Magellan Triton 2000

Like its smallerc cousin, the Triton 2000 uses free download proprietary VantagePoint software to transfer route data from PC to GPS. You can use a scroll wheel or tiny stylus (spares supplied) to navigate through menus and, while both work well, we’re not sure about the stylus in a gale or pouring rain. Full marks for the ‘one press’ buttons for “Go To” and “Mark”, though. Has a stack of features, including a camera, image viewer and voice recorder, as well as an electronic compass. As a navigation aid it worked well, picking up a fix quickly and showing the way ahead on a large clear screen via a number of different pages. Topo mapping can be installed using an SD card and will shortly be available for the UK. It’s big and very heavy, though, and also pricey. 

VITAL STATS
Size: 14.6 x 6.4 x 2.9cm
Weight: 224g (including batteries)
Screen: 6.86cm colour, 320 x 240 pixels
Battery life: 10 hours on two AAs
Routes/waypoints: 40 routes/2,000 waypoints
Works with: All mapping software that’s compatible with Magellan’s VantagePoint content manager, including Memory-Map; WAAS/EGNOS-enabled
Contact: 00800 62435526, www.magellangps.com
Verdict: At a whopping £450 this has a lot to live up to and as a GPS specifically for walking it has a little way to go. A lovely gadget nonetheless.

Magellan Triton 300 2008

Links to a PC via Magellan’s free download VantagePoint software but you need to import your route from Memory-Map into VantagePoint before downloading it. Tracklogs are uploaded in the same way. Navigating around the menus is easy enough with positive clicks as you scroll through the options, but the main control is fiddly to use with gloves on. Easy to read, thanks to a brightly backlit colour screen. To follow a route, a “heading marker” (direction arrow) needs to be lined up with a small icon depicting the next waypoint. This works well. There’s no slot for a memory card, but it does have 64mb of storage – enough for some topographical map coverage. Very quick to get a fix.

VITAL STATS
Size: 11.8 x 5.5 x 3.1cm
Weight: 212g (including batteries)
Screen: 5.6cm colour, 320 x 240 pixels
Battery life: 10 hours on two AAs
Routes/waypoints: 20 routes/500 waypoints
Works with: All mapping software that’s compatible with Magellan’s VantagePoint content manager, including Memory-Map; WAAS/EGNOS-enabled
Contact: 00800 62435526, www.magellangps.com
Verdict: A lovely budget-end GPS unit that does an excellent job.

Magellan Triton 2000 2008

The Magellan Triton 2000 is the first GPS receiver that allows you to take photos, and record and play audio files that can be attached to waypoints, which is a great way to ‘diarise’ your walk.
Triton is also the first hand-held GPS to offer compatibility with National Geographic TOPO US State series and US Weekend Explorer 3D maps series. These highly detailed nationwide topographic maps, based on the USGS 1:24,000 series, are superb quality. This sounds great – until you realise you are stuck with rather dull, grey spaces when you head to the mountains because there are no contour-quality maps of the UK available for the Triton.
I took the Magellan Triton 2000out in the Lakes and found it reasonably easy to use. Most importantly of all I could turn it on and get basic operation rapidly. The bright screen flashed into life and proudly displayed my location as a small triangle on a grey screen with a road a few kilometres to the north, plus a grid reference of course.
Like most GPS receivers, reading the screen in the sun is not easy, but at least the navigation screens use large type to make it as simple as possible. I also particularly liked the ESC (escape) key at the bottom
as it allowed me to easily backtrack through the function screens when I got lost within the software.
More in-depth operation requires the use of a plastic stylus that is located in the plastic casing. I could tap the screen and zoom through features at pace, but it would be easily lost – and if such an accessory is going to be needed in a blizzard I’d want something far larger and perhaps attached by cord to the GPS housing.
There is an electronic magnetic compass, which means magnetic north is clearly indicated – important for pointing you in the right direction from the summit.
The big plastic loop on the top looks useful for hooking the unit to a rucksack, but it was too small to fit onto my standard climbing karabiners. However, to be fair I could fit a smaller accessory ‘not for climbing’ karabiner through this loop.
The basic functions work well, and you have the added benefit of a camera, a voice recorder and an integrated flashlight. However, what Trail readers really need is OS-quality mapping on screen, which is available for the US market and on other GPS receivers like SatMap and Garmin Topo in the UK. Magellan say that UK OS-style mapping will be launched in a couple of months so keep your eyes on Trail. But, until OS-quality mapping appears on screen, brands can include as many gimmicks as they like, but UK hill-walkers will still be better off with a more functional GPS receiver. 

