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May 18, 2007

Magellan Maestro 3100 Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 2 of 5
Buy this GPS from Amazon

Verdict: Cheap. Basic. Better than Nothing.

Magellan Maestro 3100

REVIEW UPDATE: This GPS model has been discontinued

Last month Magellan released the highly anticipated Maestro 4040 to mixed reviews. This month, Magellan has released the smaller, less expensive Maestro 3100. This 3.5" display, no-frills unit is aimed squarely at the budget-conscious consumer, and is hitting the street with pricing as low as $250.

Could this be the budget unit you've been waiting for? I put Magellan's Maestro 3100 through GPSmagazine's rigorous testing criteria and found out how Magellan's newest GPS stacks up against the competition.

Table of Contents

  1. Technical Specifications
  2. Maestro: Magellan's New Product Line
  3. What's in the Box
  4. Hardware Design: Maestro 3100
  5. GPS Signal Strength: The Might SiRF
  6. Mounting the Maestro 3100 in the Car
  7. Maestro's new User Interface
  8. Navigating with the Maestro 3100
  9. Maestro's Updated Map Screen
  10. Viewing the Maneuvering List
  11. Canceling the Route
  12. Using the Detour Feature
  13. Using the Exit POI's Feature
  14. Using the Address Book
  15. Setting the Home Address
  16. AAA Roadside Assistance
  17. Finding a Restaurant
  18. Routing Engine Performance
  19. Configuring System Options
  20. Pros
  21. Cons
  22. Conclusion

1. Technical Specifications

  • Display: 3.5" QVGA color, anti-glare, touch-screen display
  • Map Coverage: 48 contiguous United States (NAVTEQ)
  • POIs: 750,000 Points of Interest (POI) Database
  • Receiver: 20 channels, WAAS/EGNOS enabled - SiRFstarIII
  • Battery Life: Up to 3 hours (assuming lowest screen brightness - actual battery life was more like 1.5-2 hours in my testing)
  • Antenna: Integrated multidirectional patch
  • Size: 4.29 (l) x 1.14 (w) x 3.48 (h)
  • Weight: 6.5 oz

2. Meet Maestro - Magellan's New Product Line

Screen Size
GPS Chipset
Map Coverage
POIs
Text-to-Speech
Bluetooth
Traffic
Voice Command
Price
Maestro 3100
3.5" diag.
SiRF Star III
Continental US (48 states)
750k
No
No
No
No
$349
Maestro 3140
3.5" diag
SiRF Star III
50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico
4.5 million
Yes
Yes
Optional
No
$449
Maestro 4000
4.3" diag.
SiRF Star III
Continental US (48 states)
1.6 million
No
No
No
No
$449
4.3" diag.
SiRF Star III
50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico
4.5 million
Yes
Yes
Optional
No
$599
Maestro 4050
4.3" diag.
SiRF Star III
50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico
4.5 million
Yes
Yes
Included
Yes
$799

3000-series Maestros have the smaller 3.5" screen while the 4000-series Maestros have the larger 4.3" display. Maestro 3100 is the most affordable Maestro, and as the entry-level unit, doesn't have many of the bells and whistles found on the more expensive Maestros. The 3100 includes map coverage for the continental US (lower 40 States), has a reduced POI database (750,000), no Text-to-Speech (so the unit doesn't announce actual street names), no Bluetooth, traffic, or voice recognition.

The more expensive Maestro 3140 adds map coverage of Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, & Puerto Rico, boasts a much larger POI database of 4.5 million, has Text-to-Speech, Bluetooth, AAA TravelGuide data, and can be upgraded to use Magellan's optional TrafficKit for real-time traffic data.

If it's the wide screen display you crave, then you'll want to look at the 4000-series Maestros: the 4100 is almost identical to the 3100, but has a larger (4.3"), brighter display, and slightly larger POI database. The 4040 adds map coverage for Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, & Puerto Rico, a larger POI database of 4.5 million, Text-to-Speech, Bluetooth, AAA TravelGuide data, and supports the TrafficKit. The 4050 represents the top-of-the-line for Magellan, and includes the TrafficKit and adds voice recognition for operating the GPS via voice commands.

Notice that the 3140 and 4000 share the same suggested retail price. If you're willing to sacrifice the extra features of the 3140 in favor of a larger display, you can get the Maestro 4000 for the same price as the 3140.

All five Maestros are powered by NAVTEQ maps from 2007, share the same routing engine, and the same overall user interface.