Magellan Triton 200

No-frills hiking

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Magellan Triton 200
  • Magellan Triton 200
  • Magellan Triton 200
  • Magellan Triton 200

Pros

  • Rugged casing, Vantage Point software, AA batteries

Cons

  • Odd USB connection design, no expandable memory

Bottom Line

Costing the same as a low-end automotive GPS unit, the Triton 200 forgoes a touch screen as well as turn-by-turn and voice navigation in order to specialise in detailed mapping for outdoor activities. However, without the expandable memory required for detailed maps, the Triton 200 doesn’t provide the functionality necessary for more complex hiking and geocaching adventures.

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At the bottom end of Magellan's Triton range, the Triton 200 offers only the most basic handheld navigation functions for hiking and other outdoor activities. Those features it does have are implemented well, but the absence of expandable memory severely restricts its use as a handheld GPS device.

The Triton 200 is nearly identical to the more expensive Triton 400. The main distinguishing feature is that this model does not have an SD card slot. However, all other features remain the same. The Triton 200 is encased in toughened plastic and rubber; it's built to IPX-7 standards. It has five buttons and a five-way navigational wheel to control its different functions. The device uses two AA batteries (as opposed to an integrated rechargeable battery), which enables quick battery swapping. The unit also retains the Triton 400's oddly-designed PC connection; users are required to purchase the USB cable separately.

At the heart of the Triton 200 is a SiRF Star III GPS receiver, the same used in most GPS units currently on the market. The benefit here lies in its WAAS/EGNOS support. This allows for accuracy within 3m, which is necessary for accurate handheld GPS navigation. Initial start-up requires about a minute and a half for full GPS reception, though subsequent start-ups see faster times of around 30 seconds for cold acquisition and 20 seconds for hot.

The Triton 200 is accompanied by a driver installation CD, though this is useless without an USB cable for connection to a PC. However, once a cable has been acquired, users can use Magellan's Vantage Point software to pre-determine routes, waypoints and upload new maps. As there is no expandable memory, users are unable to upload maps larger than 10MB or sync and upload media to the GPS unit. Regardless, Vantage Point remains a largely useful piece of software for the purposes of planning a trip on computer. The software and the Triton 200 both support geocaching, allowing users to create their own through Vantage Point or upload a readymade geocache from a Web site.

We were disappointed with the complexity of performing some tasks on the Triton 400; some of these have been made easier on the Triton 200. Creating a unique waypoint on a map, a four-step process on the Triton 400, requires only two buttons on this unit. While configuration depth is sacrificed in favour of simplicity, this is a welcome trade-off on a basic model.

With only 10MB of internal storage and no option for expansion, users must endure only background maps for Australia. These are suitable for surveying a wide area, but attempting to pick up detail within a square kilometre range is impossible without detailed maps — which are 150MB for NSW alone.

Because of this, the Triton 200 seems suitable only for providing a general bearing or giving users sparse knowledge of areas with well-known and well-marked tracks. It may seem full of features, but for the most part the Triton 200 is little more than an expensive compass. The extra $220 required for the Triton 400 is steep, but seems well worth it in this case.

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