Saturday, 7 January 2012

Magellan eXplorist - neat little GPS handset

After the OutDoor show 2011 I was keen to get one of these to test. Thanks to my friends at the Outdoors Company I was able to get one of these for a few weeks to test.

The version I got was the GC (geocache) version, however I am going to ignore the geocaching functionality of this unit as it is not something that interests me in a GPS, but I will add that if you are into geocaching (I'm not) there are a lot of features on this GPS that you will enjoy!

Right so the unit; it's well built, and substantial feeling when you hold it. The loop on the bottom I mentioned in my first impression review below, but it is a very useful feature, and I immediately added a cord lanyard onto it to make sure I didn't lose it. But I really like the feel of the unit.

When you switch it on you are met by a nice looking menu screen that, (in contrast to the etrex 10) is in full colour. The unit is easy to understand, I like to gauge ease of use based on what I can pick up instantly without having to consult the manual, and in this case I was able to pick up everything I wanted from the set without needing the manual at all.

The unit acquired a fix quickly, and maintained this fix both in dense wooded areas and also inside buildings which is unusual for a GPS.

However when looking at this unit I had to compare it to the eTrex 10 that I was testing at the same time. The eTrex 10 uses both GLONASS and GPS - something that the Magellan does not do (the SiRFstarIII antenna in the GC isn't able to receive GLONASS, Magellan's GNSS receiver is their only current antennae that does this). Because of this the eTrex is quicker to get a fix, and maintains the fix to a higher accuracy for longer than the Magellan. Aside from this both units function in the same way, accept that the Magellan has a colour screen and the eTrex is monochrome.

To get back to the Magellan, I like it, it's a nice GPS unit and definitely worth considering if you are looking for a basic GPS that doesn't have OS mapping. The eTrex 10 is also worth looking at, but the Magellan has a few features including the geocaching functionality for which it was designed that might make it better than the eTrex 10.

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