Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'll take you there...

I love gadgets! iPods, universal remote controls, new and improved cell phones, whatever. Ohh, I'm not technically savvy or some such thing; I just love gadgets. And since my last trip to PhilaPA, I've been obsessed with GPS (global positioning system). Obsessed. I know!

In the past few months, I've casually researched systems ~ Garmin, Magellan, TomTom. Turns out everyone's gotten into the GPS game: HP, JVC, Kenwood, Sony. After talking with my friend Dave (The Car Guy on ABC 7) and using one of his systems, decided to choose one from Garmin, Magellan or Tom Tom, top three brands.

And so the serious research began. I read the Top 5 GPS article at
CNET. I investigated all the bells and whistles ~ screen size (size does matter), text to speech, bluetooth, MP3 player, traffic capabilities, voice command, celebrity voice and so much more. Enough bells and whistles to make a girl's head spin! I narrowed down the list to my 3 'must-haves':
  1. With the text-to-speech function, instead of the 'voice' saying 'Exit in 1.5 miles' it says 'Exit Main Street in 1.5 miles.' Brilliant for the visual girl!
  2. As of July 1st, driving while on the cell is a huge No-no. So, I'm gonna need bluetooth connection on the GPS. Much easier than the earbud things.
  3. L.A. is notorious for its traffic. Obviously, I'm going to need traffic capabilities - a system which directs me around the accident, gives me alternate routes to traffic jams. Brilliant!

I devoured CNET. I read everything on the Garmin website. I read everything on the Magellan website. I'm not sure how/when/why I ruled out Tom Tom (perhaps because I each time I said the name I sang 'Genius of Love')...after all of that, I'd decided on the Magellan Maestro 4250, rated 3rd in the CNET article.

There I am - staring at the GPS display at Best Buy. No 4250. Oh, sadness prevails! I'm trying to eavesdrop on the sales guy, only catching every 4th or 5th word...instead, I pick up a brochure. I locate my must-haves, all of which were checked on the line of the Magellan Maestro 3250. Hmm...what's this? I looked at my notes (yes, I brought my notes!) to find the difference between the 4250 and the 3250. 4250 has a bigger screen and voice command; 3250 is $100 off the original price. Done. Oh happy day!

While I'm reading, Sales Guy walked away. However, Manager Guy was there, so I asked him for help. "Which one did you want?" "The Magellan 3250." Stone-faced, he said "Just a minute." He turned his back, talked with Sales Guy II. After a few minutes, both come back to me. "This is Sales Guy II and he's going to help you." Read: talk you into buying a more expensive model.

Sales Guy II tried to talk me into a Garmin: Best Buy is soon going to carry only the Garmin units (Me: nod, "uh huh"); 40% of the units sold have been returned (Me: nod, "Really? Why?") - customers weren't satisfied (Me: "Hmm. Nothing specific - hard to use, touch screen doesn't work?"); Garmin has the same features you're looking for, most popular brand, no complaints (Me: "So, you'll drop the price to match the Magellan?"); Anything else for you? (Me: "The $40 warranty, thanks!").

$364 later, Rissa is driving around Burbank with her Magellan Maestro 3250! I set my preferences, registered my Triple A membership on the Magellan site which gives me TWO FREE YEARS of traffic service + direct-dial to AAA if I ever break down. Woot woot! The bluetooth took me a bit longer to set up as there were no directions. Total trial and error; I finally figured it out.

OH! The other night, driving to dinner, I was showing off my new gadget. I punched in the name of the restaurant, certain it would direct me to the freeway. It didn't. Hmm. I ignored MM3250 and headed to the freeway. And, whaddyaknow ~ traffic jam. Ohhh, I will never again doubt the wisdom of the Magellan Maestro!

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