Very featured GPS, overkill for many
Last night I posted a scathing 1 star review of this unit. Today after spending more time with the unit I deleted that review and am posting a 5 star rating. I would prefer a 4.5 star rating as it does have one flaw I will talk about later.
The purpose in my opening paragraph and review title is to let prospective purchasers know this unit has so many features related to outdoor use that it's going to have a learning curve, possibly a steep one for those who may be purchasing their first GPS. I have owned 3 or 4 handhelds and a couple auto GPSes so I am not unfamiliar with how to use these things.
If you want a GPS for auto routing this is NOT it. It doesn't do auto routing at all (the 710 does). This unit is also massive overkill for geocaching. It has many nice features that are geocaching related, but there are much less expensive units that work wonderfully for geocaching.
In my opinion this is a GPS unit for the avid outdoor person. It's a unit so capable and feature rich you will have to spend hours (and probably read the online manual) to figure out not just how to use some of them, but even find them within the layers upon layers of menus. (part of my initial, 1 star review stated this GPS lacks the common compass screen. It has one, I just wasn't able to find it last night ;)
If you hike, bike, kayak, etc. and you want a GPS that will keep up with you then this is the GPS for you. The GPS chip in this unit is second to none. Out of the box it found my location almost instantly. I have not previously owned a handheld GPS that locked onto satellites instantly. My car GPS usually does, but not any previous handheld. It even maintains a satellite lock when I am in my garage with the door closed. Phenomenal.
Depending where you look battery life is claimed to be 15 or 16 or 18 hours under 'normal conditions'. I have found this to be somewhat true, but only when having the unit in suspend mode the majority of the time, dimming screen brightness to 40% (fine at night and most of the time during the day), setting the backlight to turn off after 1 minute and using lithium non rechargeable batteries. With Eneloop rechargeables I have found that even setting the battery type to rechargeable on the unit, the battery meter doesn't track the battery discharge properly. I think this setting is for the standard rechargeable that self discharge quickly, but have a different power curve. With the low discharge type the unit shows full power for around an hour, then half power for a couple hours then yellow (one step from red and then dead). It will remain powered for many more hours on yellow. It's disconcerting to see the batt meter turn yellow, but in this case it doesn't mean the battery is close to dead, more like 70% of the life is remaining. I have had my unit on with eneloops for 10 hours now and the meter remains yellow. Bottom line is lithium batteries are the best bet when you need max run time and don't want to carry extra batteries, but eneloops work fine for a full day outing assuming the unit is in suspend mode most of the time, otherwise carry an extra set.
The one flaw I find with this unit is that while the touchscreen is responsive and accurate navigating in the menus, it's finicky when it comes to scrolling around in the map. It's very easy to have it think I wanted to hit one of the 4 menus in the corners. It's possible to scroll fairly efficiently, but requires keeping the finger near dead center of the screen.
Great unit for hiking/geocaching
I've had this unit for a while now and am extremely pleased with it. I had been using an older SporTrak Pro for many years and was being lured towards upgrading to a Garmin because of the ability to download custom maps into them. That changed when I started using this unit - the topo map quality (and pre-loaded street maps, for that matter) are nothing short of impressive. The kicker for me was having the detailed trail maps of the state parks in my area which was what I had been looking for in a new unit.
The camera quality is good. Perfect for hiking/geocaching and taking pictures while on the go. It allows you to attach the picture to your tracks or a location/cache for easy reference later which make caching much easier when you need to take pictures to go along with you log.
The paperless caching is awesome, replacing the Palm that I had been using for the past 6 years. Having the full descriptions, hints, logs, etc. at your fingertips is great.
I've found the unit to be very accurate with little of the historic "Magellan boomerang" when approaching "Ground Zero".
The menu is easy to navigate and it allows you to customize your own short-cuts to your most frequently-used functions.
All in all, a GPS that I would highly recommend for anybody looking for a solid unit that has enhanced features.
First impressions vs Oregon 450t
I never got to use the Oregon much and just got this unit so I don't have much information to go as far as functionality goes. Sorry :)
I recently lost my Oregon 450t and decided to replace it with the eXplorist 610 mostly because of the included 1:24000 topo maps.
The included Summit Serier maps on the eXplorist are a huge improvement over the Garmin's 1:100k maps. The shaded relief is nice and they look much more like USGS maps with more detail. Since I got the unit(s) primarily for hiking this is a huge plus for me.
