Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB: Friend or Foe?

Wanna see something really scary? Driving without good navigation tools is one way to see some hair-raising things.

Scary road is not RV-friendly

It’s easy to get lost out there but I’ve never been a fan of GPS units. I have always preferred paper maps for getting around because to me, GPS units always seemed like an unnecessary expensive gadget that just interferes with adventure and spontaneity. Notice that the key word in the previous sentence is seemed. That’s because we’ve never owned a GPS and until last fall when I received a test unit of the new Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB 7″ High-clarity RV GPS Navigator for RVers, I really couldn’t back up my feelings about these gadgets. My recent test unit finally gave me the experience I’d been waiting for:

GPS as Friend: You’ll enjoy precise trip planning.

You’ll be able to plot out your entire route and every pit stop along the way. From where to fuel up to which restaurants serve barbecue food and of course which campgrounds are nearby, every mile can be carefully charted and documented with the RoadMate’s user interface.

GPS as Friend: This GPS understands RV travel challenges.

This Magellan unit takes your RV size into consideration and chooses roads it feels are safe for your particular rig. One of my favorite capabilities is how the GPS interface illustrates which freeway lanes are best to utilize. That feature alone is worth the price of this GPS when you’re fighting crazy traffic in unknown cities.

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GPS as Foe: It Takes Time to Get Acquainted

I consider myself to be tech savvy, but I didn’t like how long it took me to get comfortable with the GPS navigation interface. In the early stages of getting acquainted with the unit, there were a few times I wanted to toss it out the window. Today, I’m still learning. But in the end, I feel that it’s a great unit to have on board as a trip planning tool.

GPS as Foe: Spontaneous Adventure is at Risk

Like any new technology, a GPS is only as helpful as we allow it to be. If we find ourselves becoming too dependent on the unit, it’s easy to miss out on some of the best places this country has to offer. That’s because a GPS like this will automatically tell you to drive the safest and therefore most predictable RV-friendly roads out there. It will tell you where the nearest Strbuck’s is, but it won’t tell you where the funky roadside attractions are located. While this kind of experience is fine for some RVers, it’s not the most exciting for those of us who enjoy discovering offbeat places and backcountry roads.

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Conclusion: The Magellan RoadMate GPS is a Good Partner

Since I’ve never used a GPS by anyone other than Magellan, I can’t compare it to other models. But what I can do it use it as a basis for comparing how our journeys evolved before we ever used a GPS and how our most recent journey from Colorado to California turned out once we started using the RoadMate RV9490T-LMB. This little tablet-sized unit gave us scads of confidence in heavy traffic and came through many times over.

In the end I realized that these units will enhance your trip planning and overall adventures if you allow them to guide you.  When used in conjunction with paper maps and common sense, a GPS like the RoadMate RV9490T-LMB that’s made just for RV trip planning is a helpful tool for avoiding bad roads and scary situations.

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5 Responses to “Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB: Friend or Foe?”

  1. Magellan is a POS. I have a RV 9490T-LMB and it freezes and will not update as described. This is the second one and I have regretted ever since. Tech support is non existent. Don’t purchase it.

  2. Had the magellan for trip from Detroit to key west. Bought a garmin in ft. Lauderdale

  3. LOVE the review and I’m going to look into it. I don’t have an official GPS but have on occasion used the one on my phone but my planning ahead has usually been Google maps and printing the directions for the spots that I am worried about or want to avoid. My GPS when I have used it spends a lot of time saying “recalculating” because of those side attractions I see. The comment you made about the confidence in heavy traffic though has me very interested AND that it accomodates RVs and the challenges associated with traveling that way. Awesome!!!!

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