Magellan SporTrak Map Handheld GPS

Magellan SporTrak Map Handheld GPS

$249.99 Too Low To Display

  • Used Price: $125.00
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  • Third Party Used Price: $174.99
Magellan's Sportrak Map--with its gray monochrome screen and limited data upload--is a little bit old school. But that's not bad. Think of the Sportrak Map as a jeep--rugged exterior, spartan controls (that are easy to access), and all the power you need to get you to any destination, whether it be the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest or the urban jungle.

This Map model resides at the low end of Magellan's Sportrak series, which is geared more toward the outdoorsy type than the business person navigating appointments from the car. The Sportrak Map offers a 2 MB built-in map database of North America, a relatively small 6 MB flash memory for downloading maps and points of interest from your PC, storage for 500 waypoints and 20 routes, and WAAS reception (more on that in a moment).

Our first of the Sportrak Map was that it was much smaller than we imagined from the online images we'd seen. At 2.2 inches wide and 5.6 inches, it's about the same size as our old Nokia 5190, and its 6.1-ounce weight is slightly lighter than that old behemoth. The controls at the bottom of the device are well laid out and easily accessible, whether you're right- or left-handed (though the smaller Enter and Nav buttons could prove challenging if wearing bulky gloves). The 2.2 by 1.4-inch grayscale display was adequate, and definitely geared toward handheld viewing.

The Sportrak Map has 9 information screens, including compass, track details, and satellite status. It also has such useful features as track back (which helps you to retrace your steps to previous waypoints) and a track-to-route saving function. (A track represents your current direction of travel, but it won't be saved to your GPS until it's created as a route.)

As mentioned, the Sportrak Map is a fairly base-level GPS unit, which can be a bit disconcerting for GPS newbies. Though it does have a North American land-mass and waterway database, it does not show much mapping detail (save for major highway systems and points of interest like airports and lakes). Again, the Sportrak Map is best used for hikes, mountain biking treks, and the like. You can easily set it to capture the path you follow (i.e., create a track) with specific markers (waypoints), and then upload this set longitude/latitude data to a PC to record your route. Our first attempt at naming a waypoint, which requires using the thumbpad to navigate to onscreen letters and numbers, took longer than it should, but we devised a system that kept our names short but recognizeable.

In our testing, we had access to a Magellan Mapsend CD-ROM, and were able to download maps to the Sportrak Map. We grabbed a large swath of the Seattle metropolitan area (including detailed city streets) and transferred it easily to the device (the file was a little over 3 MB, or half the available memory). Smaller map selections for multiple hikes and such will definitely fit on the device, though highly detailed topographical maps may not.

As with most new handheld GPS receivers released since the middle of 2003, the Sportrak Map adds WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Service) reception for a reading of your location that's accurate to about 3 meters. Is it handy? Definitely, for some--but it will be mostly transparent to you under typical use. For others, such as a friend who is plotting specific hikes in the Pacific Northwest for a book, the accuracy WAAS provides will improve the precision of tracks and offer better detail for map illustrations.

The Sportrak Map isn't the most powerful GPS receiver out there. But if you're looking for a navigation device that offers accuracy, transfer of routes and waypoints to a PC, and a modicum of extended features (such as detailed map download), the Sportrak Map might just be your ticket to adventure. --Agen G.N. Schmitz

Pros:

  • Easy to use, accurate GPS receiver for outdoor activities
  • Ruggedized, waterproof exterior (that even floats)
  • Internal memory enough for medium-sized map downloads
  • Ability transfer of routes and waypoints to PC via included serial cable
Cons:
  • 6 MB memory won't be enough for detailed topographical maps
  • No external memory card capability (for that see Magellan's Meridian series)
  • Isn't recommended as primary in-city navigation device
Features: 12-channel GPS receiver; WAAS enabled for up to 3 meter accuracy, 2 MB North American basemap of roads, waterways, parks, and more, 6 MB memory for additional map downloads, Large, easy-to-read display; 9-key keypad for quick access to software features, Rugged, waterproof design; Quadifiler Helix antenna for superior tracking in harsh environments

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Customer Rating: 4.5 of 5 (24 total reviews)

  • 4 starsGood Features, Nice Unit

    I have a poor sense of direction and wanted a portable GPS unit to (1) use when traveling in unfamiliar places, and (2) to be able to map out some places by plotting points. I haven't plotted points yet, but have taken it on the road a fair bit.

    I looked seriously at units from Magellan and Garmin, but decided on the SporTrak Map primarily because of its features and a ... rebate.

    I have owned this unit for a little more than a month now, and really have enjoyed it. It has a nice "breadcrumb" tracking feature which will let you save a route previously traveled. It has plenty of memory for my uses, though I have not purchased map additions yet. The basic map included has major interstates, US highways, airports, cities and some other details.

    I also purchased a cigarette-lighter power adapter for use on the road. The backlight feature has two levels of brightness, and I had been traveling for a little over two hours with the power adapter and the unit on "bright" when the backlight went off. It wouldn't come back on again despite pulling power, removing the batteries and reinitializing the unit (wiping out all memory). I got a return authorization from Magellan, sent the unit back via ground freight and got it back within a week, also via ground freight. The service was exceptional. Magellan even threw in a couple of goodies with my returned unit for my trouble.

    I certainly recommend this unit, and the only reason that I didn't give it five stars was because of the light failure. Other than that, I have been very satisfied.

  • 5 starsLets go "GeoCaching!"

    This is my first handheld GPS. I'm using it for my new hobby - Geocaching. This unit works great. Use free software to download waypoints into the GPS, and then just follow where it points. The unit is small (fits in my pants pocket), and light, and has all the features you might need, including back-tracking if you make a wrong turn. It holds plenty of waypoints (locations) and 20 routes, which seems about standard for handheld units. It has several different ways of displaying navigation information, so you're bound to find one that works for you. If you're looking for something with lots of built in maps, then this may not be the right unit for you, as it only has a 2Mb base map and 6Mb for downloadable maps. For in-car navigation, I plug this little guy into my portable computer and run Microsoft Streets And Trips and get a whole computer full of maps. When going off-trail, I take just this unit, where maps aren't much help anyway. I've used it to locate 3 "geocaches" so far, and it has put me within a couple of feet every time. The WAAS support is great for getting good accuracy.

  • 4 starsGreat Durability and Lots of Options for the Price!

    I have been using this unit for 7 months now and it does more than I expected for the money. It doesn't have a lot of the frills like other more expensive models but does a lot of the same and great for geocaching! I have purchased a mount to secure it to my mountain bike and it tells me my speed, direction, altitude, and tracks my path where I go so I can backtrack. It does lots of other things also. Bottom line...it's a great buy!