User Review: Magellan eXplorist 610
Price Paid: $269
I have owned the Magellan Explorist 610 since August of this year. I must say the pros are many and the cons few.
The user interface is excellent, intuitive and easy to use. Touch screen sensitivity is just right. The three inch screen is bright and easy to read in sunlight. The ergonomic shape feels great in the hand. The build quality is very good with no squeaks, flex, or rattles.
There are only three external buttons: power button, camera button, and way point button. The camera and waypoint button can be configured for other functions if desired. The 4 gig internal memory and expandable micro SD port allow for huge data storage. The 610 comes with Magellan's Summit Series Topo and World series road maps. The topo map is detailed to 24K, and based on my experience is accurate, and even contains trail details. I have compared the map trails with my tracks and they correspond closely in most cases.
The user interface is the best thing about Magellan's Explorist series GPS units. The "4 corners" configuration will take you to every menu with just a few taps. Screen changes, map panning, and map data are all handled seamlessly.
I am impressed with how well this unit can handle massive data files, including satellite imagery with ease. The camera,video, and sound recording fucntions are basic but effective enough for most situations, however do not expect professional quality results.
Finally the once maligned VP software that Magellan supplies is much improved and it is free. I have used this software for years and it has improved by leaps and bounds.
It would also not be fair if I did not mention that Magellan has an excellent trade-in program if you have an old unit.
Battery life is not the best. The advertised 15 hours is more like 8 on alkalines. The only bug on the unit I have seen is the compass loses calibration when navigating to a point and stopping navigation. According to the Magellan Explorist forum this is being addressed.
The same round shape that feels so comfortable in your hand is down right awkward on the desk, and compound this with the wierdly angled USB port, you have a little aggravation to deal with, all in all still a minor annoyance (nitpicking a little here).
The sound quality of the voice recorder is usable but is way too sensitive to wind noise. Lastly, the topo maps are beautiful, but in some cases, the contour lines are difficult to see. There is not enough contrast.
I did a lot of research, I have owned two Garmins, and three Magellan handheld GPS units. I love my Garmin Vista HCx, and would have probably purchased another Garmin, but they could not match the Magellan Trade in program.
After I have used the Magellan, I do not regret my decision, and feel that I can trust this unit on my remote solo hikes just as much as I trust my Garmin and that is no small matter.
If you are in the market for extensive features, and capability with a very pleasant user interface, then Magellan is an excellent choice. IF all you need is a basic navigation tool, then save some money and go with lower end unit.
I highly recomend this handheld GPS.
Still using this gps receiver and it has proven to be tough, accurate and reliable. Recently used it on a new Uwharrie Trail section. I particulary enjoyed the camera and video feature on this trip. It also helped me find the trail head using the excellent maps provided.
The unit has no issues with crashing, consistently maintains satellite signal and accuracy. I have used this unit in all kinds of conditions, from freezing cold to heavy rain and it has always worked.