Magellan eXplorist Pro 10|
Windows Mobile 6.5-based HPS handheld
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
GPS aficionados not only know that Magellan was one of the GPS pioneers, but also that the company became part of the Taiwanese MiTAC group a couple of years ago, the same technology and computing conglomerate that rugged mobile computing manufacturer Getac is also a part of. And that MiTAC has been selling Mio PDAs and personal navigation devices for a while. So it is no big surprise that in April of 2011, Magellan launched a rugged handheld GPS, or GPS handheld, computer, the eXplorist Pro 10. The eXplorist line isn't new and included rugged handheld devices before, but the Pro 10 seems the first geared towards more professional users with standard Windows Mobile features on top of dedicated GPS functionality.
As far as size, weight and specs go, the new eXplorist Pro 10 seems almost identical to the existing eXplorist 710. It measures about 2.6 x 5 x 1.5 inches and weighs just under seven ounces. That's about standard smartphone size, only thicker and a bit heavier. The device is powered by a 533MHz Samsung 3C2450 processor, has 128MB of RAM and 4GB of Flash, a microSDHC card slot of extra storage expansion (up to 32GB), and has a transflective sunlight-readable 3-inch touch screen with 240 x 400 pixel resolution. Yes, that's 240 x 400, a somewhat unusual wide format that Magellan calls WQVGA, for Wide Quarter VGA.
What's diffferent is that the Pro 10 runs standard Windows Mobile 6.5 and users can run third party GIS data collection programs such as ESRI's ArcPad 10 as well as a wide range of other Windows Mobile data collection software.
On the GPS side, the eXplorist Pro 10 has an integrated high-sensitivity, 20-channel GPS/SBAS SiRFstar III-based receiver with multidirectional patch antenna, 10-15 feet real-time accuracy with SBAS, and, if that's not enough, sub-meter accuracy using a supported Bluetooth GPS w/SBAS, dGPS/beacon receiver or OmniSTAR receiver.
The handsome, eye-catching Pro 10's ruggedness specs are noteworthy, too. The device caries IPx7 sealing, which means it's waterproof. It's dustproof, too, of course, which really makes it a IP67 device. The Pro 10 also has an exceptionally wide operating temperature range of 14 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The 3.3 feet drop spec is perhaps a bit less than excepted (we think it can handle more).
The Pro 10 has a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera. Add to that a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter and there are all sorts of interesting geotagging and other GIS applications. There's also Bluetooth v2.0 that could be used to connect to laser rangefinders, barcode scanners, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices for cable-free solution. However, no WiFi or optional WWAN; this is clearly a GPS/GIS oriented device.
MSRP is US$699, not inexpensive, but also not out of line for a powerful GPS handheld that is also a full-function Windows Mobile computer. WiFi, though, should definitely be included.