Magellan's
RoadMate 360



Automobile Navigator

December 18, 2005, Release 2
Review By: Sam Penrod

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Overview

The Magellan Roadmate 360 is one of the newest in the Magellan RoadMate line of auto navigators.  It falls into the category of the lower end of the RoadMate series as compared to the 500, 700, 760 and 800 models, however the 360 is fully functional with maps preinstalled for the USA and Canada and has all of the necessary features and more for an automobile navigator.  It lists on the street for $630.  Check discount prices here.  The 360 is similar to its older brother, the RoadMate 300, except the 360 comes fully loaded with detailed auto-routing maps for the entire United States and Canada.   The RM360 is billed as "Turn it on and go" so it can be used right out of the box and that it is.  The 360 had a touch screen,  internal speaker, external antenna and dedicated function keys.  Overall from our testing, the 360 does a pretty good job navigating you to an address with voice and on screen directions.

The Package

The Magellan RoadMate 360 package comes with the basic accessories needed for operation out of the box.   It includes:
The Magellan RoadMate 360 GPS receiver, fully loaded with detailed maps of the USA and Canada (Navteq data)
A 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter for power inside of a vehicle
An A/C adapter to power the unit for trip planning or software updates
A USB cable for software updates (Although Magellan includes no information on how to use it)
A windshield suction cup mount-- gooseneck style
A basic operation manual in paper form
A CD-ROM with a more in depth manual  (can be downloaded from Magellan.com here)




Important Note:  The quality of the screen images shown below does not accurately reflect the screen on the RoadMate 360.  The images are meant as a demonstration only, the actual screen quality and resolution is very good.

How it works

The RoadMate 360 is easy to use, right out of the box.  Upon initial start-up, you will be prompted for the language you want and also asked to select a region of the country where you are located.   This is to narrow the search for street addresses,  but you can easily change regions and this will be explained later.   Once 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 use of freeways" or "most use of freeways."  The 360 then calculates a route, usually in less than 20 seconds and off you go.   The 360 gives voice directions and on screen guidance to get you to your destination, eventually telling you "You Have Arrived."



How to use it

The 360 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 360 is designed for use as an auto navigator and we cannot recommend using it for anything else, such as hiking, geocaching, marine or aviation.

Multiple User Profiles



This screen pops up when the unit is turned on, along with a warning about being cautious while using the 360, when you are driving.  
It allows for three separate user settings, which can be customized by name.  Use the touch screen to select which user configuration you want.  If you do not select one within one minute, the last user profile in use, is automatically selected.  These user settings can also be password protected.   Handy for a business with different employees sharing the unit and also for a family when users have different preferences for screen color, volume, etc. However, if you create a saved address, you must resave that same address in the other user settings individually.  The saved addresses and previous destinations are only accessible in the user profile which created them.

External Buttons

The buttons are backlit in orange, except for the "enter" key which is green and the "cancel" which is red. Here is a breakdown of the commands and what they do:

Option
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 360.  When you press the "Option" button, these are your options:

Trip Computer
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 the data or reset it.  This is handy if you want to measure gas mileage, or just want to know how much time you spent stopping along the way.  Each user can save information for up to 20 trips.

Track Recorder
This feature will record where you traveled, for later review on a map.  There is no data for speed, location, heading, altitude etc.  And there is now way to download this information.  Really all it does is provide a map page, with a red line on the roads you have traveled for the duration you select.

Configuration
This is where you can make changes to the most common settings.



Brightness                   Set how bright you want the screen, there is no contrast setting
Volume                        Adjusts the volume of both the voice directions and the tones
Auto Power Off           You can disable the automatic shutoff after 20 minutes of inactivity
Language                    You can select from numerous languages (text & voice)

When you do make changes to these, you must press save, before exiting out.  Otherwise the changes you make will not take effect.

User Settings

This is for more of the settings, which need adjustment, less often.
They include:

POI Selection
You can select which categories of points of interest you want 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.



Map Options
This is for setting the map page for: Heading Up, or North Up
Distance measured in either miles OR kilometers
And either "Smart," "Map Always" or "Manual."  This refers to the "Tru-View" screen and when you want it to appear.

