Electronic: Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS

electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS
asin B004JU0E2G
dim 5.59 × 11.18 × 3.56 cm
2.20 × 4.40 × 1.40 in

Ruggedised, waterproof. 18 hour battery life. 2 GB. WAAS-enhanced. Comes with world maps. Can upload additional maps. Accuracy 3 to 5 meters. It will display your co-ordinates in many different formats. At a slight extra cost you can load satellite images into it too. Has no SD card for holding large maps. It also comes is various bundles with extra maps or software.

Specs. catalog. Magellan Communicator.

This is the unit I bought. It is smaller than it looks. I expected it to be thin like an iPad, but it is shaped more like a small potato. It is quite tough. Nearly all the space inside is used for two AA batteries. The type on the screen is microscopic, but clear. To get it started, you must turn a heavy duty thumbscrew on the back to remove the back, then insert two batteries. The on-off switch does not look like a switch, more like an embossed logo decoration on the top end of the case on-off switch. It is recessed so you won’t hit it by mistake. It also has a strange slot on the back that reminds me of an old fashioned device for polishing buttons. It is called a spine mount, used for attaching accessories such as a belt clip.

None of the software inside the unit would run on a PC. It said the exe files were not valid Win32 apps. I downloaded the communicator, but contained only DLLs, nothing to execute.

By default, the screen backlight is extremely bright. I configured it dimmer. The control button/micro joystick in the middle can be tilted N W S E or pressed. The joystick is awkward to use. It often does the opposite of what I intended. There is an onscreen keyboard. I was unable to control it with the joystick. (The trick is to push the joystick purely from the side, no down component whatsoever.)

I was unable to display a map even after reading the getting started book and fooling around for about an hour. The unit I bought had been returned. I think the previous owner had damaged the firmware. I decided to return it. London Drug offered me a replacement unit. It worked quite a bit better.

It displays maps allowing you to zoom from continent to block. The more you zoom in, the more smaller streets show up, neatly labelled. It is quite a bit easier to read and navigate than Google Maps even though it has a tiny screen. You just tilt the joystick in the direction you want to go and press the zoom in and zoom out buttons.

Unfortunately Windows still refuses to run any of the software that comes with it.

When I first got it, it thought it was in Vancouver (perhaps where its previous owner lives). It took it several minutes to clue in to its actual location here in Victoria 113 km away. When I turned it off, it reverted to thinking it was in Vancouver.

I was pleased to discover its maps had even my minor Wark Street in its memory. It has no street numbers on the maps. You cannot enter an address and have it guide you to it. You must find your destination on the map, so you must have a rough idea where the address is to start. The problem is, you don’t see the minor streets until you have zoomed almost to the block level. To find one, you must know where it is — a chicken and egg problem. Perhaps you could use it in conjunction with Google Maps or a gas station street map to program your destination. The 510 and 610 models have turn-by-turn guidance as an extra cost option. With the 710, it is built-in.

Improvements I would like to see include:

  • Let you push the joystick in any direction not just the four compass points. It is a hassle to have to move the cursor along a diogonal line with horizontal and vertical jumps.
  • The joystick needs a stronger spring so you don’t keep pressing it by mistake.
  • It keeps taking waypoints when I did not ask it to. It should give me the option of immediately deleting them.
  • It needs some tiny icons to decorate GPS co-oridinates so you can tell if if they are where you are, where you are going or what you are looking at on a map.
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