Magellan SmartGPSTuesday, April 30, 2013 17:01
Summary by Official
The Magellan SmartGPS is a portable navigation device, but it’s also part of a larger system that, at the time of publication, has parts that give users multiple ways to navigate, search for destination, and manage their favorite places. At the core of this system is the Magellan SmartGPS hardware, which can be used as a standalone navigation device.
The Magellan SmartGPS hardware looks about like you’d expect a portable navigation device to look. The device measures about 6.75 inches from corner to corner, but has a diagonal screen size of only 5 inches. The screen is glass and features capacitive sensitivity, enabling swiping, pinching, and tapping gestures.
The bottom edge is home to all of the ports and connections supported by the Magellan SmartGPS. The Magellan SmartGPS also hosts invisible connections for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for data synchronization and, for the former, hands-free calling.
The Magellan SmartGPS mixes up Magellan’s familiar interface by adding smart “Squares,” which are live-updating tiles that occupy part of the map screen and provide auxiliary data at a glance and quick shortcuts to destinations. On the default home screen, four of these squares are displayed, showing shortcuts to nearby destinations pulled from Yelp and Foursquare, nearby gas stations and live fuel prices, and nearby traffic events.
Along the bottom edge of the home screen are shortcuts for settings, Bluetooth calling and messaging, destination search, an address book of stored destinations, and Magellan’s OneTouch menu of quick shortcuts to searches and destinations. Swiping to the left hides the squares and expands the map to full screen.
The data for these smart squares is synced from the Web. After connecting the Magellan SmartGPS to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot, the portable navigation device will connect to the Web and download the newest data for fuel prices in the area, highly rated Yelp and Foursquare destinations for your chosen categories, traffic prediction data, safety alerts, speed and red light cameras, and favorites and recent destinations stored to Magellan’s cloud service. Once this data is synced, the Magellan SmartGPS doesn’t need to maintain an Internet connection to access it; you can just hop in your car and drive around.
SmartGPS App Integration
Owners of of iPhones can download the free Magellan SmartGPS app from the App Store to link their portable navigation to the Web via the handset’s Bluetooth and data connections. While connected, the Magellan SmartGPS will have access the absolute most recent fuel prices, road hazards, traffic data, and points of interest.
The app itself allows users to manage favorites, browse and search for destinations, and send those destinations either to the cloud for later retrieval or directly to theMagellan SmartGPS device for immediate navigation. If the Magellan SmartGPS is out of range or powered off, the app will queue the destination and automatically push the address when the Bluetooth is restored later.
The Magellan SmartGPS app also features the same smart squares as the Magellan SmartGPS hardware, with shortcuts to Yelp and Foursquare destinations, traffic incidents, and current location data. This makes the Magellan SmartGPS ecosystem a bit more attractive to multicar, multidriver households.
At the time of publication, Magellan had not released the Android version of the app but did provide a Magellan Link app in Google Play that allows the Magellan SmartGPS hardware to make use of the smartphone’s data connection for downloading and syncing to the cloud only.
Both the Magellan SmartGPS app and the Magellan SmartGPS hardware sync to Magellan’s MiCloud online portal. After logging into the Web site, users can search a map and database for destinations, organize their favorite destinations, and save interesting spots to a Wish List that can be quickly accessed on the Magellan SmartGPS device and app.
Using the Web app’s graphic interface, users can quickly create multidestination trips by dragging and dropping favorites and, at the touch of a button, optimize a trip for the minimum driving distance. From the online portal, users can also view pending updates to the software and maps on their Magellan SmartGPS device.
I’m not sure if Magellan is taking advantage of the data connection from Wi-Fi or the paired smartphone to help the Magellan SmartGPS with initial GPS location, but the Magellan SmartGPS found itself in the world with startling immediacy at the beginning of every trip. The Magellan SmartGPS refused to be confused.
The Magellan SmartGPS will retail for $249 when it hits shelves later this summer. That wouldn’t be a bad price for a standard GPS navigator of this size and quality, but the addition of the smartphone apps and cloud sync that can be had for free further increase the value here.