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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EuroPro Toaster

Euro Pro Toaster
Euro Pro Toaster

Don’t get burned on this Toaster by EuroPro – Convection Toaster Oven Review

The Euro Pro Toaster is a convection toaster oven. How does it work and how does it compare to other toaster ovens?

Pros:

Portable size, good-looking, wide temp range, and convection cooking

Cons:

Horrible timer. Unable to get a good slice of toast without constant monitoring.

Results
I bought this EuroPro Toaster last Christmas, and have yet to successfully toast a slice of bread – other than, it’s a pretty good product. I was attracted to this toaster oven for it’s small size, versatility, and features. The toaster is well equipped for various cooking tasks: baking, roasting, grilling and toasting. Also, the EuroPro features a wide temperature range of up to 450 degrees fahrenheit, and a full 60 minute timer knob. The Convection toasting feature really works, and helps insure food is thoroughly and evenly roasted. With all of these nifty features, you would think toasting a simple slice of bread would be a no-brainer, for something that bills itself as a toaster oven. Not so! The analog timer knob makes it impossible to choose an accurate number of minutes for timing your toast. In the beginning, our toast would nearly always end up burnt or under-toasted. As a result, we are forced to constantly monitor the bread we are toasting to insure we get it right. So much for convenience. Wouldn’t it be nice, if I could choose a precise time and know that the toast will be completed exactly as I like it each and every time? I guess that’s too much to ask of the EuroPro. I’d rather go back to our old pop-up toaster for toast. I have made good use of this toaster for other things such as, roasting bell peppers, garlic, onions, hot dogs, ham, and other small cuts of meat. I would rate this much higher, if only I could toast a slice of bread!

Final Rating

Toaster by Europro

Features: 88
Quality: 75
Toasting Toast: 20
Price / Value: 70

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What is the Best Pet Dog

Best Pet Dog
Best Pet Dog

Best Pet Dog

Whoever heard of doing a review on your own dog or pet, right? Well, let’s face it, we all think we have the best pet dog in the world. Though our pets are lovable affectionate creatures, they do have their strengths and weaknesses, as well as features and attributes found on any other product. So, what is the best pet dog? What do you want in a pet dog and how do you define the best pet dog? It is important to know what you are getting before you invest in a pet dog. The best pet dog for some could be a raving nuisance for others. While not all versions of the same species of pet dogs are identical, they do share many similarities, such as the way Pit Bulls tend to chew up neighborhood pets and small children. That is certainly the type of information you’d like to know ahead of time.  Even the best pet dog will do that when they are puppies.So, at the risk of looking insensitive, I would like to do a review on my recently deceased, beloved Yellow Labrador, Ginger, considered by some to be the best pet dog. You’re probably asking me why did we choose a yellow lab?  Actually, Ginger was not a real yellow lab, she was what’s known as a fox-red, yellow lab. A real, yellow lab is pictured below:

Is a Yellow Lab the Best Pet Dog?

The answer is pretty obvious: Because everyone loves big, yellow dogs.  Let us dig right in with the essentials and critical product specs of this particular pet dog.

Name: Ginger (RIP: November 1994 – April 2008)

Animal: Dog

Species: Labrador

Color: Yellow

Sex: Female

Weight: About 80lbs most of her life

Arms and Legs: Four (2 in front, 2 in back)

Other: 1ea Wagging Tail, active tongue, functioning heart, liver, 2-kidneys, lungs, very loud bark and other essential organs.

Requirements: Water, 8oz Kirkland Canned moist Canine food, and 1 Cup of Dry, twice a day. Basically, there are 6 criteria that define the quality of a pet canine. Here is the list, along with a brief description or example of each:

Setup and Installation: Adaptation to your home and training

Protection and Security: Barking at anyone who comes near the house

Sports and Recreation: Frisbee, hunting, fishing, hiking…..football?

Love and Loyalty: Will choose you over his/her next meal

Maintenance and Costs: Will not destroy your house either through bankruptcy or the chewing up of your foundation.

