capsule review

Magellan CrossoverGPS

At a Glance
  • Magellan CrossoverGPS

    PCWorld Rating

Your need for directions may not end when you step out of your car. With its waterproof case and rubberized edge protector, Magellan's CrossoverGPS is designed to withstand the bumps, dust, and precipitation that sometimes attend hiking, biking, and other extravehicular activities. Unfortunately, the $500 device was a bit too big to carry comfortably while walking, and too complicated to rely on for navigating an unfamiliar city on foot.

As an in-car guide Magellan's GPS shines: The 3D maps on the 3.5-inch display show your route clearly, the voice directions (including pronunciation of street names) come through loud and clear via the device's built-in speaker, and you get plenty of warning when turns or other maneuvers follow each other quickly.

The device acquired its initial satellite signal in just a few seconds. You can enter your destination in various ways: by entering a street address or intersection via the touch-screen keyboard, or by selecting it from the unit's points-of-interest database of restaurants, gas stations, and other establishments. Another option is to use your finger to point to a destination on the map.

I was pleased with the routes the CrossoverGPS suggested, and whenever I drove off course the device calculated a revised route in just a couple of seconds. My only quibble with the driving directions was the device's chattiness. Over the course of a 60-mile trip, the CrossoverGPS repeatedly urged me to a??continue on the current route.a?? And because it also uses chimes to indicate upcoming turns and other impending actions, the combined effect on a route with a lot of twists and turns is a near-endless stream of instructions and sound effects.

Using the device's Outdoor application to navigate on foot is much less rewarding. To select a location for the device to direct you to, you either choose it on the map or enter its latitude and longitude. You can't specify a street address or a series of street addresses, as you can with the in-car navigator.

The CrossoverGPS is also a tad hefty to tote around. It measures 3.4 inches tall by 4.3 inches wide by 1.1 inches deep and weighs 8.5 ounces (9.4 ounces when bundled up in its Sport Guard protective wrapper), making it cumbersome to carry on an extended outing. But you needn't worry about the CrossoverGPS running out of power on anything short of a trek along the Pacific Crest Trail). When I tested it, the device ran for 7 hours, 45 minutes on a single charge; Magellan claims that it has an 8-hour battery life. It also recharged fully in less than 30 minutes. You don't get much warning that the battery is about to expire, however. Just 15 minutes after I saw my first low-battery warning pop up on screen, the device konked out.

Media-player apps on GPS devices tend to be bare-bones affairs with few advanced features, and that's the case with the CrossoverGPS. The built-in monaural speaker may suffice for projecting driving directions over road noise, but it's not satisfactory for reproducing music. The unit plays audio files stored on SD Card, and it has a headphone jack, though it doesn't ship with headphones of its own.

Along with wishing that I could enter street addresses in the device's walking mode, I'd like to be able to listen to music files while viewing the street or trail map. Frustratingly, Magellan doesn't let you use both applications simultaneously.

But if you're willing to overlook these shortcomings, the CrossoverGPS will keep you heading in the right direction regardless of your method of transportation. When you add the optional maritime maps and load them via SD Card, the device will help keep your fleet on course, too. Regrettably, I was unable to test the maritime maps because my yacht is in drydock.

With a little less heft and a little easier guidance for pedestrians, the CrossoverGPS could be a navigator for all methods of locomotion, and in all types of weather.

Dennis O'Reilly

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Features a rugged case and long battery life
    • 3.5-inch screen is easy to read

    Cons

    • Too bulky for use while walking
    • Entering destinations in walking mode is hard
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