Pros Nice sleek design, current maps, great POI, AAA
Cons terrible text to speech, unreadable fonts on map, confuses instead of aiding you while routing, bad u turn function, too many impt options buried
Summary My Garmin C550 was recently stolen and after doing some reading up I decided to buy the Maestro for a change. What a huge mistake.
Where do I start? Out of the box it looks solid and has a nice sleek design. The interface looks pretty good too though it’s not as intuitive as the Garmin. The Maestro requires too many finger taps to frill down to menus and options that should be readily available.
The first thing I noticed was how tiny the fonts were on the map screen. Since it is a huge screen this is inexcusable. I have perfect vision and yet I still struggled to read crucial information such as the next turn, what road I’m on, and what icons to select. What is also missing on the screen is the ETA. I looked high and low for this option but it doesn’t exist. Instead it gives you how many hours and minutes to your destination and you have to calculate the time of arrival in your head. I don’t think any nav system excludes ETA except for this one.
The routing is very confusing as well, mostly because of the text to speech voice that speaks too fast, too garbled and too robotic. A nav system is supposed to eliminate confusion when driving. The Maestro just adds to the confusion. Between a voice you can’t understand and text you cannot read, the Never Lost will get you lost.
I live a mile south of 6 lane major road. I purposely missed the turn I usually take off of that road to see how quickly I’d be rerouted. The next left is only about ¼ mile away and also leads me directly to my home. Instead, the Maestro kept prompting me to make a “legal u turn when possible.” I missed a host of lefts I could have taken as the Maestro kept asking me to make that u turn. This lasted for 2.7 miles till the maestro finally asked me to take a left – into a Wal-Mart parking lot!
I took a trip from my home in Mass. to D.C. and it was a horrible experience. The routing and voice instructions were so unclear and confusing that I was better off just using MapQuest. At least I could have read MapQuest’s printed fonts.
The bad is so extensive that I will list them. I’m sure I’m forgetting some
1) Quick Type, a good feature that grays out letter that is not needed is only available when keying in an address to route. Why is it unavailable when keying in a Point of Interest?
2) When switching from map view to menu and vice versa there is often a delay and glitch. The hourglass keeps coming up. The same happens when switching back and forth from map to the step by step maneuvers.
3) Small fonts on a big screen. You can barely see the fonts especially at night.
4) The colors at night are too bright even if you turn the brightness level down. Too green, too red, too blinding.
5) TTS is nearly impossible to understand and the pronunciation is totally off. “Aiport” becomes “A-Row-Poit.” New Castle becomes “En Why Cast Lee.” “Turn left in ¼ mile” becomes “Terlefbin ¼ mile.” The woman’s voice is way too fast and way too unclear. It makes for one confusing rote.
6) Your destination is not announced as being on the left or right. You have to guess. This can pose a danger.
7) The Maestro will have you drive for miles asking you to u turn. This is not very helpful when you’re in an unfamiliar town, your bearings are lost and you do not know whether to turn left or right. There is no option to turn this off as there was in my Garmin C550, which wouldn’t keep insisting I make a u turn even if I had it enabled.
8) The road exclude doesn’t work. The highways I want to exclude keep showing up.
9) Terrible foam carrying case.
10) So much more bad, but you get the picture.
The only goods I can think of are
1) It looks cool
2) Sturdy hardware
3) Quick calculations
4) Excellent, current maps. It shows new developments that my Garmin didn’t.
Needless to say, this is going back in a couple of days. I’ll go back to Garmin, which is thousands of times better than this, only I’ll have to decide which model.
