The original Mephisto Explorer was released in 2004. It featured an unusual board style with curved side panels containing storage trays for the chess pieces. The Explorer was a relatively strong (1907 Elo), well specified tabletop chess computer for a modest price, below £50 in the UK.
In 2007 an upgrade, in the form of the Explorer Pro, was released. It includes a stronger Frans Morsch program (2023 Elo), as previously seen in the Saitek Cougar and its clones. The Explorer Pro has some new features - Bronstein Clock option, Self-Adaptive levels, Teaching and Study modes, with 20 famous games and 413 chess puzzles where your solution can be evaluated after each lesson with a personal Elo rating given. It can be readily distinguished from the original Explorer which has a silver finish. The excellent clear green backlit display of the Explorer was retained and the option of using a mains adaptor was added. In 2008 the Explorer Pro was available in the UK, with adaptor, for £65.
The Explorer Pro is tactically strong but comparatively weak in the endgame, which may prove to be its achilles heel in Strong Group Two. Like many of its Saitek cousins it suffers from the infamous H8 bug, which can be avoided by starting the game with a ‘reset’ and not using the fun levels.