Magellan Maestro 4000
The Magellan Maestro 4000 is the entry level device of the new Maestro series from Magellan. The Maestro series is quite a bit different than the devices in the RoadMate series. The new Maestros feature a widescreen, a slim form factor, and have a completely redesigned user interface. We’ve spent some quality time on the road with the Maestro 400, and here is what we think.
As mentioned, right out of the box you will notice a big difference between the Maestro series and the previous RoadMate series. These devices come with a 4.3 inch widescreen display. The display is not the brightest display we’ve ever seen, but it is a fairly decent quality screen. It doesn’t have an exceptionally wide acceptable viewing angle, so you might have a little bit of trouble with washed out colors if the device isn’t facing you straight on.
To accommodate the widescreen, the Maestro is 5 inches wide, slightly wider than other devices with a similar screen size. For example the Harman Kardon GPS-500 has the same size screen yet is one-half inch narrower than the Maestro. Therefore despite being only .8″ thick, this probably isn’t a device you will want to throw into your pocket for very long. The 400 weighs about 8.5 ounces.
Along the left side of the Maestro is the power button, MMC/SD card slot, USB connector, and a hard reset switch. Thankfully I never needed the reset switch. Along the right side is the headphone jack and the power connector. A big kudos to Magellan for not putting any connectors on the bottom of the device. There is an internal battery which should last about three hours.
The suction cup mount is okay, but by no means great. It is bulky and in order to adjust the up/down tilt you need to loosen a nob, tilt the device, and then retighten the nob. This isn’t as easy as other mounts which feature a “ball and socket” type connection that is adjustable on the fly. The mount is also very long; the screen can be as much as 7 inches from the windshield. While it can be nice having the screen closer to you, having a big widescreen GPS hanging off that long of a mount did make it a little bit susceptible to vibration. Not too bad, but it did occasionally vibrate on rougher roads.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Magellan Maestro 4000 is that it is well powered under the hood. The Maestro comes with a SiRFstarIII chipset so signal acquisition is fast, and I never lost satellite reception once connected. There is also a function to manually set your location to help acquire a fix when you first take it out of the box or if you have moved it a long distance since you last used it.
The processor also seems to be well up to speed to perform processor intensive tasks. This is a welcome change from the trend we’ve been seeing of manufacturers using processors that are too slow making the device sluggish. That doesn’t apply here, the Magellan Maestro is quick at searching, quick at routing, and the response from the touch screen display is very fast as well.
Navigating to an Address
As mentioned, the routing is very quick thanks to an adequately equipped processor. To navigate to an address you click ‘Menu’ –> ‘Enter Address’. The device then asks if you want to type in a city name, zip code, or select a previous city. You can also select to navigate to an address in your address book or to an intersection.
When you start to enter the name of a city, QuickSpell comes into play. This function will move letters from the on-screen keyboard that are no longer possible based on what you have typed so far and what possible options are left. For example if I type in the letter “C” it knows that of all the towns that start with the letter “C”, the only other letters that could be in the town name (based on towns that start with “c”) are a, e, h, i, l, o, r, u, and y. This really helps speed up finding what you are looking for and helps prevent spelling mistakes. Once the list of possible locations has been narrowed down enough, a list of matching cities is displayed for you to select from.
Then you enter in a street using the same QuickSpell process. This was helpful, but it wasn’t quite flexible enough for me on some occasions. For example I was looking for “Maple Avenue” in my town. It just couldn’t seem to find it, even if I just entered “M” and manually looked through the entire list. After browsing the map I realized that for some reason the underlying NAVTEQ data has the street listed as “Old Maple Ave”. It is too bad that it will only match on the beginning of the street name to help with situations like that.
After entering a street name, the Maestro will ask you for the street number. it gives you the acceptable range of street numbers and will even fill in certain values if there is a narrow range. For example the street I was navigating to has addresses that are all in the range of 5500-5599. Knowing those are the only valid numbers, the Maestro typed in the “55” for me and all I had to type in was the remaining two digits. This was a nice touch.
