Below is my Long Term Report for the Magellan eXplorist 710 GPS. The link to my HTML report is:
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">> During the past two months I took the Magellan eXplorist 710 with me almost everywhere I traveled. As it relates to this test series, I used it on three backpacking trips and four day hikes for a total of twelve days. The weather during this period was unseasonably warm with daytime temperatures twice reaching 60 F (15.5 C). Consequently it was muddy both on and off trail. The terrain I crossed varied from rolling hills to flat paths and creek beds.
1. My first trip was to Devil's River in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I hiked 14.2 miles (22 km) during this three day adventure, mainly on established trails. Temperatures were in the upper 20's to low 30's F (-2 to 3 C) with traces of snow still on the ground from earlier in the week.
2. My second trip was to Brown County State Park. Daytime temperatures during this three day backpacking trip ranged from 28 F (-2 C) to 34 F (-7 C), with nighttime temperatures around 22 F (-5 C). The weather was cloudy with light winds and intermittent showers. The terrain was hilly and trails were slippery and quite muddy. I hiked 12 miles (19 km) over the course of this trip. Elevations ranged from 530 ft (161 m) to 720 ft (219 m).
3. My third trip was near the town of Oldenburg in southeastern Indiana. During this two day outing I mainly hiked off-trail through woods and farmland several miles outside of town. I covered 9.5 miles (15.28 km) across moderately hilly terrain while temperatures ranged from 39 F to 50 F (4 to 10 C).
4. All of my other trips were day hikes at local parks in Central Indiana including Cool Creek Park, Koteewi Park and McGregor Park. The distances I covered varied from 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to 13.1 miles (12 km). Weather conditions during these trips were generally pleasant with mild winds and sunny skies.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2">> During the past 4 months of testing I upgraded the eXplorist firmware twice and the VantagePoint PC software once. Installing new updates was quick and painless. On all three occasions, I was notified by a pop-up menu as soon as the updates were available for download. As mentioned in my Field Report, I started experiencing problems with VantagePoint a few days before the end of that test period. As a follow-up to this, I spoke twice with a customer service rep who investigated the issue. He was courteous and knowledgeable but unfortunately the solution he provided only worked temporarily and VantagePoint continues to shut down as soon as I connect the GPS to my PC. I suspect that a corrupt file is causing the problem but I am unsure at this time how to resolve the issue.
Regarding the eXplorist 710, its Four Corners menu screens have continued to exceed my expectations. They are easy to navigate and provide any information I need within a few clicks. I also remain impressed with how good the receiver is at holding onto a satellite signal once it has established its connection. I have had no problems with satellite reception even when backpacking through forests or traveling in my car.
While backpacking in Wisconsin, I was shocked that I only got 3-4 hours of use from the eXplorist before the batteries went dead. Knowing I had fully charged them before leaving home, I figured I had mistakenly put the GPS in 'suspend' mode the night before instead of powering down, like I normally do. Suspend mode can drain the batteries after several hours because it continues to log track information even though the screen is turned off. However, the next two times I used the GPS, I had similarly low battery life. At this point I suspected the rechargeable batteries were failing prematurely and sure enough, after installing a fresh set of batteries, I was able to get eight hours of use out of them.
I really enjoyed using the Magellan eXplorist 710 during the past four months of testing. It is a rugged GPS with lots of very nice features as detailed in my report. Once powered up, it locks quickly onto its satellites and provides reliable data and good positional accuracy. In addition, the eXplorist 710 has a straight forward, easy-to-use interface that makes navigating with it a pleasure.
Despite ongoing difficulties with the VantagePoint PC software, I am confident that Mitac will help me resolve this problem. The factory provided good customer support when I spoke with them and they seem to regularly update their software with bug fixes and new feature releases. I look forward to being able to utilize this software to its fullest extent.
Strong GPS lock
Accurate position location
VantagePoint software shuts down when GPS is connected
This concludes my Long Term Report and this test series for the Magellan eXplorist 710. Thanks to Mitac International Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this receiver.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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