Initial quality: I would give the nod to the Oregon 450t. The alloy frame has a good feel vs the plastic on the eXplorist. In reality there's probably no difference in durability as far as materials go. The eXplorist does feel really solid and a giant leap above past Magellan eXplorists I've handled which had shoddy battery doors etc.
I had an eXplorist XL which was reliable and is still going (a family member has it) but lack of support for Vista and Windows 7 makes it tough on geocachers. Magellan's support in the past has been pretty sad. Let's hope the new owners improve support as much as they have build quality.
The touch screen is more responsive than the Garmin. It looks a good bit more crisp and clear than the Garmin and seems as readable in direct sunlight. I wish I had both units side by side to compare as this is a major concern with high res color displays.
The menu's seem better to me than the Garmin also. This is probably preference as different people expect different things in terms of layout but for me the Magellan has the better menu structure.
Camera quality is pretty much like cell phone pics. Don't expect great pics but they look acceptable taken in a well lit office and viewed on a LCD computer monitor. It does record video also which I didn't see mentioned in the literature.
I wish I could give the geocachers and avid hikers more inforamtion on ease of use for each scenario but I can't.
Love this for geocaching and others
OK, got this last week and used it for geocaching this weekend. It works great. It took me a little bit to update to the newest firmware, get the Vantage Point software and figure out the GPX download and import functions but it wasn't too much and reminded me of the first time I sat down with my smartphone. Anything new with such a complexity will have a learning curve.
This weekend we continued to use my android based Thunderbolt and we found throughout the day we were getting better and better at using the 610 and we are now able to use it exclusively. We like being able to program waypoints which is a pain with the smartphone.
Yes, this is probably more GPS than the normal geocacher will ever need; but, now that our kids are old enough to come along the wife and I are excited to return to the great outdoors and camp, hike, etc like we used to.
The biggest complaint most have is the touchscreen. I admit, it took a little bit to get the hang of how it interprets and responds to touch input but using the point of my finger rather than the flat (where the fingerprint is) really helps improve accuracy and responsiveness.
The second biggest complain people are mentioning in their reviews is the compass not staying calibrated. The newest firmware on magellangps.com fixes this issue. This last weekend our compass stayed calibrated almost all day even after a couple standbys and a full power cycle. We only had to do the figure 8 thing once in 8 hours after we walked through a concrete building that likely affected the sensitive instrumentation. (Hint, just look at the little compass icon on top and if it is red, do the figure 8 for a couple seconds and it should return to normal without having to dig out the compass calibration settings in the menu).
Many also are complaining that the 610 doesn't do driving directions. That is not true, the 510 can never do driving directions. The 610 just needs the City Series maps installed to do it. The 710 comes with both the Summit Series and the City Series maps already loaded but it costs over $200 more. Aside from the city maps, the only other real difference between the 610 and 710 is the 710 has 3Gb of internal storage to the 610's 1/2Gb. Since it only costs $10 for a 16Gb microSD card, it's a moot point. The City Series maps can be purchased from Magellan for only $99; but, if you register your new 610 they will send you a coupon code for 10% off your next purchase which will knock the cost of the city maps to $90. So, for $100 ($10 SD + $90 city maps) the 610 is now doing everything the 710 does for a >$100 savings. But, if you don't want to mess with learning to install the extra maps, just get the 710 and save yourself the time.
Anyway, since all the issues that people have with this unit are fixed in firmware or simply purchased as an add-on, I find no reason to give this anything less than 5 stars. Thanks OnlineShopDealer for next day delivery when I only paid for 2 day. Thanks Magellan for a great unit that will last my family many years in the field and will work even when my smartphone is off-grid and useless.
Magellan 610 GPS
I looked at tons of GPS devices before deciding upon this one and while I'm still getting used to it I've got to say that this is a great device. While the device itself is reasonably intuitive I would definitely recommend that you download the owners manual and spend time reviewing it in order to fully understand the many options.
On the trail this device maintains satellite contact, the screen is easy for me to see and read (I'm 58 years old and my eyes aren't the best), and the pre-loaded maps are very good.
I don't have a single complaint about this device.
Great for hiking..Easy to use
I have used my Magellan every weekend this summer and it hasn't let me down yet. Fast signal, even under heavy tree cover. Easy to use and very accurate. Some other reviews have commented on the poor battery life. I use rechargeable batteries and I have had no issues with poor battery life. I can hike all day without having to change the battery. I also have had no issues with the touchscreen response as others have commented on. Overall a great GPS with loads of extra features at a great price.
