Magellan GPS Navigation Premium Car Kit Pre-Release Unboxing & Review *VIDEOS*

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by ShaneXman, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. ShaneXman macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    How's it going guys/gals? I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Eve, and you are surrounded by friends, family and love.

    I just wanted to post up a quick thread about the new Magellan Premium Car Kit for iPhone 3G/3GS or iPod Touch 2G's. This kit is scheduled to be released on January 7th, 2010, but I was fortunate enough to get one today to break into and show the world. So here's your chance to get a closer look at what to expect when this thing hits the shelves next year. A VERY cool kit with lots of innovative features, and awesome form factor. I will also be posting a followup with a short in-car / in-use video tomorrow sometime. Check back soon. Enjoy, and thanks for looking!

    Link: YouTube - Magellan GPS Navigation Premium Car Kit (iPhone 3G/3GS or iPod Touch 2G) Pre-Release Unboxing


    Hello again everybody! As promised, here is my In-Car / On-Road Review of the soon to be released Magellan GPS Navigation Premium Car Kit... :)

    Link: YouTube - Magellan GPS Navigation Premium Car Kit Pre-Release In-Car / On-Road Review (iPhone or iPod Touch)

    If you would like to read the full written review, please refer to Post #5 in this thread (scroll down). ;)


  2. lemonademaker macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2009
    In a Van Down By The River! Metro Detroit!
    Great Unwrap!!
    if you can, can you take a pic of the back of the "cradle" the phone sits in when you get a chance? (i have another mount i'd like to attach to the cradle)
    and a pic of the base of your iphone when it is in the cradle? (i want to see if there is enough height on the dock connector for my Otterbox Defender case, but i guess i could use my naked iPod Touch)


    EDIT: i love how the symbol on the package is of a 5th gen/classic type of iPod!! LOL something tells me it won't work with my video iPod..... ;-)
    (yes i know it will probably charge a classic)
  3. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    You got it bud, glad to do it. I just got back from Christmas Eve dinner at the families house, and I used it to and from with solid results. The unit is still in the car, but I would be more than happy to take the pictures you are requesting.

    For starters, what mount are you trying to use it with? I did check to see if maybe an old Garmin friction mount would work with the cradle, but unfortunately the Garmin ball joint is quite a bit larger than the one Magellan uses.

    Let me know, and I will help to figure out your questions as best I can. Cheers! :)
  4. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California

    Thanks for posting the great video. I have a question that hasn't been answered yet. Once you have the cradle adjusted for your iPhone and case, are you able to attach and disengage the phone with one hand without re-adjusting the adjustment arm?
  5. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Well, as many of you may or may not know, I recently received a pre-release Magellan Premium Car Kit for iPhone 3G/3GS or iPod Touch 2G to test and review. In this review, I will try and address everything I can possibly think of, but inevitably I am bound to miss something. If you come across something that I missed, that you would like me to cover, please feel free to post up and I will try and address it as quickly and accurately as possible. Please keep in mind that my focus is on the Magellan Premium Car Kit, and not the actual navigation app being used. However, just for reference sake, I am currently using the Magellan RoadMate app, so if you have questions regarding the apps functions relating to the actual cradle itself please feel free to ask.

    Because I often place my iPhone 3GS (32GB) on my lap, only to glance down every so often, this dash mount setup was a welcome addition to my navigating experience. Not only is this kit a sturdy means of holding my iPhone (WITH my iSkin Solo FX case on) while driving, but it doubles as a charger, Bluetooth speakerphone, and even enhances my GPS signal.

    After using this unit for a couple days, I have been able to put this kit through the ringer, and hopefully provide the feedback needed to help you guys make a decision in the future.


    If I were to judge this book by it’s cover, I would never have thought that so many useful/innovative features could be packed into such a simple/streamlined looking device. After delving in and examining the kit more thoroughly, various ingenious design elements started jumping out at me.

