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My GPS noob review of the Garmin 60Cx


xer0piggy

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Starting note: This was not written to piss anyone off about their possibly favorite toy. This is just how I feel as a tech-savy, but noob to the GPS world guy feels about this GPS unit and company. Any negatives, I would just as soon put upon any other item or manufacturer for the same reasons.

 

Background:

 

First off, let me say that I am a complete GPS novice. I have never touched a GPS unit in my life. Way back in the Marines, I did learn land nav and to use map coordinates, but portable GPS was never a part of it (although playing with this new GPS unit, I sure wish they were). I was aware of GPS units and their usefulness, but just never really needed one.

 

Justification:

 

So why did I suddenly decide to get one? Well my wife up and decides she wants the family to start geocaching as a family activity because she heard about it being a fun family thing somewhere even though she didn't know crap about it. Geocaching? WTF is that? At least that's what I asked. After looking it up on the Internet, it's basically little treasure hunts, generally using a GPS unit, to find stashes of crap or interesting places. Hmm, could be fun, especially for the little ones. Apparently, people hide little stashes all over the place (often by interesting places) with oddball stuff inside and a paper to write your John Hancock as one of the discoverers. You might take something out, but you are expected to put something back in. At the higher levels, there are even organized events with "good" stuff in the stashes :-)!

 

Well OK, apparently all you need is a GPS unit (and not even that if you don't mind printing out maps from the Internet), but being the gearhead I am, I RESEARCHED everything available under $400. From forums and hundreds of hand-on reviews, the first thing I learned was that of the two biggies in the hand held arena, namely Garmin and Magellan, Garmin was the better option. Why? Strike one, Magellan is a French-owned company, strike two, lots of people say their customer service sucks. So Garmin it was.

 

Company:

 

Now there are several other companies that supposedly make excellent hand-held units, but Garmin seemed to have the larger share of this market, and to get or give free forum-type practical help, it is always good that others are more likely to possess the same brand. Garmin is not reputedly "the best" at anything, but rates overall very good in all categories.

 

It appears the "worst" thing Garmin does is to screw you on software (maps and such) that is required to actually make your GPS unit useful. Basically, unless you buy a package deal, you get a GPS that comes with nothing but maybe major interstate/highway maps. No topological, no detailed city maps, nothing. So you have to buy something like the map package City Navigator (detailed city streets) for an additional $120ish dollars if you want to be able to download maps to your GPS unit. After you buy the software, then you have to go through a Microsoft Vists-like hardware/software activation on their website to make it all work together.

 

Being the hacker-type (or cheap) I am, I researched on whether anyone has been able to defeat this. If anyone has, they haven't presented it openly on the Internet, BUT, they have found a cheap"er" workaround to getting at least the detailed-streets info into the Garmins as opposed to paying a premium for the locked City Navigater software, which is generally the most useful type of the map packages to us urban residents. I will get into this later.

 

Hardware Decision:

 

After much hardware research I came to want; handheld format, color screen, good battery life using OTC type AA or AAA alkaline or rechargeable same-format batteries (screw companies using proprietary batteries on small devices), computer connection, internal map routing (you can punch in a destination and it maps a route for you), and expandable memory. There were several models that fit into those basic requirements. I ended up going the more expensive side, because I'm a gearhead and knew if I went cheap, I would just be pissed later and end up buying the more expensive unit later anyway. The two final candidates were the Garmin ETrex Legend Cx (around $220 on Internet) and the Garmin GPSMap 60Cx (about $320). Both of these have a sister model that differs only by having an electronic compass and a barometric altitude sensor. To “me,” those two little internal devices drive the price up for the sister models about $50, and from reviews on the Internet, are not really worthy of the price difference from their limitations, and most importantly, the extra drain from the electronic compass on the batteries.

 

pt-etrexLegendcxRF-SM.jpg

pt-gpsmap60cxRF-SM.jpg

 

Note that all the GPS's appear to have an excellent directional compass that works in conjunction with GPS signals, but the ones without a seperate built-in compass, gets its compass readings "only if you are moving." The general consensus was that a 10$ regular compass works just as good as the built-in electronic ones and doesn't require electricity. As for altitude, I can reputedly get a decent reading as long as there are enough satellites being picked up by the unit as it will also triangulate altitude to an extent and if I use a topo map, it will tell me what altitude I’m roughly at anyway. I'm not too worried about atmospheric pressure changes as I don't stray far off the beat and path so incoming storm pressure changes don't mean much to me. This might be a big deal to real outdoorsmen, but not me. If it starts looking ugly, I'll run to my car and drive home :-)! All the better Garmin handheld units are rated as water resistant to one meter underwater for 30 minutes. I figure if the unit is in the water for that long, I'm dead or have lost the unit anyway, so that's plenty good.

 

What pointed me towards the roughly $100 more GPSMap 60Cx was the slightly bigger screen (even though bigger unit), and the fact that it contains the SiRF III chipset, which is reputedly (by people much more knowledgeable than me), the bestest, most kick-a** GPS chipset generally available. Basically, with this chipset, the GPSMap 60Cx (and other units with this chipset) can VERY quickly acquire and maintain satellite signal in areas others fail. All reviews reference the GPSMap Cx and CSx (S is compass/barometer model) and its exact same innards, but different external GPSMap 76Cx and CSx as the overall best of handheld GPS units. Whether I'll ever take advantage of its better signal acquisition is debatable, but I can easily appreciate speed of acquisition. Just like booting my computer up, I hate waiting for stuff to get loaded so I can use the thing. I'm an impatient man.

 

Initial Impressions:

 

I received the 60Cx unit earlier today via UPS. In the box, it comes with; the GPS unit, a lanyard, a button/swivel belt attachment (as is common on many cell phones), a manual, a 64 meg microSD card (which will be shortly replaced with a 1-gig card), a USB cable, and a CD. The CD contain USB drivers and Trip and Waypoint manager software, which is basically useless without any of the aforementioned map packages. The button screws into the top of the back of the unit, while the lanyard is the typical two-cent crappy dental floss that comes with everything that is considered portable with one hand. As I have used a swing swivel on most of my cell phones, I like the utility of it.

 

The unit is dark grey plastic with black rubber coating on the top and bottom side edges. While it is subdued, I do wish it came with some optional garish yellow or orange coloring choices (like on some other models) on either the rubber or plastic body. Why? Because when I drop the thing in my car at night or some other place with bad lighting, as I'm sure I will, it's easier to find again. Subdued coloring is great for some things, but for things that have a high likelihood of being dropped in dark places, it's not.

 

There are eight little buttons on the front surrounding a central large cursor moving type button on the front. Me being a techno geek for many, many years can instantly recognize a button made for moving cursors around, but the labeling on one of the others (having still not actually read the manual) is mystifying. I take "in" and "out" as zoom in and out. "Find", "mark", "quit", "menu", and "entr" are all self explanatory. "Page?" WTF is that? To a typical techno geek, it means you press it to signal something or someone else. Example, page on my cordless phone makes the thing beep so I can find it when I lose it. I bet "page" doesn't do that; so I guess I'm gonna have to RTFM..

 

First thing I did was open the battery cover with a 180 degree twist of a little d-ring, remove a nicely gasketted battery cover, and pop in two AA batteries (which Garmin was too cheap to include) and look for the on button. After 5 minutes of pushing random faceplate buttons and combinations thereof, I gave up and referred to the manual (Even worse is that RTFM is an old IT mantra I used to say to others! :-). It was not on the bottom faceplate with the rest of the buttons, but was a little black rubber bump on the top black rubber coat of the unit, that looked like (what I thought) was the rubber cover to some antennae attachment area as is commonly seen on cell phones. Good/bad?? no idea, just surprised me as to where it was as it was well camouflaged. Doesn't seem to make much of a difference, but was frustrating to a technical person that was too stupid to find it :-)!

 

The screen is nice and big relative to the size of the unit. It's only a 256 color versus an umpteen million color TFT like most LCD's are these days, but how many colors do you need for a map anyway? Seems to be just fine. It does have an adjustable backlight, but I assume that it will eat the battery keeping it on too much, just like every other battery operated device with a color screen in existence. I did notice that as I turned it on, it went immediately to the satellite acquisition screen, but in one dull mono color without backlight. After finally reading the manual, you can change this to multiple colors, but as an initial turn-on screen, not having brilliant multiple colors blast to life is a psychological let down :-)!

 

In about 10 seconds, it started showing signal acquisitions from satellites. I don't have a direct comparison to make against any other GPS units, but I can live with that kind of turn-on speeds. It beats the heck out of Windows boots speeds!

 

My first, and hopefully only, test of the durability of the unit came as I attempted to thread the aforementioned crappy little string they call a lanyard through the equally tiny little hole on the side of the unit. It slipped from my fingers and fell 4 foot to concrete as I was standing outside taking advantage of sunlight to see the tiny hole better. Two bounces and a panicked stab at the power button assured me that the unit still worked properly without any physical damage that I could find. It did vex me that it turned off on one of the bounces, but I attribute that to a battery losing contact on a bounce. Oh well, chalk that test up to slippery fingers, and older eyes.

