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Customer Review

286 of 289 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maestro 3200 vs Nuvi 200, November 28, 2007
This review is from: Magellan Maestro 3200 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Wireless Phone Accessory)
This is a solid entry level GPS from Magellan. After a week of testing the Maestro 3200 with a similar entry level GPS from Garmin--the Nuvi 200, I had a hard time deciding which one to keep. In the end, I went with the Nuvi, not because one is superiorly better than the other, but down to more personal preferences. Here are some positive and negative factors for each device:

Startup and Satellites Acquisition:
In my car, the Maestro takes 40 seconds from startup to acquiring satellites, whereas the Nuvi takes 50 seconds. (Your results may vary depending on where you are.) Furthermore, the Maestro takes less than 5 seconds for the main menu to appear, whereas the Nuvi takes closer to 23 seconds from startup to main menu. So that on the Maestro, user is able to start inputing much sooner. Once satellites are acquired, both devices are able to hold on to the signal exceedingly well, even indoor.

Screens, Menus and Interfaces:
Both devices have a gorgeous 3.5 screen that is very bright and can be viewed from extreme angles. I do find that the Nuvi screen is more pleasing to look at though. Menus and interfaces are very intuitive and user friendly. Most users would not have to read the manual to start using both devices. All the important categories are represented by large icons and easily accessed by touchscreen. In term of layouts, fonts, and color choices, I prefer the Nuvi as the overall design is more inviting. Also, as you navigate between menus and input text, the Maestro would announce your every input such as "Back," "Next," "Cancel," letters and numbers, which I find quite annoying. On the Nuvi, it just "beep" to confirm your entry.

Instead of comparing all the features for each device, I will just list those that I find important.

Both the Maestro 3200 and Nuvi 200 are preloaded with map of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. If you want map for Alaska and Canada, consider the Maestro 3210 and Nuvi 250. However, the Nuvi has the ability to add more maps such as Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia through SD card. As far as I know, the Maestro is not able to add more maps.

I love the usefulness and convenience of the "Points of Interest" database, and thus the more the better. The Nuvi has close to 6 millions compare to 1.3 millions on the Maestro. That means you would be able to find more businesses and attractions wherever you are on the Nuvi without looking up on a computer, phone, or Yellow Pages. For example, the Nuvi lists all the major retailers that do not appear on the Maestro. Both devices allow custom POIs from users to upload.

When searching by POI name, the Maestro is able to bring up the result(s) much faster though. I did a search for a restaurant that is 15 miles from my location and the Maestro took less than 2 seconds to display the result. Whereas, the Nuvi took an excruciatingly 48 seconds to find the result. However, finding businesses that are within a 5 miles radius to a user's location will show up only slightly slower than the Maestro.

The Maestro features a multi-point routing called "Trip Planner" that allows user to input multiple destinations and optimize for the best routes for the entire trip. So, if you do a lot of errands or plan a long trip with multiple destinations, the planner would come in very handy. On the Nuvi, you can only add one additional waypoint at a time while traveling to your final destination. To get around this, Nuvi user can first search all the destinations prior, as the addresses would automatically be put under the "Recently Found" folder or choose to save under "Favorites." Then as you reach each destination, recall the next address under each folder. It's not an elegant solution and your entire trip is not optimize like the Maestro.

The re-route and detour functions are available on both devices. So, if you miss a turn, both GPS will automatically re-calculate and get you back on track. I often find that the new route is generated before reaching the next block. As for detour, the Maestro has a much more robust feature. When using detour, user can specify 3, 5, 10 or custom miles from the main route. On the Nuvi, there is no user specification, just an option to detour.

Both have customizable route methods, such as "Fastest Time" and "Shortest Distance." The Maestro has additional methods of "Least" or "Most Use of Freeways." I find "Most Use of Freeways" to be a valuable option. During the time of day when there's little traffic, I can use this option even when Maestro recommends surface street under "Fastest Time." I prefer travelling on freeways rather than through all the stop lights and signs on surface streets. The Nuvi does not have this option. The Nuvi has an "Off Road" method that I doubt I will ever select. Under a sub-category, user can specify to avoid toll roads on both devices. On the Nuvi, user can further select to avoid u-turns, highways, carpool lanes, unpaved roads, etc.

As for the navigation, routing, and map display screen, this is where I ultimately prefer the Nuvi. The Nuvi renders the 3-D map beautifully with bold outlines, excellent color schemes, sharp fonts, smooth anti-aliasing and shading, and polish appearance. Street name for next turn is clearly displayed on a horizontal bar on top, for example, "Turn Left on Main Street." By clicking the top bar, another screen will appear that display a turn-by-turn preview to your destination. As you approach a turn, the map will slowly zoom in with an arrow prompting a more detailed section of the turn. After the turn, the map will zoom out to the normal display. The whole process is very fluid and instinctive. On the left and right hand corners show "time of arrival" and "distance to the next turn" respectively. There is no option to customize the display such as showing time or distance remain to your destination. There is another screen that you can access for those info. When clicking anywhere on the 3-D navigation map, a detailed 2-D map will appear to give you more information and layout of your current location. Your arrow vehicle can be customize to show a variety of vehicles, from race car to even a tank. More choices can be downloaded on Garmin website. This might seems superfluous to some, but it just adds another level of user experience. After viewing Nuvi's 3-D map, it's difficult to go back to another competitor.

