Magellan Triton 400

Don’t take a step into the wilderness without this baby

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Magellan Triton 400
  • Magellan Triton 400
  • Magellan Triton 400
  • Magellan Triton 400

Pros

  • Rugged design, accurate location and speed capability, expandable memory, Vantage Point software

Cons

  • Steep learning curve, some reception difficulties, odd USB connection design

Bottom Line

The Triton 400 provides the perfect companion for travelling and hiking. It doesn’t offer the luxuries of Magellan’s more expensive models, but it provides the necessities for successful travel at a fairly reasonable cost.

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Magellan's Triton 400 is a mid-range handheld GPS device with a number of features that make it useful for hiking and other outdoor activities. As the cheapest device in the company's handheld range to support expandable memory, the unit is certainly worth the retail price. However, a steep learning curve may deter novices.

The Triton 400 is a bulky unit, built with a rugged plastic and rubber casing to maximise durability. It remains a fairly light unit, making it easy to pack and carry for long distances. Unlike the Triton 200 and Triton 300, this unit sports an SD card slot, allowing users to expand its 10MB of built-in storage. The provided maps of NSW and the ACT alone come in at 150MB, so the card slot is essential for travel.

The unit offers a number of functions for use while travelling, including geocaching, waypoints and integrated media. Local information is provided for sunset and sunrise times, as well as low and high tide times based on the user's location. There are also three separate user profiles, allowing users to configure dedicated display and map settings depending on its use in hiking, marine or geocaching scenarios. You can even download National Geographic 'TOPO!' topographic maps for highly detailed maps of specific land areas.

The Triton 400 operates on two AA batteries, which should provide 10 hours of power. Replaceable batteries are useful for extended periods away from a power source.

As with most GPS devices on the market, the Triton 400 utilises the SiRF Star III GPS receiver, with WAAS/EGNOS support for accuracy within 3m. A cold start-up takes about 30 seconds, with a further minute required for the Triton 400 to receive a full strength GPS signal. This is slower than conventional GPS devices, but it should suffice for most situations.

We were surprised by its ability to accurately determine our speed. More often than not, the Triton 400 provided speed information that was more accurate than the speedometer when driving. The device is also able to accurately determine walking speed, which is a novel ability.

Reception isn't always up to scratch. Although flawless in outdoor urban areas, it suffered problems in rural areas. We tested the device in the Blue Mountains, only to discover we weren't able to receive any reception for an extended length of time

The device's menu button leads to a dedicated menu for the device, but there are smaller sub-menus that must be accessed using the device's other buttons. Operation is generally fast, although the unit tends to slow significantly when zooming between various general and detailed maps.

Oddly, the unit's USB connection must be screwed in. This is a design obviously geared toward ensuring a secure, rugged connection, but it seems out of place here. Connection can also be slightly finicky. The Triton 400 has several different possible USB functions, all of which must be selected individually from the device itself.

Magellan's Vantage Point software isn't provided with the device: users must download it from the Web. However, it's well worth the extra hassle. Vantage Point is miles ahead of the POI Editor accompanying the Maestro 4250 and provides a much easier-to-use base for viewing maps, planning routes and syncing media to the GPS device. Unfortunately, although entire routes can be planned graphically on the provided maps, specific waypoints, geocaches and points of interest must be inputted manually using actual longitudinal and latitudinal data. This isn't so much of an issue with the Triton 400 as with the Maestro 4250 — dedicated travellers and hikers are more likely to know their way around this than conventional GPS users.

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