Select Map Color
This is where you select the map background and color.  These are user specific.  There is no automatic switch at sunrise or sunset, you have to manually make the change.  Here are the options:

Default                White background
High Contrast     Black Background
Night                    Dark Blue
Black & White    Black background & white roads
Paper Map         Grey background with red freeways, yellow major roads
Wild                     Yellow background
Pretty                   Pink background
Cool Blue            Light blue
Fire                      Red Background

Shown as "Night"

Route Preferences
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.

Enable Split True View
Will enable or disable the "Tru View", 3-D style mapping, indicating upcoming turns while navigating

Menu Colors
There are four different color schemes available.  This does not 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.  This is user specific.

Tone Options
You can select which tone alert you want, either Bell, Chime or Beep.  They are all quite similar however.

Diagnostics
This is where you access the diagnostics.  The only features you probably need access to is the "GPS Status" (satellite info, lat/lon, altitude, heading, speed, etc." Set GPS Position" "Touch Screen C
alibrate" page and "Simulator Mode."  The others should only be used if asked to, by Magellan Technical Support.  Especially be careful with "Repair" as you can completely erase all of the mapping memory if you aren't careful.  (This seems dangerous to have some of these commands so easily accessible)

Here are the options:
GPS Status-- For altitude, lat/lon, satellite, info)
Initialize GPS-- For use if you have traveled hundreds of miles and need to re-acquire
Set GPS Position
Product Information-- For serial number, software version, map version
Video Test
Touch Screen Test, to calibrate screen if needed
Keypad Test
Audio Test  spells letters, volume should increase with each letter spoken
Headphone Test  sends audio to the headphone jack
Simulator Mode  for use in simulating a route and watching it on screen
System Messages
Repair  We do not recommend you use this, without help from Magellan.

Enter
The enter key is used to select highlighted items, if you don't want to use the touch screen.
And while you are navigating, pressing "enter" will get the unit to give the next verbal directions of your route outloud.

Cancel
Allows you to exit the current screen you are on.  You can also cancel your current route.  (You will be prompted to make sure you want to cancel your route)

Locate
This is a nice feature in the 360.  By pressing this button, you will get a screen showing you your current location.  It will show 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 of 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 welcome feature.  Garmin has cut out any type of lat/long in their newer lower end car navigators, (StreetPilot c3X) and ix series) I am glad to see Magellan has not.  (How can you have a GPS and not have any access to a basic lat/lon?)
The lat/lon is in the minute-seconds format.  However when you pan the map, the lat/lon is in the decimal format-- and there is no way to change this setting.  (Why the inconsistency in lat/lon formats in the same unit is not known.)




Arrow Key
This is in the center of the function buttons, it allows you to pan the map and also to toggle between different selections on the screen.  

View
The view button allows you to toggle between the three navigation screens.  They are Select Destination, Map, and while navigating, "Tru-View" and "maneuver List"

Select Destination is the page you must be on, to begin navigating.  It allows for several options:




Map            Pressing 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 pressing 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 the view.

Select Address
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 city, then house number.  This is for locations you wouldn't typically travel to more than once.



Address Book
The address book is for the frequent locations you want navigation for.  This is basically a saved list of waypoints.  You can name the location.  Options are "Previous Destinations" which lists the recent addresses navigated to, including those NOT in your address book.  "List Addresses" is your saved addresses and includes the sub-categories of "List All"  "List Favorites" and "Search Address Book." "Create New Entry" allows you to save a new address, and "Trip Planner" where you create a route of addresses and select the order you want to navigate.  Helpful if you need to go to the bank, gas station, restaurant, before heading out to your final destination.  You can also use this if you want to get an estimate of the time it will take for those stops.  There is the option of creating a new trip, editing a trip, as well as deleting a trip or renaming one.  Overall this worked pretty good in our testing.  Handy if you need to explain to your passengers how much time out of the way their "one" little stop will put you behind schedule.