The Maestro's 3-D navigation map is not ugly by any standard, just not as refine comparing to the Nuvi. The Maestro's map display is more cluttered, but with more information available to the driver at a glance. For example, the horizontal bars on top and bottom will display the name of the street that the driver is on and the street for the next turn. There's also an icon to indicate the next turn and compass. User can also customize to display anything from "time of arrival" to "distance remain." On the Nuvi, driver would have to exit the navigation screen for additional info. I also really like that the Maestro will display selected POI icons, such as nearby gas and ATM, on the 3-D map. Furthermore, user can customize what POI categories will display on the map. However, the more categories are selected, the harder it will be to distinguish the icons on a busy street. Like the Nuvi, the Maestro also display a turn-by-turn preview to your destination. However, the Maestro goes a step further by allowing the user to exclude any of the street on the list. So, if you know a street is under maintenance or prefer not to travel on, just exclude that section and the Maestro will re-route when possible.

As for the 3-D rendering, the map outlines are a bit jagged but very detailed with sharp fonts. As you approach a turn, the Maestro will split the screen vertically and show a close-up of the section along with the normal view. Having tested the Maestro and Nuvi for a week, I find both GPS very capable in their routing algorithm. Both devices don't always give you the identical routes to your destination, but I can't really say one is better than the other. However, I observe that the Maestro tends to calculate routes with more turns. On the Nuvi, the voice guidance does indicate whether your arriving destination is on the right or left hand side of the road, which I find helpful. Both GPS have its quirks, such as sometimes calculating longer routes than necessary or the destination off by a block. However, for the most part, the routes on both are very accurate.

Another thing for me to consider when choosing a GPS is the battery life. Both the Maestro and Nuvi can be powered using the included vehicle cable. However, when driving around town, I prefer not to have the unsightly cable dangling from the windshield, especially if you have other devices that use the vehicle power, like an iPod. The Nuvi rechargeable battery is rated up to 5 hours comparing to 3 hours on the Maestro. Both do not come with an A/C charger, but can still be charged using USB to mini-USB on a computer or alternatively charging by car. The speakers on both are pretty loud, but I much prefer the voice on the Nuvi as it sounds more warm comparing to the very robotic pitch of the Maestro. I have yet required customer support, but from what I read from other users and reviewers is that Garmin gives better support to their products. For example, Garmin provides a free WebUpdater software that will automatically update the GPS with the latest software. When I purchased the Nuvi and ran the software, it automatically update my GPS system version from 3.4 to 3.5. That to me instill confidence that Garmin will continue to support their devices.

In summary, the Maestro 3200 and Nuvi 200 are excellent entry level GPS that I have no problem recommending. I decided on the Nuvi due to the excellent 3-D map, interface, large POIs, route calculation, overall design, and battery life. However, the Maestro has more features such as trip planner, a robust detour, faster search, and "Most Use of Freeways" option that some might consider more valuable. Prices are comparable and really come down to personal preferences. You can't go wrong with either one.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 31, 2008, 7:06:14 AM PST
Very informative and specifically not biased. A fair assessment of the two I am considering.

Posted on Feb 19, 2008, 5:22:09 PM PST
Shawn Fumo says:
Wow.. one of the best reviews I've seen on Amazon. Thanks! :)

Posted on Feb 29, 2008, 6:21:37 PM PST
I have to agree with the poster above and every other person who read this review and stated that it was helfpul (75 out of 75 at the time of this comment!). Thank you for an excellent review....I am still not sure which one I am going to pick but I know that I will sound like a more informed consumer when I ponder some of the features you mentioned while at the store. THANK YOU! I look forward to reading more of your reviews....

Posted on Apr 15, 2008, 2:55:50 PM PDT
D. Ariyanti says:
Thank you for your information! It really helpfull

Posted on May 12, 2008, 4:11:40 AM PDT
Umesh T says:
Very very informative, unbiased, detailed, and useful review. Thanks a lot !!!!

Posted on Jul 25, 2008, 8:00:16 AM PDT
J.A. says:
As I started looking at this Magellan device I thought, "hm, I wonder how this compares to the Nüvi?"

Scroll down, and aha! The answers to my questions. Thanks!

Posted on Sep 23, 2008, 9:18:47 AM PDT
slypig says:
That was an amazing review. I am inpressed that you actually timed the reaction times of the devices. Do you work for Consumer Reports????

Posted on Oct 4, 2008, 11:06:03 AM PDT
Mihai Cotet says:
Good job, man! Keep it up!

Posted on Oct 4, 2008, 11:06:21 AM PDT
Mihai Cotet says:
Good job! Keep it up!

Posted on Feb 19, 2009, 6:54:21 AM PST
Real Meister says:
Excellent review. One can tell that you spent quite some time not only reviewing these two units, but also writing up a detailed and very unbiased review! Kudos, you get 5 stars from me!
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