The RoadMate 9055-LM at its core has many of the features that we've seen in the rest of Magellan's RoadMate lineup. The map screen places its controls in each of its four corners and along the screen's edges, with buttons for OneTouch, volume control, the Main Menu, zoom in and out, travel information, and traffic. While navigating, the 9055-LM gives live updating spoken turn-by-turn directions with useful features such as spoken street names, highway lane guidance, and speed limit alerts. We especially like the way the system uses chimes instead of speech to signal when it's time to turn, so the system doesn't feel like it's jabbering on endlessly.
From the upper right corner of the map screen, users are able to access Magellan's OneTouch menu where 15 shortcuts to commonly accessed destinations and searches can be saved. One of these presets is fixed (emergency services) but the remaining 14 can be set and reset by the user.
Lifetime map updates can be downloaded from the Internet using Magellan's Content Manager Software and Lifetime traffic data can be browsed on the unit's map. Traffic data comes wirelessly over the air via the RDS-TMC band. Like most RDS-TMC systems, flow and incident data is mostly available for interstates, major highways, and a few major streets, with the majority of secondary and surface roads going uncovered.
I first fired up the RoadMate 9055-LM just outside the CNET offices in downtown San Francisco. Like most PNDs, the RoadMate 9055-LM's initial satellite lock time is a bit longer than the subsequent locks and took about 5 minutes. (Fortunately, our offices have a fairly unobstructed view of the sky, which makes all of the difference.) Inputting a destination from an interface standpoint was fairly seamless (giving us the option to search by point-of-interest name using either Magellan's database or an onboard database of AAA TourBook destinations, enter a street address, or to pull from an address book). However, the amount of pressure required to register a touch on the resistive screen caused issues with the flexy mounting arm.
With a destination input, the RoadMate 9055-LM's chosen routes and supplied directions were satisfactory, lining up well with the routes that I would have chosen myself after years of driving in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, if there's one major issue with this PND, it's speed.
Whether poking around through its menus or watching the live map update while driving, I couldn't help but be annoyed by the lack of smoothness in the the RoadMate 9055-LM's presentation. Rather than gliding along smoothly, the map would jump from point to point in a very noticeable manner (occasionally causing me to doubt which street I was my turn). Searching for a point of interest was even more frustrating with slow text input for the search function and even slower returning of search results.
That is, if the unit even returned the result you were looking for at all. The temperamental search algorithm was a bit too specific for my tastes. For example, when searching for "Lake Temescal," the RoadMate 9055-LM returned no results. Searching for "Temescal Park" also provided zero results. It wasn't until we shortened the search to just "Temescal" were we able to find the desired destination listed a few entries down in the resulting list under "Temescal Regional Park." Most users would have stopped searching after the first two attempts, declaring the search a failure. In a world where we're all so used to Google asking "did you mean...?" this rigid type of searching is almost unacceptable.
When the RoadMate 9055-LM landed on my desk, I thought that the large screen was a bit ridiculous. However, after much use and a bit of creative positioning, I learned to love the extra inches of available display. Owners of larger vehicles will no doubt also love the seamless integration with Magellan's Wireless Back-Up Camera system. However, what I never learned to love was the laggy performance and annoyingly specific POI search engine, which stand between you and the 9055-LM's otherwise acceptable navigation and routing. If want the biggest screen possible and don't mind taking a little time to set up your trip before embarking, this PND could be the one for you. But if you don't like the idea of waiting for your PND to catch up with you, you'll probably want to look for a smaller, snappier 5-inch navigator from TomTom or Garmin.