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eXplorist 100 - first impressions

 
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Buzzygirl
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004

Posts: 499

PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 9:36 pm    Post subject: eXplorist 100 - first impressions Reply with quote

Hi folks, I'm posting my first impressions of the newest GPSr offering from Magellan, the eXplorist 100. I bought one because I wanted to check out its performance vs. my eTrex, and I figured I should have a backup GPSr just in case the eTrex pooped out or got lost, or whatever.

Last Sunday, I noticed that there was something very wrong with my eTrex-- it kept shutting off for no apparent reason. I haven't mistreated it, dropped it or kept it in a hot vehicle, so I don't know what could be wrong with it. My first thought was that it might be bad batteries. Tried switching out the batteries, but it is still doing it. I guess I should probably send it back to Garmin to have it checked out.

I am therefore glad I decided to order a new GPSr. I chose this one because I really don't require a GPSr with a ton of bells n' whistles. I don't need advanced mapping capabilities. I had to wait a good three weeks for the eXplorist to finally arrive, as Magellan pushed back its initial shipment date a couple of times. It finally arrived today.

My first impression out of the box is that this GPSr is sharp looking. It is a cool orange color. It's about the same size as my eTrex, but rounder. I like the fit and feel of it in my hand.

I immediately took it outside with the manual and started playing around with it. It's very easy to use right out of the box-- the buttons and screens are extremely intuitive, and it's very easy to find what you're looking for. I barely needed to consult the manual at all.

I wanted to put it through its paces, but I didn't have much time to go caching tonight before it got dark. I did however manage to grab one new cache located in Roseville, which is near my home. I was quite impressed by how well the eXplorist kept a good lock on the signal in the area. I was mostly using a nav screen that resembled a compass, similar to the one on my eTrex. I watched carefully how it acted once I got within 100 feet of the cache area.

The "needle" didn't jump around as I got closer to the waypoint I'd set; the one on my eTrex almost invariably jumps all over the place as it nears a waypoint. This was a real nice suprise. It kept a great lock, and I found the cache when the GPSr said I was 4 feet away. I noted that the reading didn't change a great deal when I walked around the cache area with the GPSr. Typically, my eTrex's reading would swing quite rapidly and wildly when walking around the cache area (first, it'd say I was within 10 feet of the waypoint; two feet later, it would say I was within 55 ft. The eXplorist didn't do this). I'm looking forward to using it some more this coming weekend to see if this is what I can expect as its usual performance.

Now, the pros and cons as I see them:

PROS: Small; lightweight; inexpensive; very simple to use, even for someone who has never used a GPSr before. Backlight has two settings, dimmer and brighter. Water-resistant. Intuitive interface allows one-button access to the most important features. Cool orange color. Seems to be quite accurate and keeps a signal lock well even in dense wooded areas.

CONS: No port for serial or other computer cable-- you will need to enter all waypoints manually. This is not a problem for me, but it could well be for people who prefer to download waypoints from GC.com. Backlighting sucks battery life *very* quickly (this is noted in the manual). Lighter build than some other GPSrs I've held, which may or may not be indicative of relative build quality. Utilizes a "joystick" function for many key features; however, this button is very small and somewhat awkward to use. I can imagine that large-fingered people might have problems with it.

So farl, I'm satisfied so far with this GPSr in the very short time I've used it. It would make a great beginner's GPSr with its ease of use and few frills. It's inexpensive, too-- I paid $94.50 at TigerGPS.

There are also the eXplorist models 200 and 300. I am not familiar with their features and how they differ from the 100. I've no pecuniary interest in either Magellan or TigerGPS; just happy with the performance of the product so far. I will post further impressions after I've been able to use it a bit more.
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IBcrashen
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Dec 2002

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

for you eTrex problem, did you try bending the tabs out for better contact with the batteries? Try cutting an eraser and putting pieces behind them to keep them out.
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Buzzygirl
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I didn't think about that. I will try it tonight though. Thanks for the tip.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buzzygirl wrote:
No, I didn't think about that. I will try it tonight though. Thanks for the tip.

Near the EOL for my Vista it began doing the same thing. I wasn't quite as nice to my GPS as you say you are to yours though. I always chalked up the random shutdown issues I was having to the fact that my GPS would routinely FLY across my dashboard after I took a turn at 100 mph to attempt to beat another Geocacher to FTF.

I was only half kidding just ask jjjeffr Smile
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Kitch
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Joined: 18 May 2003

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Near the EOL for my Vista it began doing the same thing. I wasn't quite as nice to my GPS as you say you are to yours though. I always chalked up the random shutdown issues I was having to the fact that my GPS would routinely FLY across my dashboard after I took a turn at 100 mph to attempt to beat another Geocacher to FTF.


I'd put the blame on ME.
since I could grab the damn thing and hold on for my life at the same time.
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Buzzygirl
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004

Posts: 499

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject: Further impressions of the eXplorist 100. Reply with quote

I've had more of a chance to use the new eXplorist 100 this past weekend. I continue to be impressed by its accuracy compared to the eTrex.

