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Customer Reviews

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on April 25, 2006
I've had the eXplorist 300 for a while now. I had a Garmin eTrex Legend for over a year until it fell down a cliff while I was hiking. I'll get into that later. Naturally, this review will include some comparison of the two units. They are in the same class and price range, and both units and companies are great.

First off, if you want a PC interface, the eXplorist 300 doesn't have one (but the eXplorist 210, 400, 500, etc. do). If you want detailed street-level maps (eXplorist 300 has only major roads and highways), this unit doesn't have that either. My main use of the unit is for hiking, so those points are not an issue for me.

When it comes to the strengths of the Garmin eTrex Legend in comparison to the Magellan eXplorist 300, I can think of two. One is that the eTrex does have a PC interface. If this is a necessity, I would suggest the eXplorist 210, eXplorist 400, or the Garmin eTrex series itself. The other strength of the eTrex Legend is minor in that the eTrex showed me Average Speed (in addition to Current Speed) and Stopped Time. Those are two neat measurements that the eXplorist 300 doesn't have.

The eXplorist 300 is much more user-friendly than the eTrex Legend. The beautiful simplicity of the eXplorist comes in the form of several great buttons that are right on the front on the unit. Whatever can't be accessed directly with a button on the unit CAN be accessed in a menu through a button that IS on the unit--the Menu button. Because of this, you are almost always 1-2 button pushes and joystick clicks away from what you want to do.

When it comes to reception, the eXplorist 300 is exceptional and surpasses the abilities of the eTrex Legend. My eTrex Legend would lose reception easily, even out in the open sometimes. Any heavy clouds or tree canopy above me would make the reception of my eTrex intermittent. The eXplorist is much more resilient to losing reception and much better at getting it.

We're finally at the part where my old eTrex falls down a cliff. In another comparison review between the eTrex series and eXplorist series, a reviewer said that one of the advantages of the Garmin eTrex over the Magellan eXplorist was that it took only half a turn to unscrew the bolt on the eTrex battery cover versus about 10 turns for the eXplorist series. That person may think that is an advantage, but I do not. I had my eTrex on a caribiner attached to my backpack, and all it took was that half turn of the bolt to leave the battery cover attached to my backpack while the rest of the unit fell down a several hundred foot cliff in Glacier National Park. I will gladly spend the extra seconds to open the battery cover of the eXplorist versus having a unit that might unscrew itself from its backing.

Unique features of the eXplorist 300 include an electronic 2-axis compass (so you don't have to be in motion to get a reading), a weather thermometer, barometer, and a barometric pressure altimeter. The eTrex Legend has none of those features. The build quality and styling of the eXplorist series are top notch as well.

I think it's obvious by now that I do indeed recommend getting a Magellan eXplorist 300. Most importantly, have a great time no matter what GPS unit you end up with!
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on October 8, 2005
The eXplorist 300 is a good unit that is a cut above basic GPS's. It has a very readable screen with an excellent 2-step backlight, which will use up quickly the otherwise good battery life. The menu structure is intuitive and easy. The electronic compass is the real plus on this unit, but it must be kept level for accuracy. I found the built-in map to be usable, but not without labeling errors. Just don't expect much detail below major road level. The unit takes a while on startup to achieve maximum accuracy, but then is very good and sensitive even in heavy trees (especially compared to the Etrex Legend I compared it to). I found it to be a good geocache unit especially with the electronic compass (especially compared to the Legend). It has usually placed me within 20 feet of the cache coordinates. The stability and accuracy of the compass really shines when getting close to the cache.

The unit lacks a PC or PDA interface though there are some hacks available on the internet to supply this capability. So you can't interface to a PC and digitally load maps or waypoints, etc. without the hack. Some of the newer generation units coming on the market in this price range are addressing this and have more memory. I have not found much use for the thermometer and barometer yet, but they do work. The users manual is very brief and not everything is explained fully. I recommend this unit as one of the best I have used in the lower end market, just keep in mind its limitations and your needs.
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on March 13, 2006
The last review if the person had read carefully and further researched the product they wouldn't have been fooled. I'm in the Army ROTC program and we do lots of land navigation in the middle of the woods. Its got a good compass. Lots of great features as detailed and does everything I need it too, still figuring out what all it can do. It is very rugged and take some hits if need be but I wouldn't go tossing it down a cliff. I drove from Arkansas to Kansas and used this GPS device to help keep me on track and know what cities were coming up so I could get gas. Sweet speed display and real-time action. Great product for your money. Keeps some extra batteries with you if your going for a few days but that's about it.
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on November 5, 2006
I use the explorist 300 mainly for geocaching. I've also used it a few times in the car to make sure I was heading in the right direction.

