Automobile Navigator with 3-D view and Traffic Capabilities
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The Magellan Roadmate 3050T is one of the newest in the Magellan
line of auto navigators. It is the same as the Magellan 3000,
except the Traffic Kit is included in the package, so this review
serves both the RoadMate 3000 and 3050T, with the exception of the
traffic capabilities. (If you have the RoadMate 3000, you can
purchase the traffic kit directly from Magellan.com for $150.)
The 3050T falls into the category of the
middle of the newer RoadMate series of the new re-designed shape and
includes the new highly sensitive Sirfstar 3 receiver. The
3050T is similar to its older brother, the RoadMate 360, except
the many of the issues we discovered in the 360 have been fixed and are NOT present in the 3050T.
The 3050T also features real time traffic abilities for select
metro areas, which will prompt you of accidents, incidents and
construction that could affect your route. There are maps
the entire USA, Puerto Rico and Canada and can be seen in the 3-D 'bird's
eye' view, however it does not feature text-to-speech directions,
meaning the unit does not announce actual street names.
The unit package lists
on the street for $549. Check discount prices here. The
RM 3050T is billed as
"Turn it on and go" so it can be used right out of the box and that it
is. The 3050T had a touch screen, internal speaker, internal
antenna, internal battery
and dedicated function keys. Overall from our testing, the
does a good job navigating you to an address with voice
and on screen directions. It also includes an MP3 player
(although you cannot listen to music while navigating) and a digital
picture viewer. Magellan has made some fixes to the unit's operating
software, primarily for the traffic option, while we were testing the
unit. You should make sure you have the latest operating
software (Version 3.10 as of this writing.) Click here to see the improvements and download if needed.
The Magellan RoadMate 3050T package comes with the basic accessories
needed for operation out of the box. It includes:
The Magellan RoadMate 3050T GPS receiver, fully loaded with
detailed maps of the USA, Puerto Rico and Canada (Navteq data)
A 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter for power inside of a vehicle
Traffic Receiver with free 3- month subscription
A USB cable for software updates
A windshield suction cup mount
A basic operation manual in paper form
A CD-ROM with a more in depth manual (can be downloaded from Magellan.com here)
An SD-Card Slot (SD Card not included)
"Tools" CD with additional software, including the ability to add Custom POI's.
How it works
The RoadMate 3050T is easy to use, right out of the box. Upon
initial start-up, you will be prompted for the language you want.
you acquire a satellite lock, you can begin navigating, by inputting a
street, then a city and finally a house number. You are then prompted
to select either "shortest time," "avoid toll roads," "least
freeways" or "most use of freeways." The 3050T then calculates
route, usually in less than 20 seconds and off you go. The 3050T
gives voice directions and on screen guidance to get you to your
destination, eventually telling you "You Have Arrived."
to use it
The 3050T is fairly simple to operate. There is both the touch
screen as well as external buttons to operate it and many functions can
be handled by either by the touch screen or the buttons. The
designed for use as an auto navigator and we cannot recommend using it
for anything else, such as hiking, geocaching, marine
or aviation. One catch is that to turn it on, it requires you
to hold the power key down for at least five seconds. At first I
wondered if something was wrong because a simple press, won't work, it
must be held in, for it to power up. One feature is that you will
be prompted for is "Quick Tips." These are basic lessons in
operating your RoadMate and you can disable seeing this option later on
if you choose. There are helpful hints here and we suggest you
look them over at least once.
This button gives you the user options, it is basically the main menu.
This is the way to make any changes in the setup of the 3050T.
When you press the "Navigation Options" button, these are your choices:
You can select which categories of points of interest you
on the map. Gas stations, restaurants, airports, other
businesses, etc. Default is for only basic ones, you can mark all, with
one push of the button.
With help from the included "Tools" CD-ROM, you can create your own
custom points of interest. When you load them, they are saved on
the internal hard drive. You can create categories, such as
stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. You can also specify if
you want an alarm triggered for POI's such as speed traps or red light
cameras as well as the alert parameters of when those alarms will alert
This is for setting the map page for: Heading Up,
or North Up
Distance measured in either miles OR kilometers
You can also enable scrolling on the map in this screen.
