If your car lacks a built-in GPS system, you are not out of luck because there are plenty of automotive GPS devices available as well as special car mounts that work with smartphones or tablets if you have a compatible model. But if you need a fast and accurate GPS device that is full of features, automotive GPS devices will always be your best bet. 5-inch devices are great if you want to see more of the map but if you mount it in a truck or RV, you might feel limited with the mounting options where the closest possible mounting spot is still far away from the driver’s seat. The only solution to this is to get a GPS device with a larger screen. But don’t let those 7-inch and 10-inch tablets be your only options because the features are significantly lacking if you compare it with a true 7-inch GPS device like the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM.

Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM

Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM

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Design

Other than the noticeably larger 7-inch display, the overall build quality and design is the same as the other Magellan devices in the RoadMate family. Of course it weighs a bit more too but the Heavy Duty Extension Mount can support the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM just fine. Plus, you can adjust the angle after mounting the device so you can get a nice comfortable view from your seat.

Interface

It is easy to tell that the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM is specifically geared for truck and RV drivers just by looking at the model’s prefix. But this is still a RoadMate device as it has the same simple interface that other modern RoadMate devices boast. Even without reading the instruction manual, it should be very easy to understand the basic home screen where you can tap the large “Go To” icon to get started in planning your route. Viewing your current position in the map is also an icon tap away. There are also icons for checking the local options or configuring the settings. If you used a smaller Magellan RoadMate device, you can easily conclude that the interface just appears larger just because it has a larger screen. But when viewing the maps, you will notice that the details are crisper as it has a 800×480 resolution rather than the typical 480×272 featured in most 4-inch and 5-inch devices. The screen is also easy to read during the night time where the Auto Night View automatically sets the appropriate contrast and color interface settings.

Another interface element that has been scaled up is the touch keyboard that appears when you have to enter a destination. This makes typing significantly easier but you can type a city or street even faster by looking at the highlighted letters as you type. These highlighted letters are most probably the next letters that you will type in order to complete the name of your desired destination. This text prediction feature is called QuickSpell and it is one of the features that separate Magellan devices from other brands.

Another unique gem present only in Magellan models is the OneTouch Favorites Menu. This menu is accessible by tapping on the icon found on the upper right corner. It will show you a grid of 15 icons where you can access places you frequently visited or bookmarked. You have full control of what places appear and what their icons look like. What makes this feature handy is that icon remains on the upper right corner at all times so it is just a single touch away.

Navigation Features

US residents are treated with full map coverage and access to all features while people living in Canada and Puerto Rico can still enjoy good map coverage with some lacking features. But although the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM comes fully equipped with a massive database of over 6 million points of interest, it is best to take advantage of the free map updates associated with this device. This may fix inaccuracies and/or add the latest places. The maps can be updated twice a year but you will be entitled with free updates forever. It is still possible to create your own points of interest using the Address Book feature in case the update fails to add key spots in your area.

What makes the RoadMate RV devices special is the way your route is calculated. The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM has the ability to come up with an ideal route no matter what truck or RV you are driving. This function only works if you supply the device with the accurate specifications of your vehicle. The route planning functions basically take your truck or RV’s specifications into account while the route is being generated. This feature also works if you use the Multi-Destination Routing function to plan a series of routes. If you want to save fuel or reach the destination faster, you can let come up with routes that prioritize one or the other.

Freeways are often used to reach destinations faster providing that you pay attention to the speed limit and not miss the exit. But it is easy to miss important signs or be in the wrong lane when you need to make the critical exit turn. The Highway Lane Assist view basically prevents these things from happening by putting the important signs on the large screen and highlighting the correct lane you have to be in too. If you need to make a quick stop, using the Highway Exit POI Search can also help you discover possible restaurants, gas stations and other areas you can check out near the exit.

Traffic can interfere with the planned route but the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM can anticipate this as it can receive free traffic alerts. This feature will also continue to work as long as your device works. Once heavy traffic is detected, you can use the SmartDetour feature for going around that traffic.

Extra Features

The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM also features the Good Sam Trailer Life Directory where you can discover nice camping spots in any area with map coverage. It is even possible to see the places with the best commodities and deals.

The RV9165T-LM features Bluetooth as well opening up the possibility of using the GPS device as a speakerphone when paired with a phone. Pairing with the phone also allows the transferring of phone contacts to the GPS device.

Bottom Line

A large screen and some bells and whistles comes at a price ($429) but with all the RV benefits, the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM is easily better than any tablet with GPS features right now.

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