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April 9, 2007

Magellan Maestro 4040 Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3 of 5
Buy this GPS from Amazon

Verdict: A Mixed Bag

Magellan Maestro 4040

REVIEW UPDATE: This GPS model has been discontinued

Maestro is Magellan's latest GPS product line, and the company's first wide-screen GPS. This week I tested the Maestro 4040 model, putting the unit through GPSmagazine's usual rigorous testing criteria. How does Maestro compare to previous Magellan GPS units, and the current offerings from Garmin and TomTom? Read on.

Magellan is a fascinating company. The mighty navigation company once ruled the road. Its groundbreaking Magellan 750NAV powered the Hertz NeverLost GPS rental business, and exposed thousands of Hertz drivers to turn-by-turn navigation for the first time. The first time I rented a Magellan/NeverLost equipped vehicle in 1999, my jaw dropped at both the power of the system and its ease-of-use. The interface was so simple that I was able to input my destination address and start navigating without even looking at the laminated quick-start guide Hertz included in the vehicle. It truly was a navigation system your grandparents could use.

My experience with the Hertz NeverLost system prompted me to begin looking at other turn-by-turn navigation systems. Only then did I realize just how good the Magellan system was; I had been spoiled by the Rolls-Royce of GPS! A few years later Magellan released the hugely successful RoadMate 7xx series portable GPS. Unlike the 750NAV/NeverLost system, which cost upwards of $2,500 and had to be professionally installed, the RoadMate 700/760 was about $1,000 and didn't need to be installed. The unit had the same large Points of Interest (POI) database, the same mapping data, and same excellent routing engine, but was 1/4th the size of it's predecessor. A few years later the RoadMate 700/760 had dropped almost 50% in price, making it even more accessible to the consumer.

But that was 2003, and in the years that followed Magellan was plagued by under funding from its parent company, lack of innovation in its product line, and increasing competition from Garmin and TomTom. Magellan had a series of lackluster product releases, and many began to speculate the company had lost the "secret sauce". Magellan is back in the GPS game in a big way, releasing 9 different GPS models in the past 18 months alone (RoadMate 3000T, 3050T, 6000T, 2000, 2200T, CrossoverGPS, Maestro 4000, Maestro 4040, and Maestro 4050).

Table of Contents

  1. Features
  2. Technical Specifications
  3. Maestro: Magellan's New Product Line
  4. What's in the Box
  5. Hardware Design: Maestro 4040
  6. GPS Signal Strength: The Mighty SiRF
  7. Mounting the Maestro 4040 in the Car
  8. Powering on the Maestro for the First Time
  9. Maestro's New User Interface
  10. Navigating with the Maestro 4040
  11. Maestro's Updated Map Screen
  12. Night Mode
  13. Viewing the Maneuvering List
  14. Canceling the Route
  15. Using the Detour Feature
  16. Using the Exit POI's Feature
  17. AAA RoadSide Assistance
  18. Using the Address Book
  19. Setting the Home Address
  20. Magellan's Useful Current Location Screen
  21. Mult-Destination Routing: Using the Trip Planner
  22. The Points of Interest (POI) Database
  23. AAA Travel Information
  24. Routing Engine Performance
  25. Real-Time Traffic
  26. Bluetooth
  27. Configuring System Options
  28. Pros
  29. Cons
  30. Conclusion