Note the two maps below: One shows the 2-D "flat' display, while the
other shows the 3-D 'bird's eye' view display. Note the small
arrow icon inside of the box on both screens. This is how you toggle or
switch between the 'flat' or 'bird's eye' displays. You will be
prompted to press the 'enter' key to make the change. The data
boxes on the bottom indicate direction of next turn (yellow arrow in
green box) GPS reception quality (box with D and N) distance to next
turn, ETA to final destination, direction to final destination as a
crow flies (red arrow) and then total distance to final destination.
The green signal indicator in the upper right hand corner of the
screen is for satellite reception and pressing the satellite icon will
bring up the GPS status page and show you the satellites and other GPS
Remember pressing the box on the right side with the arrow in it, is how you switch between the 2-D and 3-D views.
Will enable or disable the "True View", 3-D style mapping, indicating
upcoming turns while navigating. You can also specify if you want 'split' trueview.
This is where you specify options in the traffic features. This is discussed in more depth later in the article.
This is similar in most car navigators, allowing you to keep track of
your average speed, trip time, drive time (only counts when you are
moving) and trip distance. You can stop the computer, save
data or reset it. This is handy if you want to
mileage, or just want to know how much time you spent stopping along
the way. You can save information for up to 20 trips.
Select Map Color
There is the option of an automatic switch at sunrise or
sunset, to darken the screen for night driving. You can also select the map color in this screen. Options include:
High Contrast Black Background
Black & White Black
background & white roads
Grey background with red freeways,
yellow major roads
Allows you to enable or disable the feature of "automatic re-route"
which will automatically re-calculate you a new route to your same
destination, when you deviate of off of the original route. You can also choose to avoid toll roads.
This allows you to hit a detour if you come upon a delay and have the
unit re-route you. You can select a three, five or ten mile
detour from the current road you are on as well as a custom distance if
you choose. You can also enable 'automatic detour' here for use
with the traffic receiver.
There are four different color schemes available. This does
affect the map colors. Choices are, "Default", which is blue,
"Pastel" is a purple-pink combination, "Forest" is green and
brown, and "Desert" is brown and tan.
You can select which tone alert you want, either Bell,
Chime or Beep. They are all quite similar however.
This will bring up the satellite page and also give you advanced
satellite data, that for most users is not necessary. You can
also set your "GPS Position." This is helpful if you have
traveled hundreds of miles (by airplane) and want the unit to be able
to quickly re-acquire a GPS lock at your new location. You just
input in the nearest city, address, etc.
This is for use in simulating a route and
watching it on screen. You can set it for normal speed, or speed
it up to twice as fast if you want to follow the proposed route.
This will increase the volume of the voice directions, as the unit
senses your speed. This is helpful if the inside of your vehicle becomes noisy
the faster you go.
Backup and Restore
This is to backup your user data to an SD card through the SD slot on
the 3050T. Be careful when using this and consult the manual for
Clear Address Book
This allows you to erase both your latest destinations (if you don't
someone to come across where you have been) and also you Address Book
and Favorites. Be careful with this as it will erase your saved
Context Help Option
This is part of the help options in the 3050T.
Displays the version of mapping software loaded onto the unit.
is where you can make changes to the most common settings.
Set how bright you
want the screen, there is no
Power Management You can
disable the automatic shutoff after 20 minutes of inactivity
Allows you to set,
change and delete a password, if you want your unit password protected
You can select from numerous languages
voice), U-S English, French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish.
This is basic data on how your unit is working.
Product Information This shows your model number, serial number, and current software installed.
see how much memory is being used, if you have inserted an SD card into
the 3050T for music or picture files.
Diagnostics This is where you access the diagnostics, likely only if you are asked to do so by Magellan Tech Support.
