Below is my Initial Report for the Magellan eXplorist 710 GPS. The link to my HTML report is: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IR%20-%20Magellan%20eXplorist%20710%20GPS%20-%20Brian%20Hartman/
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Mitac International Corporation <<IMAGE 1>>
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.magellangps.com"
MSRP: US $549.00
Listed Weight: 6.87 oz (195 g)
Measured Weight: 7.1 oz (201 g)
Dimensions: 2.57" (65.3 mm) x 5.04" (128 mm) x 1.45" (36.8 mm)
Magellan describes the eXplorist 710 as a premium, rugged, handheld GPS receiver with outdoor recreation maps and driving directions to navigate from doorstep to summit. It is Magellan's top-of-the-line handheld GPS for outdoor exploring. It sports a 3 inch (7.62 cm) color touchscreen, 3.2 mega-pixel digital camera, 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter, speaker, microphone and micro-SD slot for memory expansion.
Battery Type: 2AA
Battery Life: 16 Hours
3 inch (76.2 mm) sunlight readable touch screen
WQVGA Color Display
Internal Memory 8 GB
3.2 mega-pixel camera with auto focus
Preloaded City Series USA Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Preloaded Summit Series USA Topographic Maps
Preloaded Maps World Edition
3-Axis Electronic Compass
Hunt & Fish Calendar
Sun & Moon Information
Accepts GPX Files
500 Legs Per Route
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The eXplorist 710 came with a quick start guide that explained the most commonly used functions of the GPS. A detailed manual can be viewed online or downloaded from their website.
INITIAL IMPRESSION AND HARDWARE OVERVIEW
After several days of anticipation, the Magellan eXplorist 710 arrived at my house last Monday afternoon. I had checked our front doorstep each evening the previous week, but with the number of after-school activities going on with our kids this particular day I almost forgot to look outside. I remembered just before pulling out of our driveway and hurried back to the front of the house where there sat a small cardboard box. I spent the next few hours playing with it while waiting for dance, cross country, soccer practice and scouts to end.
The eXplorist 710 was packaged neatly in its retail box along with a USB cable, quick start guide, 30 day premium membership to Geocaching.com and two AA Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. Upon holding the GPS I was immediately struck by its solid feel. The front of the GPS is enveloped in a rubber, impact resistant casing that should protect the display screen from drops etc. while the overall design and weight of the GPS unit gave the appearance of being very rugged and well built. Based on my initial observations, I expect it to hold up well during field testing.
Having read the user manual on Magellan's website a few days prior, I tossed aside the quick start guide and installed the batteries. The battery compartment is accessed by raising the arm of the battery door lock on the back of the GPS, and turning it 90 degrees counterclockwise. According to Magellan the eXplorist 710 can use lithium, alkaline or rechargeable batteries and the lithium will provide approximately 16 hours of normal use. Being waterproof, a rubber seal was visible when I opened the battery door to install the batteries. The specifications say that this receiver can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. I have no plans to verify this. A micro SD card slot is located behind the battery compartment. This slot can accommodate micro SD and micro SDHC cards with up to 32 gigabytes of memory. However a micro SD card is not required to operate this unit as the eXplorist 710 comes with 3GB of on-board user
memory. The micro SD card can be used to store additional maps and/ or to save and share tracks, waypoints, routes etc with someone else. Also visible on the back of the unit is the camera lens, speaker, a rubber flap which conceals the mini USB port, a handle for attaching a lanyard, and a metal slot which can be used to mount the GPS to one of several accessory brackets. In addition, there is a small microphone on the front of the unit. With its on-board camera, microphone and speaker the eXplorist 710 can take photos, video and voice recordings and then attach them to a geocache to share with others. The digital camera has autofocus and 3.2 megapixels while video is displayed with resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The front of the GPS has a very clean appearance as it utilizes the touch screen for almost all interactions except powering up the receiver. The power button is located on the top of the receiver. In addition, there are two
hard buttons located on the left side of the receiver which duplicate touchscreen controls. These buttons are setup by default to manage the "mark waypoint" and "camera" functions; however, they can be customized to perform other functions.
<<IMAGE 2 = "4 CORNERS MENU">> The eXplorist 710 comes preloaded with worldwide base maps, topographic maps, and detailed city maps. The World Edition maps include a complete road network in United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and major roads throughout the rest of the world. These maps also display water features, urban and rural land use with shaded relief background. The Summit Series topographic maps include contour lines, land use areas, trails, waterways, and points of interest and are based on 1:24,000 scale source maps. The City Series USA maps provide turn-by-turn directions to navigate through city streets and roadways along with search functions for finding a variety of locations, including address book entries, waypoints, geocaches, or previous destinations.
