Magellan explorist 500 LE North America Review

Magellan’s explorist 500 LE offers a lot of the features that the 500 did, but at a lower price. You can usually expect to pay around $180 for the 500 LE, compared to around $200 for the 500. That’s not a great price cut to give up the Li-Ion rechargeable battery that came with the 500. The 500 Le operates on 3 AAA batteries. That’s a small disappointment if you like the convenience of an internal rechargeable battery.

The size is good at 2.2 inches Wide by 4.7 inches High, and only 1.3 inches Deep. It weighs a mere 5.4 ounces without the batteries. The screen display size is 2.25 inches diagonal, and it has a 16 color high resolution display with backlight. So, basically, you’re getting the eXplorist 500 for around 20 bucks cheaper and no internal battery. It does have a good, easy to view display. And the navigation is easy to learn and use. The movement recognizing is fast. And there’s practically no learning curve. It does come preloaded with maps for North America, including roads, parks, water, and several points of interest. And you can add additional maps via the SD card slot. Just a note, sometimes the device has problems recognizing computer connection. Although the USB cable appears to be installable in both directions, it will only recognize a connection if the cord going out of the GPS device is running across the unit. This doesn’t seem to be a major problem, but could take a lot of time with customer support trying to figure out why you can’t get access thru a computer to download additional maps.

The area calculation is fast and accurate, and its TrueFixTM 14 channels, WAAS/EGNOS receiver works lightening quick. You can get signals indoors, or in less than perfect weather conditions.

The keypad has nine direct access keys and the joystick is an eight-way easy scrolling stick, and works very well. You just have to push it in for instant enter, which is a real time saver.

Like most of Magellan’s eXplorist series’, the 500 LE supports ten different languages, so you can customize it to your specific needs.

It does come with a Geocache Manager to download coordinates from the internet, and track logging for up to 5 track files with 2000 points each. Of course, you have unlimited logging capabilities if you purchase your own SD cards. Basically, it comes standard with the features that Magellan has included in most of the eXplorist series, notwithstanding the 600 and the XL.

Overall, it’s not a bad GPS device. It is good for outdoors, such as geocaching, hiking, hunting, etc. Probably not the best choice for road navigation, but for the price, you wouldn’t really expect it to compete with a vehicle GPS device. If you’re looking for something to take with you, that’s small and easy to use for outdoor activities, then the 500 LE is a good choice. You could always spend the extra few dollars and splurge on the 600 or even the XL for more features.

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  • The built-in color map of North America makes it easy to view roads, rivers, waterways, greenways, city centers, airports and other major points of interest. Save 5 track logs, 20 routes and 500 points of interest to the 8 MB available internal memory. Store an unlimited amount of data on your own SD cards.The Magellan Geocache Manager enables you to download coordinates from the Internet directly to your eXplorist 500 and the PC-style file system makes it easy to manage all your data.Easily add detailed MapSend® maps for topographic or marine navigation and turn-by-turn street guidance.Intelligently designed for comfortable right or left handed use, the clearly marked keypad provides one-touch access to all your most important features. Joystick controller makes scrolling the simple menus fun and easy. The large color display is easy-to-read day or night. Customizable navigation screens show your location, speed, direction, and distance to destination and more, just the way you want it.Slip your compact (2.2 in x 4.7 in) eXplorist into your pocket and let it guide you on every outdoor adventure. Magellan TrueFixTM technology provides superior accuracy and reliability, giving you the freedom to explore without concern of getting lost.Your eXplorist 500 is lightweight and pocket-sized so you can take it with you everywhere.The eXplorist 500LE does not include a Li-ion battery or AC adapter but offers all the great GPS features and functions of the eXplorist 500 for a lower price.


  • Color screen – 16-color screen makes it easy to read maps and information in all lighting conditions
  • Built-in maps – North American or European basemap shows major roads, parks, waterways and many points of interest
  • SD-card expandability – Add unlimited MapSend topographic maps or turn-by-turn street routing
  • Simple file system – Save, organize and access all your stored data with ease
  • USB data port – Manage maps and waypoints and download coordinates from your PC
  • TrueFix® technology – Reliable accuracy to within 3 meters
  • Area calculation – Instantly see the distance and area between any geographic points
  • Vertical profile – View graphical elevation changes for where you’ve been or where you’re going
  • Geocache Manager – PC application to download and organize coordinates from the Internet
  • Track logging – Store 5 track files with 2000 points each and an unlimited number on your own SD cards
  • Four navigation screens – Map, Compass, Locator and Satellite Status deliver easy-to-use information
  • Advanced power management – Three (3) AAA batteries or optional Li-ion ion battery (not included)
  • Rugged construction – Encased in rubber armored, impact resistant plastic
  • Water resistant – Don’t worry about getting it wet
  • Languages – Choose English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, Dutch or Norwegian.
  • No service fees – Ready to use with no activation required
  • Full Warranty – One-year in North America, Two-year in Europe


·     Product Number: 980771-112A
CaseRubber armored impact-resistant plastic, water-resistant seal
Base MapBuilt-in basemap of North America or Europe
Size2.2″ W x 4.7″ H x 1.3″ D (W 5.6 cm x H 11.9 cm x D 3.3 cm)
Weight5.4 oz (164.4 g) – w/ batteries
Display2.25″ diagonal, 16-color transflective TFT, high resolution (122 x 160), backlit
Memory16 MB user data
Data StorageUnlimited / Secure Digital (SD) Card compatible
AntennaBuilt-in multidirectional patch
KeypadNine direct-access keys
JoystickEight-way easy scrolling w/ push-in instant enter
Operating Range14 to 140°F (-10 to 60°C)
ReceiverTrueFixTM 14 channels, WAAS/EGNOS
Acquisition TimeHot: 20 seconds, Cold: 60 seconds, Initial: 2 minutes
Update RateOnce per second
Accuracy3 to 5 meters (10 – 16 feet) – WAAS/EGNOS, < 7 meters (15 feet) – GPS only
Velocity0.1 knots (RMS)
Dynamics6 g
Grids75 including Lat/Lon, UTM, OSGB,MGRS, Finnish, German, Swedish, French, Irish, Swiss, USNG, User Grid (90 Max)
LanguagesEnglish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian
SourceThree (3) AAA batteries

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