 

The back of the unit has a threaded hole (in which the swivel button screws into) and three ports covered by a flip up rubber protector. According to others, the rubber covers are only there to keep out dirt and water-resistance is not compromised by the covers being over the ports. I HATE little rubber nubbin covers as they tend to pop off and get lost, but Garmin was smart enough to have them screwed into the plastic so they will not get lost. One of the ports is an attachment for an external antenna, one is for a mini USB port, and the other is for... WTF?... A serial port? And an ungainly big 4 pin oddball one at that!! Who uses a serial port anymore? If anyone does, it's generally through a USB adaptor anyway. Make it an optional accessory port and charge the few losers who are still using serial ports more for it, and charge the rest of us less instead of making us suffer a big ugly rubber cover over an even uglier hole.

 

After reading manual impressions:

 

The menu system is not the most intuitive ever created. It is simple enough that I will quickly get used to it, but unfortunately, I did have to read the manual, for non-GPS technical-related things like setting up colors, setting time, etc, that a better menu system would have alleviated. The "page" button I mentioned earlier is basically like Windows alt-tab keystroke combo whereas it switches between screens. All the other buttons do function as expected from their labeling, albeit there are some poor non-intuitive menu design choices. Nothing that can't be overcome pretty quickly, but nothing that Garmin should brag about either. Just imagine the toilet flush lever were placed behind the toilet seat lid while it is in the up position. Yes, you can easily get used to flipping the lid down (and some women might like this idea :-) to flush, but not the most intuitive placement design one would expect.

 

All the other GPS technical-related functionality has much of the same not-horrible, but non-intuitive menu design. I'm a GPS novice, but I've done enough software testing/design to know poor human interface design. As I said though, it is nothing that can't be overcome easily enough after repeated use; but then, the qwerty keyboard layout became a standard even though it slows down typing.

 

Initial test usage:

 

As I said earlier, this unit comes with the absolute barest of maps pre-installed. Basically, interstates and big highways. Imagine a dot (where you are in a city) with a line running across the screen an inch away from the dot. That's what the built-in map gives you. Not very useful or exciting is it? Throw me a friggen bone Garmin, at least let me download a single map of my home city for free so I can test the unit before I have to shell out even more cash for your other maps.

 

Attaching the GPS unit to my PC via USB cable went off without a hitch. Within the GPS unit's menu system, you can tell it to act like an external storage device (aka flash drive), but most of the map data sent to and from the GPS unit looks like it will be done through Garmin's software that has it's own special way of communicating (aka we aren't going to tell you cause we don't want you hacking our stuff).

 

As my initial expectation of map software outlay would be a way to navigate streets, my early research into GPS units showed that Garmin has an expensive ($140 from Garmin) Mapsource City Navigator North America software package. It allows the GPS unit to show all known city streets and generate driving routes to destination within the unit (can also be done on PC supposedly, but haven't tried yet). Although NOT apparent on Garmin's website, but learned from forum research, all of Garmin's "locked" (re: expensive) software allows "two" gps unit activations that must be done on the Garmin website, or by calling in on the phone. Until the activation is done, the software maps will NOT work on the GPS unit. Also, if you have more than "two" GPS units, you are SOL and will have to buy another $140 package to install it on another GPS.

 

More research shows that there is also another street information package called Metroguide USA or North America that Garmin just happens to NOT show as compatible to the GPSMap 60Cx (although it is). This detailed street information comes "unlocked" and much cheaper than the Mapsource City Navigator package and has the exact (or close to) same city information. The difference being that maps downloaded onto the GPS unit from the Metroguide software is NOT internally routable on the GPS. Basically you could see the city map street layouts and other data information on the GPS screen, but the GPS would not be able to auto-generate any kind of point-to-point route for you.

 

So for example, using Metroguide maps on the GPS, if you asked it to show you a route through the city to the local library, it wouldn't work. Using Mapsource City Navigator downloaded maps on the GPS, it would. Well guess what, this nice person in New Zealand (I think) created a FREE software program that would allow you to use the much cheaper and UNLOCKED Metroguide software maps on your GPS so that internal GPS "routing" is possible.

 

The site, instructions, and free Metrowizz software is here: http://www.geodude.nl/gps/

 

I managed to procure an older, used Metroguide 7 (now it is at version 8 or 9) and I can indeed say that it works comparably and with the same information (as far as I can tell) to my friend's automobile mounted GPS with City Navigator, and it routes properly on the GPS. Yes, my version is probably missing all the new neighborhood streets, restaurants, and other current info, but since I never go there, who cares! The free Metrowizz software usage is a heckuva lot more intuitive and easier to use than Garmin's built-in GPS software, so if you can use the GPS, you can use the cheater method of getting routable street maps on the GPS. Basically, you start Metroguide, select a bunch of squares on the map that cover the areas you are interested in, save the map data, Start Metrowizz and tell it to open the saved map data, then press "send" in Metroguide. Yes it really is that easy.

 

Overall 1st day impression conclusion:

 

After one day with the GPSMap 60Cx, I am still happy I bought the unit. I might not be if I had not so thoroughly researched the subject, companies, software, and units beforehand. It did help that I am a computer guy for the software and hardware setups, but I don't think it would be too hard for anyone of average intelligence to do either.

 

2nd day of actual use impressions:

 

I stand by the fact that the button controls of the GPSMap are definitely like hiding the flush lever of a toilet behind the toilet seat. What gets me is the requirement to push the menu button twice to get to the main menu. One press of the menu button brings up a little “menu” window that would be considered an “options” window for every other piece of software written.

 

Why even have it connected to a button labeled “menu”. You’re really changing some sort of option for the window/page involved. Another example that maybe only a GPS noob like me finds frustrating is waypoints and geocache. I press the “find” button, select waypoints or geocache so I can browse through them, and it sticks me in the letter entry area. I have to press “quit” then to get to the list that I can then browse through by scrolling. It would seem that browsing through the list is done more often than manually entering new ones, but maybe I’m wrong. Like I said, nothing horrible that can’t be overcome with practice, but counter-intuitive (at least to the low-level GPS noob I am).

 

Speaking of data entry, this method of scrolling through letters SUCKS! Come on! How hard would it be to have a cell phone keypad/button layout for letter/number functionality. Not as great as a real keyboard, but it would beat the crap out of the current unit’s method and MANY people are getting accustomed to doing it on cell phones.

 

Why did Garmin (and all the other GPS companies) have to reinvent a square wheel for data input when a nice round one has been available for ages? I understand that phone layout data entry isn’t anywhere as good as a real keyboard, but it sure beats the crap out of using a cursor. All Garmin needed to do to this unit was add four more buttons for the same alpha numeric superiority data entry capability as all current cell phones use. THAT is a worthwhile feature over some dumb games in the main menu. Yeah, yeah, that’s what PC hookups are supposed to be for... Well my take is that the cheap electronics and know-how is already done a million times over in the cell phone industry, why does Garmin (or any others) have to continue to submit the user to this form of data entry misery?

 

A firmware update went great. Just hooked up the GPS to the PC and ran the program. No problems! That’s how it should be. Firmware screw ups are just plain devastating for any electronics when they don’t go right. One question though, Why would a screen that is basically all options, have another nested options menu? Dang software engineers who never flush the toilets they design :-).

 

The street map internal routing downloaded from Mapguide v7 and Mapwizz freeware software appears to work great. As this GPS will primarily be used to navigate to “local” geocaches, it sure would be nice to be able to purchase and download just my local area stuff, rather than fork out the cash for the big packages that I will use .01% of. Seems too reminiscent of the stupid way the music industry has tried to foster music sales forever. Buy the whole album so you can listen to the one song you actually want.

 

Map information ala carte at a reasonable price. That’s what I would like, not the whole pre-packaged buffet. Sorry, I just don’t see myself needing to have the street information of every city I don’t plan on visiting. And if I ever do decide to visit somewhere else, it would be nice to be able to just buy that area’s map street/topo/recreation info for $10-15 when I need it.

For any that say that the current Garmin model for selling map info is OK priced, I would respond that it might be OK priced for some (like travelers) who are going to use all the extra area information, but some people like me thinks that spending over $100 to use .001% of the information is a waste of perfectly good money.

 

For instance, for my surrounding 25 mile area, I would be happy to buy streets, topo, and recreation info for just this small area at $15-20 bucks each of the different types. I seriously balk at spending over $100 just to have streets for the same 25 mile usage I will give it.

 

2nd day Hardware observations:

 

Everything seems to work just like it’s supposed to, so can’t complain about that. Screen is a little hard to read in bright sunlight, but being a veteran of using many PDA’s, laptops, cell phones, and MP3 players outdoors, this is nothing new or even unexpected.

 

The directional pad button and the others are not as responsive or precise as I would wish. Part of the reason is their mushiness. You can’t “feel” when it actuates. Would have been nice if they had a center press button actuation on it with a primary function like “enter”

 

Went driving and walking all over the place and never had an issue with reception. Like many others I can get reception in my house, but it varies quite wildly from even a few inches of position. Doesn’t really matter in the house, but it is nice that it does work indoors somewhat.

