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Hands-on Gear Review
Magellan eXplorist 510 Review
Cons: Non-rechargeable battery, loop at bottom is unnecessary, split keyboard is annoying, poor screen quality.
The Magellan eXplorist 510 is mid-performance GPS unit with all the bells and whistles. You can fully document your adventures using the built-in 3.2MP camera, video and voice recorder. This GPS and WAAS-enabled receiver provides decent reception to mark way points and follow tracks. Even though we liked all the extra perks and features, we also had our caveats. It features a larger three-inch screen, but we were unhappy with its plastic construction. Of all our tested devices, it produced the most glare in both high and low light. Many of our testers did not like how the keyboard was split between two screens. Finally, we wished this device had a rechargeable battery. Aside from these issues, this is a decent and feature-filled device.
If you're looking for a more powerful unit with similar features, check out the Garmin Montana 680. It is the only other device tested with a camera, and a better one at that. Or if you like the eXplorist but want better performance, check out the Magellan eXplorist 610 or Magellan eXplorist 710.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Magellan eXplorist 510 is perfect for the adventurer who likes to fully document her or his missions. Enjoy the on-board camera, video, and voice recorder among other features.
Units that utilize both GPS and GLONASS satellite networks are typically more accurate than those without.Even though the reception is not as accurate as the most powerful handhelds like the Garmin Montana 680, the eXplorist 510 will get you where you need to go. Utilizing GPS networks (no GLONASS) and WAAS compatibility, this unit is able to find your position within one minute of turning on. It's not as accurate as Garmin devices. While sitting at basecamp on a glacier in Alaska, one of our testers took a video, voice recording, and waypoint while cozying down in a sleeping bag. When checking the locations of each, the map showed each taken at a different location within 10 meters of each other. This coupled with other tests showed us the accuracy was not as good as other devices, but good enough to perform basic navigational tasks.
Ease of Use
The eXplorist 510 comes with touchscreen capabilities, one power button, and two non-programmable buttons on the left side of the unit. We liked the quick access buttons to use the 3.2 MP built-in camera and mark waypoints.
We were a little disappointed with the keyboard configuration on this unit. As opposed to having a full touchscreen keyboard, Magellan splits the keyboard in half, forcing you to toggle between two screens. We found this especially annoying when typing long way point descriptions. That said, we did like how a video, voice recording, or picture could be used as a way point to better document adventures.
The interface has a different setup than others tested. Where other units like the DeLorme and Garmin devices utilize the menu as a default screen, Magellan uses its map as a default.
This is nice to quickly locate your position, but takes some time to get to menu options. That said, you can program shortcuts to get you where you need to go quickly. Overall, the eXplorist 510 offers many features that are fun and easy to use, but it takes some time to get to know.
The three-inch screen is a good size. It is a little larger than the Garmin eTrex 20x but not as big as the Montana 680.
The plastic screen is the least durable of all those tested and also reflected the most light in both high and low light conditions. As a result, this device earned lowest marks in this metric. If you want a GPS with a great screen, check out the Oregon 600t, our Editors' Choice.
Units these days aren't as slow as they used to be. The Magellan eXplorist 510 is about average but not as quick as the Montana 680. The touchscreen was not as sensitive as other touchscreens, so we had to push the screen a little harder than others. Redrawing maps and performing all other functions wasn't slow, but it wasn't the fastest of the devices tested, either.
Weight and Size
This device weighs 8.5 oz (with batteries), which is a great size and weight for carrying on longer trips. You can also fit this into a chest pocket if necessary. If you want something lighter, check out the Garmin eTrex 20x (weighs only 5 oz).
This is the only GPS unit that features a 3.2 MP camera, voice recorder, and video camera.Given that this device is packed with features, we thought it was incredibly versatile. We were able to use this device with both thick and thin gloves, making it a great compadre in all seasons. This was also the only device with video and voice recording. The camera is only 3.2 MP, where the Montana 680 sports a 8 MP camera. It also only features a differential compass (we prefer an electronic compass) with no wireless sharing capabilities. It also can't recharge batteries. If you want all that, check out the Garmin Montana 680 instead.
At just $279.00, we believe you get a great value for all the extra perks.
The Magellan eXplorist 510 comes with all the bells and whistles. If you like to take videos, pictures, and voice recordings on all your adventures, this may be the device for you.
Magellan eXplorist 610
-Tri-axial electronic compass & barometric altimeter
— Amber King
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