From the map screen, the back button takes you to an iconographic menu, whch gives you access to the eXplorist 310’s full range of features. Although you can use the Search Nearby function to access these, here you can browse your stored waypoints and tracks. There are also built-in Points of Interest (POI) and Geocache databases. The POIs only include things like parks, water features and town centres, not the restaurants and amenities found with in-car sat-navs, although there is a listing of public transportation hubs. The Geocache listing includes a popular selection, allowing you to get started with this increasingly popular hobby, but you can download more from the Geocaching.com website and install these over the eXplorist 310’s USB link.
Buried amongst the tools is a handy listing of optimal hunting and fishing times, depending on the current date, although you can check these for any date you like, and plan your trip accordingly.
In use, the eXplorist 310 acquits itself well. It has a SiRFstarIII GPS receiver, a recent chipset, so locks pretty quickly (usually in under a minute during our testing). The device also copes reasonably well with intermittent line-of-sight, sometimes getting a lock when indoors near a window or through a thin roof. The quoted battery life of 18 hours with a pair of lithium AA cells is also pretty decent. There’s a track on the back for securing the eXplorist 310 to a mounting system or lanyard, although a large plastic loop at the top of the device is also available for attaching the device to your backpack or clothing with a cord, reducing your chance of losing it.
Magellan’s eXplorist 310 includes the core features to get you started with GPS-powered hiking. The lack of Micro SD will be a hindrance to installing extra maps. But, otherwise, only premium features have been left out. Coming in at under £150, it undercuts equivalent devices from other manufacturers, such as Garmin’s Dakota 20 or Dakota 10. So it may not be your dream hiking companion, but if the price has always prohibited your outdoor pursuits entering the digital age, the eXplorist 310 could be the device which finally makes this affordable.
Score in detail
Battery Life 9