Best Pet Dog Training
A Real Yellow Lab

Intelligence: If you want a rocket scientist, dogs are probably not for you, but fortunately, not many of us expect our pets to understand advanced science. Yellow Labs are much better suited for learning things like Stay, come, Sit, and lie down, over complex things like physics, which most people don’t understand, anyway.

Best Pet Dog Review

Now that we’ve established the criteria, let us begin the review. Installation of our dog, Ginger was a breeze. Like any new puppy, she messed in the house a few times, until finally learning that we preferred her to kill the grass in our lawn. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but we definitely have to knock a few points off her score for the acidity of her urine. Ginger refused to take walks as a puppy, but once she finally got the hang of it, her daily walks became a lifetime sentence.  In reality, it was only 14.5 years, but you get the idea – the dog HAD to HAVE a walk EVERY day. Is this a characteristic of a Yellow Lab, or was it just our dog, Ginger? We may never know unless we buy another yellow lab someday.

Setup and Installation: 82
As for making us feel protected and secure, this is where Ginger really shined. Though the fox-reddish, yellow color of a lovable family lab would give her away, most intruders wouldn’t get far enough to take a look. Her bark was as mean and as loud as the meanest and loudest, kid-chewing, Pit Bull anyone ever knew. Once we got over the abrupt, bone-startling bark ourselves, we really miss having her scare the hell out of friends and family at the front door.

Protection and Security: 97
Ginger was the best Frisbee Player -animal or human, that I ever knew. I often wished she could get an NFL contract as a professional receiver to help pay for her own veterinary care, and possibly help me get a really nice car.  She was that good.  Unfortunately, labs tend to have hip problems as they get older, and Ginger’s Frisbee playing days, as well as her dreams of an NFL football career were over at about age 9. While many retired athletes spend their leisure time hunting and fishing, Ginger’s tendency to get diarrhea from drinking from lakes, streams and puddles, sadly prevented her from enjoying a front page glamour shot on Field and Stream. All in all, though, Ginger was a fine, warm-blooded, canine athlete.

Sports and Recreation: 92
Some dogs (including many of the Yellow Labs that I’ve known),  will express their love by calmly sitting at your side. Ginger’s way was licking you, and pacing the floor obsessively. Though I don’t have ratings category for this, Ginger was not the calmest of dogs.  She expressed her great love for us by making herself a nervous wreck and demanding constant attention, in-turn, making me a nervous wreck, and wanting to kill her. Earlier, I defined loyalty as a dog that will sacrifice its next meal to stay by your side. Ginger, one time, left an entire bowl of food to stay by my wife’s bed side while she was not feeling well.  It’s this kind of loyalty that makes you regret wanting to kill the dog for making you so nervous all the time by loving you all the time.

Love and Loyalty: 90
Startup costs were a little excessive in the beginning, as we attempted to figure out why Ginger kept getting diarrhea. The vet finally diagnosed her as having Ghiardia. This is not to be confused with Ghiradelli Chocolates which would certainly produce similar symptoms in an 80lb dog, if she ate enough. It simply meant that she was getting diarrhea from drinking out of puddles, lakes and streams. Labs are meant to enjoy the great outdoors, but Ginger simply was not meant to ‘rough-it’. She would have to be confined to dirtying up our carpet and making spots on the backyard lawn.

Maintenance and Costs: 82
While Ginger would obviously score very high on the wunderlik test, it probably would not be on account of her intelligence. Ginger, may have not been the smartest pup in the kennel, but she had a keen stubbornness that could sometimes be confused for intelligence. Ginger was more of a senser than a thinker. She had great dog instincts, and could fetch a toy hidden in the house, simply by smelling her way to find it. Ginger was very good at thinking with her nose.  Not, exactly a way to get a masters degree in science, but if that’s what you really wanted, wouldn’t you have looked at a poodle?