 

Final Conclusion on the GPSMap 60Cx:

 

I dig the hardware, but dislike the software interphase and music-industry type make-you-buy-a-full-album price gouging on maps (although there might be disagreement from many). Although considered amongst the best in the handheld GPS market, if this is the best the handheld GPS market can come up with, the GPS companies really needs a kick in the a**.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I think this a great piece of hardware kit, but having been in the high-tech industry for far too long, I just think it should have been a lot better. It has had plenty of time to mature issues like software user interphase. Think of it this way. This unit makes me feel like I purchased a high-end dual core processor laptop computer and am running DOS/Windows "3.0" on it. Although it might not have the crashes, using it continues to give me the same “WTF did they do that for” experience.

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First, LOL :blink: I bet you are an intresting person to talk to, your up-front personality is in somes ways a thing of the past for alot of people but I like it.. I guess because I am the same way.

I just bought the 210 from Magellan but have considered that "if" my family likes this "treasure hunting" sport, that in the near future I will upgrade an the 60 series would be a definate canidate.

 

Anyway thanks for your review!

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff in Pa
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For instance, for my surrounding 25 mile area, I would be happy to buy streets, topo, and recreation info for just this small area at $15-20 bucks each of the different types. I seriously balk at spending over $100 just to have streets for the same 25 mile usage I will give it.

 

Some wandering sunday morning pre-coffee thoughts:

* It would be pretty easy to deliver subsets over the web; charge the customer's cc then center on a zipcode or any arbitrary point and generate .img/.tdb/installer files for it for download. If they wanted to they could watermark that data with the buyer's info to make sure it doesn't make it out into the wild.

 

* License complience aside, a syndicate could buy a copy of CN and everybody gets only their own state or whatever. This brings the cost per person down to $2-$3.

 

Both of these would be complicated by the licensing model Garmin has with their data supplier.

 

Side effect: in the current model, people in urban areas effectively underwrite the rural/undeveloped areas. Would the carto-companies continue to update the boonies if no one is buying that data ala carte?

 

 

More fragments: I do have my eye on a 60-series gps but can't justify the price yet. I would like the SiRF chip.

I am with you on the "older metroguide + metrowizzz" thing. I did recently buy MGNA8, but I got a good deal on it used or I would have stuck with the MGNA7 I got for xmas previously.

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Some wandering sunday morning pre-coffee thoughts:

 

* It would be pretty easy to deliver subsets over the web; charge the customer's cc then center on a zipcode or any arbitrary point and generate .img/.tdb/installer files for it for download. If they wanted to they could watermark that data with the buyer's info to make sure it doesn't make it out into the wild.

 

* License complience aside, a syndicate could buy a copy of CN and everybody gets only their own state or whatever. This brings the cost per person down to $2-$3.

 

Both of these would be complicated by the licensing model Garmin has with their data supplier.

 

Side effect: in the current model, people in urban areas effectively underwrite the rural/undeveloped areas. Would the carto-companies continue to update the boonies if no one is buying that data ala carte?

 

 

I agree with your points, but dont think the side-issue with undeveloped areas have much to worry about. Mainly, how often do undeveloped areas change? The legwork has already been done. The street listings, topo data, POI's, etc for podunk Iowa is probably going to be just as good for a LONG time. This is in contrast to the developing urban areas which do change often and need more updates.

 

 

View of the GPS industry from an outsider's opint of view:

 

Electronic map data is nothing more than a large database. Large database frontends for point-of-sale piecemeal presentation and sale has been done many many times and is nothing new. Garmin (or any other GPS brand) would be smart to differentiate their product by being the first to offer ala-carte type sales. Look at what this has done for the Ipod.

 

Ipod: 1st sleek, sexy, and smart design with good hassle-free front-end software and legal ala-carte music purchasing and decent customer service (always a debateable area depending on one's personal experience of course). Becomes Industry STANDARD for which all others are judged. Makes Apple lots of money, and customers are generally happy. Their are many other imitators, and NONE of them come close to marketshare.

 

As a commodity product Garmin has the sleek hardware and decent customer service yet lacks good software and ala-carte (software and additional data purchase are not solely attributable to Garmin as it appears endemic throughout this GPS industry) means by which to purchase additional piecemeal data. So currently, the ONLY differentiation between Garmen and all the other GPS makers is hardware and to a lesser extent customer service. For the average person (who does much less initial research as I), customer service is only appreciated when you actually need to use it. Customer service experience drives renewed veteran product owner sales, not new ones.

 

The best hardware/software combinations designs means that you DONT need customer service. Using customer service means something has gone wrong with the initial designs. For example if a owner has a question on how to do something with his new GPS unit, that probably means the manual has not properly addressed the subject, or that the software interphase to do the function is too convoluted. Which is smarter for the company? Hiring an expert employee to answer the same question over and over on the phone, or change the manual and software to address the issue one time? Of course, you will always need some level of customer service, but my point is that as long as customer service is decent, it should not be used as a prop for the product's inherent design deficiencies.

 

From my limited research, "two" things appear to be DRIVING the GPS "consumer" industry above and beyond traditional GPS usage by sportsmen, marine, and techinical survey work. 1. Consumer add-on Automobile-based directional mapping 2. geocaching as a sport/hobby. By far the bigger appears to be the automobile side. However much of the disparity appears to be about advertisement/product placement. Why does a HUGE potential market to people like me have to learn about geocaching by word-of-mouth or over the Interenet?

 

As Joe average consumer, I can walk into any chain store and see a nice side-by-side display of numerous automobile units. Sorry, but Garmin, Tom-Tom, etc auto units all look pretty much the same. Price will always be the overriding factor for Joe Average. There is nothing there that is going to catch his eye as being really different over the others as the functionality/purpose is "advertised" as the same.

 

When I walk into Best-Buy or any large chain/sport store, where is the kiosk with a banner saying "Join the low-cost, fast growing family activity GEOCACHING!" It should have a whole bunch of cheap and middle-range handheld units pre-loaded with local areas map info and instructional geocaching guides like the ones presented here. They should be able to turn on the unti and immediately get involved without too much hassle. The other usages of the GPS in this GPS should only be stated as a secondary functionality to this. This is where a GPS company can make its mark and CREATE expansion for a new market. $100-$300 to keep a "family" entertained by an outdoor sport/hobby is CHEAP and should be marketted as such. I've got a heckuva lot more invested in bicycles, camping gear, etc to do the same thing.

 

Without a company like Garmin to "push" and inform the average user of new GPS functionality that can affect them in the positive, the GPS remains a nothing more than an add-on device to get them from point a to point b in their car and most people dont need a GPS to do this. Little blurbs on websites, does not count as a marketing push. Once these newly involved geocachers learn that the same functionality is more useful than they thought, then it pushes back to the other current areas of GPS device market growth (like automobile add-ons).

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So here's an example of my "learning" curve being made stupidly hard because of craptastic software programming and lousy manuals.

 

Third day of ownership...

 

So I download about 10 geocache locations and save them to my hard drive on my PC. I started EasyGPS and opened the saved .loc file. I am not actually going to go look for the caches, I just want to see how they show up on the screen and how the unit can create a route to them.

 

Using the send button in EasyGPS, I send the information to the GPS unit, which I had already hooked up. Presto? Did it work? Who friggen knows? Sure would be nice if there were some confirmation popup that data was received by unit. Guess that's too hard to do for the esteemed software engineers at Garmin. Every other little electronic device in the world that hooks up to a PC has some sort of data send/retrieve confirmation. Call me paranoid, but I want to know if my "insert-dumb-electronic-device-name-here" has properly been updated, especially when I'm in a hurry.

 

So I press the "find" and "waypoints" menu item and see 10 names like GVXYZ, GZABC, etc. On the map screen I see a bunch of little chests randomly on the map named the same GZXCV type names. Yuck! WTF is that? I want descriptive names like Boingo park cache, fire hydrant cache, (whatever the cache hider calls it) etc. I try to change a few of the names on the GPS using the ABSOLUTELY STUPIDLY HARD Garmin data entry method. Hell no! I aint doing it this way! Get a clue Garmin This kind of blatantly stupid hardware/software makes my want to search out Garmins engineers and perform heinous acts of violence!

 

Ok, I bet I can do it in EasyGPS. I click around randomly (because I refuse to RTFM of course, but this software is good enough I don't have to!) and manage to bring up preferences window with a "geocaching" button. A simple change next to waypoint changes the field from geocache "ID" to geocache "name". Simple, and now my list has descriptive names , rather than some cryptic ID code. I click the send button again and send it to the GPS (again without any data completion notification).

 

Checking the map this time, I now see 10 little closed boxes a geocache points with nice names. Now all this time I have been sitting at my office desk computer doing testing. Because of the shortness of the cord (not Garmin's fault this time :-), the location of the GPS receiver does not get any signal, or if it does, it is just "barely". Figure me sitting here for several hours playing with the unit. No I am not about to go walking around outside with a manual in one hand and the unit in the other just to get a signal. I just want to see how things look on the GPS. I shouldn't need a good signal.