I did a side-by-side comparison of the eTrex and the eXplorist 100 on Saturday. The eXplorist continues to whip the eTrex in terms of signal lock and accuracy. The eXplorist 100's reading simply does not jump around when in the vicinity of the cache coordinates, and the eTrex's does.

For example... when looking for the Reservoir Woods cache in Roseville, I had both the eTrex and eXplorist 100 set for the cache coords and was holding one in each hand. When nearing the cache area, the eXplorist 100 read that I was within 4 feet of the cache when I was actually about that far from the area. The eTrex reading, however, kept changing. When the eXplorist 100 said I was within 10 ft. of the cache, the eTrex said I was within 23 feet. When I got to the cache itself, I took the reading of 2 ft. from the eXplorist 100. The eTrex said I was 54 feet away. I walked around the area with both GPSrs. The eXplorist 100 was consistent in its readings. The eTrex readings kept jumping around.

I am not sure why the eXplorist 100 is more accurate than the eTrex (which I fixed, by the way, by bending out the battery contacts-- no more shut downs when I least expected it) and I don't intend to start a "Garmin v. Magellan" war (I have heard good and bad about both brands) but I thought that my experience with the two was interesting.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Further impressions of the eXplorist 100. Reply with quote

Buzzygirl wrote:
I am not sure why the eXplorist 100 is more accurate than the eTrex (which I fixed, by the way, by bending out the battery contacts-- no more shut downs when I least expected it) and I don't intend to start a "Garmin v. Magellan" war (I have heard good and bad about both brands) but I thought that my experience with the two was interesting.

I had a Garmin Vista a while back before buying a used Garmin GPSMap76. While caching with another local cacher who was using a Garmin Legend I found that his unit routinely outperformed mine when it came to accuracy and lock (remember that the Vista is the more expensive unit).

Now, the Garmin GPSMap76 is much more accurate than my Vista was and it routinely outperforms another person's GPSMap60C. My readings, at times, are within 10 feet and the 60C is 40+.

I chalk this up to individual units. One unit may ROCK on readings and another of the same model might suck. It's all luck from how I see it.
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Kitch
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Joined: 18 May 2003

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since its in my hands...it could just be MY fault....
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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sell GPS where I work...

Explorist 100:

GOOD POINTS:
- $99 for WAAS (better then Yellow Etrex)
- Cool new design
- Cool red backlight
- Cool because it's Magellan (ok so I threw that in..)

BAD POINTS:- Can't hook up 12volt cable

Conclusion: GOOD BUY!

As far as I'm concerned, it's great if you're going to be hunting, hiking, caching, or anything else away from a 12 volt source. For $99 you couldn't go wrong. It's bigger then the $84 Geko which I'd sure lose, and it has WAAS which is all important. What else do you need in an introductory GPS? Just expect to give Duracell and Energizer 5% of your monthly income...
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rickrich
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Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dyl1231 won the Explorist 200 in the summer Magellan contest, and we have a Garmin Geko 201 which we really like due to its tiny size and good performance. Anyway, Magellan emailed today that Dyl should be getting the 200 within 2 weeks or so. So we will be able to heads up comparison soon.

The flaws with the Geko as we seen 'em: power button turns on too easily, but can be fixed with some easy mods; no waypoint averaging; cannot see both the destination and current lat/lon on the compass display at the same time. The Geko 201 does have a computer interface, but we hardly ever use it. The Geko is our "field" unit, not our "nav" unit. So we won't hold the lack of a computer interface against the Explorist.
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Buzzygirl
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004

Posts: 499

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rickrich: let us know what you think of the eXplorist 200 once you've had a chance to use it!
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Centris
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 27 Nov 2002

Posts: 620

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just FYI if anyone is thinking about getting a Magellan --
I saw the Explorist 200 (the yellow one) at the Anoka Costco last night for $129
They were also advertising a Thanksgiving online sale of the Meridian Color with $100 in rebates.

I don't know if these are good prices or not, but I just thought it was interesting to see this huge display of GPS - Hopefully they will sell out and we will see a bunch of new geocachers up here.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Centris wrote:
They were also advertising a Thanksgiving online sale of the Meridian Color with $100 in rebates.

I know Good-Boy had a Magellan color unit (not sure which model) and had to have it replaced three times (they made him pay for two of the replacements) as the unit would just blank the screen and be unusable.

He ended up purchasing a Garmin 76CS instead because of his frustration with the color unit he had.

YMMV.
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Kitch
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Joined: 18 May 2003

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing

gotta get those freebies
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Centris
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 27 Nov 2002

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
He ended up purchasing a Garmin

Yup, I love my trusty ol' Garmin too..... I *briefly* thought about getting one of the Explorist 200's for my dh to keep with his camping/hiking stuff, but now I think I won't......

He keeps wanting me to buy a new GPS for myself - truth be told I think he just wants my old one for himself.
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