While there’s been a flurry of development from most brands of GPS receiver over recent years, Magellan has been notable for its lack of new products for the hill-walker. But after much anticipation the Magellan Explorist range has finally arrived, and first impressions are good.
There are three primary units in the range – the Explorist 510, 610 and 710 – plus a dedicated geocaching unit called the Explorist GC.
I managed to get my hands on the Magellan Explorist 610, which appears identical to the 510 and 710 except for the colour. But as with all GPS receivers it’s what’s under the bonnet that matters, and with the 610 you get an electronic compass and altimeter not provided in the 510. The 710 has the addition of turn-by-turn mapping for city use.
In use the Explorist 610 feels great and sits comfortably in the palm. Like many other brands Magellan has chosen to adopt a touch-sensitive screen and full colour Ordnance Survey mapping. But the first feature that struck me was the sensitivity of the receiver, as the unit pinpointed my position while I was at my computer indoors (most GPS receivers throw up bleeps and alerts that satellite reception is not good enough in my house). So the days of struggling to get a position fix near buildings and in forests is clearly over if you’re using this unit.
I found the operating system very intuitive, thanks to the use of clear icons and a simple layout of functions. You can create routes in-unit directly onto the OS mapping, and while a little fiddly due to the small screen, it is doable. But, like certain other brands, Magellan has also created an online route planning tool, which can be downloaded direct to your PC for easier, clearer access.
Many GPS receivers now feature a camera, but the Magellan Explorist 610 has a complete Media menu that not only includes the ability to take photos but also to record sound and shoot video.
Display 6.5x4cm colour touch-screen
Features waterproof to 1 metre; micro SD memory card slot; 3.2Mp camera; electronic compass; speaker and microphone; altimeter; OS mapping
Power 2 x AA batteries
Battery life 16 hours
Weight 226g including batteries
Made in China
Stockist details tel. (0116) 234 4600; www.burton-mccall.co.uk
An exciting new range of GPS receivers that are ideal for hill-walkers and place Magellan firmly back on the digital map.
by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2011