magellan iPhone car kit review


We recently received the Magellan Premium Car Kit for iPhone or iPod Touch (compatible with iPhone 3G and 3GS or iPod Touch2G). We knew we were going to like it immediately upon opening, as it went from the box to mounted on the windshield in less than 2 minutes. After installing the Magellan RoadMate app for iPhone, we were off! (A somewhat lengthy download and install process, but one that is well worth the wait.) Using these two together - Magellan Premium Car Kit + Magellan RoadMate app - has at least one notable benefit; the Car Kit has a built-in GPS receiver, enhancing the performance of the RoadMate app. While we didn’t test with the iPod Touch, clearly the Car Kit is a valuable and compatible mate. Unlike the iPhone, the iPod Touch does not have any GPS capabilities of it’s own. Combined with the Magellan Premium Car Kit, your iPod Touch becomes a navigation tool.

While you can use the device with any navigation app on the iPhone, we were particularly fond of the Magellan RoadMate app. You’ll notice quite a difference when comparing speed and functionality of the Magellan RoadMate app to the iPhone maps app that comes standard with the iPhone. The Magellan RoadMate app is fast, specific and highly customizable. We were surprised how quickly - in an instant, really - our location appeared on the map. And, the GPS signal was constant; we didn’t lose signal at all while testing.

Now, let’s get back to the Car Kit, the subject of our review.

A couple practical features of note:

  • In addition to the easy assembly and install, the mount itself is adjustable, easily swiveling from portrait to landscape display and back again. And, once you have found the magic spot for placement of the device, you can make any final adjustments for ideal viewing by tightening the retaining ring.
  • Where the iPhone meets the Car Kit, the “plug,” for lack of a better term, rocks forward and back making it easy to place and remove the iPhone.
  • The cradle has an adjustable retaining arm and back support block, keeping your iPhone or iPod Touch securely in place.

As you can see, the device lives up to its claim of fitting a variety of hard shell cases and silicon skins. The folks at Magellan managed to create something that holds the iPhone very securely, while at the same time not making it extremely cumbersome to place/remove the phone quickly. Let’s face it, the phone will potentially be in and out of this cradle multiple times a day; the Magellan Premium Car Kit makes this process about as easy as it could be.

In addition to these practical features, the Car Kit boasts a couple of functional features we should also mention. These include:

  • Built-in Music Player
  • Noise-cancelling speakerphone; Powerful amplified speaker
  • Audio output
  • Bluetooth pairing
  • And, of course, in-car charging, which solves another problem for iPhone/iTouch users

The built-in music player is actually a feature of the Magellan RoadMate app which offers in-app music control. Still a fun feature worth mentioning for iPhone/iPod Touch users who are constantly looking for better and better integration. Songs are easily imported to the app for creation of driving playlists!

This leads right into review of the speaker on the Magellan Premium Car Kit. We tested this feature using speakerphone, through the app’s built-in music player, and, of course, through the use of the Magellan RoadMate app for iPhone/iPod Touch. This little gem of a speaker is surprisingly good quality, given it’s placement on the device (on the bottom or end, depending on portrait or landscape display choice). Even at full volume it performed well. Also important to note that the speaker packs a punch. I have a rather noisy car and yet I could hear “Susan,” (my chosen personality for navigation in the app) very well, even at low-mid level volume.

The device also has an audio output for marrying the device to your car stereo. An attractive feature (and one that should probably be standard on devices like these) if you have an audio input in your car’s dash.

Bluetooth pairing allows the device and your iPhone/iPod Touch to communicate in a more efficient manner. Syncing the Car Kit with your iPhone or iPod Touch doesn’t take more than a second and, thankfully, once they are paired they continue to find each other every time they are in range. Once synced, another iPhone-in-the-car issue is solved - when a call is made or received, you can tell the phone with one touch that you want to utilize the Car Kit for your conversation. This nearly hands-free solution to making calls is a bonus of the device; phone stays in cradle, GPS navigation continues and no one is getting a ticket for talking on their cell phone in the process. Safety first!

Overall, the Magellan Premium Car Kit is a device that resolves a number of in-car issues for iPhone/iPod Touch users. Not the least of which is in-car charging. It is worth noting that the charge continues working even after the car is turned off. We love that the combo of iPod Touch + Magellan RoadMate app + Magellan Premium Car Kit creates a stellar GPS tool and car accessory. Aside from the price, which seems a tiny bit inflated, this device (especially when working in tandem with the Magellan RoadMate app for iPhone/iPod Touch) is an extremely useful, highly functional solution to your car adventures. We will miss having this handy device in the car but, lucky for you, it could be yours! We’ll be doing a giveaway with this sample soon. Stay tuned for an opportunity to win!

7 Responses to “magellan iPhone car kit review”

  1. David T Says:

    $129.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping: Amazon

    *software NOT included*

    $129 is a way crazy price point.I’d prolly jump on this, but considering the current prices of PNA’s, i’d prolly just get one of those. By the time you purchase the needed software, you’ve gone north of $200.

    What were they thinkin’ ?


  2. David T Says:

    PND ……sorry


  3. William S Says:

    By far the best car kit on the market. You can expect to pay more and get less from a different brand. Magellan’s works for both iPhone and iPod and also fits skins and cases. Great review!


  4. Ridgid Tools Says:

    Ridgid Tools…

    Laser Rangefinders use a red laser beam projected from the tool and a receiver on the tool to determine distances. They are used in many applications and are capable of functions such as simple distance measurement, continuous measurement, area measure…


  5. iphone car mount Says:

    must have especially if you rely on your GPS App


  6. iPhone Car Kit Says:

    works very well. hands free iphone action


  7. pinky Says:

    *prolly*

    (d-bag.)


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