Although it may seem that Garmin and TomTom get much of the GPS spotlight, Magellan is no slouch and has steadfastly produced its own line of solid in-car GPS devices. Today, the company announced its latest system, the Magellan RoadMate 2200T (along with the Magellan RoadMate 2000), offering most of the latest features, such as text-to-speech functionality and multimedia capabilities, in one sleek device. Plus, you have the option to add live traffic updates and topographic maps for outdoor use. Our only gripes are its outdated interface and occasional sluggishness when launching different apps. That said, at $499, the Magellan RoadMate 2200T is solid portable nav system at a good value, especially when you consider it offers more than the similarly priced TomTom One.
The Magellan RoadMate 2200T is the most compact and probably sharpest-looking device we've seen from the company. It measures 3.7 by 2.0 by 0.6 inches and weighs 7.8 ounces for easy transport between vehicles. Magellan says you can also use the RoadMate 2200T as an outdoor product, and while feasible, we think it's a bit too clunky for hiking purposes and would prefer a dedicated handheld GPS device.
Due to its new trim size, and unlike the other RoadMate models, there are no external controls on the face of the 2200T. Instead, all commands are entered via the unit's 3.5-inch, responsive touch screen. It displays 64,000 colors at a 320x240-pixel resolution, making maps, text, and images look sharp. The screen is also viewable in sunlight and at multiple angles. Our only complaint is that the RoadMate 2200T's interface isn't as sophisticated as its competitors'; in fact, it looks pretty darn archaic. This doesn't affect the performance, but if you're like us, you want a tech gadget that looks good inside and out.
On the left spine are a SD/MMC card expansion slot, a hold switch, and a reset button, while the right side has a power on/off button, USB port, a headphone jack, and a power connector. Aside from the power button, everything is protected by an attached rubber cover.
Magellan packages the RoadMate 2200T with a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), a cigarette lighter charger, a USB cable, and a CD-ROM with additional points of interest (POI) and music and photo managers. Once again, we wish the company would include an AC adapter as a secondary power supply source.
The Magellan RoadMate 2200T features a SiRF Star III GPS chipset and comes preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. To start navigation, you can enter a specific street address, an intersection, or a POI or select an entry from the Address Book. The latter holds up to 250 addresses and can include a street address, a point on the map, a POI, or an intersection. Like much of the RoadMate series, the 2200T has the QuickSpell feature, which helps speed up the process of text entry. As you start to punch the numbers and letters of an address into the virtual keyboard, QuickSpell dims out any characters that don't match any of the city or streets located in the system's database. It's really handy and worked well during our test period.
The RoadMate 2200T can calculate routes based on four methods: shortest time, shortest distance, lease use of freeways, and most use of freeways. With all options, you can also instruct the unit to avoid toll roads. If you're planning a longer road trip, check out the Trip Planner function, where you can program multiple destinations. There's also a Trip Computer that tells you your average speed, trip time, drive time, and total trip distance, if you're into that kind of thing. For impromptu stops, the system comes preloaded with almost 2 million points of interest, including all the basics (ATMs, gas stations, hotels) and more specialized categories such as marinas, ski resorts, and performing arts centers.
The 2200T has text-to-speech functionality, although Magellan calls it SayWhere. The technology allows the unit to speak specific street names when giving voice-guided directions, which is nice since this allows you to keep your eyes on the road more of the time instead of on the GPS screen. You get text-based directions as well, and you can view maps in 3D, 2D (track up or north up), and night mode. If you happen to miss a turn, the RoadMate 2200T can automatically recalculate a new route based on your current position, or if there is a specific part of the route you want to avoid, a Detour function can help you tell the unit to go around that part based on distance (3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, or custom). Alternatively, the 2200T comes with Magellan's SmartDetour feature, where if your speed drops below 15mph, the unit assumes you're stuck in traffic and the detour icon will appear onscreen, which you can then tap to receive an alternate route. Though the RoadMate 2200T doesn't come with integrated traffic services right out of the box, Magellan says live traffic updates will be available starting November or December 2006. The Magellan Traffickit upgrade will cost $99 and include three months of traffic service. After that, you'll have to pay an annual subscription fee of $59.99 to continue service. In addition to the traffic functionality, you can expand the capabilities of the RoadMate 2200T with the optional CrossoverGPS kit ($49.99), which provides topographic maps for off-roading, hiking, marine use, and more.
Finally, like the latest crop of GPS devices, the RoadMate 2200T includes music playback and an image viewer. The music player supports MP3 and WMA music files, and you can create and edit playlists. There's also an equalizer so that you can tweak the sound, and repeat and shuffle modes. The picture viewer supports JPEG and BMP images.
We tested the Magellan RoadMate 2200T in San Francisco, and from a cold start, the unit took about two minutes to get a 3D fix (four satellites) and was even able to acquire a signal inside our building, which is a difficult task for any GPS device. The 2200T created directions in a timely manner, and route recalculation was also speedy as we purposefully missed turns during our test-drive. It accurately tracked our position as we drove around the city, and it gave us accurate directions to our destinations. We hit some minor speed bumps when trying to launch the different apps (music player, image viewer, and navigation), but it's not any worse (or better) than other portable nav systems equipped with multimedia capabilities. The RoadMate 2200T's internal battery is rated for up to eight hours.