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Etrex Vista C Vs. Legend C


ItsMeDave
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I'm about to buy my first GPS (I guess my Garmin Forerunner 301 really counts as my first). It's a toss up between the Vista C and the Legend C. Is the electronic compass and altimeter worth the extra cash or is it better to purchase a good magnetic compass and a dedicated altimeter? I know the difference is only $50CDN but if I still have to buy the separate items it's $50 wasted.

 

cheers

 

Dave

Vancouver, BC

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We never use the Altimeter, but the compass really helps when the sats are sketchy. How, you ask? When we put the unit down to let it settle, the compass knows which way to point to the cache location. Otherwise, units without a compass need to move to get a bearing. And the unit has code built-in to use the compass and the sats at the same time to help get a bearing to the cache. So, if you really want to drill down to a cache, the compass helps. But be sure to calibrate it by doing the bee-dance!

 

- T of TandS

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I have the VistaC. I love the altimeter, but then, I'm not using the unit for geocaching. I'm using it to track bicycle rides, and it's very nice to have the vertical profile to go along with the track. I think it really depends on what you want out of the unit as to whether it's worth the money or not.

 

Keith

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The LegendC will give you altitude information based on GPS data. You will still have vertical profile data for the tracks. The thing about having a barometric altimeter is if altitude information is critical, and you lose your GPS signal, you can still have a good altitude reading.

 

Also, an FYI: If you take an altimeter onboard an airliner in a pressurized cabin, it will tell you that you're only 5,000 feet up when in reality the plane is actually at 41,000 feet.

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Some people like the Compass and some don't. Most actually like them when they get used to them. I don't like how they work on a GPS so I'd get the Legend over the Vista. As for the Altimiter the calculated position is fine for my purposes and I've never even had the desire to try to use one even when I had a Vista for awhile. The compass at least once I turned it off most of the time I got used to being able to turn it on, on the rare occasion I wanted to see what it was going to tell me.

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The LegendC will give you altitude information based on GPS data.  You will still have vertical profile data for the tracks.

 

Yes, but the accuracy of the barometric altimeter is much better; it is close to 1 meter. The altitude given by GPS data is never more accurate than about 3-5 meters.

 

Also, an FYI: If you take an altimeter onboard an airliner in a pressurized cabin, it will tell you that you're only 5,000 feet up when in reality the plane is actually at 41,000 feet.

 

Measuring the altitude onboard an airliner with a barometric altimeter is, in my opinion, not something most people need to do... However, it true that in a car on the highway, the pressure is different from the actual atmopheric pressure because of the air speed around it and this can alter the measurements... ;)

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I recently purchased a Legend C and have to say that i'm very pleased with it. I chose it over the Vista C primarily because I have no use for an altimeter and also because I wouldn't like to rely solely on an electronic compass.

I think that if you're a keen walker/geocacher then you should carry a compass with you anyway - for safety sake.

I'd go for the Legend C but you really need to decide what you'll be using the GPSr for to make that decision I guess. ;)

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I love the compass in our GPS, but I agree on having a real magnetic compass if you really depend on having an accurate compass. Here's a thread I started back when that explains why.

The compass in a Vista or similar GPS receiver *is* a "real magnetic compass" since the fluxgate sensor responds directly to the ambient magnetic field. If magnetic materials from pins in your wrist affect the fluxgate sensor then they'll also affect a small mechanical compass held in exactly the same location as that sensor.

I remember being very upset about the performance of my new Suunto compass when I tried it for the first time at the lunch break on a hike and couldn't get my map to line up properly with the actual terrain. The reason became clear right after lunch when we turned a corner and saw a large pile of iron ore from an old mine only a few feet away.

 

Of course there are other good and sufficient reasons to carry a separate compass since you don't want to depend entirely on a single complex electronic gadget like a GPS receiver. Even if extra batteries are carried, the GPS can easily fail for a wide variety of reasons.

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