Intelligence: 72
Objectively and mathematically speaking, Ginger’s overall score averages out to an 86.6. But how can we be objective and mathematical about a living, breathing companion that loves you so much she makes you want to kill her? Quite simply, we can’t. There are qualities about pets like these, which we simply cannot quantify with numbers and ratings. A few years ago, my wife met the parent of a 3 or 4 year old girl who got to know Ginger on her many walks. The little girl was frowning, despite the fact that her parents had just given her a cute, little puppy. She said she didn’t want a little dog – she wanted a ‘big, yellow dog. Insensitive parents! How can they not know and understand what their child really wants?

  • Friendliness: 100
  • Companionship: 100
  • Intelligence: 70
  • Obedience: 85
  • Loyalty: 100
  • Maintenance: 70
  • Security: 95
  • Independence: 6
  • Value: 90
  • Overall: 80
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Is the Hyundai Veracruz the Best SUV Under $30,000?

Hyundai Veracruz
Hyundai Veracruz

After driving Minivans for the last 12 years, why get an SUV? Well, mainly because I am a 47 year old man who’s sick of looking like a soccer mom hauling an unruly gang of daycare children. But, why else? One, they are hip and trendier than mini-vans. Two, they can get you up the steep icy cul-de-sac on a snowy, winter day. That was enough incentive for me anyway, when I finally traded in our family’s Chevrolet Venture Minivan on a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. I simply needed an all-wheel drive vehicle that would be sure to get us up our very steep street on those rare winter days when the snow is deep, unplowed and impassable. Who owns a Hyundai Veracruz? You may not find many Hyundai Veracruz reviews,  but you will find plenty of satisfied owners. I predict that Hyundai Veracruz owners are going to be an extremely satisfied group of SUV owners for years to come. When you move into an SUV you get the all wheel drive and trendier looks, but you do give up few things over a minivan: Cash, Gas and Seats. The one thing I did not want to compromise was the 7 or 8 person seating capacity of our minivan. The Veracruz will accommodate 7-passengers, yet is not monstrously huge on the inside or outside. It is a nice looking vehicle and is available in three trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited Due to Hyundai’s leasing deal at the time, I was able to get into the 2008 SE at a price that was lower than the GLS, base model. The SE adds 18” tires (17” On GLS), Power Drivers Seat and Leather Wrapped steering wheel. For 3 – 5 Grand more, the Limited will give you Leather, Navigator, GPS, and just about every other luxury found on pricier Lexus’s, BMWs, etc.
Besides having the best new-car smell I’ve ever experienced in a new car, there are a few other reasons I highly recommend this vehicle: The Veracruz seats 7 passengers very comfortably. There are a couple of nifty third-row seats that fold neatly down into the floor, when not in use, allowing plenty of cargo room when only 4 passengers are seated. The Veracruz SE is equipped with just about everything you could possibly need or want: Cruise Control, Quality, 6-Speaker CD Stereo with XM, trip computer, programmable garage door opener with home link, built in audio control in steering wheel, fully-powered driver’s seat, and very slick compartment inside the console that can be used as a cooler. Also, there are plenty of cupholders and a number of other nooks and crannies for storage. There is not just one, but two sunglasses compartments just above the rearview mirror. (Very handy, my wife and I use them both) My 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE priced out at about $31,000, which is $6,000 more than the Venture Minivan I traded in for it. Despite the heftier price tag, I actually saved on Auto Insurance due to the outstanding safety features Hyundai has made standard on the Veracruz: Front Air Bags, and dual side air curtains in both rows, Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Front and Rear Crumple Zones, hood buckling creases and safety stops, body reinforcements and anti-theft engine immobilization, just to name a few of the more prominent ones. If the safety features are not enough, sitting in the Veracruz and driving it for the first time will assure you of its stability and safety. It is a very solid and robust vehicle, and the best part of all is the how comfortable it is to drive. The 3800L 24-Valve V6 engine is not going to snap your head back, but it gives you ample power, even with a full load of passengers. The one thing that all family members and friends have commented on when sitting in the Veracruz for their first time is how quiet it is. It is really hard to tell the engine is running at stop lights. When accelerating from a stop the engine is very subdued, but responsive. For a vehicle this size, the steering and handling is remarkable. It really feels as though you are driving a much smaller vehicle. One nice feature that I find comes in handy with full passenger loads is the SHIFTRONIC shift setting, which gives you the flexibility of a manual transmission, when you need a little more power.Visibility is excellent, and the turning radius makes those illegal u-turns a breeze!It is a very nimble, sporty ride for an SUV of this size.I acquired this Veracruz right about the time gas prices started going through the sky, and though the vehicle is rated 15/22 MPG on the sticker, I was initially getting closer to 13 and 20. It seemed to me that right at about 3,000 miles, just after my first oil change, my fuel economy improved significantly. My wife is getting about 16MPG in stop and go city commuting, and I was able to get about 22 in mostly highway commuting the other day.Rave reviews and favorable comparisons to the similar Lexus SUVs encouraged me to take a look at the Hyundai. As the scores indicate, I am not at all disappointed I was led in the direction of a Hyundai Veracruz SE.

