Filed under: Gadget Reviews
The Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T GPS Made for RVers – Part 1
Having a reliable GPS riding shotgun with you in a large RV is probably the best way to keep your rig out of trouble.
Note the word “reliable” – it is absolutely the key to avoiding dead end roads and low bridges with a rig that is 3 times (or more) the size of an average four-wheeler.
Conventional GPS units simply do not suffice for RV use.
They have no setting to determine routing based on your width, length, weight, or height. My “conventional” GPS will direct our RV to weight restricted bridges, low tunnels, narrow streets and advocate U-turns that are impossible with our rig.
Rather than suffer through all of these obstacles and possible traffic tickets or damage to your RV, many of us have elected to purchase GPS units specifically programmed for commercial truckers. These units do an excellent job of avoiding weight, height, or width barriers. But, the POI (Point Of Interest) or information database contained in a trucker GPS doesn’t necessarily concern an RVer. What I mean is; RV’s are not concerned about weight stations or every truck stop along their route. Rvers are more concerned about where to camp, eat and buy fuel. Once at their destination, they often enjoy sightseeing, recreation and shopping. Those with pets also want to know which POI’s are “pet friendly” so Fido doesn’t end up locked in a hot vehicle while mom and day peruse the sidewalks of a shopping mall.
Well, the folks at Magellan have come up with the RoadMate Pro 9165T. This GPS is designed especially for RVers.
The 9165T is a large screen GPS covering a full 40 square inches of windshield space with its 7-inch diagonal high-resolution screen. Just for comparison, a conventional 4.5-inch diagonal screen GPS only requires about 15 square inches of real estate. That makes the Magellan Roadmate Pro 9165T “about” three times bigger than “conventional”. For a big rig like a class A MotorHome or a class 8 truck such as we use, the size is welcome – but on a small vehicle or pick-up it can be an impairment to having a full view of the world outside your windshield. In short, when going bigger be sure you don’t block your vision of the road in front of you!
The mount that comes with the 9156T is HUGE compared to a conventional GPS mount. It has a large suction cup to attach to the windshield and then an arm that measures 9” retracted and a full 12” extended that can be configured to most any angle or position desired. The driver of the big class A MotorHome with a windshield several feet beyond the him can now reach the GPS screen easily to take advantage of the one touch features.
What I believe the folks at Magellan have done is to take the best of two worlds and pair them together. The map data and routing are from the North American Truck Routing Database – the same one you would find in a trucker GPS but without all the trucker info. You see, Magellan and Trailer Life got together and agreed to use the entire TL directory as the campground database for RV spots.
Personally, I do not believe there is a better directory tham Trailer Life and we depend upon their rating system and park info almost exclusively when choosing a park. Now, just so I don’t upset my editor at Woodall’s – the Woodall’s directory is also great, but both Woodall’s and Trailer Life are owned by Trailer Life Enterprises (formerly Affinity Media) so I guess I can get away with praising Trailer Life’s directory on the Woodall’s site.
Anyway, having the Trailer Life Directory included in a GPS with all of the locations and essential information about a camping spot is nothing short of fantastic. I have had a ball just sitting in my recliner at home putting in possible destinations and then being able to see all of the Good Sam parks along my route – as well as other camping sites and every imaginable place to eat, shop, rest, get medical care, fill the tank, go to Church, get a spa treatment, buy groceries, fix a flat tire or see a movie. Whew! That was a lot of stuff and the list still is not complete. Having all of this data right at your fingertips, neatly arranged and requiring just the push of a button or two is mind-boggling. I really love having this accessibility. Kudos to Magellan and Trailer Life for a great marriage in GPS functionality.
The 9165T also has built-in Bluetooth. This feature allows me to pair my mobile phone with the GPS for making or answering on-the-road calls. Some may wonder why I like this. Well, first off I have a big screen rather than a small smart phone screen. The speaker and microphone in the GPS are excellent – IMHO much better than the phone when used in speaker mode. I also have the option of transferring all of my contacts in my smart phone to the GPS. If their street address is not in the smart phone it can be added to the GPS. When this is finished, you will have everything at your fingertips: routing to your contact’s home, instant speed dialing of their phone number and, of course, caller recognition. It is an extremely safe way to answer smart phone calls on the road.
I’ve devoted a lot of page-space talking about the database features of the 9165T and haven’t even addressed the routing options and functions – particularly those that should be specific to an RV. It will be a few weeks before we get back out on the road with the “Great White” to give it a real workout. But, until that opportunity, I will continue to explore the features and options of yet another large screen GPS device marketed specifically for RV’ers.
I’ll be writing more on this new and fascinating device in the coming weeks – in particular, how well it works to get you safely to your specified destination.
Did I mention that I really like the Trailer Life/Good Sam park database features?