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Rate Your Explorist


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I've been thinking for a while that it might be useful (or at least interesting) to get a better sense of the level of satisfaction among people who have used the explorist models. Let me acknowledge where I'm coming from on this: although I am not one to defend Magellan where criticism is deserved, I have a hunch (based on nothing more than my own experience) that the frequency of complaints about problems with some units has perhaps created an overly negative profile on these boards. After all, we first seek solutions to problems here, and the motivation to let others know that things seem to be working pretty well is less compelling. Whatever positives are there may get overshadowed by the negs.


Anyway, I invite those with explorist experiences to share your ranking of how you feel about the model, from the 100s to the 600s. At a minimum, include your model number and a number ranking thus:


1 - very unsatisfied

2 - unsatisfied

3 - neutral

4 - satisfied

5 - very satisfied


*Optionally* you might add any particular likes or dislikes that heavily influence your ranking.


Call it as you see it. If the consensus actually is thumbs down, that's good to know. I'll start off with a format that, if most people follow, will make it easier to read th thread:


500: 4


Like - color display, SD storage, hierarchal file management of multiple waypoint files, signal lock in marginal reception conditions, small size.


Dislike - DirectRoute autorouting, while useful, is so basic as to have become more than I could bear. A recent Quest purchase for vehicle use has me much happier. Also, I want more data screens displayed.

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I have a 600 and I’ll give it a 4.


The good:

Size, Screen color, files mgt (5),



Limited screens and slow to get sat lock at times.



Battery; I was very concerned about this and even purchased an after market back up, but I have yet to need it. It may end up being a plus. Especially if they come up with an AAA adapter.


My previous and now back-up GPS is a Meridian Platinum.

Edited by Fathergoose
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I'll give it a 4


I have the 600 also


the goods:

nice unit, good color and great battery time


the bads,

current firmwire sucks, waas takes too long to lock on when u need it most. and the icons rub off on the rubber buttons too easily.

Edited by flir67
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OK, a vote from over the pond:



a 600


the goods:

very nice and small unit, terrific reception, good display, great battery concept, handy filesystem


the bads:

firmware sucks (very slooow, incomplete), joystick rubs off and goes hardly (I guess I will exchange the unit ) and did I mention that the firmware sucks? ;-)

Edited by DocW
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I'll give it a 3 (up from a 2) now only because Magellan seem to have accepted that we have issues that need dealt with. I've always said from the beginning that the explorist 400,500,600 are great pieces of hardware but need firmware updates and added enhancements to make it truly shine amonst the others.



Explorist 600


Positive points given to the newer Explorists for,

1. the expandable SD card memory.

2. Bright color screen easily seen in bright daylight.

3. Li-ion battery (love being able to charge on the fly and USB chargers are cheap)

4. Directory structure easy to navigate.


negative aspect that for me need to be addressed to increase my satisfaction rating include,

1. Firmware and product support/updates lacking at this time.

2. Joystick operation is difficult in the up direction, probably is what caused the rubber to puncture. (need to send my unit away)

3. Unit freezes when using USB to transfer files.

4. Geocache manager needs to be improved as well as options to delete/edit geocache waypoints. Also ability to turn off icon text on the map screen.


Like I said, from the email replies I got from magellan I believe they are going to put some priority in to the issues that we have. Once they have addressed those issues I will be the first to repost here and show my satisfaction. Until then I will remain neutral as I am of the view that seeing is believing.

Edited by D0T-C0M
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eXplorist 200: 4


Good: Size; Satellite reception; Ease of use; Accuracy; Battery life.


Neutral (for me, anyway): Lack of PC connection; button size.


Negative: Location of lanyard attachment (lanyard drapes across screen--attachment should be at bottom); Slippery surface of joystick after it becomes worn.

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Explorist 500. 4 (I'd even go to 4.5)


Pluses: Size, screen visibility, reception under trees, boomerang effect negligible, file management system, USB, Li-Ion battery.


Minuses: Geocache manager limitations (hint length, 200 cache per file limit), no waypoint projection.


Touch wood I've had none of the problems that I read about others. having. Although it is somewhat slow getting to a reasonable accuracy I don't believe it's as bad as it suggests as the coordinate reading doesn't change much at all as the accuracy number comes down and WAAS kicks in.

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I think I'd go along with most of the rest and rate my 500 with a 4 maybe a 4 1/2

I'm just using the basic mapping so I have no problems with the mapping.