    The first thing I noticed was the “retaining arm”, which raises and lowers to accommodate a wide range of case/skin sizes. It doesn’t stop there though, there are 2 other component that bring this whole “mad scientist” scheme together, to work in complete concert and harmony. The rubber “back support adjustment block” could easily go unnoticed, but this piece makes it a cinch to adjust the gap between the iPhone or iPod Touch and the back of the Premium Car Kit cradle. However, the most important and safety oriented piece of this equation would have to go to the pivoting dock connector. This allows for an effortless and completely safe device insertion and removal, without the risk of breaking the dock connector on either the iPhone/iPod, or the car kit itself. Once mounted, the mount can be rotated for both portrait and lanscape use. After reading several reviews on the TomTom Car Kit, I am lead to believe that this car kit addresses several issues that the TomTom kit is plagued with. Most noteably, this kit has predetermined locations that it clicks into for portrait and landscape viewing. This prevents the unintentional rotation of the iPhone/iPod from a speed bump, pot hole, or turn. Kudos on a superbly designed cradle Magellan.

    After getting over the awe of the actual mounting aspect of the cradle, I noticed several other nifty, but more simplistic features of this kit, including; a 3.5mm audio auxillary output jack, and a Mini-USB power plug for the supplied 12-volt car charger on the right side of the unit, as well as a volume control wheel (for Bluetooth and navigation prompts) on the left side.

    The cradle attaches easily to a suction cup cradle holder, that can either be utilized on it’s own for non-porous surface mounting (i.e. windshields, etc.), or used in conjunction with the ashesive disc for mounting on nearly any flat surface, porous or not (dash board, console, etc.). I did get a chance to try out both methods, but because I live in California and mounting objects to the windshield is illegal, I chose to mount the unit on my dash. The dash mount seems VERY sturdy, and there is absolutely no worry of the mount going anywhere.


    Now onto the “unseen”, but arguably most important features, including GPS, Bluetooth and power. The reason I say most important, is because at the current price point ($129.99), there has to be compelling reasons why a consumer should consider anteing up for this kit.

    First and foremost, the integrated SiRF Star GPS receiver will not only improve your satellite signal on your iPhone (I tested this), it will add GPS capability to 2G iPod Touch’s. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. You can own a multimedia player, and have satellite navigation on the same device. We truly are in a digital age.

    Although I couldn’t get any exact improvement figures on the GPS signal strength, I was able to test it through various navigation apps which provided a clear indication that a decent enhancement was present. On various occasions, I cradled and uncradled my iPhone, and signal bars were lost and gained everytime. With the iPhone docked in the cradle, I never lost a GPS lock, whereas outside the cradle the “GPS Signal Lost” message would chime in on rare occasions (picking back up almost instantly).

    Bluetooth hands-free calling is pretty much expected with car kits, but Magellan upped the ante with this kit. They have added a full duplex noise cancelling speakerphone, and the ablility to speak wirelessly via Bluetooth connection WITHOUT having the phone docked in the cradle. This means that you can utilize this device with multiple phones, not just iPhone’s or iPod Touch’s. With TomTom’s kit, the only way to utilize the Bluetooth is when a device is actually docked in the unit. Additionally, I came across a button on the backside of the cradle, which is referred to by Magellan as a “multi-function” Bluetooth control switch. This button offers the user the convenience of answering calls, rejecting calls, redialing the last number called, activating the voice command feature on the iPhone, and even connecting the Bluetooth to your phone if it’s not already automatically paired. Pairing is extremely simple. As a matter of fact, when you first plug the car kit in it is automatically placed in discovery mode, and it’s just a matter of connecting to “Magellan Car Kit” in the iPhone/iPod’s Settings Menu. It’s that simple.

    The dicreetly placed amplified speaker (located on the bottom of the unit) provides loud and clear sound, not only for calls made via Bluetooth, but for voice guidance as well. Although the sound could stand to be a fraction louder, it is miles above what was being fed to me through my iPhones speaker, and holds it own when dealing with in-car road noise. When listening to music through the built-in iPod entegration, the music is muted and guidance is given, a very nice touch. However, when I pair my phone to my cars integrated Microsoft SYNC system, music pauses/voice guidance can be rather abrupt and jarring. A nice fade-out and fade-in would be a very welcome change for the next update.

