Pushing Magellan eXplorist GC's joystick right starts tracking you towards the cache. You can use the map or the dashboard to guide your routing, although the lack of map detail means the latter will be the most useful in countryside locations. The dashboard shows a small compass and information about the journey, including distance to destination and expected time of arrival. However, the compass isn’t as responsive as the triple-axis one in the Garmin Oregon 550t. Although Magellan doesn’t state the specification of the compass, that it doesn’t operate without a GPS lock implies this isn’t a magnetic version. This unfortunately makes it a little sketchy in heavy tree cover.
However, the screen is bright and easy to see in most conditions, probably aided by the lack of a touch-sensitive layer over the top. The GPS is also reasonably accurate, so you can get close to a cache before sharp eyesight and perseverance take over in tracking down its location. Once you find a cache, you can mark it as found on the device and type in a message to upload to the Geocaching.com website when you next hook up to a PC.
Geocaching isn’t the only thing the eXplorist GC can do. You can still enter destination coordinates directly, and store up to 500 waypoints, which can be sorted to create an appropriate route between them. So you can use the eXplorist GC as a regular hiking GPS when not hunting treasure.
Every time we check our local area for geocaches, a few more appear. The arrival of Magellan’s eXplorist GC further cements the feeling that this is a hobby on the rise. The device itself is a little more limited than some hiking sat-navs we’ve tested, with the performance of the compass a particular drawback. But this is otherwise an easy device to use, which makes the geocache information very accessible whilst out and about, and the price is lower than most in the class, even Garmin’s entry-level Dakota 20. So if you do fancy a bit of high-tech treasure hunting, Magellan’s eXplorist GC is a great place to start.
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