Here are the Diagnostic options:
Audio Test Spells letters, volume should
increase with each letter spoken
Touchscreen Test To calibrate screen if needed
Keypad Test Allows you to determine if the physical external keys are working, they will highlight when pressed
Video Test A simple test which will show you bars of colors, to ensure the screen is functioning properly
External Keys and Button
The 3050T has eight external buttons for operation. A nice new
feature is an external volume control, which you adjust in steps, either louder or quieter. But a couple of the
buttons proved to be too much. The zoom in and zoom out keys on
the left and right top of the unit, make it difficult to hold the unit
in your hands, without pressing something you don't want to. Here
is a breakdown of the
and what they do:
The enter key (green) is used to select highlighted items, if you
don't want to use the touch screen.
To the right of enter and is in red. Allows you to exit the current screen you are on. You can
cancel your current route. (You will be prompted to make sure
want to cancel your route first)
This is in the center just below the screen. It allows you to pan the
map and also to toggle between different selections on the screen.
(Top of three buttons on right side) Locate is a nice
feature in the 3050T. By pressing this button,
will get a screen showing you your current location. It will
you the street you are on, as well as tell you the
distance between the cross streets or nearby exits, if you are on the
freeway. There is also a compass, to show you the direction
your travel as well as a speedometer, which tracks your movement to
give you your speed. This screen is where you can save your
current location to the address book, to return at a later time.
The locate function also gives us a lat/lon readout, a
lat/long is in the decimal format. Altitude is also shown.
There are two pages to this screen, press 'enter' to get to page
(Below Locate) The view button allows you to toggle between the three navigation
screens. They are Select Destination, Map, and while
"TrueView" and "Maneuver List"
(Below View) This brings up the options of Navigation Options, System
Settings, System Status and Help. It is also where you access the
MP3 player and picture viewer and you can see the battery status and
whether the unit is connected to external power.
(Left side) A nice feature to help you immediately shut off voice
directions. Helpful if you are on a cell phone and are being
interrupted by the RoadMate giving you directions.
Zoom In/Zoom Out
These are for the map and are located on the top of the unit. Zoom Out is on the left and Zoom In is on the right.
The volume key is on the top of the unit. It is not a rotary
dial, more of a thumb wheel with a plus or minus of the volume, which will be adjusted in
steps. A volume meter will appear at the bottom of the screen to
show you the range of the volume and where it currently is at.
(Center on top of screen) Remember you must hold this in, for the unit to start up.
There is a very small LED light just above the Locate Key. It
will show blue if the unit is running on the internal battery, red if
it is connected to external power and charging the battery and green if
it is connected to external power and the battery is fully charged.
Navigating with the 3050T
Destination is the page you must be on, to begin
navigating. It allows for several options:
this key will bring you up to the map page. You may pan the
map and a
crosshair icon will appear in the center of the map, with a red arrow.
You can "grab" the
map page and use it to highlight a road or POI icon. By
enter, you will be prompted if you want to navigate to or save that
location. You can also use the zoom in and out keys to expand
You can select your home location and then afterwards, pressing this key will automatically route you to your home location.
This is where you input the information on where you want to route to.
First of all you are asked for the name of the street, then
then house number. This is for locations you wouldn't
travel to more than once. There can be at times situations where
the unit won't recognize the address, even if you inputted it
correctly. We suggest you look at the street name as well as the
city location. Sometimes we have found an address is located in a
city, but the unit believes it is a county address. Or other
times it may be a highway with only a number, such as Highway
101, but the GPS sees it as a street name such as 'Northwest
Expressway" for example.
The address book is for the frequent locations you want navigation for.
This is basically a saved list of waypoints. You
the location. Options are "Previous Destinations" which lists
recent addresses navigated to, including those NOT in your address
book. "List Addresses" is your saved addresses and includes
sub-categories of "List All" "List Favorites" and "Search
Book." "Create New Entry" allows you to save a new address.
Planner" is where you create a route of addresses and select the order
want to navigate. It is the icon in the lower left hand corner
with the pushpins in a map. Helpful if you need to go to the
station, and a restaurant, before heading out to your final destination.
You can also use this if you want to get an estimate of the
it will take for those stops. There is the option of creating
new trip, editing a trip, as well as deleting a trip or renaming one.
It will bring up the Destination screen to help you build your
trip. You can also modify it later by moving around the
destinations. Overall this worked pretty good in our testing.
