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Garmin is upgrading its eTrex series


QuigleyJones
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Also FWIW, I have a MTK chip in one of my other receivers and, actually, it often out-performs the SiRF chip in my 60 CSx.

Has it been confirmed that the new eTrex models use the MTK chip? All I can find is "high sensitivity".

No, however MTK has been awarded some contracts from garmin so its a (most) likely canidate.
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Three things:

 

1) Units not available until fall 2007.

 

2) They're worth waiting for / adjusting your purchase schedule accordingly if the sensitivity is good. If you need a unit for a few months look on craigslist for something to bridge the gap.

 

3) If you're evaluating mapping GPSs, consider the curmudgeon's view - the user interface of mapping GPS's sucks major asterisk. IMO, you are better off getting a basic GPS unit and getting your mapping and autorouting on a palm or PPC platform. You get more flexibility, better ease of use, and usually come out ahead, cost-wise. I know the 60Cx is what "everybody uses", but god, what an ugly stupid-looking thing to walk around with. They should all come with a "DORK" transfer tattoo for your forehead...

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Tigergps has them all listed and priced for pre-order. it also states "GARMIN IS PROJECTED TO RELEASE THIS PRODUCT IN MID JULY 2007", so maybe we will see these before fall.

 

I pre-ordered me a Legend HCx last night..WOHO.. :rolleyes: Now I've got to wait. :D I'll let ya'll know when it gets in.

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3) If you're evaluating mapping GPSs, consider the curmudgeon's view - the user interface of mapping GPS's sucks major asterisk. IMO, you are better off getting a basic GPS unit and getting your mapping and autorouting on a palm or PPC platform. You get more flexibility, better ease of use, and usually come out ahead, cost-wise. I know the 60Cx is what "everybody uses", but god, what an ugly stupid-looking thing to walk around with. They should all come with a "DORK" transfer tattoo for your forehead...

 

And walking around with a gps and palm connected together doesn't look even worse? I actually find that the 60 series is relatively unobtrusive.

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3) If you're evaluating mapping GPSs, consider the curmudgeon's view - the user interface of mapping GPS's sucks major asterisk. IMO, you are better off getting a basic GPS unit and getting your mapping and autorouting on a palm or PPC platform. You get more flexibility, better ease of use, and usually come out ahead, cost-wise. I know the 60Cx is what "everybody uses", but god, what an ugly stupid-looking thing to walk around with. They should all come with a "DORK" transfer tattoo for your forehead...

 

And walking around with a gps and palm connected together doesn't look even worse? I actually find that the 60 series is relatively unobtrusive.

Dude, we're all walkin' 'round the woods staring at GPS screens! We don't need 'Dork' tatooed on our foreheads! :D

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I posted a comment on an entry in Garmin's official blog asking what kind of high-sensitivity receiver chipset Garmin would use in these new eTrex® units. I am personally hoping that the SiRFstar III chipset will be used, but if this new Mediatek chipset is even better, I might just be sold. My preference would be for the eTrex® Vista HCx, although it says it won't include its own microSD card.

 

edit: According to this page, if the Mediatek chipset Garmin uses here is the MT3, it would be even better than the SiRFstar III chipset, with 32-channel receiving capability instead of 20, but with just one dBm missing from the sensitivity. I'm not exactly sure what that means—I know the fix accuracy won't improve, but it might just allow for an instant fix on a warm start.

Edited by DENelson83
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I posted a comment on an entry in Garmin's official blog asking what kind of high-sensitivity receiver chipset Garmin would use in these new eTrex® units. I am personally hoping that the SiRFstar III chipset will be used, but if this new Mediatek chipset is even better, I might just be sold. My preference would be for the eTrex® Vista HCx, although it says it won't include its own microSD card.

 

edit: According to this page, if the Mediatek chipset Garmin uses here is the MT3, it would be even better than the SiRFstar III chipset, with 32-channel receiving capability instead of 20, but with just one dBm missing from the sensitivity. I'm not exactly sure what that means—I know the fix accuracy won't improve, but it might just allow for an instant fix on a warm start.

