The main screen consists of an irregular pentagon of icons. These provide access to the map, the dashboard, settings, the waypoint system and the geocache database. The eXplorist GC comes with the 999 of what Magellan considers the “most popular” geocaches, including plenty in the UK, but mostly in city centres. They’re there really to get you started when travelling. Otherwise, the device also has 700MB free memory, enough for about 10,000 more geocaches, which should cater for anyone’s treasure-hunting needs.
Unless you happen to live near one of the preinstalled caches, your next step will therefore be to make use of some this memory and download a cache or two so the hunt can begin. There’s a 30-day premium membership of Geocaching.com included, although you can still download caches with a standard membership, should you not wish to pay the $30 a year this costs after the trial is over. Using a PC or Mac, you can use the Geocaching.com website to search your current location or anywhere else in the world, resulting in a list of caches arranged in order of distance from the search location. Hook up the eXplorist GC via its USB connection, and you can then download the caches straight to the device.
However, although the Geocaching.com website is packed with caches and detailed information about them, it can be a little frustrating to use. You can download a group of geocaches to the local computer, but you have to download them individually to the Magellan. This was made even more laborious during our testing by the Firefox plug-in crashing. You can restart it without rebooting the computer or even reloading the web page, but it wasn’t exactly a seamless experience, even if we ended up with a device packed with caches ready for action.
Once you’ve downloaded a selection of caches, the eXplorist GC starts to show its true strengths. Head for the Geocaches section for a list of all caches in the vicinity of your current location. You can then choose the one you want to look for, which calls up a nicely arranged listing of the key parameters. You can read the description and peruse the location on the map. The most recent log reports will also have been downloaded to the device along with the cache details. Even pictures will come across.