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  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
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Magellan eXplorist TRX7 Off Road Navigation GPS System

Posted in Product Reviews on March 1, 2016
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There are times when we just head to the desert, forest, or mountains with a general area in mind, randomly exploring trails. On other occasions, we prepare by plotting courses using satellite imagery, creating an online route, and downloading it to a GPS unit to use for trail navigation. We've used handheld GPS units, smartphones, laptops, and various touchscreen tablets with GPS software. Each has its pros and cons.

Magellan recently introduced its eXplorist TRX7, an OHV navigation solution in the form of a 7-inch touchscreen tablet. The GPS-enabled unit can display maps and routes, plus record your travelled routes much like a GPS unit most of us are familiar with. Where this device stands apart is that it comes preloaded with more than 44,000 trail routes in forest and public lands, and it’s improving from there. Along with the starting database of trails, Magellan is building a crowd-sourced trail database where users can share their trails with attributes and ratings. The software displays detailed 2D topo (with contour lines) and 3D terrain-view maps for the USA and Canada.

The eXplorist TRX7 comes with a 110V wall charger, 12V charger, a heavy-duty RAM suction mount, and mobile quick-connect charge cable. This gives you a reliable dash mount and several power options for the unit. Other vehicle kits offer other mounting options.

This Magellan GPS is built on Ulmo Pro N496(x) Series tablet hardware using the Android 4.2.2 "Jelly Bean" operating system with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Further specs include 1GB Mobile DDR2 memory, 16GB onboard memory, and a 64GB MicroSD card expansion slot for you tech geeks.

You can create an online vehicle profile and sync your TRX7 unit on the eXplorist website. Other online interaction can take place via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After saving a trail or trip, you can add attributes defining whether 4WD is needed, low range gearing, type of terrain and other difficulty characteristics. You can then upload the trail to your online account and share it with others. Trail photos and comments can also be shared. A journal on the eXplorist keeps a running list of your completed trails, and a wish list holds trails you've saved from the search function in the Magellan database. Additionally, you can upload GPX-formatted files to your TRX web account and use them on the eXplorist.

The tablet resides in a shock-resistant housing and is IP67 ruggedized against dust and water. The display is a weatherproof 7-inch LCD touchscreen, so it's designed to withstand some exposure to the elements you're likely to see outdoors. One thing we do miss on the eXplorist TRX7 that we have on another Android tablet application is an auto-rotate feature, allowing use in both landscape and portrait modes. This offers a bit more flexibility when trying to fit a tablet into a dash layout.

After studying the manual a bit, we got acquainted with the features of the TRX7 and then spent some drive time with it. After spending a little time navigating the screens we got used to the menu flow. For use as a trail aide, we found the screen size to be just about right to clearly show the trail info without taking up a lot of dash space. Screen visibility was clear under a variety of lighting conditions.

If you're looking for a trail GPS that offers a larger viewing screen than a handheld, can log all your off-highway adventures, and provide a substantial database of trail knowledge, then you'll want to consider this new offering from Magellan.

You can search for nearby trails by name or other points of interest by category.

The eXplorist TRX7 can store tracks and mark waypoints of interest. Waypoints can be detailed by category, plus you can record a custom audio message to further describe a waypoint. Using the online community, users can share trails and points of interest with other enthusiasts. The TRX website allows you to plan your routes in advance and review trail data for areas you're not yet familiar with.

Another on-screen feature included with the backcountry explorer in mind is the Backtrack button (for those of us that might hit a dead end and need to turn back). A quick push of this button offers you a guidance track back to your starting point. This view shows the flattened two-dimensional topo. The initial version of the TRX7 software didn’t display moving speed, but Magellan plans to have it incorporated in a 2016 software update.

You can load multiple vehicles into the unit and track dirt miles of each one individually. Once the TRX7 is within Wi-Fi range, when you return home, your trail data will sync to your online account.

Applications on the tablet also include a web browser, email client, calendar, and music player so it can serve other functions aside from being a GPS navigator. While this tablet is not Google Play compatible, additional Android apps can be manually loaded with downloaded application files. When in Wi-Fi range, you can use it to check out your favorite four-wheeling site (in case you forgot, that’s

Users create an account online at where they can download or upload trail routes and interface with the off-road community sharing trail information. Trails are rated by difficulty and notable obstacles or waypoints can be included.

3D terrain-view map.



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