 

I bought a receiver with an MT3 chip in January and have been quite impressed with it. The warm and cold start times are incredible and much faster than my 60 CSx. As the MT3 was a new chip, I did have some initial issues which I resolved directly with manufacturing but since then it has been a very good performer indeed.

 

Again, to be clear, the SiRF chips are amazing creatures but they no longer seem to be the only game in town.

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In other good news, Garmin has also introduced a new feature compatible with the eTrex series (as well as most other Garmin handhelds) called, "Go Geocaching." Go Geocaching, available on myGarmin.com, makes it possible to automatically send a cache's latitude and longitude to the GPS, rather than having to enter the coordinates manually.

Is this already available with 60 & 76 Cx CSx? Is it a big plus?

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The MTK chip is used in the Delorme PN-20. Several people have compared the sensitivity of the PN-20 with 60C(S)x and/or 76C(S)x, which use the Sirf III chips, and have found them comparable. They compared them indoors, inside vehicles under the dash, under tree cover, and in mountainous terrain.

 

I think we can conclude that the MTK is on par with the Sirf III. This is good. Glad to see this.

 

I use a 60Cx and like it (except for the 2025 segment limit). I would not hesitate to buy a unit with the MTK chip.

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I've been quite impressed with my 60CSx with the Sirf Star III. I don't think any of the features will be worth the upgrade for me. MAYBE the Galileo support, but I have a good 5 years to save up before that is up and running.

 

Ummm, these are not an "upgrade" for a 60Csx. The 60/76 series are still the top of the line handhelds. These are an upgrade to the existing etrex series.

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1) Units not available until fall 2007.
it also states "GARMIN IS PROJECTED TO RELEASE THIS PRODUCT IN MID JULY 2007", so maybe we will see these before fall.

 

This is what I got when asking GPScentral.ca

Hello,

 

We hope to have them in stock the week of 07/23/07.

 

George

 

GPS Central

 

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Tiger GPS has the series listed as release for mid July. The prices are as follows: Legend HCx $226.08

Vista GCx $251.20. I am not sure if these prices are presale prices or will be the final retail price but they are the current cheapest prices that I have seen. Sign me up for a Vista HCx.

 

http://www.tigergps.com/garminvistahcx.html

 

Another issue may be Mapsource compatability. I am getting conflicting information from the Garmin website. On the products page it lists that the new series will use City Navigator NT. I'm not sure what it will end up using. Looks good though.

Edited by scaber
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In other good news, Garmin has also introduced a new feature compatible with the eTrex series (as well as most other Garmin handhelds) called, "Go Geocaching." Go Geocaching, available on myGarmin.com, makes it possible to automatically send a cache's latitude and longitude to the GPS, rather than having to enter the coordinates manually.

Is this already available with 60 & 76 Cx CSx? Is it a big plus?

 

Also the number of waypoints has changed from 500 to 1000.

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bump... too good not to watch. anybody know if garmin fixed the rubber separation problem on the casing yet? i was told that the rubber grip around the casing is only held on by two way tape and can come apart.

Edited by bubnme
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I really hope they add support for the newer MicroSDHC (high capacity) cards. This will allow us to use 4GB+ microSD cards, essentially giving you the ability to put just about every topo and street map in the entire world on one data card. A Vista HCx w/ a high sensitivity receiver and MicroSDHC support would make for the best handheld GPS yet.

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With 2025 limit on the segment, there are no need for large cards.

 

You are only ASSUMing that the limits will still apply to these new units....

 

Just got off the phone with Garmin Tech. Support asking what the map segment limit is on the new H Series Etrexs coming out; Tech Support Rep. said that as of today it is still 2,025 but it possibly may be increased with a firm ware update in the future, as of now he hasn't received any news of it being increased, though.

 

Also questioned the number of Map Segments in the new 2008 Topo soon to be released. The Tech Support Rep. had a copy of it that he pulled up the map segments for just the Continental U.S. and it showed 5,100. The 2008 Topo is now on 1 DVD as compared to 3 previously.

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With 2025 limit on the segment, there are no need for large cards.

 

You are only ASSUMing that the limits will still apply to these new units....

 

I did, and it was correct.

 

I do not see any good reason for haveing only 2025 segment limt.

