Filed under: Gadget Reviews, Technology & Camping
CONCLUSIONS of the Rand McNally RVND7710 GPS
While this is not enough to constitute a “marriage”, it is more than sufficient to learn what button does what and how the overall performance of the unit compares to previously owned GPS devices.
I am still in love with the comparatively huge 7” high-resolution display of the RVND7710 – not just because it is easier for my aging eyes to read but I am much more likely to press the correct letter on the keyboard displayed when entering an address and hitting the right spot when changing menus.
The routing functions related to the type and size of your RV also appear to work as advertised, keeping us away from low bridges, narrow roads, heavy traffic spots or any location where it could get complicated in a hurry driving a big rig.
I feel it is important to mention again that this device is much more than just a GPS. As the name implies, it is a “trip making” device that is capable of giving you a vast listing of RV and camping related information far beyond a conventional passenger car GPS.
The next-exit functions have proven to be accurate, as has the vast database of camping and rest areas. It is extremely easy to scan your projected route for places to take on a few gallons of fuel, rest your weary eyes for an hour or two, or spend the night.
There are two voices you may select for the spoken directions, Tom or Samantha. Of the two, Tom is much clearer and easier to understand – at least for my ears.
But, alas, not all functions are perfect and some disappointments have been noted – the majority related to the accuracy of the map data.
Most all of Virginia’s Interstate speed limits were changed from 65 mph to 70 mph a year ago. Yet the GPS warns you that the speed limit on I-95 coming out of North Carolina and into Virginia is still 65 mph. One would think that the passing of a year would be plenty of time to update this data.
One of our stops was at Willow Tree Resort in South Carolina. We entered the street address of 520 Southern Sights Drive but were directed to a dirt road 4/10 of a mile further down the highway. Fortunately, we noted the campground sign before we turned onto the dirt road. We later learned that the same routing error was being given by other brands of GPS units, some with recently updated map data. Two members of our group did indeed go down the dirt road and found themselves backing their camper up to get out. This mistake appears to be in the “common” database used by multiple brands of GPS units. At least the RVND7710 warned us of a dirt road, even if it was the wrong road.
The RVND7710 includes “docking software” that allows you to connect the GPS to your PC and Rand McNally’s web site for updating map data, providing feedback and accessing the full operations manual. Frustratingly, every time I have attempted to load in the full manual I receive an error message that I do not have Adobe Reader installed. But, I DO have Adobe Reader installed, have updated to the latest version and even loaded the docking software on a different computer with a newer operating system and persist in getting the same error.
While saving one of my routes to the GPS I received an error message informing me that I did not have enough memory (in the GPS). The unit locked up at that point and required a reboot to regain operation. There is a slot on the side of the GPS for a micro SD card that I concluded was for adding additional memory (without access to a manual I was not sure). I purchased and installed an 8 GB card, which seems to have taken care of the low memory problem.
I would not want any reader to conclude that these issues should be a reason NOT to buy the RVND7710. Quite the contrary! Overall, the unit performs extremely well and fulfills its intended purpose. But, as a writer and evaluator of this device, I would not be fulfilling my responsibility to readers to overlook these issues and only focus on what is right!
I believe all of us should keep in mind that no GPS routing device of this type is going to be 100% correct 100% of the time. They are only as accurate as the data given to them by the mapping companies and the humans that work for them. We should never depend totally on a GPS for our routing, especially in a large RV. I, for one, will continue to consult my maps and computer based routing software before venturing out on any trips. If I ultimately disagree with the GPS routing I can easily enter an alternate route by either using the detour function or adding some specific way-points to my route.
HAPPY CAMPING TRAILS TO ALL!
…. and wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.
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