    Almost out of necessity the Magellan Premium Car Kit simultaneously charges your device (while docked). Anybody who owns an iPhone with a navigation app will know what I am talking about here, but for those of you who don’t know, using GPS and/or a turn-by-turn app will absolutely decimate your battery life if it’s not constantly plugged in via 12-volt. Prior to this kit, I was utilitzing the built in USB plug in my vehicle, and the battery life on my iPhone would still go down when using my navigation, so the in-car charging is a welcome addition to this kit.

    Lastly, although I am currently using this kit with the Magellan RoadMate for iPhone app, this particular unit can be used with ANY GPS navigation or location based app out there. This is an extremely nice added benefit since many people use various location based apps for numerous purposes. Or even for those navi-holics who have almost every navigation app on the app store.


    All in all, I would say this car kit is far and away the best option for any iPhone/iPod Touch owner who is looking to consolidate their smartphone with their PND, ESPECIALLY if you have a case or skin.

    According to Magellan, the Premium Car Kit is compatible with any iPhone 3G/3GS or 2G iPod Touch. However, rumor has it that the first generation iPhone is also compatible. I will try and get my hands on a first gen iPhone to confirm or deny said claims. ;-)

    This kit is scheduled to be released on January 7th, 2010.

    If you haven't seen my "unboxing" video yet, check it out... ;)

    Link: Magellan GPS Navigation Premium Car Kit Pre-Release Unboxing *VIDEO*

    Product Specs:

    Product Number: AP0300SGXXX
    UPC code: 763357123760
    Package Contents: Premium GPS Car Kit
    Vehicle Mount
    Adhesive Disc
    Vehicle Power Adapter
    Getting Started Guide
    Compatible Units: iPhone 3G. 3GS, iPod Touch 2G
    (Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later)
    Warranty: 12 months from purchase date
    GPS Accuracy: 10-15 feet (3-5 meters)
    Weight: .8 lbs
    Size: 6.1"H x 5.8"W x 2.8"D





  6. chibamac macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2009
    Great review!
    Are you going to do an other video of the magellan in action in the car?
  7. lemonademaker macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2009
    In a Van Down By The River! Metro Detroit!

    got the pics i need from above... no need to take the pics i asked for before... how long is the cig/usb cord?

    thanks again for a great review(s)
  8. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009
    ShaneXman - Excellent review ... thanks for sharing!

    re: bluetooth - pls clarify ... once you pair phone w/ mount, does it work like typical bluetooth connection ongoing? for example the next time you get into your car, it pairs automatically w/o placing in mount - in other words if left in pocket, the mount will ring and pick up calls? ... or do you need to place in mount each time you get in car to activate the bluetooth and then you can remove, while the mount continues to stay connected? i'm trying to understand just how usable the bluetooth is if phone is not in mount.

    also the bluetooth button on back, is that easily accessible? or do you have to fish for it w/ your fingers? - and i assume that's used when the phone isn't in the holder ... ?

    re: landscape position, does it use a 'notch' during rotation? or do you tighten in place? ... since the ball attachment is not centered on back, i would suspect that in landscape position, if using a 'notched' approach there is risk of add'l weight on bottom of unit along w/ the power cord that could cause it to move out of place on a bump ... pls describe a little further

    again, thanks for the review! :)

    Addional thought on these GPS enhanced mounts ...

    i received the TomTom kit for Xmas and am thinking that with the value of these mounts, it will be important to remove from window / dash while parked in public places ... these are more expensive than many GPS units that are being stolen from cars every day ... i've never had to remove a mount before, seems like kind of a hassle ... i'm thinking that a future design should take this into account. For example, put the GPS chip and BT capabilities on a removable portion of the mount ... leaving behind the post and power ... the mount then can be removed from phone and placed in a car compartment ... otherwise, the suction will need to be romoved each time and that's a hassle especially since the suction can get dirty and lose it's suction over time ... just thinking ahead on these devices
  9. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Yup, should be up today. Thanks! :)

    Excellent. The cig/usb cord is a pretty standard length I would say. I have it running from my center counsel, up to the top of my dash with some slack to spare (probably about 5' give or take).

