Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magellan eXplorist GC first looks


UPDATE: I’ve posted my hands-on review of the Magellan eXplorist GC.

Magellan is announcing a new handheld today – the eXplorist GC, which is designed specifically for geocaching. I’ll have a full review up soon but I wanted to go ahead and give you a sneak peek.

The eXplorist GC is set up for full paperless caching, meaning there’s no need to print out a bunch of info from before heading out. Perhaps the nicest feature in this respect is the ability to sort / filter caches in just about any way and combination you can imagine.

The interface is pretty intuitive. In my early testing I’ve been fairly impressed and think Magellan may have a winner here. I’ve included a couple of screen shots showing the filter feature below to whet your appetite for the full review. In the interim, is there anything specific that you want to know about the eXplorist GC? Chime in below and I’ll try to include it.

Expected to be available next month, the eXplorist GC is priced at $199.99 (MSRP).


eXplorist GC sort menus

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. Does it do Wherigo?

    What’s the limit for number of caches loaded at once? Do you have one active file at a time like with the older eXplorists or does it keep all files active at once like Garmins do?

    What maps does it come with? Can I use my existing MapSend maps with it?

  2. Wherigo – No (unless I’ve just missed it in a menu)
    Caches – 10,0000
    All files appear to be active.
    An awesome worldwide basemap. It appears to have every road in the NAVTEQ database.
    Don’t know about MapSend, but there is no SD slot. There is 500-700 MB of memory available though.

    • Based on your comment about the NAVTEQ database, it sounds like the basemap is more like a detail map. Are the roads routable?

      Also, how is battery life? Good to hear the screen is more readable than the other high-res models, but will we have to pay for that in battery life?

  3. [ Playing the role of a shill, but asking things I’d ask of a review. ]

    Proprietary cables?

    Mass storage device like “classic” Explorist or another proprietary interface like Triton?

    Compatible with GSAK?

    Sensible street routing? (Clarify the map situation: “All roads by Navteq” and “Crappy base map” are opposites.)

    Screen shots of cache pages? (How are hints and logs displayed?)

    What’s their resilience to bad data? If a new log or cache type appears does it survive or crash?

    Does it run WinMo? If so, does it have the traditional problems of WinMo GPSes like terrible boot time and awkward swapping between different program?

    Does it have sensors? Tri-axial compass?

    Track logging limits? How are those presented to the host?

    • Standard mini-USB cable.

      Standard mass storage. I dragged and dropped a pocket query.

      GSAK unknown. Hopefully one of the Groundspeak testers will address this since I’m not a GSAK user.

      No street routing.

      Boot time doesn’t seem too slow.

      No electronic compass. MSRP is $199.99 BTW.

      5000 points for tracklogs. The eXplorist isn’t really set up for anything but geocaching.

  4. How readable is the display in bright sunlight and can you compare visibility to Garmin’s Dakota and Oregon? What are the dimensions/weight? Can information be loaded from a Mac? What kind of batteries does it use?

    • It is a hi-res unit and as such suffers like they all do in bright light. The biggest problem though is the small font, although this could be changed via a firmware update. 5.2 oz. with batteries. Dimensions are 2.2″ W x 4.4″ H x 1.4″ D. You can drag a GPX file into it from mass storage mode. It uses 2 AAs, with settings for “rechargeables,” alkaline and lithium.

  5. aceshelman says:

    Hi, thanks for the preview! I’m in the market for a new geocaching gps unit. I have a 3 year old Garmin eTrex Legend that is just terrible under trees and I would like to replace it this year. Can you test or speculate on this thing’s performance under trees? I know little about Magellan gear, but I’d think just about anything would be better than that old Garmin of mine 🙂

  6. JRGrad says:

    Just got the Explorist GC it combines my GPSr and Blackberry I use for PDA with Cacheberry.
    Has good search options can find cache by name quickly. It holds 10,000 caches and all the data!
    Hint download the online manual. text is small but not hard to read.

  7. I received mine yesterday. I was previos Magellan user (eXplorist 500) This is a huge step up. I concur about the manual. It’s a quick download and very useful. So far I love it. As far as street routing goes, I’ve never been interested in it anyway. I usually take my laptop with MS streets & Trips with me that I use for routing. I wanted this for caching not routing. So far, I love it.

  8. How do I download info onto device from my mac?

  9. Are you a premium member at If so, you can generate a pocket query and drag and drop it to the eXplorist.

  10. I just received as a gift the Magellan eXplorist GC. I m still learning but want to know. I care less about Geocaching but really need a way to back track my way out of the wilderness. Is this the right tool ?
    Again I m new and still need the owners manual from the web.
    Please help

    • No, its not a good unit for that. I don’t recall — it may have a trackback function and may display your track, but you can’t add topo maps and its backcountry functionality is very limited.

  11. it has a place for them but we cant ever get them to work

  12. I just picked up a GC from someone off Craigslist here in Los Angeles.

    This unit is only really for Geocaching, I like the fact that it it truly paperless and works with GSAK.

    The unit I purchased was unopened and had Software Version 1.0 installed. I updated with a free updater to Version 1.6

    Please if you post issues, let us know what version of the software your unit has on it as that can be very important in reporting issues.

    Gonna try it out at lunch and see how it handles.

  13. In my opinion this is really the worst thing i have ever bought. When ever i am out geocaching this unit jumps around in circles. When i am at the cache and it is in my hands the unit then tells me i am 500 feet away from it the device acts like it is lost. I marked where i started to find my way out and followed the map which is horrible and with how many times it jumped around i ended off miles away from where i had to be. With my own experiences from using this device i would not recommend anyone spending a penny on this. Magellan is a good product they just messed up when they came up with the Explorist GC.

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