1. Features

  • New, updated interface
  • Turn-by-turn voice and visual guidance
  • SiRFstar III chipset and integrated multidirectional antennae
  • Pre-loaded with NAVTEQ maps and POIs for the continental U.S.
  • AAA TourBook® travel information - Integrated travel information from AAA TourBook (AAA approved and rated lodgings and restaurants, recommended attractions, and places to save money).
  • AAA member Roadside Assistance details - Touch the tow truck icon to quickly connect to AAA Roadside Assistance1 using your compatible Bluetooth® phone. The screen tells you where you are to quickly direct AAA to your location.
  • SayWhere™ text-to-speech - Hear when to make each turn, including the street name
  • Hands-free phone calls - Bluetooth® wireless technology and built-in microphone let you make hands-free phone calls using your compatible Bluetooth-enabled phone
  • Traffic-ready - Add the Magellan TrafficKit™ to get live traffic incident reports (Activation and subscription fees apply. Available Spring 2007)
  • Voice Command-ready - Add Voice Command control for hand's-free operation with a simple upgrade from www.MagellanGPS.com (Activation fee applies). Available Summer 2007
  • Birds eye 3D view - Clearly see your surroundings in 2D or 3D
  • Rechargeable battery - Navigate when you don't have access to power
  • Multi-destination Routing - Select up to 20 destinations and choose the order that best fits your needs
  • SmartDetour - Automatically prompts you to route around sudden slow freeway traffic
  • Auto Re-route - Automatically re-calculates if you miss a turn
  • Auto night view - Adjusts color and contrast for easy night viewing
  • QuickSpell™ - Easily enter addresses with unique auto-complete feature that even corrects spelling mistakes
  • 4.5 million points of interest (POI) - Optimized database of gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, and more with smart location search by name, category and region.
  • Interactive POI icons - Touch an onscreen icon for a nearby destination; see name and address and get an instant route
  • Customizable route method - Fastest time, shortest distance, least use or most use of freeways, avoid toll roads
  • Route exclusion - Select streets and freeways to avoid so you can BE THERE™ your way
  • 4 map views - Map View, 3D map, TrueView™ 3D split screen and Maneuver List
  • Address Book - Create and store personal points of interest for reoccurring trips
  • Instant locate - One touch shows your location; quickly advise roadside assistance or emergency services

2. Technical Specifications

  • Large 4.3" WQVGA full-color touch screen
  • Screen resolution: 480 x 272 WQVGA; 64,000 colors
  • New thin and stylish industrial design and streamlined user interface
  • Features include full-color, anti-glare, and touch-screen functionality
  • New User Interface
  • Vastly improved on-screen graphics for easy readability in all conditions
  • Traffic Upgradeable: Designed for upgrade to optional Magellan TrafficKit functionality, for real-time traffic
  • Bluetooth Compatibility: Designed for the Business Mobile user who requires hands-free cell functionality
  • SayWhere: Magellan's trade-marked text-to-speech process enables one to hear the name of the next turn including specific audible and visual directions
  • SiRF Star III: Fastest GPS position acquisition in the industry
  • NAVTEQ On Board: Includes detailed maps of the 50 United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • QuickSpell: Intelligently sorts, searches, and checks spelling with reduced keystrokes.
  • 4.5 Million Searchable POIs: Find restaurants, hotels, airports, gas stations, and more - includes addresses and telephone numbers; Maestro will take you there
  • Rechargeable battery: Integrated battery for portability - approximately 3 hours battery life
  • Dimensions: 5.0"(l) x 3.75"(w) x 0.8"(h)
  • Weight: 8.5 oz.

3. Maestro: Magellan's New Product Line

The Maestro is Magellan's latest product line and it comes in three flavors: the 4000, 4040, and 4050. All three units sport a 4.3" wide-screen display. The 4040 adds maps for Canada and Puerto Rico, a larger POI database, and Bluetooth. The 4050 is the top-of-the-line, adding traffic data and voice recognition. Below is a summary of the differences between the three Maestro models:

Maestro 4000 Maestro 4040 Maestro 4050
Screen Size 4.3" diag. 4.3" diag. 4.3" diag.
GPS Chipset SiRF Star III SiRF Star III SiRF Star III
Map Coverage Continental US (48 states) 50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico 50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico
POIs 1.6 million 4.5 million 4.5 million
Text-to-Speech No Yes Yes
Bluetooth No Yes Yes
Traffic No Add-on Included
Voice Recognition No No Yes
MSRP $449.99 $599.99 $799.99
Street Price (as of 4-5-07) $400 $500 $650

4. What's in the Box

Magellan Maestro 4040's Retail Box
Figure 1: Magellan Maestro 4040's Retail Box

The Magellan Maestro ships with the following items included in the box:

  • Magellan Maestro 4040
  • Windshield Mount
  • Basic Cradle
  • AC Wall Power Supply/Charger
  • Cigarette Lighter adapter
  • USB Data Cable
  • Adhesive Disk for Dash Mounting
  • Nylon Protective Pouch