This is for the Points of Interest (POI's) included with the 3050T.
There are six million POI's loaded into the unit.
the basic food, lodging, fuel, etc, as well as . You can
search POI by name or by nearest. With
nearest, you only get the closest POI's. This is helpful when
are looking for a hotel or a restaurant.
This allows you to input to street names to get you to the
intersection. I sometimes have trouble with this feature when
using streets named by number. However that same problem
in both the 3050T and Garmin units. I have found that just
using the address function, then inputting 4801 S and 3200 West will
work better, than inputting 4800 S and 3200 W in the intersection
The icon of a globe in
the lower left
hand corner is how you select the regions you want. It is divided
between the USA and Canada OR US Territories. Unless you are in
Puerto Rico, it should be in the "USA and Canada" setting, to properly
give you the options of which city you want directions to.
Once you select an address, the 3050T will calculate a route and begin
giving you directions. Here are the features that are
when you begin to navigate:
This is a screen that appears just before you make a turn, indicating a
three dimensional arrow of the upcoming turn. You can select
as full screen, half screen or disable it from appearing.
This gives you the next ten planned maneuvers in text format.
shows an arrow indicating which direction the turn will be, as well as
a distance and a street name or exit information
While on the maneuver page, you can press a specific upcoming maneuver,
which will allow it to be excluded from the route. This is
helpful if you know a specific road is slow because of rush hour traffic or
construction. Simply press the "exclude" bar on the screen,
the 3050T will re-calculate you a new route, without that
Quick Spell, Auto Fill
This is a unique Magellan feature and is quite handy for navigating on
the go. When you begin to select a city name or street
the unit uses the memory to help you spell out and will automatically
suggest names to speed up the time of selection and lessen the number
of characters you have to input. For example, if you are
to enter Pennsylvania Avenue, by the time you enter PENNSY, it will
offer the full word on the screen. You can then press OK.
Other keys will be grayed out.
I like the 3050T's voice directions, the female voice quality is very
good with 'polite directions.' You also get voice directions as you
the screen and enter an address. For example, when you press
'select address' you hear "Street Address" As you spell out a
street, it says: "E" "L" "M" and also states the
numbers of the address. The 3050T does NOT give "text
voice" directions as some of the newer GPS units out on the market do and
announce the upcoming street names, only which direction to turn and
when. Something I
like, is that when you press certain buttons, there is a click sound.
However, there is no way to disable it, it is controlled by the volume
control as well.
The voice sequence, typically follows this standard as you approach a
turn: Announces at two miles, one mile, half mile, then on
approach. A tone signals when to turn.
Here are some sample voice commands given by the 3050T:
Voice command: "Approaching left
turn, followed by right turn" then bell sounds
command: "Freeway entrance on the left in
point four miles"
command: "Freeway exit on the right in 19
Voice command: "When possible, make a
command: "Prepare to exit on the right in
command: "Continue on the current road
for 22 miles"
Voice command: "Destination ahead, in
point five miles."
Voice command: "You Have Arrived"
In the left hand bottom corner on the map page, is a small
square, which indicates
direction of travel by cardinal letter. The background color
of the box signals
what kind of GPS reception you are receiving. Black means no
satellite signal, red is for weak signals, yellow for average, and green
good. The 3050T display is quite bright and is also adjustable in the
brightness control. I never had any
easily reading the screen, day or night, and on either cloudy or sunny
days. For more
comparison of car navigator displays, read Joe's evaluation here.
The 3050T is powered by the included 12 volt cigarette adapter.
When you press the power key, you get a two
before shutoff, apparently in case you accidentally hit the power key.
To keep the unit on, press any key. (This use to be five
seconds, but was changed to two seconds in the software update)
The 3050T has a 12 channel high sensitive Sirfstar receiver and is WAAS
We have had no problem getting a satellite lock, typically in
less than a minute even on a cold start, meaning the unit has not been
on for a few hours. A warm start if the unit has been on within
the last few minutes will get you a satellite lock within about ten seconds or less. The
unit also seems to re-acquire pretty quickly, if you go in a parking
garage or other area where you lose satellite reception for a few
inside a car
So how does the 3050T do in the car? It did a good job
testing. It has always
remained attached and the GPS unit itself is easy to disconnect from
the mount and re-attach. The unit itself is lightweight and was
stable during travel
did not vibrate much at all on paved roads. The mount is a newer
design and not the gooseneck style that was previously the standard in other
Magellans. The new one is more stable and allows for adjustments.
