Hands on with the WiFi-enabled Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM
UPDATE: I’ve added a response from Magellan.
The Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM is a new unit from Magellan, whose most notable feature is WiFi, so I’ll focus on that in my review. It has a 5” screen with accelerometer, allowing you to use it in landscape or portrait orientation. And as the T-LM implies, it comes with traffic and lifetime map updates.
It also has a new feature called Tour Director that helps you plan vacation travel, based on the average visit time for a destination.
It was easy enough to connect to a network using the 5175T-LM, but the designers have made poor use of this feature. There are only two ways to use it – to update the device and to use a web browser.
There are no apps, no email client and no Google Local search. Doing a Google Maps search in the browser doesn’t result in a Go button or anything like that. You do get the address, as shown below, but you would need to enter it manually to navigate to a destination.
I apologize for the quality of the images. There is no built-in screenshot facility, so these were shot with a camera, but I thought it important to show you visuals.
Shown below is what Gmail.com looks like. It is definitely illegible.
Zooming in, it gets better, but it doesn’t render very well (notice the cut off text and the blank area on the right side of the screen below).
Once you open a message and zoom in, the text is quite readable.
Speaking of zoom, it resets every time you open a new page, so you have to rezoom to max every time to really be able to read things.
As far as speed, it took about 55 seconds to render the GPSTracklog.com home page, only a few seconds slower than the Garmin nuvi 295W.
I don’t have many nice things to say about this functionality, but there are a couple of positive notes I can add:
- It has the ability to update the unit’s firmware via WiFi
- There is a .com button on the keypad
This is a relatively new feature for Magellan units, so I wanted to comment on it as well. It relies upon TeleAtlas map data, so coverage is not as complete in my area as it is on units using NAVTEQ data. Speed limits are restricted to major highways for the most part.
One good feature here is the ability to set speeding warnings (audible and/or visible) at a customizable number of miles above the speed limit (in 5 MPH increments). Nice!
I wanted to review this model since Garmin’s WiFi-enabled nuvi 295W had been so popular (reaching as high as number 5 in our top ten list). A WiFi navigator can offer a good alternative for the 2/3 of Americans who aren’t ready to pony up for a smartphone data plan yet, offering email on the go anywhere there is a WiFi hot spot. But the nuvi had an email app, Google Local search and weather. The Magellan 5175T-LM offers none of those. So it seems more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. I’ve decided not to delve any further into this model, and really can’t see a good use case for it.
UPDATE: I received the following from Bill Strand, Magellan’s Sr. Product Marketing Manager:
I wanted to comment on your review of the RM5175T-LM Traveler. The focus of the WiFi on the 5175T-LM was not to provide a web browsing experience to compete with the 295W, but was focused towards travel-type research while on the road. We specifically included the “Surf and Save” feature that travel related websites have integrated. Would you be willing to check out any one of these travel websites and let your readers know that side of the Traveler functionality? The Traveler does allow you to navigate a site like Yelp and then a tap on the address there goes directly to the navigator.
DINING REVIEW SITES
TRAVEL ITINERARY AND POI REVIEW SITES
The TourDirector and WiFi were developed to provide the ability to put together a journey between POIs where more information was desired (such as details of the establishment and time spent there). The idea was that it would be a powerful tool to combine the detailed information in the TourDirector with the researching ability of the WiFi to travel sites and ratings. We thought it would be a nice unit to package that up with the maps and traffic in a 5”WVGA hardware (and the accelerometer as the cherry on top.)
More Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM reviews
- CNet gives a 3-1/2 out of 5 star rating in their Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM review
- NJ.com reviews the Magellan 5175T-LM Traveler
- E-Gear reviews the 5175T-LM after using it “several times”
Other Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM resources
- Our other Magellan auto GPS reviews
- There is a Magellan RoadMate message forum at GpsPasSion
- There is also a Magellan RoadMate forum at GPSReview.net
- The official Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM web page
Compare prices on the Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM at these merchants:
- Check the current Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM price at Amazon
- Get the Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM Traveler GPS at BestBuy.com