The gps finds a number of satellites then stays reliably connected, at least where I live. The battery life is good. Waypoints/coordinates need to be entered by hand - the 300 doesn't link to a computer (as far as I can tell).

I don't recommend buying this if detailed maps or car navigation is a priority. Overall, I'm pleased with it, great for beginning geocachers.
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on November 1, 2007
Megellans "customer service" is by far the worst we have experienced. Based on our experience, it appears that Magellan's customer service tactic is to put the customer on hold for long periods hoping that they will hang up, always making the customer call back, never agreeing to follow up with a return phone call or e-mail and making false promises. I'm assuming all with the intent that the customer will eventually just give up. Not only has Magellan not stood behind its product, its customer service people are obviously trained to give customers the run around. What a NASTY way to treat people. Read on if you want details of what we have been through.

In April of 2006 I bought my husband a Magellan Explorist 300 for his birthday. It was to replace a 10 year old Magellan that was much larger and heavier. After several months the NAV button wasn't working properly. By the time he got around to call "customer service" it was a couple of weeks after the 1 year warranty. He was told the warranty would not be honored as it had expired. We paid to ship and repair the unit. When we got the unit back, it was not the one we sent in as it had a different serial number. The NAV button of this replaced unit did not work. My husband called within a week, of receiving this "repaired" model and was told by "customer service" that the Explorist 300 was discontinued, they would not honor the "repaired" model and that they were no longer servicing the model. He was then told he would just have to buy another model. He indicated that this was not acceptable and pressed to speak with a supervisor. He was first told no supervisor was available and with further pressing was put on hold for 10-15 minutes before a supervisor responded. She indicated that they would provide him with an Explorist 400 at no charge, but that they were out of stock and he would need to call back in a week. After the week, the call was a series of holds (always 10-15 minutes each time) before a supervisor came to the phone. This supervisor said the Explorist 400 was out of stock as well as the Explorist 500 and that they would ship him an Explorist 600. After two weeks went by, my husband called to find out if the Explorist 600 had been shipped. They said it would be shipped within 1 week and when my husband asked by what mode of transport, they indicated UPS. When he asked them to provide the tracking number he was told to call back in a couple of days for it. He calls back a couple of days later and again after a series of holds was told the Explorist 600 was being shipped out and that he should have it in a few days.....again he's instructed to call back for the tracking number. He calls back days later, again a series of holds, and is told the computer system is down and he will have to call back the next day. He calls back, again a series of holds. The "customer service" rep promises that this time it will be shipped and that he will even send an e-mail providing the tracking number within 24-48 hours. You guessed tracking number. My husband calls every week and is "promised" that it will be sent (this time) and he will receive it in 3-5 days. This has been going on for over two months now and still no replacement model. My husband is determined to get Magellan to stand behind their product, but I think it is an exercise in futility and that he will never get the replacement model he was "promised".
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on February 20, 2005
I just drove up from Fresno to Sacramento and found the 300 only has major highways and absolutely no street mapping whatsover. If you are looking for a basic navigational device to get you back to the highway when you are just running around town, it will do, but to get out to the back country and hike or ride the bike with it? Probably not - there is just not enough detail, unless you just want to retrace your steps back where you came from. The maximum amount of detail is about 100 ft (scale).

I am looking into the 300/400, as you get detail road maps and can download topographical data. You also get rechargable batteries and color display (400). Good luck.
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on July 16, 2006
I recently got this item for basic geocaching and navigation, and was appalled when I took it onto the field. When compared to 3 other Garmin GPS units (two of them legends), it gave completely different co-ordinates (longitude and latitude) and when we actually found the geocache, my explorist said that it was .16 miles in the opposite direction. Don't let the weather features fool you, I was in a WAAS zone and I got the aforementioned results.

Needless to say, I returned it to amazon the next day, and got an etrex legend.

I hope this was a helpfull review,

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on August 22, 2006
This little guy does great at getting me back to where I started in my boat. The instruction manual isn't great but I figured out how to use it and I am not a computer genius. Great for what I bought it for.
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on January 4, 2007
I bought this GPS for my honeymoon trip on a cruise liner. I took it on the top decks and plotted the ship's position relative to its sailing along the eastern US Coast (we sailed from NYC to PR, and St Thomas).

I was able to track our speed and course the entire time.

The batteries last as long as the box says, about 12 hours straight. The screen is easy to read and the device is simple enough to use.

I was impressed.
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on January 9, 2007
Fast pick-up of location and readily tracks even in moderately heavy cover. Even use in my vehicle and no problems. Only comp;aints are the temp. screen seems slow to respond to temp. changes and the map which is basic is not current to roads and doesn't track exactly to the route. Otherwise definately a good basic GPS for the cost.
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