Thursday, August 25, 2005

Magellan Meridian Color Traveler GPS Value Pack with 64 MB Secure Digital Memory Card - 49% Off - A Savings of $295.



The Magellan Meridian Color Traveler kit comes with everything you need for navigating unfamiliar city streets--as well as tracking through your favorite mountain trails. The kit includes the MapSend DirectRoute CD-ROM (for street-level map detail), a 64 MB Secure Digital memory card, vehicle mounting bracket, and cigarette lighter power adapter (with PC data cable). It also offers easy-to-read navigation screens, good-sized buttons and a thumb directional pad on the front, and WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Service) for 3-meter accuracy.

Compared to Magellan's portable Sportrak line, the Meridian is bulkier both in weight (8.5 ounces with batteries compared to the Sportrak's 6.1 ounces) and overall dimensions--6.5 x 2.9 x 1.2 inches (W x H x D)--making it not quite as pocketable for use while walking or hiking (unless you have cargo pants).

The bright color screen measures 2.2 x 1.75 inches and has a decent 160 x 120 pixel resolution. We found it to be nicely readable in the car and in most outside conditions, though it wasn't at its best in direct sunlight. As with cell phones in the car, you will have to be wary with your usage. The Meridian Color can be a bit distracting while you're driving as you have to read the screen (though there are audible prompst) rather than hear a voice providing exact turning instructions (a feature of the Magellan Roadmate).

We've known several new GPS owners who have been frustrated at the need to purchase additional software to make their new device road-ready. The inclusion of the MapSend DirectRoute CD-ROM (compatible with Windows only) makes this kit invaluable, and we hit the ground running (well, driving really) within an hour of opening the box.

With a selected map region loaded into the memory, simply press the Goto button and select either a new or previously loaded waypoint or a point of interest (such as an airport or sports arena) to navigate to via a street route. After a bit of calculating, we were presented with a turn-by-turn journey that we could follow while driving. As we neared each turn, the Meridian Color emitted a set of beeps to warn us (which elevated to an urgent beeping when we were right on top of the turn). We used this to plot a course to Seattle's Space Needle, and it produced acceptable results (though, if you're familiar with the terrain, you may know better shortcuts). If you turn off the Meridian while following a route (say if you take a coffee break), you can return right back to it once you turn the device back on.

Magellan's Meridian series offers Secure Digital (SD) memory card expandability, which is a bonus for adding a large amount of map data (especially for long trips). However, we were disappointed at its placement within the device behind the batteries rather than an external slot. This won't be a problem for most users, but it will be annoying if you've got a number of maps spread across several cards.

We experienced good battery life during our test (Magellan boasts 13 hours of continuous use with 2 AA batteries), and the cigarette lighter adapter was instrumental in preventing battery drain.

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Magellan Meridian Color Traveler GPS Value Pack with 64 MB Secure Digital Memory Card - 49% Off - A Savings of $295
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1 comment:

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