Pros Bluetooth, speaks street names, AAA linked, very light and thin, many pre-loaded maps
Cons 2 hour battery life, no synch of cell contacts, robotic female voice, updates erase address book so an SD card is key
Summary I started my quest at Sam's Club. The only GPS that suited my needs was the Garmin Nuvi 660 for $599. A great price, but, alas, they were sold out. So off to Best Buy I went. They had three models that I liked: The Nuvi 660 for $799, the Nuvi 350 for $499 and the Magellan Maestro 4040 for $499. I had a feeling I could find one of them for a lot cheaper since Best Buy's selections were last year's models or the newer models all at higher prices. It's almost as if Best Buy boosts the prices and dares you to price shop.
I wasn't completely sold on the Nuvi 360 and the Nuvi 660 was just too much. Due to the TomTom Go910's out of date data base (even though it includes maps of Europe) I felt flustered and went home to do more homework.
The first thing I can suggest is don't get suckered into buying a GPS that enables you to store MP3s or store pictures. This is supposed to be a GPS unit - who needs to see a slide show of their friends and family while driving? MP3s can be heard on MP3-enabled dash units or portable devices such as the Sansa e280 MP3 player.
I liked the Magellan brand, so my choice became which of the Maestro series I'd choose.
The Maestro 4000 is the basic version and does NOT have Bluetooth. The other drawback is that it ONLY has maps of the 48 contiguous states. While this might be fine for some users, I like the Bluetooth feature and I travel to Canada once in a while. It runs about $315 to $400.
The Maestro 4040 was the most logical choice for my dad and myself. It has Bluetooth, maps of the USA and includes Alaska and Hawaii, Canada and Puerto Rico. European maps are an optional add-on. Since we have a place in Hawaii and we go to Canada, it was perfect. The traffic alerts option is available for the 4040 but is more expensive as an add-on than purchasing the 4050 (which comes with it). The 4040 usually runs about $499 to $550 (but see my Costco adventure below). Another great thing (for us anyway) is setting The Staples Center as an address book entry. We go to many hockey games but the place is located deep in the heart of downtown LA. Usually a traffic nightmare. This GPS will give us all sorts of alternative routes if the freeways are jammed or there's congested streets. I'm sure this would help most people discover secret ways to get to places they've been to a million times.
The Maestro 4050 adds voice commands and traffic alerts for the $560 to $700 price range. I thought that voice commands might be tough if I was on a road trip with the music on and the windows open and I already have traffic alerts on my XM radio.
So off to Costco I went. As I walked in, it was like the clouds parted and I could hear a Gregorian chant when I spotted the display for the Magellan Maestro 4040 for... get this...$399!!!!!!! That's $100 cheaper than Best Buy and lower than anywhere on the net too. I would strongly suggest calling your local Costco first to make sure they have them in stock. The SKU# is 204040.
About 15 minutes of set up time and it was all set. I just wish my Bluetooth cell phone would be able to send my address book to this GPS.
Plotting a Course:
All you need to do is enter the city, then the street and the address. Bongo - you're on your way. The screen will display either a 3D, a 2D or turn-by-turn maps. Of course, for those who don't have an exact address, you can enter an intersection of try locating it in POI database. For instance, let's say you're hungry and want to find the nearest Applebee's. You enter the name and the GPS will tell you were the nearest one is to your current position. If you're in an unfamiliar city and want to know where a gas station or post office or grocery store is, simple. Just punch it into the GPS and you're on your way. It really reduces my stress level when driving - especially in new cities.
Gone are the bland text-only buttons. Thanks to a system built on Windows CE, the screen comes alive with vibrant color icons. Nine of them, in fact:
Show Map: Shows you your current position on a 2D or 3D map as you move through the city or town.
Enter Address: Allows you to enter a destination or intersection by city or state. It also allows you to add addresses or POIs to your custom database.
Points of Interest (POI): You can search by name, category, enhanced or AAA tourbook. Enhanced section allows for advanced selections and alarms to be set.
Trip Planner: For single or multiple destinations.
Exit POIs: When traveling the highways, the exit POIs will guide you top the nearest restaurant, rest areas, etc.
User Options: Here's the nerve center of the unit.
Once in the User Option area, you're faced with 14 tabs.
