Magellan Premium Car Kit Review: Essential Road Companion

Recently, I had the opportunity to test out the Premium Car Kit provided by Magellan, designed for use with the iPhone or iPod touch. I took it for a spin around town and on the highway to evaluate its performance, especially in conjunction with Magellan’s superb Road Mate app [iTunes link].

The device claims compatibility with most GPS applications and can accommodate various iPhone cases, which means you don’t need to remove your phone from its case to dock it. Installation was straightforward: connect the power adapter to the cigarette lighter, attach the other end to the cradle, and secure it to the windshield with the suction cup provided. My iPhone quickly detected and paired with the device once powered on.

My phone, encased in an InCase rubberized case, fit into the cradle without any initial issues.

The built-in GPS receiver in the Premium Car Kit seemed to enhance signal acquisition speed compared to the iPhone’s own GPS. Although advertised to support any 2nd generation or newer iPod touch, I didn’t have one available to test this feature.

The kit includes an internal speaker which proved louder than the iPhone’s speaker, making it easier to hear driving directions. It also allows for music playback from your playlists, though I found the sound quality insufficient for enjoyable listening. The adjustable cradle supports both portrait and landscape orientations, accommodating most GPS apps.

Additionally, it features a mini jack for audio output, allowing you to connect to your car’s sound system if compatible.

However, there were some drawbacks. Each time I docked my iPhone, I received a prompt questioning the compatibility of the device with the hardware, suggesting I switch to Airplane Mode, which I declined. It appeared that my phone case might be interfering with the connection. Once I removed the case, the issue resolved, indicating that not all cases might be fully compatible despite the claims.

Navigation was smooth with the iPhone securely docked, providing clear audible directions, a significant improvement over using the phone’s speakerphone alone.

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Barbara is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest insights and updates on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Barbara covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. Her articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When she’s not writing, Barbara enjoys exploring new features on her Apple Watch and testing out the latest iPad apps.