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Some hints, tips, and I wish I'd knowns...
on August 16, 2012
The Magellan eXplorist 110 is the first GPS I have owned so I cannot attempt to compare it with any other make or model. Previously I used an Android app for geocaching but that would drain the batteries after prolonged use (aka - several hours). The 110 seemed a good fit; I don't need bells or whistles like more expensive GPS units have, and the eXplorist GC seemed too focused. I am a casual geocacher and only required something entry-level and low cost.
I have not had the unit long but my initial reaction is pleased. It starts up quickly and after the first initial satellite search the GPS locks onto signal with minimal wait time. It feels solid but I don't want to test out how accurate the rugged and waterproof claim is on purpose. I found the quick start manual and the full owner's manual to be vague and not really useful so I fiddled with settings and various features for a couple hours learning how to navigate around and use the GPS.
Here are a few things I learned (most seem obvious now but at the time very frustrating):
I set the Map Orientation to "North Up" to keep me from getting disoriented when looking at the map screen; turned the Auto-Zoom and Night Mode to "off"; and lengthened the Backlight and Suspend Timers so I didn't have to push buttons constantly to see the screen (does drain battery faster though). These are personal preferences though.
Downloading geocaches was a simple and painless process. It is true that in order to take full advantage of the geocaching features a premium membership is required, but a free month trial period is included with purchase. Caching is still possible with a basic membership, you just don't get much more information than size, difficulty/terrain, and location on the unit; only have to make sure you read the description, hint, and recent logs prior to going out.
Also, I didn't realize how much of a newbie I was until failing several times to enter correct waypoints. Eventually, it became an easy task once I studied up on the different forms to represent the same location/coordinates.
Creating routes on the device can be a pain, but I decided to try the VantagePoint application from Magellan's website allowing me to create the routes on the computer and transfer them to the GPS unit. So far it is simpler and easier as long as I remember that the eXplorist can only show the first 25 legs per route, so longer routes need to be broken up into multiple parts.
Side note on accessories:
Contradictory information: the box the eXplorist arrived in says "USB cable sold separately", yet the product description says that a USB cable is included. Just be aware of that confusion because I did not receive a cable with my order. I didn't order a cable because I discovered that the cable for my digital camera also fits the eXplorist.
My advice for anyone interested in purchasing the eXplorist 110 is to not waste your money on purchasing the suggested small carrying case or the lanyard. The case is just large enough for the GPS to fit snugly inside. I figured out that if I detach the length of the lanyard I can leave the smaller portion attached at all times and it fit in the case with the GPS; all I needed to do was snap the buckle into place when removing the unit from the case and it was ready to go. I quickly became tired of the hassle and returned both the case and lanyard. I have no complaints about the quality of the lanyard; I just found it slightly bulky and pricey for what it is.
Instead, I found a camera case at a local big-box store for half the price with a much roomier interior. I am very pleased because now I can easily store the GPS (plus wrist strap), extra batteries, and a few other miscellaneous items. This is preferable to me because everything I need is contained in one little neat package allowing me to grab and go.