Region: Where you set the region you're currently traveling in.
System settings: Volume, brightness, language, etc. By the way, this GPS has English, French and Spanish included.
Trip Computer: for stats on your current trip
POI Selection: You can choose any or all of the icons to appear on your map. For instance, if you're headed to another city and get hungry, there are restaurant icons that will appear and if you tap one, it'll give you info on the establishment and their number so you can call from the car.
The extensive icon list includes, gas stations, restaurants, coffee, shopping, airport, bank/ATMs, camping, casino, city centers, convention center, education, entertainment, golf, grocery store, health services, home improvement, hotels, marina, nightlife, parking, public buildings, car rental, rest area, sports & recreation, tourist attraction, transportation, winery and Other services. Again, you can pick and choose which (if not all) the icons you wish to appear on your route maps.
There are also smaller buttons at the bottom of the menu screen:
A house icon, which instantly routes you back "Home", a tow truck icon which links to AAA Roadside Assistance. This screen shows your current GPS latitude and longitude. (knowing these numbers is great for storing your own POIs). It also has the 800 numbers to call AAA. And lastly, a telephone icon.
The telephone link brings you to a screen with 8 more icons. The phone dial pad, address book, call history, redial, SMS (for text messaging), search for devices, pair with a device and Bluetooth. The last three are used to pair the GPS with your Bluetooth-enabled phone.
There are two body types of add-on GPS units available today. The thicker type that resembles the old CRT televisions and the thin style GPS that resembles today's LCD TVs. Of course, the thinner models are more expensive, look a lot more sleek and a few more mounting possibilities. The 4040 is less than an inch deep (front to back). Most of the newer GPS units have an integrated antenna. No more need to flip up the bulky GPS antenna any longer.
On the left side of the unit are SD card slot, the power button and the USB interface. On the right side are the headphone jack and power in ports.
AAA Club Members:
If you input your membership number into the GPS, the unit is linked to a built-in data base of AAA discounts. AAA destination descriptions (and be able to call directly from that screen), AAA show your card and save locations, AAA diamond rated hotels and restaurants, and AAA approved auto repair facilities.
Also, Magellan offers a 15% discount on Magellan accessories for AAA members. For those who do not have OnStar, this GPS will help you when you break down with AAA Roadside Assistance. All you do is call AAA via the Bluetooth on the GPS and they can instantly track your position and get you the help you need.
Even if you're not a AAA member, you still get the points of interest data base within your GPS unit.
What Comes In the Box:
The GPS unit, the A/C power cord, a vehicle (cigarette) power cord, a mounting plate for the dash, a well-designed suction cup / windshield mount, manual quick start guide, a protective pouch and a CD rom that also links you to the Magellan website for registration, support and more.
The factory warranty is ONE year and you can purchase an extended service agreement from the place you purchased it (except for places like Costco) or you can purchase a 2-year extended plan directly from Magellan.
What I love:
The coolest feature (unless you have multiple love interests) is the fact that I can couple my Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to my 4040. If someone in my address calls me or anyone displaying caller ID call, I can see who's calling on my screen without having to get my cell and look - thus, taking my eyes off the road for longer periods of time. This would be a bad thing if you're a player and have someone in the seat next to you that should not see who's calling. Also, if I want to call a P.O.I. or call anyone on my route, I simply touch a button and I can call them right from the GPS via speakerphone or my Bluetooth headset.
Unlike other reviews I have read about the Maestro series, there IS a volume control in two places. On any map, there's a faint icon of a speaker, tap it and have access to the volume control. This volume control is also accessible via the User Options icon in the main menu.
I love being able to plot (up to) 20 destinations in one trip and have the GPS optimize a route for me.
I love being able to use this GPS without a cable. The battery takes about three hours to charge.
What I'm on the Fence About:
My 760 has the option to view my route in split screen. I could see the route on one side and the directions on the other. The 4040 doesn't have this selectable view feature but it does display it when a turn is coming up.
