Magellan Meridian Color GPS

Magellan Meridian Color GPS

$499.99 Too Low To Display

  • Used Price: $346.18
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  • Third Party Used Price: $338.99
The Magellan Meridian Color GPS receiver is just as at home navigating the highways and byways in your car as it is tracking through your favorite mountain trails. This top-of-the line GPS device features a preloaded 16 MB map database of North America, which can be augmented by detailed maps from optional CD-ROMs via the Secure Digital memory card slot. It also offers easy-to-read navigation screens, good-sized buttons and a thumb directional pad on the front, and WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Service) for 3-meter accuracy.

Compared to Magellan's Sportrak line, the Meridian is bulkier both in weight (8.5 ounces with batteries compared to the Sportrak's 6.1 ounces) and overall dimensions--6.5 x 2.9 x 1.2 inches (W x H x D)--making it not quite as pocketable (unless you have cargo pants).

The bright color screen measures 2.2 x 1.75 inches and has a decent 160 x 120 pixel resolution with 16 colors. Compared with the staid monochrome screens of most GPS devices, the icons and mapping detail literally jumps off the screen. We found it to be nicely readable in the car and in most outside conditions, though it wasn't at its best in direct sunlight. As with cell phones in the car, you will have to be wary with your usage. The Meridian Color can be a bit distracting while you're driving as you have to read the screen for turning instructions (though there are audible prompts) rather than hear a voice providing directions (a feature of the Magellan Roadmate).

With a selected map region loaded into the memory (such as from the Mapsend DirectRoute CD-ROM), simply press the Goto button and select either a new or previously loaded waypoint or a point of interest (such as an airport or sports arena) to navigate to via a street route. After a bit of calculating, we were presented with a turn-by-turn journey that we could follow while driving. As we neared each turn, the Meridian Color emitted a set of beeps to warn us (which elevated to an urgent beeping when we were right on top of the turn). We used this to plot a course to Seattle's Space Needle, and it produced acceptable results (though, if you're familiar with the terrain, you may know better shortcuts). If you turn off the Meridian while following a route (say if you take a coffee break), you can return right back to it once you turn the device back on.

Magellan's Meridian series offers Secure Digital (SD) memory card expandability, which is a bonus for adding a large amount of map data (especially for long trips). However, we were disappointed at its placement within the device behind the batteries rather than an external slot. This won't be a problem for most users, but it will be annoying if you've got a number of maps spread across several cards.

We experienced good battery life during our test (Magellan boasts 13 hours of continuous use with 2 AA batteries). If you do plan on using it a lot in your vehicle, we recommend either purchasing the optional cigarette lighter power cable or using NiMH rechargeable batteries (which provide a typically longer battery duration as well as minimized cost in the long run).

Overall, we were pleased with this portable hybrid car/outdoor GPS receiver. The Meridian's color screen definitely helps with quickly viewing details while out hiking or mountain-biking, while the driving navigation features were indeed helpful in unknown locales. However, if you do plan on using your GPS primarily in your car, you should think about moving up to either Magellan's Meridian Color Traveler (which includes a street map CD-ROM, vehicle mounting bracket, and power adapter) or the Magellan Roadmate (with voice instruction). --Agen G.N. Schmitz

Pros:

  • Color LCD is very readable--routes and icons pop off the screen
  • Controls well laid out, navigation screens are intuitive (especially for new users)
  • Optional mapping software is easy to use and transfer
Cons:
  • SD memory card slot not easily accessible
  • We recommend a power adapter or NiMH batteries for extended car use
Features: Full-color 120 x 160 pixel display; backlit for easy night-time use, Uses WAAS technology for accuracy to within 3 meters or better, 16 MB of built-in memory includes mapping of North America and unlimited expandability, Rubber armored construction is impact resistant and waterproof, Advanced power management provides up to 13 hours of continuous use from 2 AA batteries

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Customer Rating: 3.17 of 5 (12 total reviews)

  • 4 starsFantastic

    Excellent GPS. Has no problem finding and maintaining a lock. I tried two other GPS (Garmin and Magellan SporTrak) before buying this unit, and it is by far the best of the three. The color screen is beautiful (although its resolution is not as good as the new SporTrak Color). This unit is also the largest of the ones that I tried, but much of the size is tied to the antenna, and a larger antenna means better performance. One word of caution: don't buy the MapSend Software--the points of interest (restaurants, etc) are significantly off from their actual positions. Magellan is working on a new version of this software, which is supposed to solve the problems encountered here. Also, don't think this unit with the MapSend software will give you directions for how to get to an address; it will pinpoint the location (using Goto), but finding the right roads to get there is up to you. Also, becuase this GPS uses an SD memory card, it is possible to have maps that cover far greater areas than on units with built-in memory.

