Rand McNally TND 550 Review

If you’re a truck driver, you know that the rigors of the road require special focus. You can’t make do with just any GPS. And that’s where Rand McNally comes in. As a brand, it’s been around since 1856. But its tech offerings bring you the greatest innovations to help optimize every route. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the TND 550 GPS with Rand Navigation 2.0.

Rand McNally TND 550

First Impressions

At first glance, the TND 550 has a decidedly modern look. It’s slender enough to look like a phone, and its five-inch screen is easily readable from the driver’s seat. The high-resolution display is 854 x 480px, and high-contrast graphics help you avoid confusion and wrong turns. A strong yet minimalist-looking suction cup mount holds it steady in the cab. The TND 550 is an impressively light six ounces, and it measures 3″ x 5.25# x 1″. Right away, the bright, full-color display catches the eye, and 3D graphics of landmarks and other features set it apart from competitors.

This device is relatively intuitive to use, as you’ll see when you open up the home screen. The home screen itself shows you three icons:

  • Truck Tools
  • Rand Navigation
  • DriverConnect

Truck Tools lets you enter and keep track of information related to your truck. This is where you can log your mileage and fuel consumption, and you can also view past fuel logs. Rand Navigation takes you to your navigation screen — this is where you can plan your route, compare different routes, and locate POIs (points of interest). Through Rand Navigation’s Guided Search function, you can locate a POI that is near your truck, located in a certain city, or anywhere along your route. The TND 550 can find POIs even in very rural areas, making it a real time-saver.

If you aren’t sure which POIs to place on your route, the Rand Navigation 2.0 software can help you there, too — it also includes reviews and crowdsourced ratings so you can see which ones other drivers like to frequent, as well as which ones they prefer to avoid.

DriverConnect is somewhat similar to Truck Tools — you can use this function to log and view your service hours. You also can view vehicle inspection reports for your truck. The DriverConnect app also can connect with an ELD.

Route Navigation

The TND 550 provides plenty of information for when you’re planning your route. Just like with other 6th-generation Rand McNally devices, this one comes with Rand Navigation 2.0. Since Rand Navigation is designed specifically for truckers, it comes with 35% more routes specifically for trucks compared to other software providers. The navigation software covers all of the United States and Canada.

Before you even start your route, you’ll be able to access the following features:

  • Advanced Routing – Use a side-by-side route comparison to select the best route for you. You can set multiple stops on your route, too. Use the searchable POI database to look up information about fuel stops, weigh stations, and repair shops along your route. And with the Map Updates tool, your device will update your route with new information as it becomes available.
  • Fuel Pricing – View prices of fuel along your route and pre-plan fuel stops if desired. You also can log each fuel purchase and automatically calculate your truck’s fuel economy.
  • Toll Costs – Tolls can add up over the course of a trip. You have the option to avoid toll roads as much as possible, and the software will also total up the tolls over any given route.
  • Road Work – Before your route starts, this feature will let you see construction projects along the way so you can optimize your route planning to avoid them. Throughout your trip, the TND 550 will also provide you with updated road work information. Best of all, it will calculate any necessary detours.
  • Traffic Pattern View – In order to help you optimize your route timing, the TND 550 will show you estimated traffic patterns for any date and time. This way, you can avoid backups and unnecessary delays. Once you’re on the road, you can view traffic patterns at the touch of a button, and you’ll also be able to see an up-to-date list of major road incidents to avoid.
  • Address Book – You can save frequent destinations or points of interest in your address book in order to easily look them up and add them to any route. This saves you from having to search for a destination or POI every time.

Traffic Navigation

In addition to assisting with the big-picture planning of your route, the TND 550 also excels when it comes to taking you through smaller-scale challenges like a massive interchange. One of the device’s most useful and notable features is its full-color, 3D junction view. With this feature, you’ll see a split screen. Your route map will be on one side, and the other side will show a 3D view of the junction. The 3D view will also show you lane guidance, so you’ll avoid confusion and minimize your risk of taking a wrong turn.

You don’t need to have every single stop planned in advance, though. If you’re looking to refuel or stop for lunch, the device can effectively give you a preview of upcoming exits. The TND 550 will tell you what food, gas, and lodging options are available at any given exit so you can strategically plan your stops. And since the device can fill you in long before the exit, you won’t have to wait until you see exit signs to decide whether or not to turn.

Weather Information

The TND 550 makes it easy to quickly assess the weather where you are and in surrounding areas. You can see the current forecast, but you also can choose a weather overlay that gives you more detail on a specific weather condition. For instance, if you want to avoid rain, you can choose a “precipitation” weather overlay. This will show you areas on the map where there is considerable precipitation, as well as where the weather is clear. The TND has 10 different weather overlays to choose from, so you can be on the lookout for just about any foreseeable weather difficulty.

Rand McNally TND 550

Safety Features

To make sure your route is as uneventful as possible, it’s important to be proactive about safety. Luckily, the TND 550 makes it easy to do so. It comes equipped with some crucial safety features:

  • Warnings – It’s easy to accidentally miss a speed limit sign. But by enabling warnings on your device, you’ll receive alerts for speed limit changes as well as for difficult conditions including steep hills, sharp turns, and more.
  • Voice Guidance – While the graphics display on the TND 550 is a great one, road conditions sometimes require you to keep your eyes ahead at all times. The voice guidance feature can offer you directions to help you navigate busy interchanges, and it can also let you know what’s coming up ahead.
  • Service Alerts – As miles go by, it can be difficult to remember exactly when to have routine maintenance performed. The TND 550 lets you set up alerts so you’ll always know when it’s time to change your filters, change your oil, or even perform a quick visual inspection.

Hardware and Tech Specs

The TND 550 is equipped with a lightning-fast quad-core processor, so you won’t have to worry about your map freezing at the most inconvenient of times. You get an ample 32GB of storage and 2GB of device memory, and it comes with Bluetooth 4.0. However, Bluetooth 4.0 is backward-compatible, so you can use it with headsets that have older versions of Bluetooth if need be. That said, if you prefer headset-less operation, the TND 550’s built-in 2W speaker should be plenty loud enough to be heard clearly in the cab. And like many Android devices, it’s powered by a micro USB cable.

When you purchase the TND 550, you get everything you need to get started — the box includes the suction-cup mount, a micro USB cable, and a vehicle charger. It also includes an anti-glare screen protector to ensure you can see the screen in any weather conditions. A Quick Start Guide helps you get set up and ready to drive in minutes.

Notably, this device is also more thermally resistant than previous Rand McNally GPS units. This feature allows it to be used for longer periods of time without overheating.

When taking tech features into account, it’s important to realize that the advanced routing features of the TND 550 require a WiFi connection to work. In order to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date route information, it’s best to use this GPS with WiFi as often as possible.

Fleet Integration

If you’re looking for a uniform navigation solution for a fleet of vehicles, the TND 550 is an ideal choice. While its features make it a great option for individual drivers, its ability to integrate with the Rand McNally Fleet Management platform makes it a smart selection for larger companies.

Through integration with this remarkable platform, the TND 550 can help you track individual vehicles and monitor driver performance. It also can supply you with insights to help optimize fuel economy and help you keep your whole fleet IFTA and HOS compliant.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be fooled by its slim package — the TND 550 is an impressively powerful (yet surprisingly affordable) navigation system. When you’re planning out a route in advance and when you’re looking ahead to see the most economical fuel prices, this system is right there with you. If you’re looking for a roadworthy companion to optimize each and every route, the TND 550 is the right choice.

After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.

Leave a Comment