There are a variety of uses for GPS devices--in the car, on a boat, on foot, geocaching--but it's rare to find one device that can do it all. The Magellan CrossoverGPS is one of the first portable navigation systems we've seen to tackle all modes of transport, and it does so in a neat and affordable package. It's got a rugged design to withstand some of nature's elements, and it offers text-to-speech functionality, a voyage tracker, a compass, and other tools. However, it also has its downfalls. First, general performance was a bit sluggish, as were route recalculations. Plus, it's too big to carry on long treks, and you can't enter specific addresses in Outdoor mode, limiting its use for navigating city streets on foot. As such, serious hikers and boaters will be better served by a dedicated device, but if you're on a budget and need a versatile but basic GPS unit, the CrossoverGPS can fill those tracks. The Magellan CrossoverGPS is available now for $499.99.
Designed to work in the car, on foot, or on a boat or bicycle, the Magellan CrossoverGPS has a nice portable form factor, measuring 3.4 inches high by 4.2 inches wide by 1.1 inches deep and weighing 9.4 ounces. Plus, it's prepared to weather some of nature's elements as it meets IPX-4 standards, which essentially means it's water resistant, and comes with a removable rubber sport guard that covers the perimeter of the unit to protect it from dust or any possible drops. All that said, we're not completely convinced this is the ideal device for hikers. It's too large and heavy to comfortably walk around with for extended periods of time, so serious trekkers are better off with a dedicated handheld outdoor GPS device.
The CrossoverGPS features a 3.5-inch, color touch screen that's readable in various lighting conditions, including sunlight. While the maps and text are clear and colorful, the unit's interface is outdated, with its 80s-looking icons and primitive look. Are we being superficial? Perhaps, but as we noted in the RoadMate 2200T review, we want our tech to look good inside and out, especially in this day and age. Despite these complaints, the menus are functional and easy to understand, and fortunately, Magellan has updated the interface with its newer Maestro series.
On the left spine of the unit, you'll find an SC card expansion slot, a screen hold switch, and a reset button, while there's a power button, a mini USB port, a headphone jack, and a power connector on the right side. All of these ports and buttons are protected by an attached rubber flap. The Magellan CrossoverGPS comes packaged with an AC adapter, a car charger, a vehicle mount (dash and windshield), a USB cable, and reference material.
The Magellan CrossoverGPS is equipped with a 20-channel SiRFStarIII GPS receiver and comes with Navteq maps of North America and a 1.5 million POI database preloaded on its 4G hard drive. For in-car use, you can get directions by entering specific street addresses or intersections, choosing a specific point of interest or address book entry, or you can simply have the unit track your location as you drive around without a specific destination. There's also a Trip Planner feature if you're planning on a multistop journey. Like most Magellan units, the CrossoverGPS includes the QuickSpell feature, which aids in the address-entry process as it dims out any letters or numbers that don't match any of the city or streets located in the system's database as you start inputting characters.
The CrossoverGPS can calculate routes by the shortest distance, the shortest time, the least or most use of freeways, or via toll-free roads. In addition to text-based, turn-by-turn directions, the system also supports text-to-speech functionality (which Magellan calls SayWhere), so it can give you specific street names with the voice-guided directions. Other navigation features on the CrossoverGPS include automatic route recalculation, 2D and 3D maps, night map colors, a trip computer, and a route simulator. In addition, there's a tool called SmartDetour that, if your speed drops below 15mph, will assume you're stuck in traffic and will make the detour icon appear, which you can then tap to receive an alternate route.
In Outdoor mode, you get topographic maps of the 48 contiguous states, but unfortunately, you can't enter specific addresses for navigation, which limits its use for walkers in urban areas. To get directions, you can either select a point on the map or enter the longitude and latitude. You can enter the location of your campsite to record it as a starting or ending point for directions. Alternatively, there's a handy tracker that records your route as you walk, like a breadcrumb trail, as well as a compass.
Sadly, we couldn't test Marine features of the Magellan CrossoverGPS, although if we had the means, we would have certainly been on board. But alas, there is no CNET sailboat or yacht to speak of. That said, the CrossoverGPS offers boaters many of the same tools found in outdoor mode, including a trip planner, a voyage tracker, waypoints, a compass, and a place to enter the location of your port.
Finally, the Magellan CrossoverGPS includes a music player and an image viewer. The music player is rudimentary but supports MP3 and WMA music files and playlist creation. You can't, however, listen to music and use the navigation features at the same time. The picture viewer supports JPEG and BMP images.
We tested the Magellan CrossoverGPS in San Francisco, and from a cold start under clear skies, it took the unit about two minutes to acquire the necessary satellites to get a fix on our location. Subsequent starts were a bit erratic; at times, it was instantaneous while at others it could take as long as five minutes to get a lock. The system did an excellent job of pinpointing our location as were driving around the city, and it gave us accurate directions when we entered a specific destination. Yet while CrossoverGPS created directions fairly quickly, route recalculations were quite slow. On a number of occasions, we were instructed to make a turn after we had already passed the street, and this continued on for a while as the unit was always trying to catch up with us. General performance was also a bit sluggish. There was a noticeable lab when launching the unit's different functions; let's just say, we got used to looking at the hourglass icon.
Music playback through the system's speaker was actually quite good. There was plenty of volume and rich sound quality. The Magellan CrossoverGPS's lithium ion battery is rated for up to 8 hours of use on a single charge.