 

I press navigate "find" and then "waypoints" button on the GPS unit and see a nice list of waypoints with a little chest on the left and a name on the right. Excellent! Seems to be working fine! I then navigate to "find" and then "Geocache". Hmmm, "none found".. Damnit, what's going on? So it's time to RTFM again.

 

Page 20, Finding a Geocache: A geocache is a waypoint with a special geocache symbol.... yada yada yada.. There are no entries on my GPS's geocache list. No special symbols, nothing but "none found". The rest of the manual for this section goes on about how to navigate and select them.. Guess what, there is nothing to navigate or select. Hmm better read more of manual. Page 61, Geocache Setup: "Use the Geocache Setup Page (which is accessed by the aforementioned stupid method of pressing the "menu" button) to find and record items hidden at geographic locations." More on Garmin's LOUSY descriptor later. For now, just be assured that there is NOTHING here that explains my empty geocache screen. Can you tell I'm getting unhappy with the Garmin manual?

 

Time for the Internet! Tons of Google searches with the keywords; Garmin 60Cx, Empty geocache list, waypoints showing no geocache list, etc, etc, yields nothing that explains my blank geocache list.

 

So maybe the data transfer got screwed up. Of course it's hard to tell, when Garmin is too stupid to have a data check confirmation popup. 50 different ways of deleting or overwriting the waypoints does nothing. 50 different attempts at downloading different caches in multiple numbers or singly do nothing. 50 different ways of changing options (both in GPS and in EasyGPS) does nothing. 50 different ways of changing the little map symbols in front of the name do nothing. 50 different on/off/disconnect USB/reconnect USB cable/reboot PC cycles does nothing. 50 different MANUAL ENTRIES USING THE GODFORSAKEN DATE ENTRY METHOD does nothing. My Geocache list is still empty. Ok, maybe I actually only did each thing in different ways about 5 times, but add it up, and multiply by 10 for my frustration level. It's Sunday, or I would have called Garmin directly and gave them a piece of my mind. Think my language is foul here? Good thing I couldn't call.

 

OK, finally I come across a Internet forum post about letting the GPS "season" itself by putting it in the open. The manual makes no mention of any sort of "seasoning" required. What the hell does this have to do with a geocache list? Absolutely nothing, but I'm so frustrated that something so simple isn't working that I'm about to "season" it by throwing it as far as I can. So I take it outside, light up a smoke, and think of ways I can hurt Garmin software engineers. After about 10 minutes, I bring the unit back inside, hook it back up to the PC, and happen to glance at the screen. WTF????!!!! THERE"S A GEOCACHE LIST!!!!

 

Now what exactly does taking the unit outside have to do with populating a geocache list? Absolutely NOTHING mentioned on the Internet, or in the manual. However, some time between lighting my smoke, and hooking it back up to the PC, it started working correctly. I ASSUME, it needed some sort of good signal to do some sort of calculation to populate the geocache list, however I have no idea what calculation would be different from the waypoint list that it always managed to populate. If it "does" require a good signal to populate the geocache list you'd think that Garmin could put it in the @#@^! manual! Or online, or mention it ANYWHERE, so GPS noobs like me wouldn't have to waste our time troubleshooting a non-issue.

 

Now some of you might think I might be making a big deal out of nothing. Well let me respond that I bought this unit PRIMARILY for geocaching. If I can't trust it with something as simple as showing a list, then I can't trust it to do anything else properly either. Well, all I can say now is that the unit now has a geocache display list.

 

I do play around a bit with letting the unit make some on-screen mapping routes to various cache listings finally, but that's it for the day. I'm tired and pissed I spent so much time solving the mystery of the missing geocache list.

 

A final note for the third day with the Garmin 60Cx:

 

Page 61, Geocache Setup: "Use the Geocache Setup Page to find and record items hidden at geographic locations." In what reality does two changeable icons and "Calendar Entry when Found" have anything to do with finding and recording? Garmin's manual sucks...

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I hope Garmin are reading this thread. All very true! I bought a 60CSx a few weeks ago and have been through exactly the same learning curve. The manual is useless. It assumes that you understand what a waypoint, a track and a route are without explaining anything to a complete novice who has no idea. And what the heck is a "proximity waypoint"? No explanation at all.

 

However, having spent hours reading these forums and just playing with the unit, everything works fine now and I am very happy with it, but as you say, the data entry system sucks and the extra maps are outrageously expensive.

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This is like reading a great book:

 

Normal Guy tries to use extremely complicated gadget to do a new hobby!!

 

I think there should be some FREE course put on by fellow geocachers on OPTIMIZED use of your GPS.

 

**********

 

Just to emphasize the issue with electronic maps. Garmin has three different maps sets on three different CD/DVDs, each with several revisions.

 

METROGUIDE

CITY SELECT (no longer being sold by itself)

CITY NAVIGATOR

 

How much you spend to get maps, is in direct relation to how much of a techno-geek you are (or how frustrated you get), because you will need to understand all ways that these maps can be used in all license configurations to get the best bargain. Bundled versions of each of these map CD/DVDs could be coming with your GPS, or you might need to buy them separately.

Edited by Ellteejak
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Your reviews and comments are interesting to say the least.

 

Could it be that you started with a unit that was overkill? I started with the basic yellow version many years ago (canoeing not geocaching), then a ledgend, 60cs, and finally a 60csx. I found the change to be easy from each unit. You took a large leap starting with a 60cx.

 

Yes it would be nice to buy just the maps you need and save some $. But the cost of CN and/or topo is cheap compared to buying papermaps for the same coverage.

 

Since your only going to be using the unit in a small area there really is no need to replace the mico sd card. 64mb will be plenty.

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Normal Guy tries to use extremely complicated gadget to do a new hobby!!

That is a very funny way to put it.

 

Could it be that you started with a unit that was overkill? I started with the basic yellow version many years ago (canoeing not geocaching), then a ledgend, 60cs, and finally a 60csx. I found the change to be easy from each unit. You took a large leap starting with a 60cx.

And I got a 60csx as my first unit and have US Topo, World Map, and CS7. I will say though I didn't have nearly this large of a learning curve. Maybe its a programmer/younger generation thing.

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<snip>

 

The directional pad button and the others are not as responsive or precise as I would wish. Part of the reason is their mushiness. You can’t “feel” when it actuates. Would have been nice if they had a center press button actuation on it with a primary function like “enter”

 

<snip>

Very funny reading. Thanks for the laugh. :unsure:

 

As for your comment about the directional-pad button, I agree. I still have my trusty Vista C and one reason I haven't thought to upgrade to a 60CSx is because I like the little rocker buttonon the Vista C for navigating the menus, and its "Enter" function when you push it in. :D

 

When I help friends work with their Map 60CSxs, having to find and hit that "Enter" button after navigating is time-consuming . . . :)

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I press the “find” button, select waypoints or geocache so I can browse through them, and it sticks me in the letter entry area. I have to press “quit” then to get to the list that I can then browse through by scrolling. It would seem that browsing through the list is done more often than manually entering new ones, but maybe I’m wrong.

 

When you hit Find, you can set it to display the 'letter entry area' or show you the closest 50 caches/waypoints. I figured this out after loading in 317 caches and was only seeing 50 of them displayed. Might have something to do with your 'seasoning'. If the unit didn't know where it was, it wasn't able to display the 50 closest caches.

 

Excellent right up. I bought the same unit a few weeks ago, for many of the same reasons. With all new gadgets I RTFM only when stuck ;-) The manual that came with it is crap. I found more info on these forums and elsewhere on the net than what is in the manual.

 

Screen protector is one thing I added. Being a Palm owner for years and also have a Treo, I know how easy it is to scratch the screen. Again, would be a nice thing for Garmin to throw in - costs what? Like 50 cents to make?

 

Thanks for the tip on the 'work around' for the maps. I haven't paid the 100+ bucks yet as I was hoping to come across something else. After many nights searching for hacks for Garmin, it seems they have a pretty tight control on tying hardware to software. $100 is the end of the world, but it's still $100.

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Thanks for the tip on the 'work around' for the maps. I haven't paid the 100+ bucks yet as I was hoping to come across something else. After many nights searching for hacks for Garmin, it seems they have a pretty tight control on tying hardware to software. $100 is the end of the world, but it's still $100.

 

Try buying a Garmin I3 (best KISS gps for car?) for the lady in your life (Mom, sister, GF, etc.) as it is $200 at Walmart. You get the maps via this purchase, and you get the browny points with the lady. If you do not like it then Walmart has a 100% refund, at their store (no mail in required). At least that is what the sales rep said on the phone.

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Thanks for the tip on the 'work around' for the maps. I haven't paid the 100+ bucks yet as I was hoping to come across something else. After many nights searching for hacks for Garmin, it seems they have a pretty tight control on tying hardware to software. $100 is the end of the world, but it's still $100.

 

Try buying a Garmin I3 (best KISS gps for car?) for the lady in your life (Mom, sister, GF, etc.) as it is $200 at Walmart. You get the maps via this purchase, and you get the browny points with the lady. If you do not like it then Walmart has a 100% refund, at their store (no mail in required). At least that is what the sales rep said on the phone.

 

I owned my i2 before my 60csx. I was able to get the maps included with the i2 loaded onto the 60csx fairly easily. And with a 1Gb microSD card, I fit the whole US on it.

