The Magellan Maestro 4040 is equipped with a SiRF Star III GPS chip and comes preloaded with Navteq maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. If you don't need help getting to a specific destination, you can just tap the Show Map icon to get an overview map of your location, otherwise you can select Enter Address to input a specific address or intersection to get directions. If you're planning a trip with multiple stops, use the Trip Planner option, which can handle up to 20 destinations. Like many of Magellan's other GPS devices, the Maestro 4040 has the QuickSpell feature, which helps speed up the process of text entry. As you start to punch the numbers and letters of an address on the virtual keyboard, QuickSpell dims out any characters that don't match the city or streets located in the system's database. It's quite handy and worked well during our test period.
Like many of today's portable navigation systems, the Maestro 4040 can calculate routes based on fastest time, shortest distance, least or most use of freeways, and toll-free roads. There's also a Detour option if you want to avoid a certain part of the prescribed route. The Maestro 4040 doesn't give real-time traffic updates, but there is an upgrade option if you want to add this capability. (At the time of this writing, Magellan had not finalized the pricing of the TravelKit for the Maestro 4040.) Alternatively, the Magellan Maestro 4050 offers this functionality out of the box. The system provides text- and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, plus text-to-speech functionality, which Magellan calls SayWhere, so the system will speak actual street names. Other features include 2D (north up or tracking up) or 3D map modes with night or day colors, automatic route recalculation, and a trip computer that shows your average speed, trip time, drive time, and trip distance.
The Magellan Maestro 4040's points of interest (POI) database contains a healthy 4.5 million entries, and includes everything from gas stations to casinos. You're probably thinking, "Yeah, so? A lot of other GPS devices offer the same POI features." Sure, but the differentiating factor is Magellan's partnership with AAA. This gives you access to AAA TourBook listings for AAA Diamond-rated lodging and restaurants, complete with information such as hotel amenities, restaurant description and hours of operation, admission prices for certain attractions, and so forth. Of course, you can instruct the system to route to that POI from your current location. AAA members will get even more out of the Maestro, as it provides listings for establishments that offer discounts to AAA members, AAA-approved auto repair facilities, and details for roadside assistance. More specifically, the unit will display the AAA member toll-free help number and your exact location, so you can give the operator all your information--a really nice safety feature.
Even better, the system has integrated Bluetooth, so you can pair your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and use the Maestro 4040 (or the 4050) as a hands-free speaker system. With it, you can place and accept calls, view your call history, search the device's address book, and redial. We ran into some problems trying to pair the Maestro 4040 with the Samsung Upstage. Though the two appeared to be connected, the Upstage wasn't showing up as paired on the Maestro. We had to repeat the process several times before the nav system finally recognized the cell phone. Once they were paired, though, we had no problems making or taking calls. Unfortunately, you can't wirelessly transfer contacts from the phone to the Maestro 4040 at this time.
Finally, we want to comment on the Maestro's lack of multimedia capabilities. While some might criticize Magellan for not including a media player or image viewer, we actually applaud this move. We've always been a bit critical of the inclusion of such features on a car GPS system, because we don't think it's all that useful or relevant--not yet anyway. As such, we're glad that Magellan chose to concentrate on the essential and most helpful features to the driver.
We tested the Magellan Maestro 4040 in San Francisco, and from a cold start, the unit acquired a satellite fix almost immediately under clear skies. Subsequent starts were also instantaneous. The Maestro 4040 did a good job of pinpointing our location as we drove around the city, running everyday errands with no specific destination in mind. We also entered our standard trip from the Marina district to CNET headquarters in downtown San Francisco. The system was a tad sluggish returning with directions compared to other systems we've tested; really, it was only a matter of a few seconds, and it's not a major issue since you'll most likely be planning these trips before you hit the road. However, more concerning was the rate of route recalculation. We purposefully missed several turns along our trip to test the feature, and on several occasions, the Maestro 4040 gave us new directions just before we had to make a turn. In one instance, it got completely confused and had us going in circles, though it eventually got us back on track. The unit's battery is rated for up to 3 hours on a single charge.
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