The 760 has a selectable male or female voice. Not only does 4040 have only the female voice, her voice is not as pleasant. This time around, she sounds more like a robotic chain smoker. While this might not be an issue with the guys, the ladies might prefer to hear a man's voice once in a while.
What I Don't Like:
The 4040 doesn't allow for wireless sync of a Bluetooth cell phone's address book. So I'm forced to enter all my contacts by hand which is a bit arduous.
The fully charged battery life is rated at just over TWO HOURS of continuous use. That needs to be improved. Of course there are the AC and VDC power supplies for home and vehicle usage, but using it hand-held, it should last longer than just over two hours.
Each and every time I boot up, I'm met with the disclaimer screen about the safe usage of the GPS while operating a vehicle - ANNOYING!
Maps for other countries available on CD rom or SD card
I would strongly suggest getting a 1 gig (or higher) SD card.
If you live in a bad area for GPS signals, buy an optional exterior antenna.
They offer headphones for the unit, but I would not use them while driving as it is illegal in most states to block both your ears from hearing sirens and such.
There's also a long goose neck floor mount available.
Magellan was smart by adding a storage card slot (MMC or SD) in the 4040. Why? Because every time a firmware, map or POI update is available, they warn you that your address book will be erased. Why? Well, saving your address book to the memory card will enable you to restore all your info after an update.
Pros large 4.3" bright touch sceen display, excellent audio out put, AAA tourbook, TTS, SiRF, BT
Cons Not as much POI information as some of the more expensive units
Summary Magellan has done it again, the Maestro 4040 is a great contribution towards the PNAV market, similar to a 4.3" Garmin Nuvi like device that is a no nonsense personal navigation device without all the extras.
My experience has been excellent with this new products understanding ALL PND have it's limitations and challenges, the Maestro is a breath of fresh air.
The new Magellan user interface is very easy, practical and very intuitive, this is a huge change in direction for Magellan compare to the older user interface.
What is most pronounce and the biggest differentiator between the Magellan Maestro and Garmin Nuvi is that the Magellan Maestro now includes
1] AAA rating guide which includes restaurant, hotels and many others.
2] AAA Tour book which includes such events as Home and Garden shows date and time, Art and Wine Festivals date and time, Antique shows date and time etc,
3] AAA branch offices for you to buy register your vehicle or make reservation with AAA travel agency.
4] AAA approved Auto repair facilities to take your vehicle to if it breaks down when you are on a road trip, these AAA approved auto repair facilities are reliable and have to answer to AAA if there is a complaint,
5] Camp grounds and RV park locations
6] AAA roadside assistance phone number,
7] AAA membership saver guide etc. Garmin charges extra for saver guide, travel guide, etc., which is included in the Magellan Maestro units
The soon to be release Magellan Maestro 4050 will also include voice command capability which is a huge feature enhancement, Garmin, TomTom and Mio does not offer this feature and only some of the high end installed GPS system such as Pioneer, Alpine along with some OEM units have some limited features such as voice command capabilities.
The Maestro 4040 also includes Bluetooth hands free capabilities along with traffic information as an options using the Magellan TMC cradle.
The Bluetooth hands free feature is solid and can import phone number from the address book or from POI and dial the number for you if a Bluetooth phone is paired with the Maestro.
The Exit Points of Interest is extremely helpful for users that is on a long road trip and do not wish to back track to find a gas station or restaurant. This feature is unique to Magellan since it only offers POI's that is ahead of your direction of travel and not what you have just past.
We did not find the reroute option to be an issue, as fast or faster than the older Magellan Roadmate 760. Routing from California to New York 100 Main Street only took 25 seconds to calculate and the unit was ready to route.
Bluetooth handsfree features paired up well with BT phones we tested with, huge improvement over the Magellan Roadmate 6000T BT.
