Open main menu

Magellan eXplorist 610

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Magellan eXplorist 610 handheld gps receiver

I have owned the Magellan Explorist 610 since August of this year. I must say the pros are many and the cons few.


  • easy to use interface
  • big screen
  • rugged
  • dependable


  • short battery life


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. 

The Cons:

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.  

The Verdict

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.

UPDATE 12/13:

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. 

UPDATE 10/2015

Still using this GPS receiver. No issues, and still fully functional, accurate, and reliable. 

UPDATE 6/2016

While in Key West this spring, I was riding a rental bike hit a bump and my Magellan 610 flew out and hit the curb hard. Result: not affected at all. While it has a few scratches, it still works as good as when it was new!

UPDATE 9/2017

A bit dinged up but still working perfectly. I recently bought a new Garmin eTrex 30 because it is lighter, and battery life is longer, but the Magellan is much easier to use even though it is ancient by electronics standard.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $269

I love this GPS. The touch screen makes manuvering around easy, plus a built in camara for those quick photos while your geocaching. Nice size bright screen.


  • easy to use
  • bright display
  • built in camara, quick signal aquire time


  • standard batteries don't last too long

I won this in the contest on Trailspace. As soon as it arrived I plugged it into my laptop and loaded the local geocaches, and was off. The eXplorist 610 has a nice bright display. The touch screen is very responsive and easy to maneuver.

For those cachers out there that find cool containers the camara takes great photos. This GPS is quick at aquiring a signal when you power it on.

Source: received it as a sample, freebie, or prize (

Your Review

Where to Buy

Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.

You May Like


Price MSRP: $449.99
Historic Range: $349.95-$449.00
Reviewers Paid: $269.00
Product Details from Magellan »

Recently on Trailspace

Patagonia Light Farrier's Shirt Review

Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp 5-Pocket Pants Review