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Magellan Roadmate 5265T-LMB GPS

Magellan Roadmate 5265 The newest Magellan GPS to hit the market is the Roadmate 5265T-LMB, and the company provided Consumer World with a unit to review.

This is a 5-inch unit, with lifetime maps and traffic, seven million points of interest, built-in AAA guidebook, and the ability to plug in a camera mounted behind your car so you can be sure you don't run over your kid or your dog. The screen is relatively bright, but not in strong sunlight. I tend to keep it on night view with its black background all the time to improve visibility.

You will notice in the picture that you can orient the screen vertically if you like, and that has the benefit of showing you more of the road ahead. I love that feature. Doing so, however, has some drawbacks. You lose the QWERTY keyboard and only have an ABC one. Some of the one-touch controls like going home is now a couple of clicks away.

Consumer World has been a big fan of Magellan GPS units because of the "ding." It makes a ding-dong sound (or ding-ding sound) just before the point where you are supposed to make a maneuver such as a turn or to take a left fork. Neither TomTom nor Garmin has this feature, and for the life of me, I don't know why they haven't adopted it. It is indispensible.

The 5265 has an improved lane guidance feature, where not only does it have overhead traffic signs that show up on highways with the one you are supposed to take highlighted when exiting the road, but it also jumps into a close-up 3D picture highlighting which lane or lanes you should be in. Those overhead signs finally have a slightly bigger font to make them more readable. Also new, it often tells you to get into, for example, the right two lanes. Very handy.

When you first start your trip, the familiar "go to" icon is missing upon turning on the unit. You have to press "menu" to find another icon to program your trip. The unit does however, pick up the satellite very quickly, often in the garage, and announces what specific street to proceed to.

Also new, it couples maneuvering directions occasionally with landmarks, so you might be told to take a left at the bank. Of course, that bank has now become a gas station on occasion. It will also show off needlessly telling you to continue straight at the gas station when there no reason (or ability) to make any other kind of maneuver. Dumb.

Now for the not so nice stuff. The one female voice sounds like, as my mother would say, Gravel Gerty. The voice is just not sharp and clear, but gravelly. The on/off button is no longer raised, so it is almost impossible to feel or see. Even the cigarette light plug has a problem: the wire stiff and kinked and awkwardly obstructs the gear shift.

Whatever maps the company is now using have somehow omitted possible turns that have existed for decades. For example, in at least two instances near my house, the unit fails to tell me to make a left turn on a divided road but instead has me go further up the street and make a u-turn and work my way back. Really dumb.

The unit has problems with adjacent parallel roads, such as the main highway and its side road. I can be on the side road, but the unit thinks I am on the highway, and is fixing to tell me to get off several miles ahead, when in fact I need to make a turn off the side road in a few hundred feet. (It will often catch itself before it fully speaks the incorrect direction.) It has a similar problem at some forks. You will be in the left part of the fork at a light, but it thinks you are in the right part of the fork, and directs you to make a U-turn to get back on track. It will also on occasion tell you to go right or stay straight when in fact you need to do the opposite.

One continuing annoyance is that unit does not tell you orally that is recalculating your trip when you go off course. Sometimes it is slow in announcing a manuever like staying left. And a new annoyance is that it no longer says "you have arrived at your destination."

Despite these quirks, like all GPS units, it will eventually get you to your destination. The question is whether you want to put up with them or not.

The Roadmate 5265T-LMB lists for $199.99.

December 1, 2012

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