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So here's an example of my "learning" curve being made stupidly hard because of craptastic software programming and lousy manuals.

 

Third day of ownership...

 

So I download about 10 geocache locations and save them to my hard drive on my PC. I started EasyGPS and opened the saved .loc file. I am not actually going to go look for the caches, I just want to see how they show up on the screen and how the unit can create a route to them.

 

Using the send button in EasyGPS, I send the information to the GPS unit, which I had already hooked up. Presto? Did it work? Who friggen knows? Sure would be nice if there were some confirmation popup that data was received by unit. Guess that's too hard to do for the esteemed software engineers at Garmin. Every other little electronic device in the world that hooks up to a PC has some sort of data send/retrieve confirmation. Call me paranoid, but I want to know if my "insert-dumb-electronic-device-name-here" has properly been updated, especially when I'm in a hurry.

 

So I press the "find" and "waypoints" menu item and see 10 names like GVXYZ, GZABC, etc. On the map screen I see a bunch of little chests randomly on the map named the same GZXCV type names. Yuck! WTF is that? I want descriptive names like Boingo park cache, fire hydrant cache, (whatever the cache hider calls it) etc. I try to change a few of the names on the GPS using the ABSOLUTELY STUPIDLY HARD Garmin data entry method. Hell no! I aint doing it this way! Get a clue Garmin This kind of blatantly stupid hardware/software makes my want to search out Garmins engineers and perform heinous acts of violence!

 

One really nice thing about mapsend and my explorist 400....i download the file from this site or from a pocket query and i load it into map send save it to my gps and turn on the unit select my geocache file and presto there are the caches marked with icons that are used on this website as well as their actual names.

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Try buying a Garmin I3 (best KISS gps for car?) for the lady in your life (Mom, sister, GF, etc.) as it is $200 at Walmart. You get the maps via this purchase, and you get the browny points with the lady. If you do not like it then Walmart has a 100% refund, at their store (no mail in required). At least that is what the sales rep said on the phone.

 

I bought an i5 for my wife for this very reason. It is very easy to use and anybody can pick it up and use it without reading the manual. My wife used to wrestle with my 60C, which I still love.

 

I've been using my 60c for years, but I do recall it was a "must read the manual" type of device. It had features I didn't know what to do with when I first bought it, but now I miss them on the simplified units like my i5 and Nuvi (e.g. track log).

 

I skipped that 60Cx upgrade, but really love to have the better/faster receiver and microSd card. I will probably wait until they redo the form-factor a bit. I do agree that the 60C/s/x controls probably needs some work. It isn't so bad that I wouldn't buy one because of it, but the 60 series could be so much more with a better interface.

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Not bad for someone who hates to read the manual. You're discovering most of the little things on your own fairly well. Maybe it's because I owned an eTrex Lengend before I got my 60CSx, but I found it pretty intuitive. I do miss my click stick, though.

 

As someone else said, there are two settings for finding waypoints/geocaches. One is "by name" and results in needing to tap in the first few digits of the gc name, and the other is "nearest" which actually takes you to the nearest caches. The second setting is the one I find myself using most often, which eliminates the need to type in letters/numbers. You do have to actually let the GPS know where it is so it can find the nearest caches, though!

 

I also use GSAK to send my waypoints to the unit. I have it set to show me the gc number without the first two digits, an abbreviated smart name, the terrain and difficulty rating on the cache, the first part of the hint, and who placed the cache. All that works best locally or when I've really scoured the cache apges in advance, of course, where I am likely to be familar with the cache owners name and some of the cache names. I have customized icon settings that allow me to see what kind of cache it is, too, and still have the icon be recognizable to the unit, so the geocaching mode will automatically put the found caches on my calendar and take me to the next nearest cache. GSAK takes this unit from good to great for loading the caches you want the way you want them loaded.

 

If you use a car adapter while you are driving in the car, you'll make use of the four-pin hole. If you plan to use the unit a lot while you are driving, you'll want the that. My husband almost never has to replace his batteries in his unit because of it. He uses his unit all day at work (he is a regional truck driver) and for caching. Because he moves the unit in and out of his car, rental cars, and various company rigs, he opted for the sand bag type dash mount. So far he likes that a lot. Easy to move in and out, easy to stash out of sight when we park. It is a pain in the neck however to unhook the unit from the mount to dash over to a cache 100 feet from the car because the connection is in the back and has to be disconnected before you take the unit out of the holder. He can leave the backlight on all the time though, so he can always see the screen of the unit.

 

Battery life isn't bad on the unit, even when you use the backlight screen often without being on the charger. I have mine set to about half power and to stay on for one minute after a button push, and of course it comes on every time it gives directional advice. Even at that a set of batteries lasted me about 20 hours of "on time" on a recent trip. Try various screen colors to find a setting that you like best for day and night use, the unit will remember which setting you prefer for each, and automatically switches from one to the other depending on light conditions.

 

I highly recommend the purchase of a SheildZone Invisible screen protector. There are cheaper, I haven't found better.

 

As for maps, I personally like to travel, and would be highly annoyed if I had to keep buying new maps every time I turned around. It's no rare thing for us to attend geocaching events 50 or 60 miles away and take in some caching along the way. I have a daughter in college three hours from home, a father-in-law five hours away, and a friend with a lake house five hours the other way. Every spring we take a longish trip "somewhere". I attend conferences all year, and like to grab a cache or two along the way. I used the maps when I went to Florida for my father's funeral. In fact, since we bought our maps Christmas '05, we've used maps in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Missouri, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

 

The nice thing about the maps is I can load only what I will need and I always load both topo and city map sections for everywhere I expect to be on one trip. I'd rather have the entire map set at once, so I can play with the settings to get just what I want, instead of having to guess what each map covers or fails to cover an area where I'll be traveling. I'd be belligerent if I ordered some 'maplet' and then found out it lacked some important chunk I needed. I personally don't think the price is so outrageous. Oh, and by the way, you can buy individual additional unlocks for the Garmin maps for about $75. So if you need only three sets, you can buy one map with two unlocks plus one additional unlock. You can use them on as many computers as you need. That's nice if you have a personal computer, and a laptop. Many folks use the maps on their laptop while traveling.

 

Around town, I just load all the maps and then add the caches I'll need. I get a bit fancier when I try to come up with map sets we can load into all of the GPS units (some have more storage restrictions than the 60 does).

For trips, I do caches along a route. The easiest way to do maps and caches along a route for me is to use Google maps the map to create a kml of the route I'll use, run a PQ on the route selecting what I want for caches along that route (distance, difficulty, terrain), filter them through the GSAK to weed out a few more I don't want (no multis with more than two stages, for instance), throw them into the MapSource map to eyeball them for additional deletions (usually ones that are close to the route but a long drive to get there on tiny backroads), select the maps I want to cover the route for autorouting, and load them all into my GPS. That also makes sure the file in GSAK for my PDA covers the caches I'll want later, too. I don't fool with oddball maps because I need all the various units to work together seamlessly. I'm not good at hacking software, and don't have a clue what to do if things don't work the way I expect.

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Could it be that you started with a unit that was overkill? I started with the basic yellow version many years ago (canoeing not geocaching), then a ledgend, 60cs, and finally a 60csx. I found the change to be easy from each unit. You took a large leap starting with a 60cx.

 

I wish it "were" overkill, however, the only "operating" problem I have had (so far), is when a functionality suposedly specifically programmed into the unit (in this case, a geocache list), that did not populate correctly, and whose solution requirements were never mentioned in the manual or anywhere else.

 

Yes it would be nice to buy just the maps you need and save some $. But the cost of CN and/or topo is cheap compared to buying papermaps for the same coverage.

 

Yes, the map costs are great when comparing total coverage, however I dont want or need TOTAL North American coverage and know very few people who do either. Thusly my view on ala carte sales. I have NO plans or desire to ever visit 99% of the area information that Garmin's sales strategy fosters.

 

Since your only going to be using the unit in a small area there really is no need to replace the mico sd card. 64mb will be plenty.

 

And if I'm only going to be using the unit in a small area that can be handled with 64 megs of data, why am I forced to purchase "gigs" worth of map data for my small area? I do agree though that 64 megs is enough to handle the area I am interested in, however as a brand new 1 gig card cost me only $10 +$3 shipping, I would be foolish to buy smaller ones with the same shipping costs. I can also use this card in my cell phone, etc.

 

Normal Guy tries to use extremely complicated gadget to do a new hobby!!

 

Unfortunately, GPS's are not "complicated" gadgets over and above other similar technolgies. They are only complicated because of user interface POOR designs which can and should have been overcome long ago.

 

And I got a 60csx as my first unit and have US Topo, World Map, and CS7. I will say though I didn't have nearly this large of a learning curve. Maybe its a programmer/younger generation thing.

 

Again I reiterate that the learning curve has not been about "GPS technology" but rather Garmin's (and other company's) poor implementation, user interfaces, and documentation that appear to be acceptable as the norm versus the exception. On another note; I "wish" I were a younger generation :-)!

