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Best gps for $200?


EPMinnesota
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It's time to upgrade and my budget tops out at $200. I'm upgrading from a low-end unit after 11 months of caching and realizing it's become an obsession. It's time to enjoy it even more with a "real" gps unit. The Explorist 400 or 500 looks good but as an amateur I really need advice. What do you experienced gps'ers recommend? TIA! :(

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It's time to upgrade and my budget tops out at $200. I'm upgrading from a low-end unit after 11 months of caching and realizing it's become an obsession. It's time to enjoy it even more with a "real" gps unit. The Explorist 400 or 500 looks good but as an amateur I really need advice. What do you experienced gps'ers recommend? TIA! :(
At this price point you're looking at a color mapping GPSr, therefore spend some time looking at the maps you're likely to add. Maps will add $70-125 per product. The base map shows some interstate highways and major cities, almost useless.

 

I was also very sensitive to battery type and battery life, from my research the Garmin etrex color units had far and away the best battery life.

 

HTH

Hermit

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No doubt it would be an etrex. I would look around and find a Vista C (one of last years best) or a venture CX. If you could add another 50 to the price you could pick up a gpsmap 60 cs.

 

Being that the 60CS has been discontinued for a while, you should be able to pick one up for well under $200. I wouldn't spend over $180 for one though, especially when you can get a Venture CX for around that price and it's a better unit.

Edited by briansnat
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I bought a Venture CX in December as my first GPS. My original intention was to use it for monitoring how far I walk/hike (using the trip odometer function).

 

Now I'm using it for hiking, geocaching, as a caddy on the golf course, and most recently as a GPS for driving. As Homer would say... "Is there anything it can't do?"

 

I was blown out of the water with the great performance with the Topo software, but when I added the City Navigator NT, I couldn't believe what I had in such a small package. We recently traveled to Louisiana and used it to find our way around, as well as to find restaurants, ATM's, etc. Now it's my American Express card. I don't leave home without it.

 

Fred

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Lowrance makes fine handhelds. However, the big limitation is their inability to autoroute on the handheld.

 

To start caching, I bought an eXplorist 100. I was cheap and didn't care about the necessity of PC connectivity. I also didn't think I'd ever need a mapping autorouting receiver. All this changed when I found out how much fun caching was, and how much I'd be doing it. After a year I bought an eXplorist 400. So I had a unit with PC connectivity. It was the cheapest eXplorist at the time that could connect to a PC (the honor now goes to the 210). I still didn't think I needed maps and thought the monochrome display was good enough if I ever bought maps. After realising how much time I was spending figuring out how to get from one cache to another, I bought the DirectRoute software 4 months after getting the 400. The maps are usable on a monochrome screen, but I do wish I wasn't so cheap and had purchased the 500 with its color screen.

 

My advice: Don't be cheap like me. GPSrs rarely wear out, so you can't say "Oh, I'll wait until this one breaks before I upgrade." My 400 worked fine after getting run over by an SUV. I would guess that of the people here who have owned more than two GPSrs, most of their old units were still functioning when they bought new ones. There are some cachers who use 5-6 year old equipment.

 

I'll agree with the folks who recommend the Venture Cx. I'll also give a thumbs-up to the 500, but if you get the LE, make sure you get the lithium-ion battery pack because it won't run long on those AAAs.

Edited by geognerd
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Hey Fred!

How do you use the GPS on the golf course? Do you first tour the course and set each green as a waypoint? Are there any programs that could be input to my mapping GPS?

Matt

 

Quote

"Now I'm using it for hiking, geocaching, as a caddy on the golf course, and most recently as a GPS for driving. As Homer would say... "Is there anything it can't do?"

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Matt-

 

As I went around the course during a round of golf, I stopped at the middle of each green and created a waypoint. The waypoints had names like 042, 043, etc. When I got home I renamed them Lackland 01, Lackland 02, Lacland 03, etc (I play most often at Lackland AFB). Then I created a route called "Lackland 01 - Lackland 18". Now when I step up to the first tee, my eTrex Venture CX tells me that my distance to Lackland 01 is 378 yards. Anywhere that I am on that hole it gives me a distance in yards to the center of the green. When I get to the green I can hear a beep tone from the eTrex. It automatically advances to the next hole when I get within a few yards of the current hole.

 

I have a playing partner that has a Sky Caddie that he payed $350 bucks for. Unlike mine, his his only good for the golf course. His does give him distances to dog-legs, bunkers, etc, but I'm pleased with what the eTrex Venture CX does for me.

 

Hit 'em straight and long.

 

Fred

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Thanks Fred!

I'm going to try it at my favourite course!

I have a Magellan Meridian Colour and it should work pretty much the same as yours for this purpose. I'll have to learn how to plot a route as to date I have only used the go to function for single waypoints.

I use my GPSr for travelling plus some geocaching and just love it. This will add one more dimension!

I'm trying to figure out how to use Google Earth to plot the coordinates and have placed a question in the "Start up" section of this forum.

Thanks again!

Matt

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