The default screen that loads on power-up is the map screen. From here all of the features and functions of this receiver can be accessed by simply tapping the center of the screen to reveal what Magellan describes as their new Four Corners Menu. The Four Corners Menu is simply four icons which are positioned in the four corners of the map screen. These icons represent the Main Menu, Dashboard, One Touch Menu and the Options Menu. When touched, they provide quick access to all of the features and functions of this unit. In the upper left hand corner is the Dashboard icon. This icon opens a menu page that allows you to select one of the nine customizable displays such as a conventional compass display, a "Road" display that gives a 3D display of the road, a rotating strip-style compass, a satellite display, a barometer display, an altimeter display, satellite, a display filled with data fields only, and a profile display. Tapping the upper right
icon in the Four Corners Menu brings up the OneTouch menu. This menu provides easy access to destinations, searches or tools that you define. There are total of twelve icons on this screen. Nine of these icons are assignable while the other three are predefined as home, camp and car. The Options Menu is in the lower right corner. It provides quick access to the most commonly used functions associated with the screen that is currently displayed. This menu allows you to do things like calibrate the compass, reset the trip odometer, add waypoints, save a track, backtrack etc. Finally, the main menu is in the lower left corner. This menu provides access to waypoints, tracks, geocaches, maps, routes, POIs etc.
<<IMAGE 3 = "MAIN MENU">><<IMAGE 4 = "DASHBOARD">><<IMAGE 5 = "ONE TOUCH MENU">><<IMAGE 6 = "OPTIONS MENU">><<IMAGE 7 = "COMPASS MENU">>
In addition to the features mentioned above, the eXplorist 710 is set up for paperless geocaching. When using this function, you can download and view more than 20 unique characteristics of each geocache as well as view, search and filter caches on the device. Details that are stored in the 710's memory include name, location, description, size, difficulty, terrain, hint, and recent logs created by other geocachers. The 710's GPS receiver supports GPX file format and connects to a PC as an external drive. Files can be saved to and from the receiver and shared with online communities.
TRYING IT OUT
While preparing my initial report I've used the eXplorist 710 in a variety of settings to familiarize myself with its capabilities. These included walking around our neighborhood, biking in the community, driving around town and hiking through our local park. It has been easy to find most of the functions I searched for and they were typically accessed with no more than a few taps on the screen. In this regard I have found the Four Corners Menu to be simple to use and intuitive. One more thing I should mention is that so far the eXplorist 710 has been fairly quick to power up, averaging between 30-45 seconds before it is ready to use. Whether inside, outside, in my car or on my bike in our local park the receiver has gotten good satellite reception.
Yesterday I downloaded Magellan's VantagePoint and Communicator software packages to my computer. According to Magellan, you can use VantagePoint to view and search the preinstalled software maps to create waypoints and routes and then download them to the eXplorist 710. It also allows you to upload tracks, waypoints, and multimedia files from the GPS receiver. Communicator is a software driver that enables data transfer from Geocaching.com website to the eXplorist GPS via the mini USB cable. Once the software was installed I updated the receiver to the latest software version, which was V6.06. The update took approximately 10 minutes and went seamlessly. Next I cycled power on the receiver to complete the install. Once back up and running, I noticed a few changes within the receiver's user interface. Previously, several of the menus required scrolling with a thin slider bar in order to access additional features that did not all fit on
the same page. It appears that Magellan added up and down arrows at the bottom of these menus in the new software update. This was a great addition as I found it difficult during my first few days of testing to scroll up and down the slider bar with my finger. Since loading the software I have downloaded several geocaches off Geocaching.com's website and found this process to be straightforward and easy to accomplish. My kids and I will be heading out this afternoon to attempt finding some of those geocaches and I will report back on our success as well as that of the eXplorist 710.
As part of my Field testing I plan to check the accuracy of the receiver for both position and elevation. I am also planning to spend more time with VantagePoint to further test its communications interface to the GPS for uploading and downloading data.
My initial impressions of the eXplorist 710 have been very favorable. It feels solid and well built and it has several unique and innovative features which will undoubtedly come in handy on the trail.
This concludes my Initial Report. Thanks to Mitac International Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this GPS receiver.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
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