Magellan eXplorist 510 Hiking GPS Review

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The eXplorist 510 is the mid-priced offering in Magellan’s handheld line. It’s mostly notable for its large, touch-sensitive screen than any other attribute. One of the only ways a manufacturer can offer a larger screen without making the unit itself much larger is to incorporate a touchscreen to allow getting rid of the navigation buttons, and if you like a bigger screen without a bigger unit, the 510 might be just right for you.

The eXplorist 510 does have other features missing from the lower end of the Magellan eXplorist line. It has a built in 3.2 snapshot camera and a microphone, great for making multimedia scrapbooks of your travels. The camera isn’t sharp enough to take award winning pictures, but along with the built-in geocaching utility, the 510 makes finding and recording things out in the wilderness easy.

Magellan eXplorist 510 Hiking GPS

 Magellan eXplorist 510 Navionics Marine Bundle

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  • GPS-enabled, ruggedized handheld navigation device
  • 2.57 inches x 5.04 inches x 1.45 inches thick
  • 3-inch color display
  • Weighs 6.9 ounces
  • Takes 2 AA batteries
  • Battery life is 15 hours when in full use
  • Waterproofed to IPX-7 standard
  • Works from 14 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 F
  • 500 megabytes of internal storage
  • Can accept microSD cards to expand storage
  • Full color 240 x 400 pixels screen resolution
  • Touchscreen enabled
  • Accurate to within 5 meters
  • Preloaded with World Edition maps
  • Stores up to 2,000 waypoints, 10,000 geocaches, and 200 routes
  • USB connectivity
  • Has both a 3.2 megapixel camera and a microphone built in
  • 1-year limited warranty


The core function of any handheld GPS device is to guide you on a journey, and the Magellan eXplorist 510 is an able navigator whether you’re in a city or out in the country hiking. It comes loaded with Magellan’s World Edition maps, which are notable for having many dirt roads and paths marked on them, with names, to go along with the usual roads and highways. Many users can get by with just that map set, but the Magellan lets you download many other kinds of maps and charts for an additional fee or a yearly membership charge. If you’re an avid boater, you can get nautical charts as well as land-based navigation information. It’s possible to use the Magellan eXplorist 510 as an all-in-one combination road, wilderness, and boating navigator, but while it can handle all these functions, it wouldn’t be particularly strong at any of them.

A Bigger Screen Without Buying a Bigger Device

The eXplorist 510 uses its big, full-color screen to good effect when displaying 2D and 3D views. If you’re in the market for a GPS device that can tilt a topographic map to show elevation in 3D, the 510 might be the least expensive unit out there that can do it. The touchscreen commands allow more of the device’s face to be used for the display, but some people might prefer actual buttons to virtual onscreen buttons.

More Functionality Shortens Battery Life

The Magellan eXplorist 510 does more than Magellan’s less expensive models of the device, but users will have to pay for that with shorter battery life. While the 16 hours or so of full use on two AA batteries isn’t bad by industry standards, it’s a full 33 percent less than units that don’t have a camera, microphone, or touchscreen. Since the batteries are not integral and rechargeable, there isn’t an issue with the unit going dead in use unless you forget to bring spares, so many purchasers don’t mind the shorter battery life that comes with additional usability. The beautiful plus of using AA batteries is that they are available everywhere on the planet!

Customizing The Magellan eXplorist 510 Is Easy

The Magellan eXplorist 510 offers a richer menu that adds complexity to the menus on the screen, so purchasers will probably want to take advantage of the 510’s customizing capabilities. The 510 offers a one-touch menu that you can set to immediately go to any number of settings on the device, which will keep fiddling with the device and scrolling through menus to a minimum.

An Overlaid Compass Is a Nifty Option

Like other Magellan devices, the eXplorist 510 has a unique feature that overlays a compass over your topographical map. Along with onscreen displays of your speed, elevation, distance to the end of your route, and a few other key pieces of information, the 510 makes it easy to set it and forget it, and simply refer to it from time to time as you make your way to the next destination. The instant compass reading is especially useful if you’re in an area that obscures your vision of landmarks that are visible on the map but not in real life, like when you’re in a forest of in the dark.

The eXplorist 510 reproduces some aspects of some of Magellan’s less expensive units with its four corners functionality. Other units use push buttons arrayed in a circle to operate the device, and the 510 lets you drag your finger on the touchscreen from each corner to operate some of its features in the same way. Some users like the continuity of using the touchscreen, but other object to the fact that it means that functions on the device have two separate ways to enable them, which can lead to confusion.


  • Very sturdy and reliable
  • Locks onto satellites quickly and reliably
  • Full color screen is vibrant and easy to read
  • Comes with extensive maps preloaded
  • The four-button interface with joystick makes access to all features easy
  • Makes a great geotagging and geocaching device
  • You can have complete annotations of any journey with track memory, an onboard camera, and a microphone for spoken notes


  • More than one way to access some functions can confuse users
  • Very little user information comes with the package

Final Verdict

Magellan eXplorist 510 Waterproof Hiking GPS

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Like many other Magellan products, the eXplorist 510 doesn’t get rave reviews from either purchasers or tech sites. The eXplorist 510 doesn’t get many bad reviews, either.

Users don’t get too excited about the device one way or another, and simply say that it does a fairly good job at everything it’s designed to do, but doesn’t have a wow factor for anything.

If you’re looking for a good, solid, dependable GPS handheld navigation device that’s priced right, the 510 could do the trick for you.