Magellan Corporation broke ground in 1989 when it introduced the world's first handheld GPS navigator. Since then, it's been at the forefront of the GPS industry and shows no signs of slowing down. To prove that point, the company has introduced the Magellan Map 330, the first handheld receiver in its class to offer 16MB of memory cased in a slim, waterproof shell. It even floats! Magellan Corporation broke ground in 1989 when it introduced the world's first handheld GPS navigator. Since then, it's been at the forefront of the GPS industry and shows no signs of slowing down. To prove that point, the company has introduced the Magellan Map 330, the first handheld receiver in its class to offer 16MB of memory cased in a slim, waterproof shell. It even floats!
Encased in a rugged, seven-ounce, plastic and rubber shell, the Magellan Map 330 has the look and feel of its sibling the Map 320, released in January. Unlike the Map 320, which is geared toward the marine navigator, the Map 330 is suited for the urban traveler. The 8MB, built-in map database includes U.S. cities, highways, and national parks as well as major roadways, airports, and railways. If that's not enough, you can use the additional 8MB of flash (rewritable) memory to load detailed street-level maps from the optional MapSend CD-ROM ($50). Using the CD, you can locate street addresses, back roads, and points of interest such as monuments, waterways, and lakes. Plus, with the CD, you can plan your routes ahead of time on your PC (storing up to 20 routes and 500 waypoints), upload them to the Map 330, and away you go.
The Map 330 boasts a 104-by-106-pixel, high-resolution, backlit LCD screen. A built-in 12-channel receiver and antenna provide quick satellite detection and lock-in (more on that later). There's a nine-button keypad mounted on the face of the unit that makes single-handedly moving through the various screens easy, which is ideal when driving. The red power button not only turns the unit on and off but also turns the back light on and off. The unit runs on two AA batteries, and we managed to get the company's rated 10 hours of usage.
Looking for a Sign
Once powered up, the Map 330 begins to obtain a position fix by locking on to satellites. However, while navigating through the streets of downtown Manhattan, we lost track of our satellites two or three times. We were able to lock on again within a matter of seconds, but a self-proclaimed "urban navigator" should be able to handle the big city. That said, the unit's strong points far outweigh its limited weaknesses.
Five different navigation screens are accessible by pressing the Nav key. The map screen displays your location in two graphical modes: position or cursor. The compass screen displays bearing, heading, distance, and speed along your route, as well as showing a graphical compass. You can even see the position of the sun and the moon relative to where you are. A large screen displays the same data as the compass screen minus the compass. This is useful when you need information at a glance, such as when driving. Finally, the position screen provides all nongraphical data in one screen.
Overall, we found the Map 330 to be simple to use, which we attribute to its design and keypad layout. Plus, the device is competitively priced at $280. Despite the few hiccups we had locking onto satellites, the Map 330 will get you where you want to go.