This is a side view, showing the 3050T
connected to the windshield mount. There is a 'quick release' to
put the unit in or take it out of the mount.
The RoadMate 3050T seems to do a good job
in determining the best routes for you to travel. This seems
be an improvement from other recent Magellan navigators. While
navigating, the map page will display on the top your current
of travel. On the bottom, it will display your next
you will take, as well the distance to your next turn, an ETA of your
destination and a distance to your destination. The red arrow
indicates the direction of your destination. (As a crow
not from your route)
The 3050T includes a traffic receiver, that can help alert you to
problems on the road and re-route you around them. As of this
writing, the traffic service provider, Navteq RDS serves 50 metro
areas in the United States. To see a list of the current areas
where coverage is available, click here. The
traffic data is sent via the subcarrier on certain FM
broadcast stations and is received by the traffic receiver, which must
be connected to the RoadMate.
Options include: Danger, Slow Traffic, Lane Reduction, Road Work,
Accident, Road Narrowed, Severe Weather, Special Equipment Required,
Vehicle Related Restriction. There should be a green box in the
lower right hand corner with a capital
"T." If it is red, you are not receiving traffic data (either
because you are not in a coverage area or do not have a current
subscription) Pressing the box with the "T" will bring up the
traffic status page. It will show you which FM station the signal
is coming from as well as a list of current incidents, although they
are in code and there is no actual list of the nearest problems.
important item to remember is that you must have the external power
connected to the traffic receiver for it to work. If you are
running off the internal battery, the traffic receiver won't work.
Overall the traffic receiver worked pretty good and helps to
alert you to traffic issues. Although as with other traffic
by other companies as well, the traffic receiver is only as good as
when the data is updated and how specific it is, which seems to vary
from city to city. One thing I found less than optimal with the
traffic receiver is how it is connected to the unit. To me it
seems a little cluttered, as you have to plug in the traffic receiver
to the USB connection on the RoadMate, then connect the power cable on
the traffic receiver to the Roadmate, then plug in the external power
connector to the traffic receiver. Then there is the issue of the
long FM radio antenna wire on the traffic receiver as well, which
is used to pick up the data signal. It just seems to be
"too many wires" all over your dash. Garmin has figured out this
as well and is now creating traffic receivers in the actual external
power cable, to eliminate too many connectors or wires.
Traffic receiver is the small box in
upper right area of the photo. The top connection is to the USB
port, the bottom connection is to power the unit and the light colored
wire is the antenna, which is about three feet long. Not shown on
the opposite end of the traffic receiver, is where the cigarette power
cable connects to the receiver.
As far as how the receiver works, it will alert you if you select a
route and there is an incident ahead. You can then 'exclude' that
area from your route and the unit will re-calculate a new route around
the problem area. I found that I liked to zoom out the map and
then see the incident icons. Panning the map and then pressing
a specific incident icon will bring up this page, (which is a little out of focus from my camera, but you can get the idea)
and list the problem.
(Image taken by a digital camera)
I do wish the unit gave you a list of the
nearest incidents, but it is not really necessary as you will be
alerted if the problem has the potential to affect your route.
The subscription will allow you traffic data access for anywhere
you travel in the United States, provided where you go, there is traffic coverage available for that area.