    Glad to do it man. Just let me know if you have any other questions, and I will try and answer them to the best of my ability. :cool:


    Not a problem at all. Glad I am able to help others, especially because I was on your side of the table a few days ago.

    Regarding your questions...

    re: Bluetooth - Yes, once you pair your phone with the mount, it will automatically pair every time the Magellan Premium Car Kit powers up and your phone is within an acceptable range. So if you have your phone in your pocket, it will pair without the need to place it in the mount. If the phone rings while it's in your pocket, you can use the multi-function button to answer, hang up, redial, or even use voice commands. Additionally, if for some strange reason the unit doesn't pair with the phone automatically, you can click the multi-function button, and it will instantly pair. I tested this by turning off the Bluetooth on my iPhone, while still leaving the car kit powered. Once I did this, I was disconnected from the cradle, but automatic pairing was not initiated because the cradle was already powered up and not in pairing mode like when you first power up the unit/turn on the car. Then I pressed the multi-function button, and I was up and running. So in the simplest terms, the Bluetooth feature is a function independent of the cradle, and in no way tied to the phone being docked.

    re: Bluetooth multi-function button - Yes, this button is pretty easily accessible. It's in a location that you hands just tends to go to if you are reaching to the back of the cradle. This button can be used whenever, it doesn't matter if the phone is in the cradle or not, it works the same either way.

    re: Rotating mount - The mount has 4 different orientations that the phone can be in. You can swivel it into landcape mode (rotated to the right or left), or you can have the phone in portrait mode (flipped rightside up or upside down). There isn't any in between position (45 degree angle) or anything. The ball attachment appears to be fairly centered with the actual cradle itself, minus the retaining arm...which most likely makes up for the additional weight from the power cord (which isn't much).

    I typically drive with my iPhone in landscape mode, and I have driven over some pretty decent sized speed bump, pot holes, etc. without the slightest movement from the cradle. To be honest, I don't think the mount with rotate on it's own due to the very nicely thought out design. Just so you know, I will demonstrate the rotation in my in-car video, so you will see what I am talking about then. ;)

    I hope this clarifies your questions a little better, but if you would like me to elaborate further, please let me know. Thanks. :)
  10. Daremo macrumors 68020


    Jul 3, 2007
    Does the unit have an auxiliary out port? I think I see one on the side, but I'm not sure that's what it is.
  11. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009

    it does! i think i like the approach to bluetooth connection better than the TT kit - overall sounds very well engineered ... thanks!
  12. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
  13. djinn macrumors 68000


    Oct 4, 2003
    Great reviews Shane. Thank you for taking the time.
  14. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California
    Thanks for the Great road test review!

    That has answered a lot of questions for me and I now know that the Magellan Premium Car kit appears to be far superior to the TomTom that I have been using for a few months. Like the added Bluetooth options over the TomTom kit.
  15. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Yes it does. It has a 3.5mm audio auxillary output jack.

    You got it. Have a good one. :D

    My pleasure. Hopefully these posts will help you and others make an informed decision when making the decision of whether or not to buy a car kit. :D
  16. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009
    thanks for the drive thru! ... very helpful

    i can tell the position 'notches' seem more hearty than the TomTom, if i can describe them that way ... the TT has notches too, but they are less static probably causing some of the bump issues. i am putting more miles on my TT car kit and have noticed that it's critical to slide, and center, the back of the mount so it's balanced ... and as long as the cord is supported and doesn't hang free (by running in a dash seam, i haven't had any bump issues ... but again, i'm compensating for the inferior engineering :rolleyes:

    not sure i have any options to get a Magellan car kit since my TT kit was a gift and doesn't sound like an exchange will be possible at Apple store ... so I'll just keep compensating for now :p

    Good job Magellan ... and Xman
  17. LeonPro macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Hi, Shane.

    I posted a comment on your YouTube page. Hopefully you can post an in-depth video of how the:

    1. iPhone mounts and unmounts from the car kit. There is a button that you showed, but didn't provide a close up. Also there is what looks like a slide on the top part behind the car kit. What is that for?