Final Ratings

  • Performance: 85
  • Steering and handling: 93
  • Ride and Comfort: 93
  • Features and Ammenities: 92
  • Safety: 95
  • Cargo Room: 86
  • Fuel economy: 80
  • Value: 93
  • New-Car Smell: 98
  • Overall: 90
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Online Eyeglasses

Have you thought about buying Online Eye Glasses? If you’re looking for Cheap Eye Glasses, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Online Glasses Frames
online eye glasses

Have you recently gotten an updated eyeglass prescription, only to pop a blood vein in your eyeballs when you learned what those new eye glasses were going to cost? A good pair of eye glasses with progressive lenses, scratch-resistant, anti-reflective coating,  and contemporary eye glass frames can run you $400 or more at some of the various retailers! If this isn’t shocking enough, wait until you see what these same pair of glasses are going to cost with  Designer Eye Glass Frames!

How to Buy Expensive Prescription Eye Glasses

Just a decent pair of eyeglass frames alone is over $100! Would if you could buy your prescription eye glasses online just  like everything else nowadays and save a bundle of money?  Well, you can. Your first concern is probably wondering how you can get the right size, fit and prescription?  No Problem.

How to Buy Cheap Eye Glasses

There are three very simple things you will need to have in order to fulfill an online eye glasses order:

  • Your eye glasses Prescription (You can buy Non Prescription Eye Glasses Too!)
(If you’ve just had an eye optometrist appointment, you should have this.)

  • Your Pupil Distance Measurement
Using a metric ruler, simply measure the distance in millimeters between the center of both pupils. The number is usually around 58 – 70mm.

  • Your old eye glasses for size measurement comparison.
Your old pair of eyeglasses should serve as a rule of thumb for knowing the approximate size of frame that fits well with your face.

Armed with the information above, you will be able to order a nice pair of stylish eye glasses for as low as $13.00!. I paid $64.00 for mine due to the frame style and progressive lenses.
I actually ordered from a couple of different retailers,  but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a few of them. Here they are:

  • Zenni Optical
  • Goggles 4U
  • $39.00 Glasses Online
  • Frames Direct

Frames Direct actually has an excellent try-on tool which allows you to upload a photo of yourself and try the glasses on. I found this to be a very useful way to determine your basic size and fit: They have very nice Eyeglasses Frames, too!

Who Is the Best Online Eye Glasses Retailer?

I have actually purchased from a couple of the retailers above: Zenni and Goggles 4U. Honestly, I cannot recommend one over the other. The service was excellent, and quality every bit as good as what I am accustomed getting from the local prescription eye glasses retailers.  Each of them have their own unique advantages, and Frame Styles,  so some may be better suited for you depending on your preferences and needs.  For frequent eye glasses wearers, I recommend buying two pairs; one as sunglasses to keep in the car, and one for everyday use.  Chances are,  you will have paid half of what you paid for just one pair from your local eyeglasses retailer.  Because I do not have experience buying from each of the online eyeglasses retailers above, I cannot recommend one over the other.  What I can do, however, is recommend any of them over paying the exorbitant amounts of money at your local eyeglasses retailer.

Ratings for Online Eye Glasses

Ease of Use: 85
Selection: 88
Quality: 84
Service: 88
Value: 98
Overall: 88.6
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