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I am using the basic yellow etrex v3+ and am very happy with it. I think the extra sensitive chip would be a great advantage in tree cover where I do have some problems. I would be tempted to get the new basic Etrex H, if they have also increased the number of characters you can use for waypoint names. This being my only other gripe with my unit. Do all of the current etrex range have a limit to 6 characters at the moment ?

 

Tarot

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I have just telephoned Garmin CS Europe, to ask about the waypoint character length in the new units. The answer was :

 

"I don't know, I haven't seen them yet because they are new. I’ll be able to tell you more when they come in”

 

It makes you wonder !!

 

Tarot

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I am using the basic yellow etrex v3+ and am very happy with it. I think the extra sensitive chip would be a great advantage in tree cover where I do have some problems. I would be tempted to get the new basic Etrex H, if they have also increased the number of characters you can use for waypoint names. This being my only other gripe with my unit. Do all of the current etrex range have a limit to 6 characters at the moment ?

 

Tarot

 

My Legend CX allows for 10 characters in waypoint names...pretty sure it's 10 ... i know it's more than 6.

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My Vista C has 10 character capability, as well.

I'd like to see the "note" section expanded, though. It allows for approx. 30 characters; not enough for long-winded clues!

 

The "X" models allow custom POIs which have 44 characters in the name and 88 in the note field.

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I've been thinking about upgrading to Legend C, mostly to have the extra map memory. I had been considering the 60Cx, but with what I've seen of the features for the new eTrex HCx series, that seems to be the better path for me.

 

A fellow geocacher and I were talking about the new eTrex, and his first comment was "This will kill the 60s." I'm inclined to agree. So many of the features being pretty much equal, why would someone want to spend $100 more for the 60-series? What significant differences am I missing?

 

Thanks!

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Bigger screen, for aging eyes.

Fair enough, I am young and have good eyes, any other drawbacks.

 

If it is as sensitive, it will be a lot smaller and easier to hook onto a hiking pack with the case that they have. And it looks like it had a much longer battery life. I always liked my old legend better in that regard.

Edited by AndrewRJ
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Fair enough, I am young and have good eyes, any other drawbacks.

 

 

For most outdoor applications, the Vista HCx should be just as good as the 60CSx at a much lower cost. However, the 60CSx will still appeal to those who want a reasonable car/motorcycle navigator in a handheld form. The small screen and side-mounted buttons of the Vista HCx are not well suited for this role. That said, I suspect the 60CSx will be getting either upgrades or a price drop soon. A $100 premium is a bit steep for a slightly larger screen.

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know if garmin fixed the rubber separation problem on the casing yet? i was told that the rubber grip around the casing is only held on by two way tape and can come apart.

 

I hope that the rubber would be improved/redesigned. I sent a Legend Cx that I purchased last June in for warranty in March because the rubber started to come off the unit. Well guess what, last week the glue started to loosen on the replacement unit.

 

Do folks even use these models where it gets hot?

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know if garmin fixed the rubber separation problem on the casing yet? i was told that the rubber grip around the casing is only held on by two way tape and can come apart.

 

I hope that the rubber would be improved/redesigned. I sent a Legend Cx that I purchased last June in for warranty in March because the rubber started to come off the unit. Well guess what, last week the glue started to loosen on the replacement unit.

 

Do folks even use these models where it gets hot?

 

Glad to see I'm not the only one having that problem. That's REALLY annoying. I have an older Legend C, so I'm out of warranty, or it would be going back. I don't think it's double-sided tape, but it's not very good, whatever it is.

 

As for the differences between the eTrex and 60-series, I did think of something after I posted my question earlier today. The 60s have a port for an external antenna. The eTrex does not. Not a big deal for me, but it may be for others. I also agree with the comment about car/motorcycle use. I can manage fairly well in my car, but I agree that the 60s do make that easier.

 

TeamToro

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Both my Vista and Vista C eventually had that problem: the rubber trim on the outside became quite loose (stretched?), and the adhesive quite gummy underneath.

I put crazyglue on the Vista C about six months ago, all the way around the outside except near the side buttons, and it's been fine ever since.

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