Rand McNally GPS Navigator
Rand McNally is marking their entry to the US GPS market with a device called the GPS Navigator. The device itself isn’t too much different from many of the other GPS devices on the market. It comes with a 3.5 inch touch screen display and has an overall size and button arrangement similar to that of the Mio devices with the primary buttons on the right side of the device. However there is one thing unique about the Rand McNally GPS…
The GPS Navigator comes with paper maps… Yep, Maposaurus will have some fighting left to do in order to rid the world of paper maps. Paper maps still have their place and including the Rand McNally Road Atlas and Travel Planner (not Randy McNally) is a nice touch. No matter how you cut it you can never get an overview of a 1,000 mile route on a 3.5″ display and have the level of detail necessary to determine if the route is appropriate or not. Despite typically having several GPS devices in my car at any given time I still carry an atlas.
Back to the GPS features, this is not an “advanced” GPS device. There is no Bluetooth support, no text-to-speech, no traffic receiver, and it doesn’t even reportedly come with a simple case.
What you do get is a simple, entry level GPS in a small size. There are some options however beyond the very basic. There is an MP3 player, and a detour function to get around traffic jams. (But no traffic receiver so it won’t attempt to keep you away from the jam in the first place.)
There are 26 “Best of the Road” itineraries built into the device. If you happen to be traveling in any of those routes the GPS can load in an itinerary with their suggestions of attractions, shopping, and restaurants along that route.
It also has the capability to load in multiple destinations ahead of time into one “itinerary”, something users of other popular GPS devices have wanted for a long time. The Rand McNally GPS Navigator will not optimize the order of the itinerary, you specify that yourself, however it does offer multiple destination routing.
Battery life is satisfactory at about four hours, and it does come with the extremely popular SiRFstarIII chipset so you should get a signal fast that will stick in areas where other GPS devices might have trouble. The maps come from NAVTEQ.
Our only big concern about this GPS device is the price. The MSRP is $450 and there is currently a mail in rebate available which would bring the price down to $399. This isn’t a bargain with other devices such as the Mio C310x with a similar feature set which costs about half of the price. (I’ve seen it in a few places recently for $199). You do get the nice paper atlas but otherwise you might find other devices to suit your needs for a lower price.