Overall the unit gave me alerts for congestion, accidents, roads that are
closed as well as even an alert for possible slick roads. Again,
the hardware part of traffic coverage in Magellan as well as Garmin's I
have tried out works great, it just depends on how well the data is
updated. I have tried Navteq RDS, XM NavTraffic and Clear Channel
Traffic and it all seems to be about the same, when it comes to updates
The 3050T includes a built in MP3 Player. You can listen to music
or other MP3 files on the unit. It will play the file through the
internal speaker, but for most uses, you will want to use the mini
headphone jack, for stereo music uses. One catch with the MP3
player is that you cannot listen to the music, while you are
navigating. So it is useful if you are in an airplane and want to
listen to music, but you can't use it while driving, which seems to be
a drawback. To listen to the music, simply insert an SD card with
the MP3 files on it into you 3050T and then select the music notes from
the main menu to enable it. The screen grab below shows you the
options of using it. (See included CD-ROM "Tools" for more
Digital Picture showing the MP3 screen. MP3 player does not operate while navigating.
There is also a digital picture viewer available in the 3050T.
The image files must be loaded on an SD card and then can be
accessed in the main menu by pressing the picture viewer icon.
From there, you can view digital photos on the screen.
Again, this feature is not available while you are navigating.
Size: 4.8" W x 3.8" H x 1.4" D (W 121.9 mm x H 96.5 mm x D 35.6
Weight: 244g / 8.6 oz
Screen: "3.5" color touch screen display, 2.11" x 2.81" (53.6mm x
Internal Memory: 4 GB stores maps and custom points of interest
External Memory" Unlimited / Secure Digital (SD) Card compatible
Languages: U.S. English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish
Can I enter waypoints?
There is no waypoint category, however you can save
in the address book, from either panning the map, or saving your
current location, by selecting the "Locate" button and hitting save.
You cannot enter a waypoint inputting lat/lon however, only by street
Can I enter in Custom POI
or speed cameras or proximity alerts?
Yes, but it is a different format that other companies. You can learn more with the included CD-ROM labeled "Tools."
What about the quality of
the map data?
The pre-loaded map data available in the 3050T, is provided
by Navteq and seems to be the most current mapping data available on the market today.
Does the 3050T have NMEA data in/out?
Is there a Lat/lon readout?
Yes, accessible by pressing the "Locate" button.
Format is in decimal degrees.
Is there any altitude data available?
Yes, it is available by pressing "Locate."
Can I use an amplified
external antenna with the 3050T?
Yes, it uses an MCX connector. Magellan sells a
antenna as an added accessory.
So far I
have found no need to use an external amplified antenna, the included
worked just fine, especially with the Sirfstar receiver chip.
bugs or glitches
showed up in the testing of the 3050T. I would also prefer that I
could set the way the
are calculated (shortest time, no toll roads, least use of freeways,
most use of freeways) in the settings once, instead of having to select
an option each time I want to navigate. I did have the unit lock
up once and had to reset it. This only happened once and while I
was trying several functions at once. After I restarted it, the
unit came right back up.
The unit does a
pretty good job. The graphic look in the Magellan still seem
to be very basic, as compared to other units by other companies.
The mapping look is
still not as high tech as Garmin's, but has improved over the 360
series, especially with the 3-D view and automatic color change from
day to night screens. The 3050T is still somewhat slow with its
processor, as compared to other units. The click sounds of when
you press a key and no option to disable this was annoying to me.
The ability for text to speech voice directions (announcing
actual street names) as well as the ability to use the MP3 player while
navigating, seem to be what the unit needs to go to the next level and
be a better competitor. But I was impressed to see a lot of
progress from the RoadMate 360 to the 3050T, even though the units
basically operate the same. I would like to see an AC adapter
included in the package, so you can use your Magellan indoors, while
loading Custom POI's, or to charge the battery.
The Magellan RoadMate 3050T brings full auto navigation to you at a
reasonable price (in the world of GPS auto navigators), and is
ready to use, right out of the box. The
RoadMate seems well suited to those who frequently travel and want car
navigation. It can be easily set up in a rental car, in less
a minute. Overall it is simple to use and easy to learn. The
3050T has all of the features you need and it will get
you there with easy to understand voice and on screen directions.
To Magellan's credit, there is a very helpful FAQ page available
on their website and you can also download the unit's manual in a
variety of languages. Click here
for a link and to learn more about the unit for yourself directly from
Magellan. Another unit in the new RoadMate
series is the Magellan 2000. Read Jess's review here.
Questions: Visit the
Comments? Corrections? Suggestions? Email