I like the way it locks on to the sats, it has always locked on to more then my gold

and they seem to have a stronger signal then the gold and has continually been closer then the gold

The minus unable to edit or delete geocaches on the fly. I know some say thats no problem, and it probably isnt if your just doing a few caches at a time. But if your doing 30, 40, 50, or more at at time its nice to be able to delete the ones you've done to get them out of the way, and be able to edit the multis as you get to the waypoint. And location of the slot for the lanyard, lanyard does not fit with the car mount. 6 weeks of use and the icon is rubbed off of the click stick already, others still ok.

Edited by vagabond
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I have two. Since Embra didn't allow for half stars, I have to be honest that between "neutral" and "satisfied", I have to give to go with the former. So in keeping with his format, here we go...


400: 3 (The screen isn't as crisp as other B&W models.)

600: 3 (The screen is very nice.)


Like: Excellent reception. Compass in 600 works well. Compatibility is great. (File formats accurately documented, use of mass storage/cdc/acm for USB compat was brilliant.) Heirarchial storage (internal memory/SD) integration is excellent. SD expandability is still a "must have" in a unit for me.


Dislike: The firmware is simply a mess. The UI for anything beyond casual business use will drive you bananas. A patch for the various Mapsends should have been released to make these models actually be natively supported instead of the Conversion Manager hack. The peripherals and cables were poorly thought out. Auto-recalc when offroute shouldn't be a second thought in '05. Poor user responsiveness: menus are never very snappy, easy to "overshoot" in menus, 28 seconds to boot, etc.. Not very customizable. (Menu order, least-recently used, screen order, font sizes, route options, etc.) Geocache manager and geocaching mode were apparently designed without input from actual geocachers as they both have many inexcusable issues that were apparent to most cachers here on the first day of use. Battery life - should last at least twice as long as it does. (Hint: cell phone users getting several days of runtime don't complain about the batteries like the explorist users do....) Non-routable basemap.


(Extra sections follow)


Conclusions: I had a Plat and think it was one of the most impressive handhelds from the '01 era. I was thrilled when autorouting was retrofitted into it in '03 and willing to put up with some compromises. Unfortunately, Explorist doesn't feel like an '05 era product - it's still best described as an '01 product with autorouting and colour as an afterthought. The number one goal of a GPS is about telling me where I am compared to where I want to be. Even with a gripe list like that (and I know I'm demanding) I have to say the Explorist does very well in its primary task.


Obligatory "told you so": RCRV3 has a similar power/volume rating and could have delivered the best of both worlds: the convenience of in-unit recharging and the opion of jacking in convenience store batteries if you need it.


Background: I have plenty of experience with a variety of GPS - I now have about a dozen - and probably more technical background than the average user.


I'm going to be an excellent grumpy old man as I hate everything. :-)

Edited by robertlipe
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eXplorist 100: 4


Pluses: Cost, speed of getting a lock on WAAS (smoked a GPSmap 60 I recently tried out side-by-side), ease of use, ergonomics, "substantial" feel - Garmins feel hollow and fragile.


Minuses: Moving the joystick in the up direction feels different and is a bit harder than going down, left or right. No computer connectivity or routing, but this is a basic unit.


Overall, I'd say the 100 is excellent for what it does, so I can't begrudge it for what it wasn't designed to do. I've been looking at upgrading if I find a good deal. The GPSmap 60 is a contender, but if I hear good things about the higher-end eXplorists, I may stick with Magellan. Lately it's been hard for me to have good thoughts about the 300-and-higher units because of all the negative comments here. I'd like to stick with an eXplorist since I already like how it feels and I know the user interface.

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Explorist 500, rate it a 4.


Like the SD card, the size, and the accuracy; I consistently get within 7 to 15 feet of a geocache. Like the file management system, although it can be clunky to get to a specific waypoint; I keep them in batches of 100 on my SD card, sorted into areas that I frequent. It takes me 9 clicks to get to the dadgum point, so I'll probably wear out my button a lot sooner than most folks. Screen is easily readable.


Dislikes-- need a better lanyard mount. Need waypoint projection. Need to change the joystick to a regular rocker button. Absolutely hate the way the cable attaches to the unit-- it's a real pain in the a** to fumble with, especially trying to get the little screw started into the back.


All in all, I'm quite happy with the unit; fixing a few of these things would make it fall into the "almost perfect" category for me. As soon as I figure out how to get custom maps on it, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers...

