GPS Review: Garmin Streetpilot 7200
The Garmin StreetPilot 7200 is a huge GPS for huge needs, and with its massive 7-inch screen, you'll be able to see a lot of information about where you are going. The TFT touch-screen display automatically adjusts the backlighting level based on current lighting conditions. The screen brightness is excellent, and easily viewable in all lighting conditions—even bright sunlight. It's got a few features to run through that are interesting.
The StreetPilot 7200 allows for FM modulation through the 12 V power adapter. The frequency can be selected through a menu on the GPS unit. In my experience, one frequency may be enough for day to day operation, but you may find yourself digging through this menu repeatedly for a long trip; maybe they can get a selection for a few favorites right off the main menu? This drives the ability for lots of other stuff...
The unit comes with this huge 7" touchscreen (480 x 234 pixel WQVGA TFT) in a 16:9 aspect ratio that is the basis for lots of cool stuff. The unit offers video inputs for your viewing enjoyment, through RCA (left, right, video) to 1/8" inputs. Yes, this will allow you to watch DVD. Probably an issue if you are driving down the road, but the folks at Garmin have huge plans for this, I can tell, and watching a DVD sometime, somewhere is in their sights. This also allows for plugging in back-up cameras; something that you may not need on your sedan, but is a big plus on an RV.
MP3 Player - Internal and External
The Street Pilot 7200 comes ready for MP3's, an increasingly popular feature for GPS units. You can upload to the hard drive or use the SD slot to add music storage to the unit. You can browse and then play by artist, album, genre, and playlists. There is also a line-in jack and the ability to listen to your mp3 player (iPod) that will automatically let you listen to your music, while also being alerted when there is a turn to be made, etc.
The unit has the ability to receive XM satellite signals for traffic, stock and weather information through an XM smart antenna. (Additional $3.95 over the music subscription, or $9.99 alone.) This is only one option for receiving traffic.
GTM-10 FM antenna - FM Based Traffic reception
The StreetPilot 7200 also has the ability to add on the GTM-10 FM antenna that allows for the reception of FM based (subscription) information for traffic incidents.
The big plus for this high end GPS units is the ability to look at real-time traffic incidents and route you around the problem. The StreetPilot 7200 can categorize the severity of the traffic incident: Low - traffic still flowing, Medium - traffic a bit congested, High - traffic heavily congested or stopped. With a touch of the screen you'll be able to route around the incident.
Custom POIs and Proximity Alerts
Not a totally new feature on these units, but the StreetPilot 7200 has the ability to upload custom Points of Interest, and then the ability to set proximity alerts. More popular in Europe where there are more speed cameras, the idea is that you can drop in a custom POI for the speed camera, and a pop-up alert can tell you when you are getting close... a potentially big money saver for you.
Yea, might seem like a waste, but when you have this thing on a dash that's more than an arm's length away, a remote control is great. These units will most likely be very popular in the RV set, so this type of thing would be great for those expansive dash areas.
PC Mag recently covered this device in a review and liked it quite a bit. The feature set is strong, and is well designed for the RV and Trucker set. PC Mag said"The StreetPilot 7200 is an excellent navigation product. It's hard not to like the 7-inch screen. Although it sells at a premium price, the large screen and video input make it an ideal choice for an RV owner."
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Posted by Scott Martin at April 7, 2006 8:16 PM