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Magellan eXplorist 310 Handheld GPS Unit Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Front view of Magellan eXplorist 310 handheld GPS unit.

Magellan eXplorist 310, front view.

Photo courtesy of Magellan GPS
The Bottom Line

Magellan's eXplorist 310 is a handy little GPS unit, but it could be so much more. I have been getting a lot of use out of it, but its flaws are glaring and are sometimes hard to overcome. Is it useful for a hunter? Sure. Are there better units on the market? I haven't tried any others recently so I can't say for sure, but it seems likely.

Pros

  • Compact and easy to hold in one hand.
  • Rubberized coating provides good grip - I don't think I dropped it once.
  • 2.2" color LCD screen looks good.
  • Waterproof.
  • Pre-loaded with a World Edition map.
  • Usually locks on to satellites and responds to movement quickly.
Front quartering view of Magellan eXplorist 310 handheld GPS unit.

Magellan eXplorist 310, front quartering view.

Photo courtesy of Magellan GPS
Cons

  • Shape is impractical - rounded back means it wobbles or falls off, and it won't stand on either end.
  • The front is the only semi-flat side - but if you place it on its front, the input joystick rests against the surface on which it lies, and is easy to push accidentally. (Look at the side view photo and you will see the joystick protruding.)
  • Joystick navigation is a hassle, and it's easy to push the tiny stick when you only wanted to move it to one side.
  • Font is tiny and difficult to read. When viewing coordinates of waypoints, I have to use a magnifying glass, and even then I sometimes have to squint. (Yes, I wear glasses, and can read normal-size print easily. The font choice is poor, as well as the size.)
  • Fish and hunt times vary wildly; if I view tomorrow's times today and then view them again tomorrow, they will be very different. This makes no sense.
  • Naming waypoints is difficult due to the inconvenient joystick/keyboard interface, and the default names it selects are often stupid.
  • Owner's manual not included, and I had a hard time downloading one.
Description

    Handheld portable GPS unit, powered by two AA batteries.
  • Weight: 5.8 ounces, including batteries.
  • Size: 4 3/8" x 2 3/16" x 1 1/2"
  • Comes with World Edition map pre-loaded.
  • 500 megabytes of internal memory.
  • 2.2 inch color screen.
  • Includes two AA batteries.
  • High sensitivity GPS.
  • IPX-7 waterproof.
  • "Paperless geocaching."
Side view of Magellan eXplorist 310 handheld GPS unit.

Magellan eXplorist 310, side view.

Photo courtesy of Magellan GPS
Magellan eXplorist 310 GPS Unit Review

This is a good product, but it could have been so much more. I enjoy its benefits, but I rue its shortcomings.

Worst of all is the choice and size of font. In many areas it's fine, but when it comes to numbers, they are sometimes displayed very small. The font is poorly shaped (5 resembles 6, etc), very small, and is very thin and fine.

The back of the unit is rounded, so don't lay it on your dashboard - it will wobble and fall. If you want yet another mount on your windshield or dashboard, be prepared to cough up $30-$40 extra. Place it on its front and it will still wobble (just not as badly), and it will rest on its joystick - which is its main method of input, so expect it to be adding input that you didn't intend.

Good Stuff

Grabbing a GPS signal is usually pretty fast, and is much improved over my ancient Garmin GPS II Plus. Response to movement is also usually fairly prompt and fast, which is nice.

Having the included pre-loaded map is handy, and I enjoyed that feature.

Conclusion

All in all, I enjoyed using the eXplorist 310 and I'm very glad I had the chance to work with it, but if I were making a purchase I would have to look long and hard at competing units before I laid down my hard-earned money for it.

Thanks for reading.

- Russ Chastain

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Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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