Dining, ATM, Gas...
This is for the Points of Interest (POI's) included with the 360.  There are two million POI's loaded into the unit.  There are the basic food, lodging, fuel, etc, as well as .  You can either search POI by name or by nearest.  It seems that whichever map region you have active, are searched in the name search. With the nearest, you only get the closest POI's.  This is helpful when you are looking for a hotel or a restaurant.



Intersection
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 exists in both the 360 and StreetPilot c330.  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 function.

Area Select
The icon of a globe in the lower left hand corner is how you select the regions you want.  This is an important part of the initial setup of the unit, which is prompted when you first turn on the unit.  However, the globe icon will allow you to select more than one region or change regions.  We only recommend you have one region active, unless you live on the border of two regions.  The more regions selected will mean longer times in selecting a street address.  The "Areas" are then subdivided into smaller "regions" of about three or four states.



Area: Western & Southwestern US
Regions:
1- Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington
2- California, Hawaii, Nevada
3- Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
4- Oklahoma, Texas

Area: Midwestern US
Regions:
1- North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska
2- Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
3- Indiana, Michigan, Ohio

Area: Southern US
Regions:
1- Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri
2- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico
3- North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
4- Kentucky, Tennessee

Area: Mid Atlantic & New England
Regions:
1- Connecticut, New Jersey, New York
2- Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania
3- Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Area: Canada
Regions: All Provinces
(You will have to scroll to the bottom of the screen to find Canada)

Navigating
Once you select an address, the 360 will calculate a route and begin giving you directions.  Here are the features that are activated when you begin to navigate:

Tru-View
This is a screen that appears just before you make a turn, indicating a three dimensional arrow of the upcoming turn.  You can select this as full screen, half screen or disable it from appearing.



Maneuver List
This gives you the next ten planned maneuvers in text format.  It shows an arrow indicating which direction the turn will be, as well as a distance and a street name or exit information



Route Exclusion
While on the maneuver page, you can press a specific upcoming maneuver, which will allow it to be excluded from the route.   This is handy if you know a specific road is slow because of rush hour traffic or construction.  Simply press the "exclude" bar on the screen, the 360 will re-calculate you a new route, without that segment previously selected.



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 address, 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 trying to enter Pennsylvania Avenue, by the time you enter PENNSY, it will offer the full word on the screen.  You can then press OK.  And the unit will know as you enter Washington DC, that only cities in that region you selected that have a Pennsylvania Avenue, will be an option.  Other keys will be grayed out.



Voice Directions
I like the 360's voice directions, the female voice quality is very good and you could say the 360 offers more polite directions than the Garmin c3X0 series.  You also get voice directions as you touch 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 individual numbers of the address.  The 360 does NOT give "text to voice" directions as some of the newer more sophisticated units do and does not announce the upcoming street names, only which direction to turn and when. One thing I do not like with the 360 is that there is no external volume control.   It requires a total of five button/screen pushes to change the volume.  This can be an inconvenience if you are on a cell phone or at a drive thru and want to quickly turn down the volume.  There is no mute key either.  One thing I did, was to set one of my user profiles for "city" driving at a lower volume than user profile "highway" which is set to a higher volume.  Something else I do not 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 final approach.  A tone signals when to turn.  

Here are some sample voice commands given by the 360:

Voice command:    "Approaching left turn, followed by right turn" then bell sounds
Voice command:    "Freeway entrance on the left in point four miles"
Voice command:    "Freeway exit on the right in 19 miles"
Voice command:    "When possible, make a legal U-Turn"
Voice command:    "Prepare to exit on the right in two miles"
Voice command:    "Continue on the current road for 22 miles"
Voice command:    "Destination ahead, in point five miles."
Voice command:    "You Have Arrived"

Display
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, green for good and blue means you are getting good reception with the added benefit of WAAS, which is used for optimal accuracy.  
The 360 display is quite bright and is also adjustable in the brightness control. Again, the display does not automatically switch between a "day" and a "night" screen.   I never had any problem 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 RoadMate 360 is basically the same model as the RoadMate 300, evaluated in Joe's review.

