Sunday, March 18, 2012

Outdoor Retailer: New Garmin and Magellan GPS units

Outdoor Retailer is a beast of a trade show. There are literally thousands of people here. In fact, there are probably 1,000 exhibitors. Fortunately, except for book promotion, I’m confining my rounds to GPS and mapping software companies. It’s been interesting so far. The GPS companies are very tight-lipped, and not inclined to discuss anything that hasn’t been released (big trade secrets!). The software companies are much more forthcoming. I’ll go ahead and get some of the hardware stuff out of the way with this post, and give you the low-down on software when I have more time.

Garmin just announced the release of the Rino 520 and Rino 530. Both units have a color screen, USB interface, and a more powerful GMRS transmitter (5 watts) that boosts the listed range to 12 miles. Both also auto-route, and come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and while the website doesn’t say so, the Garmin reps here told me there is a AA option. They also mentioned ergonomic improvements. The 530 adds an electronic compass, barometric altimeter and NOAA weather radio. Anticipated retail prices are $450 and $500.

Magellan has been busy as well, of course, releasing two new eXplorist models to coincide with Outdoor Retailer. Unfortunately they are not on their website yet, so I can’t point you to any more info than what you see here. The eXplorist 210, priced at $179, is an entry-level mapping receiver with 22 MB of memory. It uses a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, has a greyscale screen and a USB interface.

The eXplorist XL is a little more exciting. At 3.5", Magellan claims it to be "the largest screen available on a rugged handheld GPS." And it’s color! It also comes with 30 MB of internal memory that can be expanded with an SD card, and it too uses the USB interface.

Hmm, one intersting thing I see in the info they gave me. These products come with a one-year warranty in North America and two years in Europe!

Okay, that’s it for now. I hope to get a post on software up tomorrow. Stay tuned. As I said, the software folks were a little more forthcoming. And it looks like at least one is getting ready to delve into hardware!

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Garmin’s website is now showing only the 60c, 60cs and Navtalk under the handheld categories. Finally – putting all their handheld eggs in one(two) baskets! Hope this means an announcement is forthcoming featuring flash memory! Eagerly looking forward to your reports from OR

  2. It’s good to see where Garmin and Magellan are taking their new units. But when will they include Bluetooth? Also, the abandoning of serial connectors also shuns devices that used them (eg. pdas with maps, hams with AVLS, older pcs and laptops. I hope your book sales soar! Did you give autographed copies?

  3. Hi Frank-
    I don’t think Garmin has discontinued other models. Their website can be confusing though. Dig a little deeper and I think you’ll see others. Regarding your comment on memory, it wouldn’t surpise me to see Garmin include expandable memory in future products.

  4. Hi Cidni-
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Some of the stuff I heard at OR was off the record, but I can tell you what I didn’t hear. The subject of Bluetooth never came up, though I never asked about it either. Regarding legacy devices, I’ve had no problems using a serial to USB converter, though it is a bit clunky. I have heard of problems when people buy off brand adapters.
    I did autograph a few books. And while it had nothing to do with me being at OR, while there I learned that REI had ordered ten copies for every store!

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