Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck


If you've ever owned a Magellan GPS portable navigator, you may know that they tended not to have any endurance. Okay, fine, they crapped out a lot. Two RoadMate 700s both managed to die on me, once while I was driving through a nasty part of Boston. A few weeks ago, after a two-year hiatus from Magellan, I was using a RoadMate 6000T. I was headed to an out-of-the-way airport with my in-laws in the car, when the thing decided to freeze up. When my father-in-law asked why I had no maps in my glove compartment, I glared at the 6000T and wondered the same thing.

But with the Maestro 4040 (and its siblings), Magellan may be back in action. I say "may" only because I know that true Magellan test results don't reveal themselves in a pleasant afternoon drive, or even over the course of a week. I will be endurance-testing the new Maestro, and if it holds up, or craps out, you will hear about it.

In the meantime, let's hear the positives...

The Maestro line is slimmer, broader and has a wider screen than its predecessors. It uses the same SiRF Star III GPS chip and Navteq map database found in Garmins. It has a new partnership with AAA, which means that its POI database includes a subset of approved repair shops, campgrounds, hotels and other places that might give you AAA discounts. If you hate how generic POIs have gotten—"Hey, let's stick every phone book in the world in here, with no quality control whatsoever!"—you will appreciate the significance of "approved" POIs. The AAA deal also means one-touch roadside assistance, as long as your Bluetooth phone is connected.

Though it's not as amazingly effortless as the Garmin Nuvi 680, the 4040 user interface runs smoother and faster than its predecessors. Best of all, it doesn't have many external buttons, like that button-crazy 6000T. Is this a new dawn for underdog Magellan? That remains to be seen. A nice long CNet review (of the 4040, mind you, even though it says 4050) remarked on difficulties with Bluetooth pairing and some sluggish recalculations. Like I said, the real key is to see how it's behaving a month from now.

In the meantime, I've loaded up some screen shots so you can at least see the new look for yourself.

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 Impressions: AAA Built in, Might Not Suck

Magellan Maestro 4040 [Gizmodo]