The Magellan Maestro will then prompt you for any special routing options. You can select from the fastest time, least use of freeways, shortest distance, or most use of freeways. With all of those options you can also add if you want to avoid toll roads. The routing process was quick, calculating a route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in about 20 seconds.
Navigating to a POI
Navigating to a POI is also easy. Click ‘Menu’ –> ‘Points of Interest’. Then you can choose if you want to find a POI by name, by category, find items in the AAA TourBook (more on this later), or to any custom POIs you have installed yourself.
Searching by category prompts you with a list of 25 categories to select from. Many of the categories also have subcategories. (Yea!) For example clicking on restaurants will display 55 subcategories depending on what type of restaurant you might be looking for.
A list of matching POIs are displayed, along with the direction it is from you, the straight line distance from you, the street address, and telephone number. Once you click on the POI, routing options (the same routing options as routing to and address) are displayed, and then you click the big orange arrow to calculate the route.
Perhaps the feature I’m most excited about on the Maestro series is their “Exit Points of Interest” functionality. Let’s say you are driving down the interstate and decide it is time to stop for a gas and food break. From the Menu, select ‘Exit POI’s’. This will bring up a list of upcoming exits, the distance the exit is from you, and icons representing what type of services are available at that exit. There are icons for food, gas, auto repair, and hotels. With this great feature you can then pick which exit has the service(s) you need and make the most efficient stop possible.
You can then click on the icon representing the type of service you need at the exit you want and the Maestro will route you to that POI. The only drawback to this feature is that it won’t automatically put you back on your previous route after. It doesn’t setup the POI as a “via” and instead sets the POI as a new final destination. After getting the services you need you need to enter in your final destination again to continue on the route.
As the base model, the Maestro 4000 only comes with 1.6 million POIs in the database. That might be good enough for many users, but others might want to consider upgrading to the Magellan Maestro 4040 which comes with 4.5 million POIs.
The main navigation screen shows most of the common navigation information. You can see the name of the street you are currently on, the direction you are traveling, zoom buttons, an arrow showing the next turn, satellite reception bars, distance to the next turn, and distance to the destination. If you click on the distance to destination field it will change to show you the time to the destination. You can also access the volume control from the primary navigation screen. Having the status bar being customizable would have been nice, but what is displayed works well.
When you get about one half mile from a turn, the screen will automatically split. On the left is a picture of the upcoming intersection with an arrow showing your way through the intersection. On the right is the primary 3D display showing you advance toward that intersection. That’s cool! However I was disappointed that the very tightly zoomed in picture of the intersection disappears just before you get to the intersection! I can see how the data might be redundant, but I liked the detail of the zoomed in picture on the left, and having that still display through the intersection would have added to the situational awareness.
Now might be a good time to mention the volume on the Magellan Maestro. If you’ve ever had trouble with the volume on other PNDs not being lout enough… the Maestro might be for you. The Maestro conducts her symphony with loud authority. In fact, during our tests we kept the volume at the lowest setting above Mute and it was loud enough for us to hear what was going on. Turning the volume all of the way up produced incredibly loud voice prompts that were surprisingly still very clear. Text to speech is not included on the Maestro 4000 and neither is Bluetooth, for that you will need to upgrade to the 4040.
There is a detour function on the Maestro, and it works better than many detour functions on other devices. It allows you to specify how far ahead to detour allowing you to select from a range such as 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 12 miles, etc. There is also a button which says ‘custom’. Here you can enter the number of miles you want to set the detour for.
I’m glad Magellan introduced the ability to specify how far the detour is to be for (many other devices don’t allow you to do that) but I wish I could enter in something shorter than 1 mile. Often times if you come across an accident in the road you only need to detour around a very short distance. 1 mile might be unnecessarily long. Still, at least the Maestro gives you an option of selecting a detour length.
You can also tell the Magellan Maestro to avoid certain roads. From the map screen, clicking on the next turn graphic will bring up a list of each maneuver in the route. You can then select one of the maneuvers and click ‘exclude’ and a new route will be calculated to your destination, eliminating that maneuver.
There is no option to add traffic services to this model, for that consider the 4040 which can have traffic added or the 4050 which includes traffic.
