Magellan explorist XL North America Review

The eXplorist XL from Magellan is an excellent GPS device for its price range. The screen is large for a hand held device. It has a 3.5 inch diagonal, 16 color high resolution display. It’s great, easy to see, and the 16 bit actually works much better than Garmin’s 256 color display, which seems a little over the top for a device of this caliber. The backlight is excellent, and shuts off automatically when light hits it, a big improvement over other eXplorists in the series that didn’t and cost battery power.

One minor con is that while the XL does have a compass, it isn’t magnetic. It uses changes in GPS position to determine your direction. You have to be moving for it to be completely accurate, or take a compass along with you. If you’re using it while driving, however, it will be very accurate, as you’ll be moving fast enough for it to calculate your direction.

Another minor point is that at 12.25 ounces, you’re carrying almost an extra pound with the XL. It’s not a big problem, but if you’re hiking or backpacking, that extra weight might be troublesome. Other GPS devices with the same features weigh much less, more like 5 to 8 ounces, so the XL is practically doubled in weight from others like it.

It does come with 29.9 MB of maps loaded with roads, parks, waterways, etc., and you can add an SD card for additional information such as specific streets or points of interest. The user interface is surprisingly easy to learn. And you can hook it up with your computer for easy downloading of extra maps.

The XL is powered by four AA batteries, and boasts up to 19 hours of continuous use. So, if you have a AA battery recharger, you’re pretty much set with this one. There’s also an “auto-off” function to save your battery power when you don’t particularly need it.

Satellite signal is great, even indoors, to within 3 meters. It uses 14 channels, instead of the normal 12, and is WAAS and EGNOS enabled, so signal strength does not seem to be an issue. It recognizes 10 languages, and the keyboard is very user friendly. It has seven keys plus a joystick on the keypad, so it’s not confusing, or hard to learn.

The eXplorist XL is a good device, particularly if you plan to use it for outdoor adventures. It’s impact resistant and the waterproof feature works perfectly. If you’re in the market for a GPS to use while hunting, camping, geocaching, backpacking, etc., then the XL is a really good choice. You can use it while driving, and it’s very efficient for that as well. If you don’t mind about the features that it doesn’t have, such as an MP3 player, etc., that normally are included in vehicle GPS, then the XL may be a perfect choice for you. Overall, for the price, and the functionality, it’s one of the best in its class.

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TrueFix®GPS technology provides reliable accuracy to within 3 meters by taking advantage of 14 parallel channels and 2 dedicated WAAS and EGNOS Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems channels for fast signal acquisition and minimal signal loss. Save your waypoints and tracks with Track Logging and store them in the available memory or on your own SD cards for return trips to all your favorite outdoor destinations.

Add optional MapSend topographic maps for your outdoor adventure on the trail, street maps for turn-by-turn auto navigation on the road, and lake charts for your boating and fishing adventures on the water.

Easy-to-use one-button access to key features, simple menus and joystick control make GPS navigation easier than ever.


  • eXtra-Large color screen – 3.5″ backlit display in vibrant color
  • Easy-to-use – Navigate in seconds with simple menus, one-button shortcut to key features and joystick control
  • 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 – Four AA batteries provide up to 19 hours of use. Save power with “auto-off”.
  • 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: 980812-01
CaseRubber armored impact-resistant plastic, water-resistant seal
Base Map29.9 MB built-in North America or Europe
Size2.9″ W x 6.4″ H x 1.33″ D (W 7.37 cm x H 16.26 cm x D 3.38 cm)
Weight12.25 oz (347.28 g)
Display3.5″ diagonal, 16-color, high resolution, transflective TFT (176 x 220), backlit
Memory30 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
Grids76 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
SourceFour AA batteries or 12 V USB adapter
Battery LifeUp to 19 hours continuous use

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