    The color display is nice, but without the backlight it looks like it's black-and-white.

    The person who wrote earlier about only being able to have 4 maps on the memory card was WRONG. It's true that the Magellan can only have 4 maps active at once, but the user can switch between map files. (For instance file 1 can have maps of Georgia, Alabama/Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana; file 2 can have maps of DC/Maryland, Pennsylvania; etc.)

    Overall a very good unit. Takes a little bit of time to understand how to use it, but it is worth it.

  • 1 starsWarning: Product does NOT meet specifications

    When I first got the unit, I loved it. It appeared accurate, though it took a long time to acquire satellites at times. In fact, many times my Delorme Earthmate would acquire within 15 seconds, and the Meridian would take several minutes (while moving in a car sitting on the dash). The ability to use SD/MMC cards and load maps onto the unit was great for general usage. I used Magellan GPS for everything, from hiking, kayaking, driving, to boating.

    HOWEVER, the specs say that the unit is IPX7 compliant, which means accidental submersion underwater for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water. I was in a kayak, got hit by a wave with the Meridian in my pocket, and was in less than 1 meter of water for less than 15 seconds, and water made it's way into the unit.

    I sent Magellan/Thales navigation an email and gave them a call but was not given much help, even though I own multiple Magellan products (including the GPS companion, etc...). They noted that I could have it serviced for $150, which is what an new unit cost (this was not the platinum edition, but it is the same form factor and same case). All customer service would tell me is that sometimes water may enter through the keypad area. Well, if water enters through the keypad area, how can they advertise that it is IPX7 compliant?

    I may be an isolated incident. However, with the customer service I received, I don't think I would ever buy another Magellan product, and will probably get rid of the rest of my Magellan products. I think the product design, features, usability, and intuitiveness is great, just the product does not perform up to expectations or promise. I would also consider customer service as well.

  • 4 starsMeridian COLOR vs. PLATINUM

    Display:
    The COLOR has no-light/dim/bright, as does the PLATINUM. But the COLOR it is only usable with bright lights in daylight and dim during nighttime, with no lights you don't see anything. The Platinum w/o light has still an acceptable display and runs for about 8 hrs, the COLOR on bright runs slightly over 4 hrs (1.850 mAh).

    Functionality:
    The colored display is very helpful together with Topo Send. You can easily distinguish between different graphics by the color; like arroyos and dirt-roads, specially marked arreas and lakes, etc.
    What is missing on the COLOR compared to the PLATINUM is the baro, thermo and the build in electronic compass (not gps dependent). I thermo and baro I found fun to play around with but never really found a serious application. The compass needs constant alignment and is often considerably off. For all those applications there is way better stuff out there.
    The COLOR has the better software wich might be due to the fact that I downloaded the latest software to it (v. 5.12). After v. 5.xx there is supposed to be a street navigation function to it, which I haven't found yet- maybe only works with MapStreets.

    Durability:
    As I pointed out in my earlier review on the PLATINUM this unit is extremely rugged and highly reliable in the field. I figure so will be the COLOR.

    Deficiencies:
    The backtrack function is higly deficient. When you wanna walk back you have to hit every single point this function created on the way back. Often you don't do that because you do a shortcut. Neither one of those units does allow you to bypass one single point and from now it desperatly points back to the one point you might have missed by a couple of feets.

    Map-Download:
    has certain limitations which are discussed in some other reviews on this side. Even with the latest software I was only able to download 3 regions to one map, but 4 maps alltogether with a total of 120mb over my PDA (Card-Reader might be even better) by doing the following:

    1. Without connecting your Meridian to a PC, begin the map Upload process (click Regions; then Upload to GPS).
    2. When the map data conversion process is done, MapSend will display a message that it cannot find your GPS receiver to perform the download.
    3. Stop the process here by selecting "Cancel".
    4. Using Windows Explorer, go to Program Files/Magellan/MapSend/Export and locate the file called "maps.img".
    5. Copy this file to the SD card using USB card reader. Do not create any folders within the SD card where you place this file. Your Meridian will always looks at the top, or "Root" level within the card.
    6. Rename the file "XXXXXX.img" - Example (SO California.img).
    7. Remove the card and place it in your Meridian. You can use your Meridian as you would normally from here. (If you have at least software version 3.12 loaded on your Meridian, you will be able to select a map image to use from the Card Utilities menu - Press MENU to find Card Utilities)

    Verdict:

    I do recommend both units, but do personally prefer the COLOR for its more consise display even considering the extra functions on the PLATINUM. Because of certain flaws in the software I give both a 4 out of 5.