    2. How the ball socket works in detail. Can you show how it connects with the car kit. Thanks.
  18. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009

    I completely understand, I would utilize what I had as well. However, I might consider selling it on Craigslist to offset the cost of the Magellan kit. *hint* *hint* LOL J/K ;)

    Anyways, I'm glad to hear that my video cleared up the rotating mechanism confusion. To be honest, I don't think there is any concern of the Magellan kit actually rotating on its own due to a speed bump, etc. Kinda sucks that the TomTom unit has such a critical flaw. Maybe you can complain about it and get a credit to wherever it was purchased from? :p



    1. Un-mounting is quite simple and straight forward. All you have to do is lift up on the retaining arm, and tilt your device up and out. The retaining arm is a sort of rubberized material, so lifting it is very easy, and you don't run the risk of breaking anything.

    2. The ball mount simply snaps into place just like any other ball mount you've used. The only difference is that you have a retaining ring that screws into place to secure the ball to the mount. Once you tighten down the retaining ring, it makes the adjustments on the ball mount tighter so it doesn't just flop around. So once you find that perfect location you can make it snug, and the mount will stay put while still making it possible to swivel or move to your liking.

    I hope this makes sense. If you still would like me to do a quick video, I would be glad to, but it really is as simple as I am saying. Have a good one! :)
  19. LeonPro macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Thanks, Shane, for the quick response. It sounds fairly straightforward as you have explained.

    What is the slide at the back of the car kit (top portion at the back of the photos)? Is that a lock?
  20. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009
    Shane & others ... thoughts on the quote above? ... each day i park my car on the street or in a public lot for that matter, i am finding myself unsuctioning from window and placing under dash ... what a hassle. Anyone else anxious about theft with mounts costing as much as many GPSs?
  21. LeonPro macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    I have a Garmin device with a mount that's hard-wired. At least those mounts where cheap plastic that no one cared to steal as the device itself is hidden.

    With my pre-order for the Premium Car Kit, I have to agree that you have to remove those from the window or else you'll be inviting theft. This is a new dilemma for car kits that are as expensive as GPS devices. What else can we all do? Even if it's bolted to the car, someone still knows how expensive those things can be sold for and will yank it out eventually.
  22. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California
    I mounted my TomTom car kit just in front of the instrumental panel. Although the mount partially obstructs some of the gauges it allows it to blend in to the casual observer looking through the lightly tinted side windows and also allows easy access to the iPhone. Since each car model is different I realize this is not a logical mounting location for everyone.

    But I agree depending on where I park and for how long, I would probably remove the mount to reduce the possibility of theft.
  23. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009
    I'll create a new topic for this so that we don't distract from the Magellan car kit features and Shane's review. I can see this conversation heading in different directions.

    Thanks for the quick feedback.
  24. ShaneXman thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    To be honest, I haven't really worried about someone stealing the mount. I have gone various places, and I just leave the mount up. In my opinion, it doesn't look much different than a standard GPS/phone mount, but maybe as time goes on thieves will become more aware of these particular cradles. :mad:

    However, I have been researching beanbag mounts, and trying to figure out the best way to make this cradle work with one. I currently have a Garmin beanbag mount in one of my cars, but it has a proprietary locking mechanism that is unique to Garmin.

    I was thinking of maybe picking up this Magellan Beanbag Mount...


    ...that way I don't have to unsuction the mount, I can just pull the whole beanbag off the dash and throw up it back up there when I get back in the car. Much easier than messing with unmounting/remounting. :D
  25. navguy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2009
    good idea! ... i'm not sure i have the space for it ... sorry for the distraction on this thread. :eek:

    Back to the Magellan car kit features / review ...

    i have a couple Best Buy gift cards that i'm thinking about using for a Magellan kit when it becomes avail (and haven't decided what I'll do w/ TT kit just yet) ... any idea whether Best Buy will carry on release day?

    And different topic, can the place / remove be used w/ one hand? ... I assume you don't have to move the 'arm' each time you place/remove.

    And have you had a chance to use w/ iPod Touch? wondering if similar experience?

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