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Magellan eXplorist 110 Handheld GPS

By: Joanna Hall
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For a long time I resisted the vehicle GPS trend, stoically believing that I could map a route much more successfully and efficiently by doing my research on Google Maps and learning the way. After much persuasion, and getting my first Navman, however, I had to admit it does have many pros. 


So when I was offered a new hand held GPS for a trial, my first thought was: "What I would I need that for?" After all, I have an iPhone 4 with various navigation tools on it ... what use could a GPS be? On a recent trip to San Francisco I found out.


The new Magellan eXplorist 110 Handheld GPS is designed for the everyday explorer who enjoys bushing walking, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. What it promises is easy to use, quality navigation, at an affordable price. It also has features which extend way beyond an iPhone. 


For one, it has a coloured screen which is readable even in bright sunlight, and there are calendars such as the Sun and Moon which help you plan your day and time, and when you will lose the light. It's waterproof, not that we got to test it for that purpose, and can be slipped into a pocket, hung around the neck or off a backpack, and it runs off two AA batteries with a promised run time of up to 18 hours, which is pretty good.


Back to our test. San Francisco may not be the first place you'd think of to test a handheld GPS, but if you've ever ventured into the vast expanse of Golden Gate Park you know why it could be useful. We ran the unit and my iPhone side-by-side. 


Where the iPhone fails as a handheld navigation device is initially with the signal. I was using a T-Mobile sim card with a number from Orange County, and it had fluctuating signals all the time - none in our apartment in the Tendernob, yet plenty in other areas of the city. The iPhone's power will also drain quite quickly if it is constantly working, and you have to keep making sure it's on and doesn't go into sleep mode.


The eXplorist, on the other hand, is easy to set up, easy to use, and we found it plotted our routes easily. It looks like a phone, and works like a GPS; if you have both, there's no steep learning curve. Okay, so we were only in a park in a city, but trust me the roads and paths in there twist and wind, making it easy to lose your bearings without a map, and there is no city skyline, or any ocean or mountains visible to use as landmarks. 


If you are a keen hiker or cyclist who likes to venture beyond the confines of a city, this GPS is a really useful tool and well worth the money. Just remember to take a few extra batteries on longer trips.




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The Magellan eXplorist 110 Handheld GPS has an rrp of $149. It can be purchased from major retailers such as Rays Outdoors and BCF, or visit www.magellan.com.au for more stockists.




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