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July 11, 2007

Magellan Maestro 4050 Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3 of 5
Buy this GPS from Amazon

Verdict: HAL 9000's Dumber, Less Evil Cousin

Magellan Maestro 4040

REVIEW UPDATE: This GPS model has been discontinued

Using your hands to operate your GPS is SO last year! why not just use your voice to boss your car around? That's the promise behind Magellan's traffic-enabled, voice controlled Maestro 4050. Sounds great, right? Like most new technologies, the devil's in the details...

I put the Maestro 4050 + TrafficKit through its paces and see how Magellan's latest & greatest offering stacks up against the competition.

It's not every day that legendary navigation company Magellan releases a new GPS. Oh, wait a minute, yes it is! In the past year alone, Magellan has released no less than 9 new GPS devices, including the RoadMate 2000, 2200T, 3000T, 6000T, CrossoverGPS, Maestro 3100, 3140, 4000, 4040, and now the 4050. It's enough to make you wonder whether Magellan is an innovative company releasing new devices at break-neck speed, or a company floundering to find a product consumers actually want.

Choosing the right Magellan to fit your needs isn't as hard as you might think, given that more than half the units Magellan has released in the past 14 months have been discontinued.

Magellan's latest GPS product line is the Maestro series. With five different flavors to choose from, the Maestro comes in 3.5" and 4.3" sizes, and ranges from basic, budget navigation model (3100) to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink 4050:

Magellan Maestro Series Feature Matrix

Maestro 3100 Maestro 3140 Maestro 4000 Maestro 4040 Maestro 4050
Screen Size 3.5" 3.5" 4.3" 4.3" 4.3"
GPS Chipset SiRF Star III SiRF Star III SiRF Star III SiRF Star III SiRF Star III
Map Coverage Continental US (48 states) 50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico Continental US (48 states) 50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico 50 States, Canada & Puerto Rico
POIs 750k 4.5 million 1.6 million 4.5 million 4.5 million
Text-to-Speech No Yes No Yes Yes
Bluetooth No Yes No Yes Yes
Traffic No Add-on No Add-on Included
Voice Recognition No No No No Yes
MSRP $299 $399 $449.99 $499.99 $799.99
Street Price $250 $399 $375 $450 $650

Table of Contents

  1. Features
  2. Technical Specifications
  3. What's in the Box
  4. Hardware Design: Maestro 4050
  5. GPS Signal Strength: The Mighty SiRF
  6. Mounting the Maestro 4050 in the Car
  7. Powering on the Maestro 4050 for the First Time
  8. Maestro's New User Interface
  9. Navigating with the Maestro 4050
  10. Maestro's Updated Map Screen
  11. Night Mode
  12. Viewing the Maneuvering List
  13. Route Exclusion
  14. Canceling the Route
  15. Using the Detour Feature
  16. Using the Exit POI's Feature
  17. Enhanced POIs
  18. AAA RoadSide Assistance
  19. Using the Address Book
  20. Setting the Home Address
  21. Magellan's Useful Current Location Screen
  22. Multi-Destination Routing: Using the Trip Planner
  23. The Points of Interest (POI) Database
  24. AAA Travel Information
  25. Routing Engine Performance
  26. Voice Recognition
  27. Real-Time Traffic
  28. Bluetooth
  29. Configuring System Options
  30. Pros
  31. Cons
  32. Conclusion

1. Features

  • Voice command: Voice command and control enables hand's-free operation
  • TrafficKit™: Provides live traffic incident reports (subscription fees apply)
  • 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
  • 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

  • Display: 4.3" LCD
  • Screen resolution: 480 x 272 WQVGA; 64,000 colors
  • Bluetooth Compatibility for 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
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Dimensions: 5.0"(l) x 3.75"(w) x 0.8"(h)
  • Weight: 8.5 oz.