 

In terms of the idea why ala carte maps would be good for the consumer, certain rural areas experience map changes much more often then booney areas. Wouldn't you prefer to be able to buy cheaper smaller updated areas that are pertinent to "your" life on a quicker basis, or wait every few years for the entire package to be updated as they are now at a much higher cost? One would also think that it would be cheaper for Garmin as a map maker, to target, update, and repackage smaller map areas versus an entire package.

 

I understand that corporations are out to make money. I just believe that improving the customer experience does not mean they have to make any less overall money with better and different improvements and options for the customer. So I am not specifically angry with Garmin as they appear to be as good or better than the rest of the GPS "consumer" market. I am angry that the overall bar for what is construed as excellence is set so low in the entire handheld GPS industry when compared to the similar things in other fields of the electronic industry.

 

OK, now there will be people who say, well you so dadgum smart, why don't you make your own. I cant. I can admit that. However I "can" submit user interface suggestions that I know from being the technology industry are not exorbantly expensive since they have been already designed for other devices of similar size and usage. My complaints are generated because the handheld I recently purchased appears to have a few hardware upgrade (color, reception, memory slot), but is essentially the same as a black and white unit original unit from several years ago. The user interface has not taken advantage of what the hardware offers or is capable of. You can't just keep on upgrading hardware and ignoring software. Again I say, look at teh cell phone industry. Even the cheapest of cell phones have built-in software and functionality that is vastly more complicated and yet still more user friendly over these GPS units.

 

An example would be to have a standard phone layout button arrangement for data and menu navigation and tie menu operation to number presses. This would make make data entry a realistic proposition within the same limited space, and improve instructional manuals. Anyone who has compared text entry on a cell phone compared to Garmin's cursor hunt and peck, would agree that although it is not ideal, it is a thousand times better/faster and more familiar.

 

With the numerical button tie in to the menu structure an explanation that currently goes like this in the Garmin manual: 1. Press "find" to open the find menu 2. Highlight, the waypoints icon and press "enter" to open the waypoints page.... Could go like this: Press 1 for main menu, press 2 for waypoints screen, press 1-?? that corresponds to the waypoint listed on the screen. With an easy reference guide showing : press 1, 2, 3. Or 1,5,7, or whatever the number buttons are tied to.

 

I'd much rather have a nice cheat sheet than Garmin's current manual.

 

Example cheat sheet if it had a phone button layout:

Main menu: 1

Find Menu: 1, 2

Find Waypoint: 1, 2, 3, scroll to waypoint

 

Cursor directional movement would correspond to numbers surrounding center 5 button..

 

How hard would it really be to integrate microchipset solutions for adding a cell phone pad that has been done a several million cell phones? This singular change would make the 60/76 series FAR above and beyond any other handheld on the market. Garmin could still retain the convoluted menu structures, but having a decent interface to navigate it, makes a world of difference! The Garmin "hardware" apears just great, no complaints about reception, etc. So for the next model, Garmin should not change the hardware as much as the user interface and it would "then" be approaching excellence.

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If you use a car adapter while you are driving in the car, you'll make use of the four-pin hole.

 

I read that a Motorola mini USB automobile cell-phone adaptor works too and is easier to get in and out. Thusly, still no need of a hard to use ugly serial port.

 

As for maps, I personally like to travel, and would be highly annoyed if I had to keep buying new maps every time I turned around. It's no rare thing for us to attend geocaching events 50 or 60 miles away and take in some caching along the way. I have a daughter in college three hours from home, a father-in-law five hours away, and a friend with a lake house five hours the other way. Every spring we take a longish trip "somewhere". I attend conferences all year, and like to grab a cache or two along the way. I used the maps when I went to Florida for my father's funeral. In fact, since we bought our maps Christmas '05, we've used maps in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Missouri, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

 

For you then the big package is a good deal, but there is no need for Garmin to throw away their "big" package deals. But since many people's needs aren't the same as yours, shouldn't there be an option for us "little" 50 mile radius users?

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hahaha... I remember when i was a wee tadpole. <_< I worry that your holding too much inside XerOpiggy. Tell us how you really feel. :laughing:

As for your review. Twas excellent and i agree 100%. My used 60cs hasnt arrived yet but i am already sharing in your anger.

For the record my Garmin Rino manual was an absolute waste of time.

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...Although considered amongst the best in the handheld GPS market, if this is the best the handheld GPS market can come up with, the GPS companies really needs a kick in the a**. ...

 

True, they just would not sell a lot of the better ones for the 1500 a pop it would take.

 

I view the 60Cx as an incremental improvment over the GPS V that I bought 5 years ago but with a worse form factor.

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...For you then the big package is a good deal, but there is no need for Garmin to throw away their "big" package deals. But since many people's needs aren't the same as yours, shouldn't there be an option for us "little" 50 mile radius users?

They used to have their mapping software broken out into regions. You could unlock your region. Then they changed things with one of the new versions, and for the same price as a smaller region you could unlock the entire nation and just load your reigion into the GPS.

 

Regions did not break down into as small of an area as you would like.

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Using the send button in EasyGPS, I send the information to the GPS unit, which I had already hooked up. Presto? Did it work? Who friggen knows? Sure would be nice if there were some confirmation popup that data was received by unit. Guess that's too hard to do for the esteemed software engineers at Garmin. Every other little electronic device in the world that hooks up to a PC has some sort of data send/retrieve confirmation

 

The unit has a "transfer complete" pop up message. Granted it only flashes for a moment, but it is there if you are looking at the screen when the transfer completes.

 

So I press the "find" and "waypoints" menu item and see 10 names like GVXYZ, GZABC, etc. On the map screen I see a bunch of little chests randomly on the map named the same GZXCV type names. Yuck! WTF is that? I want descriptive names like Boingo park cache, fire hydrant cache, (whatever the cache hider calls it) etc. I try to change a few of the names on the GPS using the ABSOLUTELY STUPIDLY HARD Garmin data entry method. Hell no! I aint doing it this way! Get a clue Garmin This kind of blatantly stupid hardware/software makes my want to search out Garmins engineers and perform heinous acts of violence!

 

It uses the waypoint name. This is pretty standard with all GPS units. Waypoint names can be as descriptive as you like (up to the character limit), but GC.COM uses the GC12343 format. If you prefer the actual cache name as your waypoint name, you can use a 3rd party app like GSAK to do this. Many people don't. I know I prefer the GC # as the waypoint name and the cache name in the notes field.

Edited by briansnat
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An example would be to have a standard phone layout button arrangement for data and menu navigation and tie menu operation to number presses. This would make make data entry a realistic proposition within the same limited space, and improve instructional manuals. Anyone who has compared text entry on a cell phone compared to Garmin's cursor hunt and peck, would agree that although it is not ideal, it is a thousand times better/faster and more familiar.

 

With the numerical button tie in to the menu structure an explanation that currently goes like this in the Garmin manual: 1. Press "find" to open the find menu 2. Highlight, the waypoints icon and press "enter" to open the waypoints page.... Could go like this: Press 1 for main menu, press 2 for waypoints screen, press 1-?? that corresponds to the waypoint listed on the screen. With an easy reference guide showing : press 1, 2, 3. Or 1,5,7, or whatever the number buttons are tied to.

 

I think you may be doing it the hard way? Give yourself some time to get used to the gadget before you start trashing features that really are set up in a very user friendly way--for the purpose it is intended.

 

First, I leave the caches in gc code (that eliminates the problem of trying to guess which of the seven caches showing up as "strolsprk" are "stroll in the park #67" and that eliminates all the typing in of names--only 1 cache has the waypoint gc72 after all.

 

With my unit on and running:

to find the nearest cache: I hit "find" and "enter" (the waypoints is already lit up, by default) and the list of nearest caches pop up. I scroll to the cache I want and hit "enter" again. It shows me the nearest 30 caches or so at least. This is the way you will probably use this 95% of the time.

 

If I want specific caches, it's a bit more work, but still less than having to call up all sorts of memory settings as you suggest. I reset the unit to find caches "by name" and then when I hit the find and enter, it takes me to a letters & numbers board. I use the thumb button to choose just the first two or three numbers or letters of the cache --then I am usually on the cache, or at least it's showing up. Hit enter and then you can just scroll to it in the list. It no more button pushing than you suggest at least.

 

And as for the maps, as Renegade Knight reminded us, now that memory storage and database transmission is so cheap, the companies sell you a lot more map for the money. It wouldn't be cheaper to go back to less map at this point. What you are asking for is rather like asking the company to sell you two songs off two different discs of a three volume set. Since they can't do that any less expensively than they can produce the whole set, they're going to sell you the whole thing for the price of the two songs--Doesn't it make sense to buy the whole thing?

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If you use a car adapter while you are driving in the car, you'll make use of the four-pin hole.

 

I read that a Motorola mini USB automobile cell-phone adaptor works too and is easier to get in and out. Thusly, still no need of a hard to use ugly serial port.

Either the USB or the 4 pin serial port will power the unit. A lot of us have had GPSs since before anyone had heard of USB, and it's nice that I don't have to lay out additional money for an auto adapter, since the one from my GPSII+ works quite well.

 

Also, this port is used to interface with equipment other than computers.

