The eXplorist 710 is a rugged GPS device, coming in a rounded, heavy, solid case, with the screen deeply recessed in the body for extra protection. Magellan claims it’s waterproof enough to survive rain and occasional puddle immersion, but it also offers turn-by-turn navigation for those who want to leave it attached to a warm, dry car dashboard.
Magellan eXplorist – multimedia integration
You also get multimedia integration. The 710 has a decent 3.2 megapixel camera, plus a microphone for recording audio clips - which contain geo-tag data so they can be associated with your treks. New in the eXplorist 710 is support for geocaching, plus there's a USB connector for easy access to its internal memory or any SD card you've installed for extra storage.
Magellan eXplorist – glove-friendly
The eXplorist 710's resistive touch screen is nothing like as responsive as the slick capacitive options we’re now used to seeing on modern smartphones, but the key advantage here is it works by touching pressure - so can be used with gloves on. The screen is also very legible outdoors. Even in direct summer sunlight it's easy to read maps and menu screens without having to max the brightness.
You'll need to buy additional maps if you want good resolution OS data for rural hiking away from the safety of uniform pavements, with the device only offering road-based maps for drivers out of the box. But even in its standard configuration, it's very versatile. Once a route is set you can adjust it, selecting as-the-crow-flies data for walking, or pedestrian, cycling and road-based routes if you're using it as an in-car satnav replacement.
Magellan eXplorist – GPS, direction and altitude
The GPS signal is great. We had no problem achieving and maintaining a reliable lock, while its electronic compass and barometer mean you're also aware of how high up you are - and if you're facing the right way.
Power is supplied by AA batteries, so longevity depends on the quality of batteries you stick in. On a pair of 2000mAh rechargeables we managed a full day of constant use and tinkering. If you're careful and always suspend the eXplorist’s screen when not actually staring at it, it'll last even longer.
Now, if the extent of your mapping needs is whizzing Google Maps about on your iPhone to work out which one is Poland Street and which one is Wardour Street, or being politely told which exit you need for the Sainsbury’s car park, the eXplorist 710 will feel like a slow, clunky dinosaur of a device.
But if you're more used to struggling through bogs to try and find what the Ordnance Survey map makers found, it’s a very useful tool. Waterproof, robust, with a decent 3.2megapixel camera for documenting any dead animals you may find up where the air’s thinner, the eXplorist 710 is a solid, well made choice that can handle exposure to all elements without letting you down.