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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magellan Maestro 4350 review

Magellan 4350 review

The Magellan Maestro 4350 is one of several new models introduced by Magellan in 2008. This 4.3” wide screen navigator includes the updated “OneTouch” user interface, six million POIs, and text-to-speech. It also comes preloaded with maps of the entire U.S. and Canada, Bluetooth, live traffic and 3D buildings. Other features include AAA TourBook, an FM transmitter and QuickSpell auto-complete.

Let’s delve right into the details…

Magellan Maestro 4350 interface

A notable new feature is the OneTouch interface, accessed via the upper right icon in the corner of the map screen or main menu (shown below).

MM 4350 main menu

Compare prices on the Magellan Maestro 4350

The OneTouch menu, shown below, provides icons for Home, SOS, Service, Previous and five user-designated locations (office, best friend, etc.) or POI categories or subcategories. I found this aspect of the interface very helpful, and much less distracting than tabs.

MM 4350 OneTouch


Meanwhile, the map screen (below) has probably undergone the most dramatic change of all. It’s quite elegant looking and more appealing than anything I’ve seen from Magellan before. They make good use of translucent graphics that don’t feel like they are obstructing much of the map screen. On the lower right side of the screen is an icon allowing quick access to volume controls — always a welcome addition. Context-sensitive icons for traffic and exit POIs appear as warranted.

MM 4350 map screen

One interesting feature that I liked on the map screen was that, when not navigating, it shows street numbers on the left and right side of the road as you pass them by.

Another nice touch is that highway exits show both the exit number and highway number or street name.

Generally, I’m a fan of the interface, but I did note some problems with it:

  • Startup time is slow — 45 seconds.
  • Sometimes the touchscreen seems slow to respond or is overly sensitive.
  • When you are navigating and enter a new destination, it asks if you want to replace the current destination. But if you say yes, it will ask you to confirm that you want to cancel the existing route. And then you still have to press another icon to start navigation. This is a good example of Magellan burdening their devices with excess steps.
  • When you select a destination name in the address book, there is no option to navigate to it. You have to choose the actual address in the second column before getting a navigation option — very unintuitive.
  • There is no way to view your current speed.
  • I only saw the speed limit displayed on Interstate highways. In a related note, the speed limit warning is based on percentages and cannot be set for a specific number like 5 MPH over the posted speed limit.
  • Then there are the minor quibbles — if you do a POI search for a business and save the item to your address book, you have to enter the name; it would be nice if it would default to the POI name (it does this when you save it to OneTouch though). And you cannot view a saved location on the map (i.e., from the address book). While it doesn’t happen that often, occasionally this comes in handy. Finally, there is no option for Home on the Go To menu, only from the OneTouch menu

Magellan Maestro 4350 mount

The mount is well designed. The swivel ball allows you to easily adjust the viewing angle left or right. I find the side mount plugs for power and the traffic receiver easier to manage than units where they plug into the bottom, though not as convenient as units where the power is integrated into the mount.

Magellan Maestro 4350 Bluetooth

I was able to successfully pair my wife’s phone, a Motorola V325i, but not my LG VX8300. Sound quality was as bad as it typically is on most GPS units.

Magellan Maestro 4350 navigation

The Maestro 4350 recalculated relatively quickly as needed. Routing choices were comparable to other quality units with NAVTEQ maps.

I noticed one nice touch when I made an unscheduled stop and turned off the car. The screen displayed a message stating “Destination not reached” and gave me three options — walk to destination, shutdown now and keep on.

I did notice a few negative aspects while navigating:

  • The Maestro 4350 wouldn’t let me enter a street number when trying to find an address on a state highway (a major commercial thoroughfare) near my home
  • The trip planer is quite unintuitive
  • While the Magellan website claims the unit has “lane guidance,” I never encountered this feature nor could I find it discussed in the owners manual

Conclusion

The Maestro 4350 is a capable navigator and represents a big improvement over previous Maestro units I’ve tested. I will note that other manufacturers offer lifetime traffic service now, whereas this unit comes with a three month trial subscription, something you may want to consider if traffic is important to you. Finally, while the 4350 has some nice extras and polish to it, I still don’t believe it is as good of an everyday navigator as a Garmin nuvi.

More Magellan Maestro 4350 reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Magellan Maestro 4350 resources

 

Compare prices on the Magellan Maestro 4350 at these merchants:

Related posts:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. If you would like to know your current speed, would you not just use your speedometer? Why have the GPS duplicate that as well?

  2. Rich Owings says:

    The GPS speed display is likely more accurate than the speedometer in your car. It’s also nice how some units put the current speed and speed limit side-by-side on the screen.

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