Price £450
Sizes 14.6x6.4x2.9cm
Display 6x4.3cm, colour, 320x240 pixels
Power 2 x AA batteries4504
Battery life 10 hours
Computer interface USB port
Number of stored map routes 40
Number of stored waypoints 2,000
Weight 224g (including batteries)
Made in Philippines
Stockist details – tel. 00800 6243 5526; www.magellangps.com
Verdict
The Magellan Triton 2000 is easy to use; built-in 2 megapixel camera; built-in torch; colour screen; voice recorder; waterproof; electronic magnetic compass. But drawbacks are price; size; lack of OS-quality mapping; stylus required for operation of screen menus. Overall, it’s bursting with extra features, but lacking more useful basic functionality like OS-quality mapping and a stylus that you cannot lose.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2008




Magellan eXplorist 500

This GPS unit from Magellan is very user-friendly, with a decent-sized screen and clear colour display. Simple “Mark and Find” buttons make basic functions easy, although buttons are very small and close together. Downloading routes from a PC is trickier than on some other units. It’s small, neat, light, robust and very comfy in the hand. Following routes on its bright, colourful display is very easy, but the information given by the “Tracklog” page is limited. Battery life is good, but it doesn’t use AAs, so you need to carry a spare or have access to a regular power supply. A magnetic compass and barometric pressure altimeter would be good for this price, too.

Verdict: Lovely to use and small and light enough to carry anywhere. Let down by its slightly clunky PC compatibility and lack of a magnetic compass and barometric pressure altimeter.

Size: 11.9x5.3x3.3cm

Weight: 165g

Screen: 2.25in diagonal full colour backlit

Battery life: 17 hours rechargeable Li-ion 1300MAH

Works with: Memory-Map and Anquet. WAAS/EGNOS-enabled

Routes/waypoints: Unlimited

Contact: 01539 733842; www.magellangps.com


Magellan eXplorist 210

This neat little GPS unit from Magellan has a decent-sized black and white screen and a brightness switch. The buttons are very small and data transfer can be fiddly, but actual navigation through the pages is easy and the menus are reasonably intuitive. It will connect to a PC, via a USB cable, but not as easily as some. The easy “Mark and Find” functions are good, and inputting routes manually is fairly simple. The folder system makes finding stored info easy, and the compass page is easy to follow when hunting for waypoints. It is quick to give a co-ordinate and just as accurate as more expensive units.

Verdict: A light, well-featured option that, despite the fiddly data transfer, performs well.

Size: 11.9x5.3x3.3cm

Weight: 175g

Screen: 4.6x3.6cm greyscale

Battery life: 18 hours on two AAs

Works with: Memory-Map and Anquet. WAAS/EGNOS-enabled

Routes/waypoints: 50 routes/250 waypoints per route

Contact: 01539 733842; www.magellangps.com


Magellan eXplorist 600

This GPS unit from Magellan requires routes to be downloaded firstly by converting them to the correct format on your PC, then saving them to the unit, which is only recognized by your PC as a removable drive – clunky compared to the Garmin system, but a lot more straightforward than some others. For inputting waypoints or routes by hand, it’s fairly easy, with a very positive joystick action. The ‘Mark’ and ‘Go To’ buttons are easy to use, but the menus aren’t particularly intuitive. On the hill it loses out only because the rechargeable Li-ion battery pack can’t be changed like AA batteries –pretty important on longer trips. Also, its 3D ‘Road’ page, which is still a useful screen, could be a bit clearer, as it uses a light yellow line. It’s nice and light though, and feels great in the hand. The large colour screen is a pleasure to follow.

Verdict: The eXplorist 600 is still a superb GPS unit that has all the features you need, except changeable batteries. However, it needs better PC connections.

Size: 11.9x5.6x3.3cm

Weight: 153g

Screen: 4.3x3.6cm 16 colour transflective

Battery life: Up to 17 hours on Li-ion battery pack

Works with: Most software including Memory-Map and Anquet. WAAS/EGNOS-enabled

Routes/waypoints: 20 routes/500 waypoints

Contact: 00800 62435526; www.magellangps.com