Power
The 360 is powered by either the included 12 volt cigarette adapter or the AC adapter.  There is no internal battery, so when the power is disconnected, the unit immediately shuts off.   There is an auto shutoff feature, where the unit will turn itself off, if it is not navigating or if any key has not been pressed for 20 minutes.  A bell will chime and you have 60 seconds to press any key to keep the unit on.   If not, it will automatically shut off.  (This feature can be shut off in "Configuration" under "Auto power off.")  When you press the power key, you get a five second countdown before shutoff, apparently in case you accidentally hit the power key.  To keep the unit on, press any key.

Satellite Acquisition
The 360 has a 12 channel receiver and is WAAS enabled.  Acquisition times are about average, usually less than one minute.  There is a satellite icon on screen, which disappears when the unit gets a satellite lock.  The small box in the left hand corner of the map, which indicates direction, will be either yellow, green or blue.  Black and red mean no signal or weak signal.  There is also a simulation mode, if you want to watch the progress of a route.  Settings for GPS simulation, are found in "Diagnostics."

Using inside a car

So how does the 360 do in the car?  It did a good job during our testing.  First of all, I am not a fan of windshield suction mounts, primarily because I worry about advertising to thieves that I have a valuable electronic device available for stealing.  (I do realize that the windshield mount is the most universal and why GPS companies provide them)  However, I do like the mount included in the package with the 360.   It has always remained attached and the GPS unit itself is easy to disconnect from the mount and re-attach. With its gooseneck style, the mount is easy to adjust it to the best angle for viewing.  The unit itself is lightweight and was stable during travel and did not vibrate much at all on paved roads.

Routing



So far from our initial tests, the RoadMate 360 seems to do a good job in determining the best routes for you to travel.  This seems to be an improvement from other recent Magellan navigators.  Our testing is going to continue, but so far, so good.  While navigating, the map page will display on the top your current road of travel.  On the bottom, it will display your next street/road 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 flies, not from your route)

RoadMate 360 vs StreetPilot c330



The RoadMate 360's closest competitor is probably the Garmin StreetPilot c330, when you compare features and price.  First of all,  the two units both use Navteq mapping data.   However it seems the 360 has newer data, than even the recently updated version of Garmin's City Select version 7.  The StreetPilot does have more Points of Interest included, but the RoadMate 360 seems to have the major POI's you would want while traveling, such as food, lodging, fuel, etc.   The computer processor in the StreetPilot c330 is much faster and calculates routes quicker than the 360, however we find the route calculation time in the 360 as acceptable.  The actual screen size in both units is basically the same. The 360 is thinner in size, but longer.  It also has more external buttons. The StreetPilot c330 is wide, but shorter in length and has an internal patch antenna.  All function buttons in the StreetPilot are only accessible in the touchscreen, except it does have an external volume control.  When navigating, using both units at the same time, we found they both gave almost identical routing guidance, with few variations.  The 360 does allow you to create a route, (ie multiple destinations to a final destination.)
The StreetPilot does not have this feature and also does not have any type of a track recorder.  The 360 also allows for "Route Exclusion" while the StreetPilot c330 does not.  As far as the display, the RoadMate 360 seems to have a brighter display in the day than the StreetPilot c330, however at night, it is hard to tell a difference between the two.  The StreetPilot has an internal battery, which can last up to eight hours, while the RoadMate 360 does not.  For a review of the StreetPilot c320, (same as the 330, except without pre-loaded maps) read Joe's review here.

Questions

Can I enter waypoints?
There is no waypoint category, however you can save "waypoints" 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 address.

What about the quality of the map data?
The pre-loaded map data available in the 360, is provided by Navteq and seems to be the most current mapping data available.

Can I add TOPO maps?
There is about 500 MB of space left on the memory card, still waiting for specifics from Magellan 

Can I use the 360 in Europe?
Magellan says no, they do market a RoadMate 300 European version, however.

Does the 360 have NMEA data in/out?
No.

Is there a Lat/lon readout?
Yes, accessible by pressing the "Locate" button.  Format is in minutes, seconds.  Also can be found in "GPS Status" in the "Diagnostics."