The Maestro does allow you to create a route with multiple destinations…. sort of. I had high hopes for this feature, but I was left a little bit disappointed. To me, multiple destination routing means creating a single route with multiple points in between that the device will navigate through. The Maestro doesn’t really do that. The feature is called “Trip Planning” on the Maestro, and here is how it works.
Think of the trip planning feature as a list of favorites, saved in a particular order. So you create a trip, give the trip a name, and then add in each destination you want to visit in the trip. So far so good. But when you load the trip and start navigating to the first destination, it only creates a route to the first destination. There is no indication of how long or how far the entire trip will take. After you reach the first destination, navigation is stopped and you are asked if you want to go to the next destination in the list. This will work okay for some people, but it isn’t as elegant as it could be.
There are two types of situations where people most often use multi-destination routing… To insert a via point to force a route you want, or if you need to visit a bunch of locations in one day and not have to route to them individually. In the first example, when you reach your first “via” point you will need to tell the GPS you then want to continue routing to the real destination. I like to touch the GPS as little as possible so this could be annoying.
In the second example, you can’t see how long it will take to drive the entire route. So if you are a sales rep and need to visit as many of your locations in one day as you can, the Maestro won’t be much help figuring out how long it will take to navigate to all of the destinations.
The Maestro doesn’t appear to offer any way to check out a route in advance, unless you are at the starting location. For example tomorrow I’m flying across the country and want to know how far it is and how long it will take to get from the airport I’m landing at to the hotel. It might be nice as well to be able to simulate that route. But since I can’t set the starting point I have no way to find out that information from the GPS.
There are a few really nice, unique features to the Magellan Maestro based on their partnership with AAA. The first is a AAA Roadside Assistance button on the Main menu. This button will bring up the AAA toll free assistance number, a phone number to enroll in AAA, as well as your AAA number if you have saved it on your GPS. In addition the display will show your current longitude and latitude, as well as your current street, current city, and what intersection you just passed and what intersection is just ahead…. All of the information you would need in the event of a roadside emergency.
The AAA Tourbook is setup as its own type of POI. From there you can find locations where you can save money by being a AA member, navigate to AAA approved auto repair stations, navigate to AAA branch offices, or navigate to AAA approved campgrounds. You can also navigate to restaurants, destinations, attractions, and events from the AAA TourBook.
As an example you can open the AAA TourBook and select Restaurants. I then looked for restaurants near my current position. From the list of restaurants you can see how far the restaurant is from you, the direction it is from you, the address, phone number, relative cost of the restaurant, and the number of stars the restaurant earned.
After selecting a restaurant, a description of the restaurant is displayed as well as hours of operation, availability of parking, and what types of credit cards are accepted.
You can also select restaurants where AAA members receive special discounts or offers. The restaurant details will show the type of discount available, for example “save $1.00 off any large sandwich or $2.00 off any purchase of $10.00 or more”.
Text-to-speech is also not included on the 4000, but you could upgrade to the 4040 to get that feature. The same goes for Bluetooth…. the 4000 is the entry model so you can save some good cash if you don’t want to use the integrated hands free calling feature.
If you are not sure if you want to subscribe to traffic services, this might also be another reason to upgrade to the 4040 since you can add an optional traffic receiver to that GPS. (Compare the Magellan Maestro 4000, 4040, 4050)
For comparisons to other brands, check out the TomTom ONE or the Garmin Nuvi 350. Both have similar features but have a smaller, 3.5″ screen and generally lower street prices (currently). To compare with other widescreen models, check out the Nuvi 650 or 660.
Even though there are lots of features “missing” on the Maestro 4000, it could be a good way to save a few bucks if you don’t think you’ll take advantage of those extras.
If you are a AAA member, this device could help you save tons of cash. The Exit POI feature is also really handy for people who spend lots of time on highways. While there are feature-rich routing abilities such as the detour function and the Trip Planner, they are not implemented quite as well as they could be. But of an entry level widescreen model, the new Magellan Maestro line is very easy to use and the user interface is well laid out. Preferences and settings are easy to find and the Maestro helps keep you from making mistakes.