Joined: May 2002
||Posted: Mar. 19 2006,10:46 am
Warning - Long editorial.
I've been a big fan of Magellan since I first saw the Meridian line come out (replacing the M300 series). It had a big display, best reception of any GPS I'd used, they were very affordable and tech support was great. People were writing tools to modify this and that, tech support was outstanding, and firmware updates came out every few months to fix bugs or add features.
Things kinda peaked a couple years later. Around the end of 2003, we had the Sportrak series out, color units were out, and Magellan did an incredible thing - they added street-routing capability to the Meridian and Sportrak. This gave these units a second wind and they continued to be some of the best GPS units on the market.
But now it's 2006.
Real tech support is almost non-existent. Sure, they'll tell you how to use your unit or issue you an RMA to send you unit in. But report an actual bug - it can take years for them to fix it (example: Street routing erasing your track file - broken in 2003 - fixed in 2005!). Most of the time when the tech support person finally understands your problem, they say it you're right and there is not fix - good day. No solution, work around, or even a note that they'll pass it on to the engineers.
They used to fix lots of issues, even on out of warranty units (IE, they had a manufacturing glitch that causes blue blotches on the screen, said they would fix this manufacturing flaw on any unit - even out of warranty, but now charge $95 to fix their manufacturing glitch). So much for promises.
The worst problem facing these units today - "Unit contains no basemap". It is incredible how I hear about this problem from people daily. Yes, every day. People are accidentally erasing their basemaps! This was never a problem until a couple years ago. This must be a bug in Magellan's update procedure that they introduced in the v5.xx firmware - and they aren't fixing it.
They did release some great new hardware (the eXplorist line). I have to agree the hardware is top notch, but to my horror they did not improve DirectRoute’s very basic street routing capability. What was a great new feature for the Meridian is now an Achilles’ heal for the eXplorist. The street routing stinks compared to the competition's offering.
I had hoped to upgrade and continue to use Magellan products, but I'm pretty sure I've bought my last one. The completion has caught up and come out with new units that have all the features that once set Magellan apart. Add to that the better customer support and better software being offered, I can't justify staying with Magellan much longer.
Author of the Meridian FAQ
Admin of the Meridian Yahoo Group
Once avid fan of Magellan