Magellan eXplorist 500 review

Price when reviewed

For outdoors enthusiasts, the Satmap Active 10 is the ultimate navigation tool, but adding the maps will prove expensive over time. If you prefer to save your cash and don’t mind using paper maps on a windy hilltop, you could do a lot worse than Magellan’s eXplorist 500.

Magellan eXplorist 500 review

It doesn’t have the slick OS mapping of the Satmap Active 10, but there is a good choice of interesting mapping add-ons for purchase, and you can also buy niche interest mapping: the SnowRanger series of maps is great for skiers, allowing you to add piste maps of popular ski resorts – the Trois Vallées in France, for instance – for around £20 each.

It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of competitors: there’s no digital compass, so you have to be moving to take a bearing; there’s no barometric altimeter, which means altitude readings aren’t as accurate as they could be; and no option for basic weather prediction as on the Suunto X9i. You can plan routes on your PC and transfer waypoints, but the software isn’t as advanced as Suunto’s Trek Manager.

But the Magellan eXplorist 500 is a pretty good performer in other respects. It locked on to enough satellites to supply an accurate position in around a minute, and maintained steady reception in built-up areas and under light tree cover on our Epping Forest walk. We also like the fact that it’s nice and pocketable, and that the colour screen is more readable than the Satmap’s in bright conditions.

But the price puts it directly in competition with the Garmin Edge 705, which is slicker, smaller, easier to use and more versatile. Sadly, the eXplorist can’t quite compete.


GPS recommended use Hiking


Map data provider N/A
Navigation software N/A


In-car mount type N/A
External GPS antenna included? no
Bluetooth support no
Front panel memory card reader no
Headphone output no
Sync via cable? yes
FM transmitter? no

Other functions

Traffic information N/A
Postcode search N/A

PC Software

Software supplied Magellan Conversion Manager

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