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Score: 4.41934

Likes: screen definition and color; file system; memory card; much better WAAS lock and subsequent accuracy; size

Dislikes: cable and connection point.... should be like Garmin60C; slingshot.... I still walk too fast!


Still glad I bought it.... even though I just sent it in for repair based on fragile cable (only a guess at this point). :lol:

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We have a 300

I love the screen size and readability, the electronic compass, the accuracy under trees, the user friendliness, the battery life, and the size.

Minuses: The joystick can be moody. We also had to wait for five hours on hold with customer service when ours was recently dropped and broken, but they fixed it immediately, (and free, which they really didn't have to do, we were the ones who dropped the thing), and shipped it back to us very quickly.


I think it's safe to give this thing a 4.5 :lol:

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Unit: eXp 600


Rating: 4.672134


This was a big improvement over my Sportrack Color. What was lacking in the bolt-on mess provided with the unit has replaced by updates for gpxbabel and GSAK which have made using the unit easier than my Sportrack Color.


I am looking forward to future firmware upgrades that should address a bunch of the current issues, but in the mean time, I'm still very happy with my 600.

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Got the eX500 when they first came out. Previous experience is with the Meridian, and Legend for last several years, and GArmin II back to 1997.


Rating: 4.00


Roberlipe gives a good description. What I like the best: Excellent reception, good screen, good topo mapping, great file management/memory setup, easy charging/battery system. The file management/SD card and what you can do with waypoint/track/route/map files is what makes this unit special. The unit works well, and I have the confidence that when I turn it on, it will give good accurate reception, and can access and save data/tracks/waypoints accurately.


What I do not like: Lack of a screen page with 6 to 8 data fields, the cable connection (with the craddle, its easy--you must get the craddle), slow access of files and waypoints, lack of waypoint projections, limit of 200 in a geocache file, limit of 200 comments in a POI file. There are other more minor things, but with the above fixed, it would be much better.

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I have a n Explorist 600.


I give it a 3.5



- Great color screens.

- Good over all size

- Recharable battery

- I can upload waypoints with my Macintosh. And I think I can do it with Maps too, but I have not tried to do that yet.



- Geocaching feature does not seem all that useful.

- The battery, though it is nice having a rechargeable battery, it is not all that useful when you ar away from a power sourse for more then a day.


- I total HATE the cobo USB/AC cord. It is paticularly a pain when using the charge charger with that.


- I HATE that I have to srew in the power cable in the back of the unit when I am using the window mount holder. ( I did not have to do that with my SportsTrack Color).


- The odometer only does thenths of a mile (e.g., .2, .3, .4, etc). My SportsTrack color did .22, .23, .24, etc.


- Would like to see more Macintosh compatibility


- Joystick is a pain at times.


- Have to push too many buttons to get to a desired Way Point.

Edited by Bob&3LittleBears
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500 rate it a 4


On the plus side, SD card, size, color screen, rechargeable batteries, bright screen, ease of use, signal lock, durability (I've dropped it a few times).


On the minus side, switching between street route and point to point, time to signal lock, slow response when switching screens.


It's a great unit, but could be a lot better with firmware upgrades.

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I'll rate the 600 as a 3, not impressed or disappointed with the unit. Just OK with it.




-SD card expandability

-High resolution screen

-Accuracy between 7 and 10 feet with full satellite coverage.




-USB freezes

-Slow responsiveness of button presses/position on screen

-Lack of product support by Magellan (The Explorist has been on the market for at least 6 months with the early models).

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funny that most of you rate the explorist fairly high but alot of you have more con comments than for.

It's also interesting that the ratings seem to be higher from users that have used only explorist or earlier Magellan models than from those that also own competing units.

I'd rate it above my Lowrance also, and head and shoulders above my Garmin Legend

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I have two 600's


I'd give them a 4.5


I have experienced some of the same transfer problems, but I was able to get them loaded and running again. I'm hoping for an update, as there is truly room for improvement. I've used many types of receivers and have owned several handhelds of various manufactor. These lock on and seem to hold lock well. The extra stuff in them? I don't use that much. The compass works well for me when I'm not in a vehicle. I like it better than my old Garmin and Lowrance units.

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I have a 600.


Good: Color display, battery life


Bad: limited number of displays; small screen; recharge requires hooking up cable- a drop in charger or plug in type would be nicer


Overall: 4


My Meridian Platinum is what I end up using for geocaching while I'm still learning the 600.


But ANY Magellan unit beats a Garmin on user friendliness.

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OK, since it looks like this thread's activity has died down, here's a summary of the responses. I only made one pass through the thread, so my counts may not be exact.