COOL BEANS!! Pick your outdoor sport.
This Magellan Explorist 610 is a GPS for your feet! It's perfect for all the hikers, campers, city and geo explorers and outdoor sports enthusiasts in your life AND will make great birthday or Christmas presents. But best of all, I will use it ON VACATION in far off lands where I don't speak the language! (Or in Canada, Australia and Europe where maybe I can still be understood.) Its got a back track to point of origin function to get me back to my comfy hotel! It's got a camera and speakers so I can take pictures, record audio or video along my meandering, map the event and save onto the micro SD card for later reference.
It's got moving speed, estimated time of arrival, compass, COORDINATES, and different alarms so my family members can go off separately, explore different sights and make it back together on-time, every time. The Explorist has a calibration function so calibrating multiple units is easy. That's all worth the price of my sanity and patience.
With easily customizable, user defined buttons the kids can create custom functions and so can I. It has a car address function so now I can go off and find my car down some unfamiliar street or parking maze. Its that sensitive.
For the errant trekkers in your life, the Explorist displays changes of elevation, time of sunrise, sunset and a barometer! These critical safety functions serve as insurance to remind the inexperienced when to retreat or take cover from inclement weather. The suspend mode conserves battery life while the GPS continues to track location.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention-design-I like it! The casing appears sturdy and long lasting with heavy protective rubberized plastic that protects the recessed 1 ¾ x 2 ¾ inch screen and recessed camera eye. The screen is large enough to display a nice World Edition 2D or 3D map with zoom in and out ability showing private and public lands boundaries on its touch screen. A sturdy eyelet provides an easy place to attach a tether / lanyard. Both the cable port cover and on/off button seal nicely to protect from dirt and water. The sturdy seals mean I can reliably download pictures and upload new software. I cannot think of anything I don't really like about this rugged, outdoor, waterproof GPS, except-- just wish it got me on the internet too. Anybody listening?
My first handheld GPS but really like it. The pre loaded maps are awesome, they show great detail and name even the smallest streams accurately. I have had this out in the field a lot now and have had moments where the compass loses calibration but for the most part it has gotten me in and out of every situation. The main cons with any of these products is the battery life. Get used to buying nothing but the more expensive lithium batteries and make sure to bring extras out with you. I have gotten around 12+ hours out of the energizer ultimate lithiums ($10-12/4 batteries) if you are looking for the best battery that can be found at most stores. I tether the thing to me so luckily I have not tested the drop/shock rating but it is a pretty sturdy unit. I have tested the waterproof feature multiple times, even leaving it submerged over a period of a 1/2 hour or so with no damage
There are many features that would take forever to list but I would highly recommend this unit based on my own experience.
Durable & Compact! Simple & Easy Use w/ Good Battery Life!
Boy we just love this portable touchscreen hiking GPS. Especially the battery life if you use namebrand batteries. So far we've gotten great use! Only thing is it slowly consumes battery life while unit is turned off. We installed fresh batteries and left off for nearly 2 weeks to discover the batteries had been fully drained so that's a bummer. But when in use we got good life. So do like the manual says and if not use for some time remove the batteries.
The accuracy of this product is awesome. We've calculated it to about up to 3ft and that's just exceptional. This is one GPS that makes good it's claims of accuracy. And of course you get the special geocashing features with this unit as well. You also have the optional Micro Sd slot for extra storage capacity.
As for the modes it has pedestrian, cycling, mariner, car & hiking modes. We took it for a car drive and love the feature that tells us our current & average speeds along with distances traveled. Also we can save routes & waypoints with the video & audio features and record your journey. Although it could use a better mapping system the ones provided are easy to use & read.
This is great for offshore fishing. You can save all those little fishing spots you've found and share them with family & friends. Also, it's truly poratble & very durable. You can drop it, wet it, and walk on it and it still works! Pretty handy too with the design loop so you can attatch it to your belt etc.
The hiking mode is such fun to use. You'll never get lost again. And when you run across that special plant or animal you can either snap a pic or record that spot and always go back to it later. My son always would come home and tell us what he discovered out in the wild and we never could get back to see his special finds. Well now we can! Not only in pictures but with directions to each coveted spot.
Very pleased with this model
Solid feel to a feature-rich GPS. Many options to the display that are much easier to get to than in previous models. Very pleased with this model. I use it in the car, then unplug it from the 12-volt supply and use it walking, biking, and hiking!