With all the great features and ability, what is missing?
What is noticeably missing is Magellan Trip planner route optimization, Magellan retain the trip planner but left out the ability to optimize the route to offer the user the most efficient route from the nearest to the furthest destination in your trip planner folder.
The MP3 player, the photo viewer is noticeably missing but may not be a deciding factor for someone that is looking for a good PND without all the extras.
I have been testing this Magellan Maestro product for a while now as a beta tester and the product is solid and should be a winner for Magellan. Did not experience the lock up and slow processing issues as I have with other units we have tested.
Overall, the competition is getting even hotter, Magellan just raised the stakes by offering a no nonsense PND at an affordable price with everything one would need and nothing that you do not need for navigation purposes. For now, I would recommend the Magellan Maestro if you wish to have a large display unit that is fast and efficient at an affordable price
Pros Lots of features (if they work correctly; which they don't)
Cons Poor routing, poor software design, long recalcs, viewing route list hangs unit up, slow map redraws
Summary OK....I couldn't wait and bought the 4040 at Circuit City at 10 AM. I returned it at 7 PM. Can you tell I wasn't impressed?
I will give you my opinion and I'll be interested to see what Fletch has to say in his upcoming, in depth review.
I'll start with the good. Let me preface this by saying I'm from NY and recently my job took me to CT, where I currently live. I do a lot of traveling for work, especially on the east coast, and am always in NY to visit friends and family. I know the NY streets like the back of my hand, since I was born there and lived there for just about my entire life.
- Good screen; visible in all kind of lighting. The little sun that hit it directly didn't affect its readability.
- Seems to be jam-packed with routing featrure, i.e. detour by road. How well they work is another story and I'll explain this in more detail in the "cons."
- Routing engine seems, well, OK. Just OK. It took some of the same routes as my 2720, but took some really odd ones, especially in NY. I'll explain later. Both units use NavTeq maps, so the choices of routes probably come primarily from the routing engines. However, the NavTeq maps on the Maestro seem more outdated than my Garmin, which is running under Navigator 8. Navigator 8, with its NavTeq maps, is out about a year now, so shame on Magellan if this is the case.
- Good, loud speakers. Very impressive.
- "Exit POI's" While traveling on the highway, this will take you to POI's in the direction you are traveling, and not behind you.
- AAA guide. Very useful if you're a AAA member like me.
- Slow map redraws. The Windows hour glass would pop up now and then and this frustrated me, much as one would be frustrated by the hour glass on a slow computer. My Garmin redraws instantaneously, so flawlessly that you cannot even tell.
- When switching to the list view, to examine the route, the hour glass literally hangs the unit for a minute or more. You cannot even scroll past certain roads till the unit catches up to the text. That's how awful and unacceptable it is.
- You cannot set "Home" to your current location. You must input an address. Seems like it's no big deal until you realize that some people live in condos or complexes, and the physical address of their unit either doesn't exist or doesn't take them to their door.
- The unit is bulky. Not as streamlined as the Garmin. This is not something you'd feel comfortable with carrying in your pocket throughout the day, especially in the summertime when your pockets are already filled with your wallet and cell.
- U-turns. Friggin U-Turns. There is NO option to turn this off. If you miss a turn, you will travel endlessly as the unit keeps trying to roue you the opposite way via a u-turn. I was on 372 (in Cromwell CT) and the Silas Deane Hwy in Rocky Hill CT. I intentionally missed my turn and for what seemed like miles, the unit insisted I make a U-Turn. You do NOT make a U-turn on either road, unless you're begging for a ticket from the cops who hide in the strip malls waiting to nail you.
Same thing happened on major roads in NY where only a psychopath would take a U-turn.
- When starting out on a route, the Maestro rarely tells you to take the highlighted route, as the Garmin units do. You have to drive some for the TTS to kick in. Not such a big deal I suppose, but you're sitting there confused for a bit, wondering in which direction to travel.
