Product Review: Cobra 5550 Pro GPS

Product Review:  

Cobra 5550 Pro GPS

Professional contractors and serious drivers have become very dependent on having a GPS at our fingertips while driving.

We leave  the directional thinking to modern electronics instead of paper maps and mental recall using a variety of factory-installed, aftermarket, or cell-phone navigation systems.

One of the better navigational units on the market right now is the  Cobra 5550 PRO ($350) we just put into service on Project Bedrock, our 2011 GMC Sierra project pickup.

The 5550 Pro is a dual-purpose GPS with the ability to provide directions for both the commercial (professional) driver and the recreational driver. The Cobra’s first start-up screen allows you to choose either “Truck” or “Car.”

In the Car mode it functions like any other top-of-the-line navigational system with a number of screen views and Points of Interest (POI) shown on a crisp, bright 5-inch touch screen.

It’s quite user-friendly, with intuitive symbols and instructions clearly displayed. Using it is fast and easy with the touch screen.

The refresh rate is fast and the maps very detailed when you tap the zoom (+/-) symbols.

Another nice feature is warning you of speed traps, red-light cameras and other potential threats to your driving record.

When it comes to providing directions, the voice and clarity are pretty good, although I think Cobra needs to put a little more effort into fine-tuning the speech pattern.

In the “Truck” mode it adds a whole new layer of “thinking,” showing alerts to weigh scales, dangerous intersections, and routing you to destinations predicated by whatever truck data you enter at the start.

That truck data includes number of axles, weight, length including trailer(s), type of cargo and so forth. It routes you to the destination (or multiple destinations) accordingly.

I found this out the first time I used the 5550 Pro in Seattle and forgot to hit the “Car” mode at start-up (default is “Truck.) I was trying to get into a residential area and the Cobra lead me a circuitous route on larger streets until it could get me to the residential area I’d input, thus increasing my drive time.

But it did it’s job routing me around narrow streets and streets with weight restrictions.

That’s a good thing — and an ideal reason contractors who might find themselves driving several different type and sizes of “trucks” in the course of work would find the Cobra 5550 Pro an invaluable tool.

I found the 5550 Pro’s graphics very easy to read and love the “Junction View with Lane Assist” feature that shows you exactly which lane to be in a half-mile before a tricky exit or split in the highway.

In addition, it features the industry’s best last-mile routing, offering superior road coverage on secondary highways.

The Cobra 5550 PRO also features the map rated highest in route quality and reliability, based on the results of certified quality testing. The map in the 5550 PRO delivers more than 1 million additional miles of road coverage in the US than the competing map, plus 17x more last mile (dock-to-dock) coverage and 4x more trucking attribute coverage on secondary highways.

“At Cobra, we have been designing products for the professional driver for over 50 years.  We understand what drivers want and use this knowledge to create the most intuitive, efficient, and powerful line of truck-specific GPS products on the market,” said Sally Washlow, senior vice president of marketing and sales, Cobra Electronics.

”With the 5550 PRO, we’ve taken virtually all the power and functionality of the award-winning 7750 Platinum unit and paired it with a 5-inch LCD screen.  The result is one of the most impressive navigation systems on the market for professional truckers.

And you’ll never be lost when it comes to find POIs, either.  The Cobra 5550 PRO includes more than 12 million standard points-of-interest (POIs) plus 33,000 truck-specific POIs—the most truck-specific POIs in the industry.

The truck-specific data, supplied by ProMiles® Software Development Corporation and TruckDown™ Info International, Inc., is tailored for professional drivers and includes: routable travel center locations, detailed amenity information, fueling stations, restaurants, heavy duty towing, truck and trailer repair shops, truck-friendly hotels, weigh stations, and the location of certified scales.

Owners of the Cobra 5550 PRO also receive 3 months of unlimited downloads from Cobra’s exclusive AURA™ Camera & Driving Hazard Database, which alerts drivers to the locations of fixed speed and red-light cameras, dangerous intersections, and known speed traps.

The Cobra 5550 Pro’s compact, slim design is also nice as you can snap it out of the window suction mount and slide it into a shirt pocket or into a briefcase. It’s about the same size as a cell phone, only thinner and lighter.

If you are in the market for a GPS system that serves both pickups and big-rigs and don’t want to spend the big bucks for the factory-installed navi units, this would be a top choice that should be a valuable asset for many years.

The Cobra 5550 Pro is compact, functional and versatile on multiple levels every construction and landscaping contractor can use. — Pro  

Professional driver features:

  • Enhanced Truck-Specific Routing: Uses vehicle height, width and limits along with national and state truck restrictions to provide the best route possible.
  • Truck-Specific Points of Interest Powered by ProMiles® Includes all major travel centers with detailed amenity information such as food options, internet access, shower availability, etc.
  • Commercial Vehicle Service & Support Information Powered by TruckDown™ Quickly find towing companies, repair shops, truck-friendly motels and emergency services.
  • AURA™ Camera and Driving Hazard Protection Avoid costly tickets with to speed and red light cameras location alerts as well as speed traps and dangerous intersection notifications.
  • Truck Optimized Route Guidance Loud and clear voice instructions and phonetic pronunciation of street names.
  • 33,000 Truck-Friendly Points-of-Interest Powered by ProMiles® and TruckDown™, includes truck stops, weigh stations, repair shops, rest stops, pharmacies and lodging with amenities including, WiFi access, showers, restaurants and laundry. Plus, over 12 million standard point of interest.
  • 12 Truck Type Options including straight trucks, single and double trailers in various axle configurations. Multiple Routing Options Including shortest time, shortest distance, National Network STAA)avoid toll roads and avoid freeway.
  • 30 Restriction Types including access restriction, load restrictions, HazMat, height, gross vehicle weight, weight per axle, total length, kingpin to last axle, kingpin to end of trailer, width and more.
  • Multi-point Route Optimization Provides optimal routing for multiple destinations to save fuel costs.
  • Truck-Specific Map Data Coverage includes complete STAA National Highway & State Access Roads, National Bridge Inventory List and National HazMat Route Registry data for providing truck-optimized routes for the lower 48 states and Canada.