Compared to the competition, Magellan hasn't always offered the flashiest in-car GPS devices, but it's always offered a good value to the consumer. Now, with the company's new Maestro line of portable navigation systems, you can get both qualities. The three-model series, which includes the Magellan Maestro 4000, Maestro 4040, and the Maestro 4050, features an updated and sleeker design and user interface and all the navigation essentials at an affordable price. In addition, Magellan has partnered with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to provide useful travel information and access to roadside assistance.
For our review, we took a look at the Magellan Maestro 4040 ($499.99), which adds integrated Bluetooth and text-to-speech functionality to the entry-level Maestro 4000 ($399.99). Though we wish route recalculations were slightly faster and that the Maestro had better Bluetooth integration, we enjoyed mostly good performance during our test drives, and we think it's a good buy. Plus, we appreciate the fact that Magellan chose to concentrate on the features that would most help a driver, rather than adding superfluous things like a media player just for the heck of it. The Magellan Maestro 4000 and 4040 are available now, while the Magellan Maestro 4050, which adds voice command functionality and real-time traffic alerts, will be available in May for $699.99.
The Magellan Maestro 4040 is probably the best-looking portable navigation system we've seen from the company to date. Unlike the somewhat bulky and uninspiring Magellan RoadMate 2200T, the Maestro 4040 sports a classic black-and-silver color scheme and a more refined and streamlined design. It's got a sleek profile and compact dimensions--at at 3.7 inches high by 5 inches wide by 0.8 inch deep, and weighing 8.5 ounces--for easy portability between vehicles.
Another attractive aspect of the Magellan Maestro 4040's is its minimalist design. The device isn't bombarded by external controls. There's just an SD/MMC expansion slot, a power button, a mini USB port, and a Reset button on the left spine, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and power connector on the right side. That said, we're fans of having volume controls on the exterior of the device for easy audio adjustment, so if we could add anything to the Maestro 4040, it would be dedicated volume up/down buttons.
Fortunately, the Maestro 4040 boasts a spacious and responsive 4.3-inch diagonal touch screen with a friendly user interface that makes adjusting the volume and general operation an easy affair. Magellan, thankfully, has updated the interface since the archaic-looking menus of the RoadMate 2200T. The Maestro 4040 now features attractive icons, and the menus are really simple to understand. We were able to use the device right out of the box without even having to read the user's guide.
The display itself is satisfactory. The resolution wasn't the sharpest we've seen, but it's nothing that prevented us from using the device. Maps were bright and colorful, and there's a night mode and backlight adjuster. In addition, the screen has an antiglare coating that did a pretty good job of keeping the display readable in various lighting conditions.
Magellan packages the Maestro 4040 with a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), a car charger, an AC adapter, a USB cable, and a protective pouch.