- TTS. (Text to Speech). Extremely robotic and not as conversational and natural as Garmin's. Garmin units will say, "In 500 feet, make a left turn onto Broadway." The Maestro goes something like this: " In 500 feet make a left turn"....pause......"Broadway." The Maestro TTS certainly isn't pleasing to the ears and the phrasing is unnatural as you can see from my example.
- POI - I didn't test the accuracy of many POIs, but one thing about the Maestro POI was annoying. When the list for a category would appear, it would not tell you the direction of each POI, like the Garmin does. You'd have to select it and route to it to find out where the heck it was. However, there is a useful "exit POI" function that would take you to the POI toward your exit on the highway, and not behind the direction you are traveling.
-Detour function. What should have been a HUGE plus is actually a huge disappointment. The Maestro wanted to take me on a strange route to Brooklyn, NY (more on that later). After waiting for the hourglass to disappear (tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, snore) to examine how the unit wanted to route me, I disvovered some really shady, unexplainable raods it wanted to route me on. So, I selected the first road, chose "exclude" waited for the recalculation and expected to be a happy camper.
I then examined this new route. Back to "list." Back to more hourglass. I noticed that the road was not excluded. ***? I tried it again. More waiting. Still there (the raod I wanted to exclude) but I noticed that the unit changed the way it wanted to take me to this road. It didn't exclude the road, only how to get to that excluded road.
So I pulled over and played with these "detours" and raods I wanted to exclude for a good 20 minutes, each time unsucessfully, trying to trick the unit into taking the road my preferred way. FINALLY I discovered that I shouldn't exclude the road I didn't want to travel. but the EXIT that road takes you to. How effin dumb is that? The Magellan engineers need to go back to grade school.
What makes matters worse is that you can only exclude one road at a time, so it's hit or miss and you have to keep going back to the drawing board to finally extinguish that road. The Garmin 2720 nails this one beautifully. Garmin gets it right!
- Routing engine. Going from CT to NY. Not exactly the sticks, so you'd think that a decent unit, especially one for 500 bucks should get it right.
Instead, not only where the choice of roads questionable, but, no matter my pref - fastest, use of highway, etc,. the Maestro wanted to take me off the highway, WAY before my destination and though the streets in a shady neighborhood with a traffic light on just about every block. My destination was in the Bay Ridge NY area (for those familiar with NY...and CT. I know fletc is) . The Maestro wanted to put me on the Jackie Robinson Hwy and exit to the streets of East NY (bad area) to Kings Highway (which truly isn't a highway - there are lights at every corner or so). Only a tourist, who just got off a plane and is visiting NY for the first time, who can't speak English and has an IQ of 52 would go this way.
- Limited routing prefs. Fastest or shortest time etc. No combination or options like more use of highway, less use of highway, etc. You are stuck with one choice. Lame. Phone GPS's offer more and cost a hell of a lot less.
Conclusion: The Maestro looks AWESOME on paper, but is terribly disappointing in real life usage. I was truly hoping that Magellan would get this one right, but they have a long way to go to compete with Garmin...or even Tom Tom. I'd have to give the Maestro a failing grade.
I wanted a compact unit to go with my bulky Garmin 2720 and 2730, plus GPS technology has become a bit of a passion and hobby. What I wound up doing was returning the Maestro and bought a Garmin nuvi 350 for my wife. The software of the nuvi doesn't compare to the 2720 (less routing options), but playing with and driving around with it for a couple of hours, it seems like a Picasso compared to the Magellan Maestro. The nuvi is quick, map redraws are instant and not noticeable, and the routing is SO much better than the Maestro, at least in CT and simulated routes throughout the northeast.
I may be mistaken about the POI not showing directional pointers prior to selecting them for your route. I read somewhere that they do, although I don't remember seeing them. Maybe you have to drill down a screen.
In any event, given all the other cons, I cannot recommend this unit.