Get this - dedicated GPS units are still a thing. Not only do they still exist, people are still buying them. So with these two things being true, Magellan has announced a new line of RoadMate GPS units running Android. These products aim to address a key advantage smartphones have had over their more-focused counterparts, their highly responsive screens. The company is now bringing the finger-friendly capacitive screens they've reserved for high-end models down to a more affordable level. The model it's sharing at CES this year is the RoadMate 5430T-LM.


This personal navigation device will monitor traffic and come with lifetime maps to go along with the improved screen. Is that enough to overcome the convenience of just using the smartphone you already have on you and that free copy of Google Maps? For many of us, probably not. Yet at $180, this is one product everyone else should keep an eye on when it comes to market in just a few months.

Source: Magellan

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    Yea i always laugh at dedicated GPS units, BUT i guess if there was one that was as good as Google Maps or Waze then it would be nice to not have to take out my phone and waste the battery each time (even if you're charging it you're still causing the battery to degrade)

    • Andres Schmois

      Not true on that last bit. Modern batteries don't degrade because of re-charging. They degrade over time depending at which level they are at. Leaving a battery plugged in at 100% degrades normally (whether it is always plugged in, or used the entire battery up and recharged). A battery that is always at 50% capacity will however last longer than a battery that is always at 100% capacity. Keeping your phone plugged in doesn't degrade the battery, unless you're counting the minutes your phone is in the nominal (50%) range.

      • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

        That's what i was referring to.
        As far as i know, the chargers stop charging at 100%, then your phone discharges to 99% and then the charger will kick in again. Doing that 50 times is as bad as dropping to 50% and charging to 100% once.
        So, using your GPS creates more draw on the battery which in turn creates more discharge/recharge cycles.

        • Shane Peden

          I use a phone with a replaceable battery. BAM. Problem solved.

          • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

            But, still not as convenient as a permanently mounted gps unit

          • h4rr4r

            Or more convenient if you have more than one car, or often need to use GPS outside the car, or travel to places your GPS does not support without a costly upgrade.

          • Major_Pita

            Bingo. Couldn't agree more. It's a shame more and more OEMs are using embedded batteries. I never really liked the concept of disposable goods like lighters. I like the idea of disposable smartphones even less.

      • Major_Pita

        Completely wrong. The chemical compounds inside batteries are very subject to degradation by repeated charge/discharge cycles. The first time you fully charge a battery is the best charge that battery will ever have. Every subsequent charge stores ever-so-slightly less current potential. We're only talking a few hundredths of a percent loss each time, but considering how many times you charge or top-off your battery a day it adds up. That's why your laptop battery lasts just a few minutes after a couple years use when it used to last for hours. Every battery does this. Some more, some less. Also, modern lithium batteries stop charging the battery once it reaches a certain value. They have to. If those chargers fail to do this lithium batteries have a nasty habit of blowing up.

        • Mike Reid


          And the charging circuitry is a variable and may have "bugs", to say nothing of the charger itself.

        • h4rr4r

          This depends entirely on chemistry of the battery. For example NIMH LSD batteries will regain capacity by refreshing, which is deep discharge and recharge over and over. This gives you back capacity at the cost of cycles of life. This would not work with Li-On batteries.

          Also depth of discharge and amount of charge are huge factors for Li-On batteries. Your laptop battery would last a lot longer if you could hold it at 80% charge and never go below 40%. Age is still a big deal with Li-On.

          Other battery chemistries may not follow either of these two examples.

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      If you are somewhere near Russia, Google Maps will show you only main lanes, side streets are often missing, along with their houses and street numbers.
      And if you're in rural area, you can only rely on satellite image.
      Dedicated GPS, bought at local shop, usually has much more detailed and up-to-date maps.
      But Wikimapia beats them both.

  • Major_Pita

    Probably the biggest thing will be how does it compare to Google Maps. If they can really demonstrate added value over Google Maps this could work. Examples of added value would be features like current speed, the current speed limit, improved lane position guidance on large freeway interchanges, warnings for small towns notorious for speed traps, 'bread-crumb' trails of where you've been, etc.

  • h4rr4r

    Even worse is what they charge for maps. A few years ago I bought my parents a garmin and did not realize they charge more for Canadian maps. As they live 2 hours from Canada that is an issue. The upgrade is $80, you could buy a cheap tablet for that.

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      "come with lifetime maps"