Now here's a contest: A few months back we reviewed the Garmin nüvi 5000 (about $800), a portable navigator with a 5.2-inch screen, the largest we’ve tested. And now we’ve had a chance to drive with a would-be challenger, the Magellan Maestro 5310, which offers a 5-inch display. While both devices make the most of the extra real estate—making them especially attractive to RV drivers—the Garmin device costs $300 more. If you can live without bells and whistles, such as a built-in media player, Bluetooth, and an FM transmitter, the Maestro 5310 is a sound choice.
Design and Interface
The Maestro 5310 has an attractive black and silver shell, and a thin profile (0.8 inches) for its size. Its bulky window mount, however, creates a package that isn’t going to fit easily into any glove compartment. You’ll find the standard Maestro interface on the 5310, which is a good thing. The straightforward menu options are easy for anyone to master.
Entering an address or planning a multi-point trip is simple, and the device returns a route in just a few seconds. Magellan’s map view is a little more basic than most, a fact that’s highlighted when viewed on a larger screen. It’s easy to follow, though, with the current route highlighted in vivid lime green. Rerouting was also slow, at a poky 7 seconds. Perhaps that big screen slows the processor.
Rather than fill the display with extra detail, Magellan has simply made the font sizes and images larger, something that Garmin did as well. Also like Garmin, Magellan got maps right a long time ago, and both 2D and 3D maps on the Maestro 5310 were equally good, offering colorful, clean views and clearly displayed information.
Making the Most of Those 5 Inches
If you want to put that big screen to use, you can turn on the Auto TrueView and SplitView options in the Map settings, but we’d advise against it. When selected, half of the screen shows a turn preview about half a mile in advance. But the information isn’t always accurate (while making a left onto Montgomery St. in Jersey City, the TrueView showed a picture with extraneous roads that didn’t match what we saw); with the latter option, the split view disappears well before you actually make the turn, so it’s not there when you actually need it.
The Maestro 5310 pronounces street names, but it announces upcoming streets far in advance of the actual turn. When you actually near the intersection, you instead hear two chimes. Unfortunately, that’s when you’d most like to hear the street name for confirmation.
Points of Interest and Traffic
Searching the 6 million–POI database is easy, but it can be time-consuming depending on how you do it. Browsing by category is quick, but searching for a specific store can take a long time. We searched for Synergy, a fitness club, and the search took well over a minute. However, when we browsed the health club section of the POIs, we found it in seconds. The Maestro 5310 is also loaded with AAA TourBook information, helping AAA members find restaurants and attractions that offer discounts.
The Maestro 5310 also comes with three months of free TMC traffic (the package includes a wire antenna), SmartDetour, which routes users around sudden traffic jams, and an internal battery—something the Garmin nüvi 5000 lacks.
Magellan Maestro 5310 Verdict
The only frills with the Magellan Maestro 5310 are its 5-inch screen and traffic antenna; take them away, and it’s the same as the 3.5-inch, $199 Maestro 3210. While we prefer the specs of the Garmin nüvi 5000, its price is definitely a deterrent; however, that $800 comes with multimedia features and the ability to connect to a rearview camera. The 5310 is the better choice for budget-minded buyers who want a large display and aren’t concerned with extras.