Magellan Maestro 4250

GPS on the cheap

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Magellan Maestro 4250
  • Magellan Maestro 4250
  • Magellan Maestro 4250
  • Magellan Maestro 4250

Pros

  • Bluetooth hands-free, text-to-speech technology, 2-D maps, TrueView

Cons

  • Bluetooth audio quality isn’t great, Magellan software isn’t user-friendly

Bottom Line

Magellan’s Maestro 4250 provides an alternative to the more expensive, high-end TomTom and Garmin devices. Although it doesn’t provide the same level of polish as some of the better known brands, its features are functional and it provides everyday users with a viable GPS option.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

Although Magellan's Maestro 4250 suffers from some flaws, it can be recommended as a slightly cheaper alternative to high-end Garmin or TomTom GPS devices.

The Maestro 4250's design is attractive: its slimline case packs a 4.3in wide-format touch screen. The device's gloss black fascia is complemented by a two-tone silver and black motif on the sides and back; it doesn't look as plastic as a lot of other GPS devices.

Aside from standard navigation functions, the Maestro 4250 also boasts Bluetooth hands-free functionality, text-to-speech technology, an in-built traffic receiver and quick access to roadside assistance. An integrated battery is able to run the device for up to four hours without AC power.

Unfortunately, there is no support for the upcoming SUNA Traffic system, rendering both the traffic receiver and roadside assistance functions useless in an Australian setting.

The Maestro 4250 uses a Centrality Atlas III GPS receiver, a multiplatform chip built on the popular SIRFStar III receiver used in many GPS devices. From a cold start, the device takes around 30sec to find a GPS signal; re-routing times are sufficiently fast for normal use.

Simplicity is the key with the Maestro 4250. The device's user interface has a single-row menu with large icons that are easy to select. Touch-screen response times aren't as quick as most other GPS devices. The first time you use the device, menu items take up to 10 seconds to load, though subsequent use is much faster.

Inputting an address is a simple process. We were impressed with the touch-screen keyboard — it is quite sensitive to touch. As you progressively type a name, letters that don't match any known names are eliminated from the keyboard. Unfortunately, the unit will only show a maximum of 100 street names at a time, requiring the user to know at least the first few letters of a city or street.

The Maestro 4250's map view options are its strongest feature. We liked the option to alternate between a 2-D and 3-D version of the map. The 3-D map resembles most current GPS software with a slightly skewed angle picture, while the 2D map offers a bird's eye view. The Maestro also offers an option that inverts the map colours for driving at night.

Magellan provides space for up to 6 million points of interest (POI) and additional user-added points. However, customised POIs are poorly implemented. Users can't add these on the device directly; instead, they must use the Magellan software on a PC. This is quite convoluted to do, requiring users to know the latitude and longitude of their desired point. The fact that the software doesn't simply use a graphical interface for this is disappointing.

Voice navigation on the Maestro 4250 is limited to a computer-generated voice, with no available options for recorded voices. The device's text-to-speech technology allows the voice navigation to speak street names and highway exit ramps to give drivers better guidance. This is complemented by Magellan's TrueView, which shows an in-depth view of complicated exit ramps and intersections to simplify driving manoeuvres. During testing, this seems to work fairly well and it should be handy for travelling new routes.

Bluetooth hands-free functionally works but could be better. We had problems pairing some Nokia E-series and N-series phones with the device, though we easily paired an Apple iPhone and Motorola MOTO U9. Once connected, users have access to hands-free, an address book and some basic SMS functions. The Maestro 4250 won't sync contact lists with the mobile, but users can add their own contacts and use the phone to call straight from the GPS unit.

As with most GPS devices, the Maestro 4250's main speaker is placed on the back of the unit with a small microphone on the front. While this arrangement is intended to eliminate feedback, feedback still occurs when the speaker is adjusted to an audible volume. We made a few calls to test audio quality and weren't impressed. The call recipient claimed that feedback was an issue and that the microphone caused a bass-heavy, muffled voice. Although this is tolerable for short calls, long conversations will quickly become tiring.

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