Magellan Maestro 3225

What is the Best GPS for under $200.00
Maestro 3225 GPS by Magellan

Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS Pros and Cons

 

Pros

Slim, light portable and attractive. Affordable. Colorful touch screen. Voice/Street Name instructions. SD Card expandability.

 

Cons

Compass Direction hard to read in sunlight. Small-screen difficult to read. Little or no support as far as Map and Feature upgrades to this point. Voice volume a bit too quite and shrill to listen to.

 

Introduction to the Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS

There’s something to be said for a slim-sized, portable GPS that takes less room in your pocket than the smallest of cell phones. The Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS is a sleek, small but fairly full-featured Auto GPS that can be easily transported from place to place or vehicle to vehicle. I have taken it along with me on trips, and have really grown to appreciate the portability. Unlike some of the larger Garmin models which are fat and chunky, this little guy is about a half-inch thick, is 3.25” by 3.65” in diameter, and weighs just a little under 5 oz. The Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS can be had at Costco for about $150. I paid $199 back in January, and that is still a pretty good deal in lieu of what you get. The Maestro 3225 GPS Unit is equipped with a 3.5” QVGA touchscreen. The display is sharp, colorful and easy to read. The unit includes a Li-ion rechargeable 1100ma battery, a 12-24 V vehicle adapter, 1ea USB Adapter and charger, and online manual and CD Software. Also included, is a mountable dashboard stand with suction cup and adhesive flat, black plastic disc for mounting the unit on the dashboard or other convenient viewing surfaces.

Operation

The 3.5” QVGA screen on the Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS is bright and colorful with a very attractive user interface on a colorful blue background, consisting of 3D Icons which allow you to navigate through the various menus by merely touching them. Out of the box, the unit includes maps of the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and a total of 1.3 million points of interest. There is a little trick for downloading and importing up to 6 million POI, which is referred to elsewhere on this website. With over 6 million Points of Interest, the GPS is better than having an entire U.S phonebook in the palm of your hand. You can search for a coffee shop or pool hall by specific address, or by your current location. The basic operation for programming your route is quite simple. After purchasing this unit, I was able to bring it back to my car, open up the box, and within 5 minutes, have it guide me to the 18 mile destination back to my office – all without the help of any manuals. The GPS picked up my position very rapidly, though I found it a bit difficult, at first, to guide me out of the parking lot. This may not be a product quirk – it could just be me being a little dyslexic about finding directions while backing up in parking lots, but I’ve always had a little bit of trouble adjusting to my route when getting in the car the first time. There are various ways you can view your screen; you can set the top of your screen as either always facing North, or the heading of your current direction. I prefer having my heading on the top of the screen. On the bottom left corner of the screen is an arrow, pointing in the direction of your next turn, as well as the distance. You can also program the GPS to show a split screen when you’re approaching your turn with a larger, more detailed arrow. The name of your current street or highway is on the top middle of the screen, and the street of your next turn is located on the bottom center. I found the contrast and brightness of the screen to be sufficiently easy to read in bright sunlight, except for the compass direction. For some reason, Magellan chose a yellowish-orange color for the compass direction, and it is nearly impossible to read in bright sunlight without taking my eyes off the road and putting my face up to the screen. Also, I quickly learned the sacrifice of the portable smaller screens is that the textual information in general; compass directions, street names, mileage indicators require some squinting on my part to read.TIP: I found that positioning the screen slightly upwards, towards the roof of the car helps with the contrast in bright sun, making the compass and other text more legible.The Maestro 3225 gives you the choice of both 2D and 3D Road views. I found the detail of the roads, and points of interest to be very good, either way. The road of your chosen destination is shown in green, and opposing roads in read. You can zoom-in to within 300FT of your map view; Parks, Gas Stations, Coffee Shops, schools, stores, etc, etc, are all Points of Interests which can be turned on or off, depending on the level of detail you require. Also, you can program the GPS to change to a dark, back-lit screen for night-driving after the sun has gone down. Any shortcomings with the small screen are greatly aided by the turn-by-street name voice instructions. The female voice is accurate for the most part, and easy to understand, though at the loudest volume, the speaker output seems a bit shrill, and not always loud enough to hear. This, I suppose, is another drawback of small-size which equates to smaller speaker and sound. For the most part, the voice directions are very accurate, and even indicate which lane you need to be in for your highway exits. Truthfully, I could rely on the voice instructions, without necessarily needing to see the screen at all. I was impressed with the built-in intelligence included for entering addresses and destinations, which makes it quick and easy to enter new routes. For instance, when you are typing in a street address, the display will limit the numbers and/or street letters according to the zip code and city you chose. All routes are automatically saved as Previous Destinations, making it a snap to go back to where you want to go at any time. Also, all of your addresses and destinations can be manually saved and recalled in the unit’s Built-in Address Book.

Expansion / Upgrades

The Maestro 3225 provides an SD slot with unlimited capacity for storing maps and backing up your data, as well as a pretty good-sized 2GB for internal storage. Unfortunately, I do not see much from Magellan in the way of supporting add-on products for this particular model. The Maestro 3225 includes Magellan’s Vantage Point, which allows you to use your computer for viewing your GPS maps, routing destinations, entering addresses, etc. Personally, I found the mapping and graphics of the software to be crude, cumbersome to use, and not very useful. Google Earth is far better for this, especially if it links to your GPS. Aside from that, the ability to enter routes and addresses on your computer using Vantage Point can definitely save you lots of time. Magellan lists that the lithium ion battery is good for 3 hours of use, and I found that to be pretty accurate on road trips.

Conclusion

My final impression is that the Maestro 3225 is  a GPS that is just good enough to make me wish I had bought something better. Having used this for a few months, I’ve decided I’d gladly take a slightly larger 4.3” screen for easier viewing. My latest road trip has made me appreciate the need for other features found on more expensive units such as a speed limit indicator, construction information, and the support for additional upgrades in the way of maps, and points of interest. If the internal memory and unlimited SD Card expansion are any indication of the future upgrade potential of the Maestro 3225 Magellan GPS, then there is some hope that at least some of these shortcomings can be remedied. I highly recommend this unit to anyone looking for an effective, portable and low-cost Auto GPS that’s fun to use.

Final Rating Magellan Maestro 3225 GPS

      Portability: 92
      Cost: 90
      Features: 78
      Performance: 79
      Ease of Use: 88
      Support: 75

Overall: 84

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