May 2, 2007

Magellan Maestro 4040 Review


PC Mag has a review up on the Magellan Maestro 4040, the new middle of the Series 4000 line of widescreen GPS navigation systems from Magellan. They redesigned the interface, which was very much needed, as the older units looked like they were a bit cartoonish, and pixelated; way to out of date. The sad thing is the underlying system was pretty solid and offered a lot. Anyway, the Magellan Maestro 4040 comes with maps preloaded, a SiRF star III chipset, text-to-speech (TTS) capability and Bluetooth pairing to for handsfree phone calls. Not bad.

Craig Ellison liked the re-designed hardware and software with special notes on the large 4.3-ince screen, the new user interface, and the AAA TourBook integration. He said that while the Bluetooth Phone integration wasn't as good as the current state of the art Garmin systems, that "A large screen, fresh new user interface, AAA's TourBook functionality, and a great price make the Maestro 4040 a compelling in-car navigation device."

ReadMore at PC Mag

Magellan Maestro 4040 at Amazon

Read More in: Automotive GPS | Bluetooth | GPS Reviews | Magellan GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at May 2, 2007 8:14 AM

Recent Comments

After reading some mixed reviews in which the Magellan Maestro 4040 seemed like a solid unit with a few minor annoying issues (most of which were apparently addressed in a software update), I purchased it as my first (and only to date) GPS navigator unit.

I will say that I am very pleased with the usability of the unit. For sure, it's not perfect, but most issues I have with it are of the minor nature. I.e., I don't care that the unit says the letters S-T instead of Street.

However, after several long and local trips, I have found the unit's routing to be completely unacceptable.

For one thing, the unit's assumptions about average speeds on roads is too simplistic. Being my first & only unit, maybe all GPS units (or at least in this price category) suffer from this--but I found that the unit routed me far away from 4-lane divided highways with 65mph limits because it wasn't an interstate and assumed the average speed was only 55 or 45mph.

However, even that limitation does not explain some of the routes it produces. I was on I-81 south of Harrisburg, PA trying to get to a town on the southern tier of New York between Elmira and Olean. The proper route is to take US 15 north of Harrisburg through PA until you get to New York. It's about a 3 hour leg of the trip. However, the unit tried to route me on I-81 up to Hazelton, back on I-80 to close to Pittsburgh and then up a US route into NY. It's calculated leg time was at least 6 hours.

On a return trip I was in Frederick, MD heading towards Washington, DC with a destination of Raleigh, NC. The obvious route is to take I-270 towards Washington to the Capital Beltway, around to I-95 and then south. However, it was trying quite hard to get me on I-70 to Baltimore and then around the beltway the WRONG way. I have no idea why it was trying to route me there.

But this doesn't jive with a third issue with the routing is that it refuses to take you more than a few miles in the "wrong" direction even though the total time is much shorter. I understand the unit must prune some routes, but I feel that it's not trying very hard at all. On another trip I was trying to route to Binghamton, NY which is on I-81 from a point on I-64 in central VA. It REALLY wanted me to head towards Richmond on I-64, then north on I-95, through Washington and eventually onto I-81. It had an arrival time of around 12:30 by going this way. However, if you go WEST on I-64 about 25 miles, you will actually hit I-81. It wasn't until I was about 10 miles away from I-81 on I-64 that the unit finally realized it could just hit I-81 by going west, and once it did, the new arrival time was 9:30--a savings a THREE HOURS by just going 15 miles out of the way.

I have found that now I simply cannot trust the unit's routing, and I likely will not ever be purchasing another Magellan unit to see if they've fixed this. As solid as I feel the UI is on this unit, and I bought it at a very good price, it really isn't useful to me any more because it's not doing the main thing I bought it for, which is to trust and depend on it to route me on trips.

Posted by: Lance Pickup at June 30, 2009 8:39 PM
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