About 28 people responded...or we got ratings on about 28 units:


100 - 1

200 - 1

300 - 1

400 - 2

500 - 9

600 - 14


Ratings ranged from 1.5 to 4.672134, with 12 4's and 7 4.5's (if you allow for some round-offs). The mean rating was 3.87.


The qualitative analysis may be the more interesting (some comments have already been made in this regard). One thing I sense is that most people give higher marks for the hardware than the firmware.


It might be interesting to repeat this next year to see if Magellan is able to sway us with any firmware updates.

Edited by embra
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Ive looked at the Explorist 500 GPS, and I would rate it 3 out of 5 stars, partly because of failing eyesight, and I can't read those tiny buttons on the GPS, but I could memorize the buttons.


I find that the Meridian Platinum was an excellent GPS, but it was missing a Trip Timer, and the Trip Odometer was so off all the time. Platinum-4 out of 5 stars


But ANY Magellan unit beats a Garmin on user friendliness.


That is not quite true, because the Map60C (4.5 out of 5 stars) has been the best GPS unit ive ever used, out of 12 GPS units ive had, from Magellan, and Garmin. Ive got Cronic Fatigue, and sometimes my head be swimming, and any complicated GPS does me no good, but the Map60C is a breeze. The other Garmins, don't seem to live up to that usefullness for me.


If I got an Explorist, It will have to be the Explorist XL which is a larger unit, with bigger buttons(I hope).

Edited by GOT GPS?
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Explorist 400


Rate: 0


Pros: has Expandable memory


Cons: Tech support sucks, firmware is weak, file system is awful (5 clicks to get a geocache waypoint entered VS garmin 2 1/2 clicks of legend) Greyscale graphics weak (pixels missing on some areas of the map). sent my 400 back to trade it in for a garmin legend C

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Explorist 600 - 2.2 (3.5 for hardware and 0.9 for firmware and detail).


Hardware is robust overall and without a doubt waterproof....


Display (3) - the best color screen Magellan has offered but it pales in resolution, color depth and contrast compared to Garmin. Backlight is always on to make it easier to see and chews up battery life.


Compass (5) - 3 axis so I can hold it any way I want. Garmin's 2 axis compass must be held almost perfectly flat to function, otherwise it throws you 180 off with no warning.


Antenna (5+) - almost as good as it gets, the compact size of a patch with sensitivity of a quad helix. The best I've seen.


Battery (2.5) - The wave of the future I'm sure but the run time is nowhere near what they claimed. I like the low temp performance, shelf life and weight of Li-On and don't mind carrying a fairly cheap spare but the convenience of using standard AAs from the Quicky Mart in a pinch is very handy. Recharging is a pain compared to charging or replacing a couple of NiMh AAs.


Buttons (2) - They're usable and easy to memorize but that stick sucks! My UP stick got better with use after I decided to break it or make it work but it's still easier to go down many times vs going up a couple. This is going to eat Thales alive I'm afraid..


Computer/charge interface (0) - This is a joke, right? It's a marginal improvement on the huge glob I had to screw into my STC but not by much. Another damned ten turn screw to mess with and some sadistic Y connection to get power to it? What's with that? And which way should I put it on, it'll go two ways? This is beyond assinine!


Removable memory (4.5) - It's a requirement with today's larger map/POI uploads and any other option is just not acceptable in today's world. The interface is good but could use some tweaking, taking many key presses to access. At least give us the option of locking out the internal memory when using sd cards, that would eliminate a lot of keystrokes.


Firmware (0.9) looks like an afterthought relegated to junior engineers with few screens and not much customization offered. We need the option to show many more screens and the ability to change what we see....


Zoom only goes to 100 ft. and odometer is limited to 0.1 mile/km. Tracking options are few and still linked requiring third party software to break them apart. What's so hard about terminating a track log when I turn the GPS off??


There are few options to customize detail shown vs zoom resulting in a cluttered, sometimes almost impossible to decypher screen. Many button pushes result in a yes/no option to show detail. We need the option to see what detail we want at different zoom levels.


Street routing is still crude compared to others and maps (with the exception of Topo) look almost elementary school.


The geocaching feature was obviously designed by somebody that had never heard of it. There's more control and options available if geocaches are uploaded as plain waypoints.


Overall, I think Magellan is on the right track but they have a long way to go. I'm rooting for them and still occaisionally buy one hoping they've got their $#%@ together but I'm always disappointed.

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