Edited by Prime Suspect
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If you use a car adapter while you are driving in the car, you'll make use of the four-pin hole.

 

I read that a Motorola mini USB automobile cell-phone adaptor works too and is easier to get in and out. Thusly, still no need of a hard to use ugly serial port.

Either the USB or the 4 pin serial port will power the unit. A lot of us have had GPSs since before anyone had heard of USB, and it's nice that I don't have to lay out additional money for an auto adapter, since the one from my GPSII+ works quite well.

 

Also, this port is used to interface with equipment other than computers.

 

I understand that some people still use serial ports, don't get me wrong, I've hardwired them to many different things in the past (not GPS though) and used to even know the pinouts of a PC's DB9 by heart I wired them so much. But that doesn't mean I agree that any modern piece of gear should necessarily have one, when there are a plethora of USB cable adaptors that can provide any needed backwards compatibility. That milspec Amp-4M socket (or very similar) is archaic (not a bad thing, just not very often seen or used anymore, though I could be wrong) and the unit would be better served with an internal bluetooth sending chip (or even an IR port) instead. Only in my opinion; of course.

 

I might feel differently if I was in your shoes with much gear that required bayonet connectors. However if the only reason is mainly for older Garmin "auto" adaptors, then I still iterate that it shouldn't be there.

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What you are asking for is rather like asking the company to sell you two songs off two different discs of a three volume set. Since they can't do that any less expensively than they can produce the whole set, they're going to sell you the whole thing for the price of the two songs--Doesn't it make sense to buy the whole thing?

 

I would disagree with you here. Apple and the Ipod has proven this wrong. As all the data is in electronic format, there is NO need for "producing" anything beyond the data. They do not need to make DVD's with an electronic Internet point-of-sale. Their mapsource software already shows that smaller area maps can be selectively taken out of the greater whole. The files once generated can be sent by any medium. A simple point-of-sale to these selective files could be assessed to the consumer and tied to any DRM they currently employ.

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and most importantly, the extra drain from the electronic compass on the batteries.

 

Just a small comment.

 

This is not true for the "x" series from Garmin.

 

On the 60CS and 60C it was a big difference in battery life with and without compass.

20h and 30h

 

On the new "x" series GPS Garmin do use a compass that do draw very little current, and therefore 60CSx and 60Cx have both 18h battery time listed at Garmin.com

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I hope Garmin are reading this thread. All very true! I bought a 60CSx a few weeks ago and have been through exactly the same learning curve. The manual is useless. It assumes that you understand what a waypoint, a track and a route are without explaining anything to a complete novice who has no idea. And what the heck is a "proximity waypoint"? No explanation at all.

 

<rant>

 

I'm with Garmin on this one. If you do not know the basics of navigation then this is not the place to start! IMHO EVERYBODY needs to start with a map, compass and watch, and learn the skill of navigation. Lose your GPS without those skills and the tools with you, and you will be lost.

 

</rant>

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I might feel differently if I was in your shoes with much gear that required bayonet connectors. However if the only reason is mainly for older Garmin "auto" adaptors, then I still iterate that it shouldn't be there.

 

Man you are a tough customer. Complaining about additional connectivity options in the unit. Sheesh. Yeah, it has a serial connection port. I don't use it so I just don't pay any attention to it, but if I needed it, I'd be glad it's there rather than having to shell out $30 for an adaptor.

 

If you're this critical of the minor flaws in this unit, don't even think of buying a Magellan or Lowrance.

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I hope Garmin are reading this thread. All very true! I bought a 60CSx a few weeks ago and have been through exactly the same learning curve. The manual is useless. It assumes that you understand what a waypoint, a track and a route are without explaining anything to a complete novice who has no idea. And what the heck is a "proximity waypoint"? No explanation at all.

 

<rant>

 

I'm with Garmin on this one. If you do not know the basics of navigation then this is not the place to start! IMHO EVERYBODY needs to start with a map, compass and watch, and learn the skill of navigation. Lose your GPS without those skills and the tools with you, and you will be lost.

 

</rant>

 

This is the wrong argument. Lose your map, compass, and watch and you will be just as lost. Yes, dependency on single battery operated devices in hazardous situations is not an ideal situation, but not everyone is trying to traverse the Gobi desert. Wilderness skills should not be a dependency for buying a consumer product.

 

You're implying that Joe Average, who buys one for use in his automobile, should know all about land nav before he buys one? I daresay that the automobile GPS units use the same terminology and it is doubtful that the expected market for automobile units are well versed in land nav either. So should someone who is buying a GPS unit to involve themselves with simple geocaching at the local city park, be required to know all the details of land nav just to use a gps unit? What would be the harm in adding a little extra information in the manuals?

 

For many of these people, this unit and others like it WILL BE the place they start and knowledge elitism does not advance their experience.

Edited by xer0piggy
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You're implying that Joe Average, who buys one for use in his automobile, should know all about land nav before he buys one?

 

No. ;) I am not saying that, the 60Cx is not designed for that use. It is designed for "Outdoors use", their word not mine, if you are buying a unit like this then it would not be an unreasonable assuption to make that you are planning to use it in a "Outdoors" setting where navigation is needed. What I am saying, perhaps badly, is that the GPS is another tool in the navigators bag that supports their hard earned skills.

Edited by SandyGarrity
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Maybe it's just good luck, karma, or whatever, but I didn't have near as many problems with the 60csx as the OP did. I did move up to the 60csx from a Legend, but they are VERY different in their operation.

 

I can't get over how cool the 60csx is. Mine shows me the cache name, the GC #, the terrain & difficulty, whether or not the last 4 people found it or not, etc. It also has icons showing my what type of cache I am looking for (puzzle, multi, virtual, etc).

 

Of course it did take some time to get it personalized the way I wanted it. Plus I use GSAK to put that info on there. But that's just part of owning a device like that. I didn't expect my ipod, Palm, or many other devices I own to be ready out of the box and be exactly how I wanted them. Heck, I even did some personalization to my vehicle before it was setup just like I wanted.

 

Compared to the Legend, I found the 60csx to be very intuitive. In fact a few new people I have taken caching with me have figured out all on their own how to get it to show the next cache without much input from me.

 

I don't usually read the manual until I get to something I don't know how to do. And if I get get that info from the manual, I jump on various forums and usually find the help I need there.

 

Maybe the 60csx isn't for everybody, but I don't think that the OP's experience is necessarily indicative of everyone else's experience.

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This is the wrong argument. Lose your map, compass, and watch and you will be just as lost. Yes, dependency on single battery operated devices in hazardous situations is not an ideal situation, but not everyone is trying to traverse the Gobi desert. Wilderness skills should not be a dependency for buying a consumer product.

 

Sure you can lose your map or compass, but there are many more things that can go wrong with a GPS. A map is also less likely to get lost because it's usually tucked away, not clipped to the outside of a pack or belt and it doesn't have batteries that can go dead or electronics that can break.

 

A handheld GPS is not just another consumer product like an Ipod. They were originally designed for hunters, hikers and other outsoorsmen. That's why when you turn on a Magellan unit you get a message about agreeing to assume all risks when using the product that you have to agree to for the unit to initialize.

 

If your PDA or Ipod breaks it's unlikely that your life might depend on it. If your GPS breaks and you have no wilderness navigation skills it could have serious consenquences. You don't have to be traversing the Gobi Desert to find yourself in a life threatening situation while out geocaching or hiking in the woods. Its why many SAR personnel are not big fans of these things. They bring too many unprepared novices to places they shouldn't be, then the SAR are called in to bring them out.

 

Geocaching to a point has changed things. Units that were designed to get a hunter out of the woods or a fisherman back to the dock are now used to find Tupperware in town parks and on city street corners, but that doesn't change the primary purpose of the units.

 

If you're buying a Streetpilot for your dashboard, that's one thing. Buying a handheld that is designed for wilderness travel is another.

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What you are asking for is rather like asking the company to sell you two songs off two different discs of a three volume set. Since they can't do that any less expensively than they can produce the whole set, they're going to sell you the whole thing for the price of the two songs--Doesn't it make sense to buy the whole thing?

 

I would disagree with you here. Apple and the Ipod has proven this wrong. As all the data is in electronic format, there is NO need for "producing" anything beyond the data. They do not need to make DVD's with an electronic Internet point-of-sale. Their mapsource software already shows that smaller area maps can be selectively taken out of the greater whole. The files once generated can be sent by any medium. A simple point-of-sale to these selective files could be assessed to the consumer and tied to any DRM they currently employ.

 

They do sell maps via SD Cards that may do exactly what you are thinking. I am unsure though if these maps work on the 60 series.

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Maybe it's just good luck, karma, or whatever, but I didn't have near as many problems with the 60csx as the OP did. I did move up to the 60csx from a Legend, but they are VERY different in their operation.

 

I can't get over how cool the 60csx is. Mine shows me the cache name, the GC #, the terrain & difficulty, whether or not the last 4 people found it or not, etc. It also has icons showing my what type of cache I am looking for (puzzle, multi, virtual, etc).

