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The Best Magellan GPS Systems

written by: Shawn S. Lealos•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 5/19/2011

Magellan GPS systems offer both the RoadMate and Maestro series. These units all measure up well with Garmin and TomTom’s offerings. These offer smaller screens, at 4.3-inches, as well as some of the largest on the market at 7-inches. Here are five of the top Magellan GPS systems on the market.

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    Magellan RoadMate 1470

    magellan-roadmate-1470 The Magellan RoadMate 1470 is a thin, light weight GPS unit that features a 4.7-inch touch screen. The RoadMate 1470 is one of the Magellan GPS systems that offer text-to-turn speech using the actual street names instead of the more generic directions of lesser models. The system also includes millions of points-of-interest as well as 1,470 AAA-approved auto repair shops and a number of locations offering discounts to AAA members.

    The RoadMate 1470 offers a unique OneTouch menu, which the user can customize to store quick links to commonly used locations. This GPS unit also offers Route Options, which allows users to find various routes to get to the same location, each displaying the ETA depending on which is chosen. This option offers an overlay map to see each of the routes on the list to compare where each direction takes you in relation to the others.

    The MSRP of the Magallen RoadMate 1470 is $249.99 but can be found for $105 through through Amazon.com as of April 2011. One item of value to the Magellan RoadMate 1470 is the Traffic Link option, which includes free automatic updates for life. The Magellan RoadMate 1470 matches the performance of similar priced models by TomTom and Garmin and might even save a few bucks with a larger screen than the competitors.

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    Magellan RoadMate 1700

    Magellan-RoadMate-1700 The Magellan RoadMate 1700 seems similar to other RoadMate versions until you put them side-by-side. The RoadMate 1700 is one of the largest Magellan GPS systems on the market with a giant 7-inch screen. The large screen allows the unit to display more of the map and more space for on-screen menus.

    The GPS unit features text-by-turn directions in three different languages as well as graphic lane guidance which help drivers navigate complex freeway interchanges. The RoadMate 1700 has OneTouch which allows users to create a shortcuts menu. The menu link is located in the top right corner of the screen.

    The MSRP of the Magellan RoadMate 1700 is $249.99 but can be found at Amazon.com for $176.76 as of April 2011. The unit matches up well with anything put out by Garmin or TomTom but the 7-inch screen is a bit too large for normal sized car windows. For anyone with big trucks or SUVs, it is the perfect unit.

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    Magellan RoadMate 9055

    magellan-roadmate-9055 The Magellan RoadMate 9055 takes the Magellan RoadMate 1700 and adds real-time traffic reports, Bluetooth hands-free mode and integration of the upcoming remote backup camera. The unit is also very large, including a mount that makes it a total of 12-inches in width. Once again, that makes this one of the Magellan GPS systems that is not good for normal vehicles but perfect for large trucks and SUVs. The MSRP is $279.99, only $30 more than the RoadMate 1700, which makes it a great value. The Amazon.com price is $259.56 as of April 2011.

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    Magellan Maestro 4350

    Magellan-Maestro-4350 The Magellan Maestro 4350 is one of the more affordable options for this Magellan GPS systems series. The screen on the Maestro series is different from the RoadMate series, a 4.3-inch widescreen, which offers decent quality although it's not overly bright. The unit itself is wider than most, 5-inches in length, to allow the widescreen.

    The Maestro is a very fast GPS unit, thanks to its impressive SiRFstarIII chipset. This is a very quick GPS unit in searching and routing and the reaction time on the touch screen is also very fast. It is a nice change after using devices that appear sluggish when routing specific trips. Much like the RoadMate, Magellan takes advantage of its agreement with AAA to offer numerous points-of-interest and the AAA TourBook locations.

    The MSRP of the Magellan Maestro 4350 is $299.00 but can be found through Amazon.com for as low as $82.51 as of April 2011. The value of this model is the low price but, with the savings, the user loses text-to-speech options and, if you want an upgrade to the maps, it runs almost as much as a replacement unit.

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    Magellan Maestro 5310

    Magellan-Maestro-5310 The Magellan Maestro is one of the Magellan GPS systems that feature a five-inch screen. It shares the same options as the Maestro 4350 but with the larger screen. There are traffic updates available with a subscription and the SmartDetour option lets you plan a route around the detours. The problem with this upgrade is the price difference. The larger screen size comes with a higher price tag, costing $329.99 as of April 2011.