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