Good bang for the buck
The Magellan eXplorist 400 is a great entry level hand-held GPS unit. I purchased it to get my family involved in geocaching and it has worked out great.
It's a little slow to acquire satellites sometimes but once it's locked in it performs beautifully.
The black and white (actually greyscale) display may not be as attractive as some of the full-color models but it is just as functional.
I was looking for a unit that accepts an SD card because I had a 1GB just laying around. Even without the card, the 400 has enough memory to hold more than enough waypoints for weeks worth of geocaching.
The UI is not the best I've seen and some of the user changeable settings are hidden behind less-than-intuitive menu locations. One annoyance is that when viewing a Geocache Waypoint only 15 or so characters of the Waypoint's name are displayed. There is no way to scroll to the right to see the rest of the name. This is not good when there are multi-part caches to be found all named similarly. For example "Bob's Your Uncle in Barkley" and "Bob's Your Uncle in Ferndale" both display as "Bob's Your Uncl"
I've taken it out for multiple days of caching on one charge. The battery life seems to be pretty good on this model.
All-in-all I'd say this is a great GPS for beginners and the budget conscious alike. Magellan has phased out this model and the replacement options will either have you wanting more features or spending more dough.
If you are looking for a GPS specifically for geocaching, bear in mind that most of the software out there seems to favor the Garmin brand of GPS receivers. Something that can be worked around but would have been good to know prior to buying this unit.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Best GPS Receiver for the price!
I couldn't let the previous reviewer get away with such a pessimistic review of this outstanding product. I just bought the 400 Ultimate Value Pack on Ebay, and I am very impressed with it's performance, reliability, workmanship, and price. I have owned comparable models from Lowrance and Garmin, and the Explorist 400 outperforms them both in satellite acquisition in cluttered areas. If you want a reliable receiver to use while hiking forests or deep in the concrete jungles, you won't be disappointed with this unit. There is an extensive manual on CD that explains EVERYTHING you would EVER want to know about the operation of this thing. I don't think the previous reviewer ever took the time to read the instructions and just got frustrated with it. I use it extensively for geocaching, and it has definitely helped me find more treasures. The monochrome screen is bright and I like it better that any color screen in bright sunlight. Any cons? Well, I can't find a good case for it, one with a clear plastic front that allows me to work with it still in the case. Haven't worked with their tech support, so I can't comment. All I know is, I like it and intend to keep it!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
the worst experience of my life!!!
Version ; Eplorist 400 wilderness CANADA
-defective screen out of the box (black dot and lcd retention)
-conecting to USB and power cord is a pain in the #ss (take 1 minute to plug)
-interface is the worst of any electronic device, just unintuitive text base menus without icons, you have to scroll trought 3 or 4 list before finding what you want (if what you want is availlable at all....)
-bundle software (TOPO CANADA) does not work with this GPS !!! you have to install a map converter and manually tranfer the maps to the gps via SD cards. It take about 3 hours to figure out how it work (and i'm a computer geak). Then, i discover that even with the converter, it's not fully supported!
-Tech support is a real joke, the guy almost laught at me when he admit that i need to buy TOPO 3D(200$) to access advertised function on the box! He tell me to link my GPS to my Laptop and follow direction on my laptop screen if i want to use the included TOPO CANADA CD!!!! what a great ''wilderness'' package!!
-Back lighting is weak, it shift the contrast to the point that you have to be sraigth in line with the gps to read.
- wall-mart refund me after a week and let me purchase a garmin Legen CX wich got a 64mb micro-sd card, color display, replacable standard AA batteries(no need to wait for a full charge)and a far better ICON interface that look like pocket PC or Palm Os with a lot of goodys (calculator, agenda, 6games, alarm clock, turn by turn direction etc...)
This magellan should serve as an example of how not to make product. Afetr a couple of hours of frustration, i was ready to trow the thing in the middle of a lake. I'll NEVER purchased a magellan again, and i won't let a relative do so, i'll pay them a garmin if they insist on taking a magellan....
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Despite what another reviewer says, MapSend Topo Canada works just fine with this GPS. I also bought the same Wilderness package from Wal-Mart and it has been working great. It does come with a bunch of last-minute instructions, and you do need to install the conversion manager since the software is old and it doesn't support USB, but this isn't that complicated.. it's all in the instructions.
A BIG Pro I have to give to Magellan is that Topo Canada doesn't even COMPARE with Garmin's Topo Canada. And yes it costs LESS(but it comes in the wilderness package, so it's an awesome deal)!.. Garmin's coverage of Algonquin Park is a joke.. Magellan has all the lakes/rivers perfectly mapped, and EVEN includes most portages (I've only seen one trail missing so far).
Garmin didn't have one single trail or portage in the area of Algonquin I went to.. I doubt they have any at all.
The LCD is a bit cheezy and I can see shadowing around things I select in the menus , but the map itself doesn't seem to be affected.. I have no idea why this shadowing occurs. The LCD backlight however is nice and bright.. don't know why the other reviewer said it's bad.
I tried Topo Canada with the "Typical" Install and it didn't work exporting a region to the HDD. The CD just kept reading and reading for 10 minutes so I gave up and re-installed and selected "Full" install. You need a bit of hard drive space to install Fully but it works fast after that.
Overall, it's a great GPS for the price! I used it while padding/portaging and it felt much better knowing you're paddling in the right direction.. before we used to follow other people to find the portage.. now we know exactly where to go.
eXplorist 400 is a tuff, afforable trail companion
The 400 fits nice in the hand. The controls are all visible from the front, easy to activate with ample room between buttons to avoid hitting the wrong one. The ENTER function requires a bit of concentration because it shares the joy stick and occasionally cursor movement will happen before your selection is triggered.
Screen visibility is good even in bright lite with the right angle. Back lighting is adequate in low lighting. Color would be nice but it will cost about $75 more and battery life is reduced. Be sure to put a screen protector on.
Start up is slow at times, especially if you are some distance from your last fix. This seems to improve with each use. Battery life is good (12 hours+) if you turn on all the power saving settings but I will get some spares for weekend hikes and trips.
A note regarding track logs: Keep your files to a minimum. Download them and delete them from the 400 if you want to save them because the more you have on the 400, the longer it takes to retrieve the current one.
Magellan software is easy to use for uploading and down loading way points and tracks. You should get the Topo Map software to get the most out of the unit. The included map lacks elevation lines and small roads. The software can cost $100+ from Magellan. Try ebay first.
One big drag is the software is serial number dependency. Any detail maps you make will have the serial number of a specific eXplorer in the file and will not work with another unit. Can't blame the map makers for protecting their financial interest.
If you can get this unit under $75, you will be happy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.