After sending the 610 back due to map issues two weeks later I found a brand new eX710 on eBay for £150. I think it has been sitting around for a while though, so no warranty, but I can’t complain at that price. My thoughts so far are that my main requirements are serviced incredibly well, but some of the simple things I took as red are not so good. This device could be ten times better than anything else out there with just a little effort from Magellan.
- The custom maps are awesome. I will cover this is a separate post. It makes Garmin Discoverer look very poor, and custom maps are free.
- The device is super accurate. It is at least on a par with the CSx (slightly better in wooded areas) and way, way more accurate than the Oregon and similar models.
- VantagePoint allows you full screen and printable access to all of your maps, including the custom maps. This is awesome.
- Geocaching Live functionality in VantagePoint means that the area shown on the screen is immediately populated with active caches. You need premium membership at Geocaching.com to make this happen.
- The electronic compass is very reliable, but I have chosen to turn it off for hiking. I don’t like the fact that there is no quick way to turn it off. Despite having it set to only come on when travelling less than 1.5mph if I stop for lunch it will drain then.
- The 710 has true sat nav with voice and turn-by-turn instructions. This is supported by the City Streets map that comes with the device. It could be added to the 610, but cost is probably prohibitive.
- Pocket Queries can be loaded directly into VP from GC.com.
- All tracks, routes, waypoints, media and maps are managed through VP.
- Media is geo-tagged and can appear on the map where it was created.
- Tracks can display different colours for different walking speeds. This is called Legend for some reason.
- Did I mention the maps? This is huge!
- There is just no information available and Magellan don’t seem interested in their devices. The user base is also tiny.
- You can’t add custom POI.
- I’m not convinced by simple stats like average speed, time at rest, total ascent etc.
- The barometer is useless and GPS calculated altitude is no better. You can use map elevation (the 710 includes a topo map with this data) which works well. Why put in hardware without ensuring it is of some use?
- Distance to End is rubbish. It seems that the device can’t pick up where you are on a route unless you pass the start point of the route.
- The POI on the Magellan maps are useless unless you want to know where golf courses are etc. Why there are not trigpoints and hill peaks on there is anybody’s guess. I wouldn’t even mention this if I could add custom POI.
- There is no Mac version of VantagePoint. As a PC user I couldn’t care less about this, but you may.
- Can’t import waypoints into a folder in VP even though folders are allowed.
- Can’t customize icons and they are very small on the device. This is good in some respects, but bad when you miss a Geocache.
- VP crashes now and again when importing maps. About every forth one, but not that predictable. Seems Ok with other use though.
- While you can create routes in VP, the functionality is poor. You can’t move a point on a route for instance. This make it almost useless for creating routes for me.
- Audio files are amr format, so you need to install QuickTime. VP runs QuickTime outside of the app. This is just a bit messy, but not a show stopper.
- While video uses the more standard mp4 format, it calls your default mp4 app and more importantly it has no audio. Possibly a codec issue, but I don’t intend to use video on the device anyway.
- Track and route lines are very thick and not configurable.
- Track legend has to be painstakingly configured separately for each track.
After using on about 8 trips I have found many more annoyances, mostly with VantagePoint, but on the whole the important stuff is done very well.
- Always use the Alkaline battery profile regardless of the battery type you are using. Apparently the rechargeable and lithium profiles are not set up correctly.
- I’m not sure that the photos are as good on this device as they were on the 610. I believe that there was a hardware upgrade to the camera and this device may pre-date it.
- I’m finding it hard to get to grips with saving tracks. On the Garmin devices no manual process was required. The eXplorist have a save and a start track. It’s not totally clear exactly what they do apart from the obvious.
- I set the GPSr to write a track point every second. The main track on the internal memory was missing half the trip as it maxed out at 10,000 points. There was a full gpx file on the microSD card, though VantagePoint can’t sync this. It can be imported easily enough, but it’s messy.