The eXplorist 710 is the top of the line for handheld Magellan hiking navigation devices. The 710 has a big screen with clear, crisp, full-color rendering of maps and other functions, and it offers a wide array of functionality that makes it useful for more than just a tramp in the country. The Magellan eXplorist 710 is one of the few handheld devices you can buy that is fully capable of acting as an all-in-one navigation unit whether you’re in a car, on a bike or ATV, on a boat, on foot, or touring on skis. The unit comes with maps for land and sea, country and city, and the unit has a speaker that allows it to give turn-by-turn guidance in exactly the same way a dedicated car GPS unit does.
The Magellan eXplorist 710 incorporates some other functions that the less-expensive models in the eXplorist line don’t include. It has a 3-axis electronic compass that allows users to get a reading when they’re standing still, and it doesn’t require you to hold the unit perfectly level to get an accurate reading. It’s got a touchscreen display that dispenses with most of the navigation buttons in favor of more screen real estate, which is always a boon to usability. It’s got a capable snapshot camera onboard, and can even take video, albeit in a very low resolution. The 710 has Magellan’s One Touch menu that allow you program important functions to operate without scrolling through menus to find them.
- GPS-enabled handheld navigation device
- Full-color touchscreen display
- 2.57 inches x 5.04 inches by 1.45 inches thick
- Weighs 6.9 ounces with batteries installed
- 16 hours of battery life when in operating mode
- Waterproofed to IXP-7 standard
- Runs on two AA batteries
- 3 gigabytes of internal user storage
- 3.2 megapixel onboard camera
- Operates from 14 Fahrenheit to 140 F
- Equipped with speaker/microphone
- 3-inch WQVGA display
- Accurate to within 5 meters
- Equipped with 3-axis electronic compass
- Preloaded with three sets of maps
- Remembers 2,000 waypoints, 10,000 geocaches, and 200 routes
- Functions as a picture viewer
- USB connectivity
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
The key features of any GPS device are navigational, and it’s here that the Magellan eXplorist 710 doesn’t disappoint. The eXplorist 510 is already a good hiking device but the eXplorist 710 is just a bit better! The screen is as big as any true handheld, and the full color renderings of the earth beneath your feet are easy to read and interpret. The 710 uses Magellan’s Four Corners technology which allows you to drag your finger in from the corner of any display screen to unlock additional functionality that would clutter the screen if it was always on. That’s a great way for a device that relies on touchscreen commands to avoid endless scrolling through menus to find what you want.
Overlaid Compass Is a Big Plus
Like other Magellan devices, the screen can be displayed with a compass overlaid on the geographic renderings to increase your ability to locate landmarks and waypoints when your vision is obscured by terrain or other factors. The screen also displays important information like your current speed, time to waypoint or end of trip, and other customizable data.
The eXplorist 710 Is Somewhat Heavier Than Average
The Magellan eXplorist 710 feels somewhat heavy for a handheld GPS unit, and some of that is due to the fact that the case is built to withstand serious abuse without breaking. Unlike most handheld GPS device, there’s a steel plate on the back that incorporates a ring around the camera lens, a place to attach a lanyard or carabiner, and slot for a mount. The bottom edge of the 710 also incorporates Magellan’s unusual grip loop. Some users would prefer that this loop be omitted to make the unit slightly smaller, but it’s an easy place to tie the unit off to another piece of gear or clothing, and it acts like a shock absorber if you drop the unit.
Performs Best In Deep Shade
The Magellan eXplorist 710 is an adequate performer in bright sunlight, but it really excels when you look at it in deep shade or in the dark. The high-resolution display and colorful maps and icons are easy to see without holding the unit up to your face, which is a big plus when you’re on the trail or when you affix the unit to handlebars or a dashboard.
The eXplorist 710 camera isn’t likely to win you any awards for quality pictures, but it’s comparable to an entry-level smartphone camera, and it lets you take geocaching pictures easily and quickly. All the photos are geotagged, so if you’re trying to document your trek, it’s easy to pinpoint the exact location of any photo or video.
- Big screen for such a compact unit
- Really sturdy for hard use
- Locks into satellite signal quickly and effectively, even in problem areas like trees and cities with tall buildings
- Records photos, video, and audio making compiling multimedia scrapbooks and recording geocaches easy
- One touch favorites menu makes setup a breeze
- Turn-by-turn navigation is excellent, including spoken directions
- Somewhat heavier than other models
- Ruggedized rim around screen makes it hard to use entire touchscreen
- Video resolution is very low
In reviews, the Magellan eXplorist 710 suffers from Magellan’s unexciting image overall. The eXplorist 710 is a very capable device, but it doesn’t have best-of-class performance at any one thing, so it’s basically just a good value for its price tag.
GPS technology is now mature, and it’s hard to do anything new with a navigational device that doesn’t add a lot money to the price, so Magellan has to settle for people calling it just OK on tech sites and in user reviews.
Users don’t like how much battery life is sacrificed for functionality on this unit compared to less capable and cheaper versions of eXplorists. The manufacturer has offered guidance to those with complaints about battery life, instructing them to look in the owner’s manual to see what types of batteries are recommended for optimal life with this unit. Unfortunately, most people don’t like carrying high-capacity batteries instead of common alkaline batteries, and so the problem continues.
Overall, if you can live with the battery issue, users say the Magellan eXplorist 710 isn’t exciting, but it does everything capably and at a price point that other brands don’t match.