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Quick Review Of The Magellan Color

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Hey all,


I recently purchased the Meridaian Color GPS I decided to give my quick review so far.


:D Cons:


1. Battery Life: I read the manual and most of the posts before purchase. I knew the battery life was going to be short, but this is just sad. If you have one of these models or are thinking of getting one carry exrtra batteries. Also after you intilize the unit change the backlight settings, this helps but does not solve the problem.


2. No USB connection: As a mild computer geek I was amazed at the lack of a USB connection. The standard cable is a serial port cable. I rubbed my eyes in amazement at this. You can buy a cable adapter that is a serial cable to USB adapter but that cost about 30 more dollars.


3. European Support: This is a big issue to me becuase I live in Europe. The Meridian series has only one Map Send Streets for Europe, No direct Route, no Topo. Granted these are nice things and extras, but they are extras I would like to have. Of course if you do not live in Europe or don't plan to come here any time soon this is not an issue.


4, Battery Life: I can not stress this enough. Carry extra's, use the car adapter when possible, change the backlight settings, or you may be in the middle of no where and have your battery alarm go off after only a couple hours.


:o Pros:


1. Color: The Color is amazing. Pure and simple


2. Ease of use: I am new to the GPS thing and after 2 hours I felt comfortable using this model. I may not know all the cool features by heart by I can get from A to B.


3. Map Send Streets Europe: Ok this product can not auto-street route and that did disappoint me, but the level of detail of the maps makes up for it. I work on a small Army post here and every road was in the software. Even the 200 meter road that is there for no good reason.


4. Expandible Memory: My unit came with the 64 MB card. I have not even came close to filling it yet; although, I am gonna try.


:D Overall I do like my new toy and I can not wait till this weekend to play with it. I have several caches already waypointed. If you are thinking of this model be aware of its limitations. I see this GPS being much more usefull when I go back to the states and I can use TOPO USA, and Direct route. Also any tips or cool features you came across while using this model please post them. I am always up for some new tricks.

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2. No USB connection: As a mild computer geek I was amazed at the lack of a USB connection. The standard cable is a serial port cable. I rubbed my eyes in amazement at this. You can buy a cable adapter that is a serial cable to USB adapter but that cost about 30 more dollars.


You must have not read up on this unit before you bought it. There are NO GPS units with a USB port besides the new Garmin models. You have to remember that the Meridians are pushing 2 years old. On the flip side, Meridians have had USB capabilities for much longer than any other unit. The new Garmin models say how cool they are because of the USB port, but the Meridians have been able to use an SD card reader with their SD cards, and get USB speed map loading.


Also, a serial to USB adapter will NOT give you USB speed. It will still only transfer at serial rate, which is MUCH slower.


As for the battery life, I guess it is pretty bad. I have heard that the color is somewhat hard to see, so most people keep the backlight on most of the time. This SEVERELY drains the light. I have a Meridian Gold, so I don't have this issue. The visibility is great all the time, however, there is no color.


So, if you are going to try to fill up that 64 meg card, do yourself a favor, and go buy an SD card reader. It will cut your time exponentially. Instead of taking HOURS to load your regions, it will take minutes.


So, umm... I guess that's it. I'm somewhat surprised at what you are surprised at, but it's cool... :o

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I probaly should clarify. I did know about the lack of USB before I bought it, but I am still in shock. USB has been around for a while now and I am amazed to only see a couple GPSs with USB support. Good idea on the SD card reader do you have any suggestions. Thanks

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I am still in shock. USB has been around for a while now and I am amazed to only see a couple GPSs with USB support.

Well you need to sit back and think about the scope of a switch to USB.

All the software for GPS connectivity have been written for serial for the last ten years. Most of the equipment configured for use with a handheld GPS receiver have serial connections. Laptops have only had USB ports standard for a little more than two years. Most of the alternative mapping programs connect via NMEA serial drivers. All of those programs have to be rewritten to connect via USB. Garmin took a big risk switching to USB. The 60 may be getting rave reviews in the Geocaching community, but it isn't an option for those that rely on special alternative programs.


I've only heard of one so far that has taken the time to rewrite for USB. That's ExpertGPS.

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Excellent point Leatherman. I had not thought of all the rewrites that would be needed to make this happen. As I said earlier I am new to the GPS field and I am learning as I go. I noticed that you also own a Color, do you have any suggestions for a SD card reader, some suggestions on the batteries, and alternate programs. Thanks

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2.  No USB connection:

As SBPhishy pointed out, only the Garmin 60-series offers direct USB connection. Because of it's newness, this isn't widely supported yet, and many 60 owners are having trouble locating compatible software. This will change in the future of course, but right now the 60 is rather finicky.


That said, I haven't plugged my Meridian into my serial port at all for several months now, and I've been transferring maps via USB since I bought it two years ago.


I haven't used MapSend Streets Europe, but it might already have functionality to transfer straight to your SD card via a card reader. If not, there should be a fairly easy workaround. (For Example, older versions of MapSend Topo does not support this, yet it's not hard to get around that.)


Utilizing GPSBabal or GSAK, it's not hard to transfer waypoints from a .loc or .gpx file straight to your SD card via a card reader.



Edited by Jamie Z
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I have to disagree about the software/USB issue, it wouldn't be a hardship for the Manufacturer to write a driver suite that produces a configurable virtual com port, there are enough similar pieces of software out there for that. after all, that's all a USB-serial adapter driver is, why can't they just build the adapter circuit into the GPSr?


It looks to me like the limitations of the color are really no different to limitations of other GPSrs. My Gold knocks out batteries fairly quickly too, I have to change them at least once a day when caching. (rechargables) I would have to say, wouldn't it be great if they'd put in a Li-Ion battery that auto charges from the vehicle.


Anyway, I'm in danger of straying off topic. Back to the color, a much needed first color model, but lacking in a few of the features found on other Top of the Range GPS's, such as a 3D compass. I'm waiting for them to bring out a Platinum color with rechargable battery, solar backup, Bluetooth, WiFi & PDA functions.

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2000 mah NiMH Recargeables are the way to go.

Charge these up on the morning of your GPS adventure, and they should last for several hours. Also the NiMH batteries are the best choice for Digital cameras that suck batteries dry in just a few shots. You can kill fresh alkalines in as little as a dozen shots, like in my 2 megapixel cameral.


Lithiums are the best choice for cold weather though



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I have just used the standard alkiline AA batt. I picked up some Nicad batteries to try and if those dont work as well as I would like I am gonna try the Lithium.

Ni-Cd ? strange decision. they have mutch less capacity than NiMH.

IMHO NiMH 2100mAh or higher cappacity sgould work better than any Alkaline or NiCd batary for you :o

and you always can have car charger :D

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