I thought I'd follow up with my decision and share my experiences thus far.
I had both units, decided against the Garmin and popped open the 4250. This is our family's first GPS unit and our only other experience was a positive one using Hertz Neverlost.
- As mentioned already, I'm a fan of the POI system on the Magellan and the fact that gas stations, ATMs, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee, etc show up as I roll by is appreciated. Easy to tap on an icon and get routed.
- POI alerts are pretty cool; I used the included SW to get red light cameras and speed traps and as you approach these areas, the unit will warn you that you're within your specified range of what ever it is. I let the wife take this on a business trip she went on and she regularly had the unit warning her of these types of things in an unfamiliar area.
- The AAA guidebook is actually pretty neat. Not only does it provide POIs, it further provides the AAA info such as a description of the place, typical cost, a rating, business hours, accepted forms of payment (cash, visa, MC, etc) and a phone number that you can simply tap on when paired with a BT phone. More info rarely hurts in my opinion.
- The voice recognition, while not perfect, is kinda cool. When rolling along, I can say, "Magellan", "Where am I?". The unit then presents me the trip computer (speed, heading, alt, etc) and states the road I'm traveling on. While that's kind of neat the first time, stating "Magellan, nearest coffee" and being presented options that I can vocally navigate to by glancing at the screen and selecting the number of the associated place, or moving to the next page by saying "next" or "previous" is more functional. You can also ask it things like, "nearest ATM", "go home", "nearest restaurant" to which you'll get a sub-menu you can work through (american, italian, etc.) or you can just get fancy and say "Magellan, nearest chinese restaurant" select one by number and have it route you without touching or looking (if you want to take whatever is closest) at the unit is neat.
- The unit is snappy in acquiring where it is (w/in 10 sec) and I can even get signals within my house. Maybe that's the norm today, but I didn't expect that.
- It's thin without any additional antenna to be extended. What you see is what you need. There is the FM antenna that runs with the power adapter if you're going to use the traffic subscription (I haven't tried this)
- Text to voice is nice. My wife was a big fan of having the unit speak to her in street names rather than being vague. I like it as well. Some names get butchered, but for the most part it's pretty good.
- My mobile phone (LG Muzic - Sprint) is not listed as supported, but it works for everything except the text messaging when paired with BT. I can find POIs, click on the phone number associated with the result and the unit calls the place. Speakerphone is okay and at times it is hard to hear with road noise. It's usable, just don't expect polycom quality.
- The estimated arrival time is nice. In my experience, I've seen it overestimate the amount of time needed by a couple minutes. However, it does update as you approach your destination and I've not yet exceeded the arrival time. I'd much rather have it work this way than be too aggressive with arrival time.
- When routing, once I've selected an address either by city, zip code or whatever that other option is that I can't remember at the moment, it gives me the option of selecting the parameters for routing (examples are shortest distance, fastest route, most use of highways, least use of highways) and an option to avoid toll roads. I can either just hit 'go' or update my parameters before hitting go. Again, maybe this is standard, but I like these options.
- Also, the ability to exclude roads is nice. Once a route is selected, I can hit the next maneuver arrow to pop up the manuver list. From there, I can tap on a road and tell the unit to exclude the use of that road to reroute. Handy when construction/traffic is an issue.
- It came with a travel pouch. Nice touch when throwing the unit in a bag.
- AC adapter was included along with the car adapter. The Garmin I got only had the car adapter. Weird.
- Reroute is fast. Drive past an instruction and within a few seconds, the unit calculates a new solution. If you're moving enough, I've run into scenarios where the reroute computation start is fast, but takes a bit to figure out the actual route.
- Wife acceptance factor was good. She's not a tech guru, but is happy with this unit. It's intuitive for her to use and she told me it significantly reduced her stress when she had to drive in So CA on business having the unit with her.
- Adaptive keyboard is nice. As you type a city or street name, the unit removes invalid letters that aren't associated with the correct spelling of a street name. It's minimized fat fingering a wrong letter and speeds up typing since you can be a bit sloppy. Additionally, it does the same thing when selecting street number to allowing you to chose only valid house numbers for the street you've selected.
- No support for waypoints on a multidestination route such that the unit moves onto the next destination uppon arrival of the previous destination. The 4250 does allow you to plan a trip and enter multiple destinations, but it won't advance to the next destination without me telling it that I'm ready to do so. More of an annoyance to me than anything since I can get to the next destination within a few clicks.
- As mentioned previously, the power button doesn't always behave. I've held it on for 10-15 seconds with no response and didn't get one until I pushed it repetitively, held it down and did a number of other various things to get it to turn on. In the 2 weeks I've had it, I still don't know what the magic trick is to get it to turn on when it decides to act up.
- Routing gets a little wonky giving me some questionable directions at times; I have confidence the unit will get me where I need to go, but am not always certain that it selects the best way to get there; for instance, yesterday it essentially told me to take an offramp and then take the continuing onramp in lieu of having me just continue on the original road. Although technically, I guess it may have been the shortest route for the roads given. Still....
- While voice is cool, the unit is sometimes hard of hearing and you may need to issue commands multiple times to get it to respond. Some have reported false voice activations (radio or something else triggers it to turn on). I've had this happen only once when others in the car were speaking. There is an option to disable voice recognition.
- BT with mobile phone doesn't pull in my contacts. I can use the phone to dial using the contacts and the GPS unit handles the call; it'd be better to me if the GPS could see my contacts
- My GPS and phone don't 'see' one another when in the vicinity of each other; I've not had BT devices before, but I expected the units to pair automatically if they saw one another. Instead, I have to manually connect the phone to the GPS if I want to use it. Kind of a pain - maybe because my phone isn't supported?
- Unit hasn't woken up on a few occasions when connected to car adapter power. It usually comes on automatically when I turn on my car. There have been times that I've needed to play the power button roulette game unit it comes on. I've not picked upon a pattern of when this occurs. I was going to exchange the unit, but am unsure now if I will after hearing this isn't an isolated thing - I'm guessing SW bug is involved.
- Can't enter addresses via PC or trip plan. I think someone said tomtom can.
Those are the main things that I can think of. Overall, I'm fortunate to have gotten a unit that works for the most part and am happy with the features it brings for the price. There are some nice things that Garmin provides, but when it came down to it, having BT in this feature packed unit seemed to make more sense for me than the more expensive (when comparably equipped) Garmin 750. Garmin units are nice, but I haven't yet felt the need for MP3s (I have an iPod and a music phone), pictures, a translating dictionary or other stuff I'd likely not use. For me Magellan was the right choice and I'm pleased to have it as my first GPS unit. There's plenty of POIs, the AA guide book is a nice touch and taking to the unit is neat. Hopefully this helps someone else that's looking to make a decision.