Which map datum does the 360 use?
From what we can tell from the lat/lon readings, it is WGS 84, however there is no way to change this setting.

Is there any altitude data available?
Yes, it can be found under "Diagnostics" in "GPS Status."  When you are on the main page, press enter, to get to the next page.  

Can I use an amplified external antenna with the 360?
Yes, it uses an MCX connector.  Magellan sells a compatible antenna as an added accessory.  First remove the external antenna to find the connector.  (The manual says to put the antenna in the upright position and then pull it off.  I tried this, but it seemed to put a lot of stress on the unit and it made me nervous it was going to break, so it quit trying.  However, you may want to try prying it loose slowly with a small flat  screwdriver.)  So far I have found no need to use an external amplified antenna, the included antenna has worked just fine.

Do I need to extend the antenna vertically?
The external antenna is small and only extends about an inch and half above the unit.  However, in our testing we left it down, (horizontal) at times and it for the most part did not seem to change reception.  

Can I enter in Custom POI or speed cameras or proximity alerts?
No, this unit does not have this feature available in many newer auto navigators developed by other companies.

Other Observations

No software bugs or glitches showed up in the testing of the 360, there are just a few things that don't make sense.  Again, why the inconsistency with the lat/lon formats being different and no setting to set them one way or the other.  I would also prefer that I could set the way the routes 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 find that the 360 does give great guidance while traveling through roundabout intersections.  

Areas for improvement

1-     My biggest disappointment with the 360, was what in my opinion is a lack of documentation about the unit itself.  Clearly Magellan wants it to be easy to use and it is, however I think there are some critical details left out of the manuals.  There is no reference on what do with the included USB cable anywhere in the basic directions or in the manual on CD ROM.  And there is nothing on the Magellan Website in the category of the 360 about the USB cable. When you plug in the GPS unit into a computer, it says to use "RoadMate Manager", but again not a word about "RoadMate Manager" anywhere with the included materials or on the website.  (RoadMate Manager is a software program used with the 300 to load on the maps, but maps are already loaded on the 360)  When you invest a lot of money in something, I think it is nice to be able to easily understand everything it can do.  To look at the RM 360 manual from the Magellan website, click here.

2-
    The included 12V cigarette coiled power cable should be longer.   For a center console connection, it is a tight stretch to the windshield mount and the cord stretches out and is in the way.   In addition, the plug in connector is very rigid and does not plug in very easy to the cigarette receptacle and it takes some effort to make sure it makes connection.  And the plug that goes into the GPS unit itself, can become disconnected from the unit, with the slightest movement of the cable, and immediately shuts off the unit.

3-    For some street addresses, when trying to navigate using a street name identified by number (i.e., 3200 West), instead of a name street, (i.e. Pennsylvania Ave.)  the system sometimes will not allow you to input that numeric address, even though it exists and is on the map.  We did not have problems when it was a name street, only those with numbers, typically in smaller cities or towns.  One other issue is that when you only navigate to a street and not a street address, there were a couple of instances when we were routed on a much longer distance, than if we had a name street address in the same town.

4-    There is no basic computer utility type program, so you can manage your address book on a computer using a keyboard and then send them back to the GPS.  It can take a lot longer, entering addresses into the unit by hand.  With the USB port and supplied USB cable, it would seem this would be easy to do, but according to Magellan, it cannot be done with the 360.  This seems strange, since most electronic devices nowadays, such as cell phones, can be connected to a computer to manage data.  It would also be nice to create routes for the "trip planner" on a computer and then download them into the GPS receiver.

Summary

The Magellan RoadMate 360 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. With some complaints with the 300 model about difficulty in loading maps, this is not a problem with the 360 pre-loaded version.  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 than a minute. Overall it is simple to use and easy to learn.  This unit is probably not suited to GPS enthusiasts, because many basic GPS type functions are not included. However for those only interested in road navigation, the 360 has all of the features you need and it will get you there with easy to understand voice and on screen directions.  


Questions?  Comments?  Corrections?  Suggestions? Email Sam Penrod

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