 

Of course it did take some time to get it personalized the way I wanted it. Plus I use GSAK to put that info on there. But that's just part of owning a device like that. I didn't expect my ipod, Palm, or many other devices I own to be ready out of the box and be exactly how I wanted them. Heck, I even did some personalization to my vehicle before it was setup just like I wanted.

 

Compared to the Legend, I found the 60csx to be very intuitive. In fact a few new people I have taken caching with me have figured out all on their own how to get it to show the next cache without much input from me.

 

I don't usually read the manual until I get to something I don't know how to do. And if I get get that info from the manual, I jump on various forums and usually find the help I need there.

 

Maybe the 60csx isn't for everybody, but I don't think that the OP's experience is necessarily indicative of everyone else's experience.

 

As I am the original poster I think you are getting my original posts wrong. I think the unit hardware is GREAT!. The fact that the only fault with the actual "hardware" has been a blurb about the serial port being an unneccesary addon, which is debateble. My posts have been more about the user interface, manual, and map package additional costs requirements. The only "functional" issue I have had (in which the geocache list was not being populated) should have been an easy fix, but for the manual.

 

No. ;) I am not saying that, the 60Cx is not designed for that use. It is designed for "Outdoors use", their word not mine, if you are buying a unit like this then it would not be an unreasonable assuption to make that you are planning to use it in a "Outdoors" setting where navigation is needed. What I am saying, perhaps badly, is that the GPS is another tool in the navigators bag that supports their hard earned skills.

 

IMHO the argument is still incorrect. As I stated; by your reasoning, this should bar ownership of the outdoor GPS series to new "casual" geocachers who would use these type of units in "outdoor" environments, but mainly for pinpointing cache locations around town. They are not "navigators" and shouldn't have to be. Most of them are not going to be traveling to some remote mountain settings to find a cache, thusly navigation skills should not be required. There are plenty of caches in urban settings.

 

In addition, if you look on Garmin's website Geocaching information page, the unit presented 1st is... The 60 series!! Anyone researching geocaching on Garmin's website would have the not-unreasonable assumption that the 60 series "is" the best fitting unit for them, regardless of skills.

 

For example, if you look at the box. Most every picture of the unit is showing "road" maps. In fact, the desciption says "From CAR, to canoe, to campsite: wherever your spirit...blah blah" A reasonable assumption by someone new to GPS's who is looking at this box in the store, is that this is a "vehicle" GPS first, with a secondary ability to be used outdoors. This would imply to a new user that the primary functionality of this unit is to provide directional assistance on "roads". Land nav skills are not needed.

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What you are asking for is rather like asking the company to sell you two songs off two different discs of a three volume set. Since they can't do that any less expensively than they can produce the whole set, they're going to sell you the whole thing for the price of the two songs--Doesn't it make sense to buy the whole thing?

 

I would disagree with you here. Apple and the Ipod has proven this wrong. As all the data is in electronic format, there is NO need for "producing" anything beyond the data. They do not need to make DVD's with an electronic Internet point-of-sale. Their mapsource software already shows that smaller area maps can be selectively taken out of the greater whole. The files once generated can be sent by any medium. A simple point-of-sale to these selective files could be assessed to the consumer and tied to any DRM they currently employ.

 

They do sell maps via SD Cards that may do exactly what you are thinking. I am unsure though if these maps work on the 60 series.

 

They do work in the 60's but they are even more expensive than buying the DVD's and your own SD cards.. :-(

Link to post
This is the wrong argument. Lose your map, compass, and watch and you will be just as lost. Yes, dependency on single battery operated devices in hazardous situations is not an ideal situation, but not everyone is trying to traverse the Gobi desert. Wilderness skills should not be a dependency for buying a consumer product.

 

Sure you can lose your map or compass, but there are many more things that can go wrong with a GPS. A map is also less likely to get lost because it's usually tucked away, not clipped to the outside of a pack or belt and it doesn't have batteries that can go dead or electronics that can break.

 

A handheld GPS is not just another consumer product like an Ipod. They were originally designed for hunters, hikers and other outsoorsmen. That's why when you turn on a Magellan unit you get a message about agreeing to assume all risks when using the product that you have to agree to for the unit to initialize.

 

If your PDA or Ipod breaks it's unlikely that your life might depend on it. If your GPS breaks and you have no wilderness navigation skills it could have serious consenquences. You don't have to be traversing the Gobi Desert to find yourself in a life threatening situation while out geocaching or hiking in the woods. Its why many SAR personnel are not big fans of these things. They bring too many unprepared novices to places they shouldn't be, then the SAR are called in to bring them out.

 

Geocaching to a point has changed things. Units that were designed to get a hunter out of the woods or a fisherman back to the dock are now used to find Tupperware in town parks and on city street corners, but that doesn't change the primary purpose of the units.

 

If you're buying a Streetpilot for your dashboard, that's one thing. Buying a handheld that is designed for wilderness travel is another.

 

This may all and well be true, however my argument is that these Garmin GPS units are marketed as general "consumer" products, not outdoor "specialists" tool. If they (Garmin or other companies) are going to market them to the "average" consumer as they are doing, then the user interface and manuals should reflect this (with limitation warnings too, which is also lacking). I agree with everyone that these could get people into trouble, but by not having better included instructions on their use and limitations, it is the company who is doing the disservice, not the consumer who is buying the unit out of misleading advertisement information. And this view is coming from a person who "does" understand land nav. I'm a noob to the "GPS" world, not land nav. I bought the GPS for road and local geocaching. I myself never had issues with manual terminology, just slight user interface frustrations in accessing the functions do the poor manual.

Edited by xer0piggy
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For example, if you look at the box. Most every picture of the unit is showing "road" maps. In fact, the desciption says "From CAR, to canoe, to campsite: wherever your spirit...blah blah" A reasonable assumption by someone new to GPS's who is looking at this box in the store, is that this is a "vehicle" GPS first, with a secondary ability to be used outdoors. This would imply to a new user that the primary functionality of this unit is to provide directional assistance on "roads". Land nav skills are not needed.

 

I think that you inferred something that WASN'T implied.

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For example, if you look at the box. Most every picture of the unit is showing "road" maps. In fact, the desciption says "From CAR, to canoe, to campsite: wherever your spirit...blah blah" A reasonable assumption by someone new to GPS's who is looking at this box in the store, is that this is a "vehicle" GPS first, with a secondary ability to be used outdoors. This would imply to a new user that the primary functionality of this unit is to provide directional assistance on "roads". Land nav skills are not needed.

 

I think that you inferred something that WASN'T implied.

 

And what would you infer from reading the box in a Best Buy store if you did not know much about GPS units? The box descriptors are obvious implications to road usage:

 

1. Basemaps with auto routing showing city, interstates, motorways, major roads

2. Half the pictures with ROad maps/instructions

3. The descriptive wording I already mentioned

 

Just because "you" might know better, doesn't mean the average consumer will.

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I think that the average consumer would know that handheld GPS's were designed primarily for outdoor use. And considering all the research you did, I am quite sure you were aware of that as well. I agree that the manuals are just a painful roll of toilet paper. But I do not agree that the user interface is as horrendous as you make it to be. Road use in a handheld is an added bonus, which i believe that the 60cx handles extremely well.

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I agree with SandyGarrity about starting out with a paper map. I own a 60Cx, but I am still so darned map-oriented that I find auto-routing and voice directions to be a complete waste. Even in the car, just follow along with the map display on your gpsr. When you come to a cross-road, your map will show you that. Just make your turn, and your map shows you that. Continue on your merry way, and the map shows you that.

 

It's kinda like using a calculator without knowing your multiplication tables by heart first. Who should need a calculator for 7x6 ?

 

One rant that zeropiggy left out is the HUGE problem of the 2025 map segment limit. If you use only street map products, this is no biggie since the segments are large. However, with TOPO, you have small segments and lots of them. For TOPO USA West you run into the segment limit at about 375mb.

 

I, and others, will continue to hound Garmin until they fix this, either in firmware or in a new TOPO product that has larger, and fewer, segments.

 

For TOPO mapping the new Delorme PN-20, with their superior topographic maps, looms large. I hope Garmin is taking notice.

Edited by segler999
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I think that the average consumer would know that handheld GPS's were designed primarily for outdoor use. And considering all the research you did, I am quite sure you were aware of that as well. I agree that the manuals are just a painful roll of toilet paper. But I do not agree that the user interface is as horrendous as you make it to be. Road use in a handheld is an added bonus, which i believe that the 60cx handles extremely well.

 

I have no doubts that average consumers think that the handheld units are for outdoors usage as well as vehicle usage. I know it's hard to follow the thread, cause they tend to wander around a bit, but the main point was that Garmin bills there units as easy to use without any land navigation skills or terminology necessary. Unfortunately, but their method of packaging and advertising, along with poor documentation, is contrary to that point. And I would add that I am NOT the average consumer :-).

 

The user interface, is not HORRENDOUS, when taken on it's own or when compared to other similar GPS units. It is only poor when compared to "other" similar consumer devices on the market such as cell-phones. So basically, if I had never used any other electronic devices, it would be fine, but the user interphase, compared to something even as old as my Nokia 6160 phone, "then" it is indeed poorly implemented.

Edited by xer0piggy
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