Jump to content

How Practical are Handhelds for AutoRouting Use?


geoprincesss
Followers 5

Recommended Posts

Obviously a Car gps with 4" screen and text to speech would be the best solution, but can a driver use a Vista HCX or 76CSX effectively to navigate in car? Is it too small to be used safely without being distracted squinting to see directions, etc? Does City Navigator really get used or does the handheld only get used for the trail or geocaching type activities after the initial novelty of car navigation wears off?

Link to comment

Many handhelds work remarkably well for autorouting, given the clear limitations you noted. Typically you will find that they emit an audible warning beep when approaching a maneuver, and at the time of the maneuver the view will zoom in to make the nature of the maneuver and one's current position more visible.

 

I think most people even find the zoomed-out views helpful, although those whose eyesight is on the downward trend will often find this more problematic. So yes, overall a dedicated autorouter with voice cues and a larger screen is better, but a handheld can provide a useful compromise.

 

I used my handheld a more for autorouting than hiking, partly because I spend more time on the road than the trail, and partly because it was definitely a help. Even on familiar routes the warning beeps can be useful to keep me from missing turns because I'm spaced out thinking about something else.

Link to comment

Well that's encouraging.

 

I had Lowrance GM100. Good gps in it's day but it was extremely slow if you needed to redraw the screen---like when you want to view a restaurant location in a city 40 miles away. It might have taken 30-45 seconds just to scroll up and the screen would blank each time it needed to refresh making it very difficult.

 

Are these newer handheld gps's fast enough to scroll around conveniently in such a circumstance?

Link to comment

You can manage with a handheld, but if you plan to use it frequently for navigation, I would not go with a handheld.

Here is the major consideration. The screen is small, and you need to take your eye off the road. A navigation unit uses a voice announcement at the most appropriate moment. If you have a waypoint with a proximity alarm on a handheld, you can get confused with a beep. And when it beeps you need to look at the small screen. In daylight, the problem is compounded with glare on the screen or lack of light.

My recommendation, frequent navigation, using the unit mostly for navigation, go with a vehicle unit.

Link to comment

You can manage with a handheld, but if you plan to use it frequently for navigation, I would not go with a handheld.

Here is the major consideration. The screen is small, and you need to take your eye off the road. A navigation unit uses a voice announcement at the most appropriate moment. If you have a waypoint with a proximity alarm on a handheld, you can get confused with a beep. And when it beeps you need to look at the small screen. In daylight, the problem is compounded with glare on the screen or lack of light.

My recommendation, frequent navigation, using the unit mostly for navigation, go with a vehicle unit.

I agree, I use a iFinder Hunt and a SP 2610, wouldn't do it any other way. I would buy a non auto-routing handheld and put the money I saved toward one for the car. But to each his own.

Link to comment

Obviously a Car gps with 4" screen and text to speech would be the best solution, but can a driver use a Vista HCX or 76CSX effectively to navigate in car? Is it too small to be used safely without being distracted squinting to see directions, etc? Does City Navigator really get used or does the handheld only get used for the trail or geocaching type activities after the initial novelty of car navigation wears off?

Voice directions aren't all they're cracked up to be. They just can't handle complex intersections and access ramps as well as a graphic display can. So the idea of always being able to drive without looking at the unit is bogus. My 60CSx gives me all I need to know to get from A to B, and I use it all the time. I have both the map and highway modes set to display the distance to the next turn, and current/next road, so I know how close I am to the next turn, and get plenty of notification of what that turn is.

Link to comment

I use my 76CSx for autorouting quite often. I've used it on several multi-state trips and it did everything I needed. I have it set to give me a multiple beep when the turn is getting near and then a shrill trilling noise when it's actually time to turn. It works great. I often keep it on the turn by turn list page. When the turn is actually upon me and the shrill trilling sound happens the unit automagically switches to a close up map view with the turn plainly shown. I have absolutely no need for the voice prompts.

 

I use a RAM suction mount with an adapter that allows me to use the Garmin cradle (I hated the 76CSx RAM cradle). I have it on the left side of the dash where it doesn't block my vision, is close to see easily, and is also close to hand if I want to push a button for any reason.

 

I love this unit. It gives me all the autorouting capabilities I need and is also great for geocaching.

Link to comment

I think if you know you are going to be in the car all the time, get a car unit. For geocaching etc. you will want a handheld. You CAN use your handheld for car navigation. I use my Legend Cx in the car all the time, but here in Ecuador there are no maps to autoroute, so it's following a track. I also have the police checkpoints in with proximity alarms. Gives me time to stash the GPSr and get license and ID ready.

 

I have the Garmin dash mount and I can see the screen and follow the track fine.

 

But if ALL I did was drive in the car, I would want the bigger screen.

 

Edited for clarity and spelling.

Edited by TeamEcuador
Link to comment

I've got a Vista Cx for geocaching and hiking, with both Topo maps and City Navigator. I've also got a Nuvi 660 for the car. Just for kicks sometimes I set both of them to the same destination, and what amazes me is the Vista VERY often picks some weird, out-of-the-way route that nobody in their right mind would take. The Nuvi get is right every time. I have no idea why this is - it's not the avoidances, or any other routing-related settings I've found. I am sure the Vista would get me there ... but it would not be the shortest or quickest way.

Link to comment

Obviously a Car gps with 4" screen and text to speech would be the best solution, but can a driver use a Vista HCX or 76CSX effectively to navigate in car? Is it too small to be used safely without being distracted squinting to see directions, etc? Does City Navigator really get used or does the handheld only get used for the trail or geocaching type activities after the initial novelty of car navigation wears off?

Voice directions aren't all they're cracked up to be. They just can't handle complex intersections and access ramps as well as a graphic display can. So the idea of always being able to drive without looking at the unit is bogus. My 60CSx gives me all I need to know to get from A to B, and I use it all the time. I have both the map and highway modes set to display the distance to the next turn, and current/next road, so I know how close I am to the next turn, and get plenty of notification of what that turn is.

To make a statement like that you must have used a crummy unit with voice. I have used my 2610 all over the USA including complex traffic circles in Worcester MA. and in cities like Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, Yuma, Spokane, Chicago, Memphis, and more. Most of the time it worked flawlessly, the only time it didn't was when I was in an area that the maps weren't up to date, and in that case it wouldn't matter if you were running voice or visual.

Link to comment

I have a Nuvi 200 and a 60CSX with City Navigator loaded. This means that I've used both options for in-car navigation. Yes, one can only use the 60CSX for in-car navigation. As posted above, the 60CSX with CN will zoom in when it's time for the turn (so it's easier to see). Yes, the 60CSX will beep to let you know that you're going to need to do something in a short while (turn). Depending on your speed is how much warning you will get. (The beep is kind of cute, imo. Kind of like the 60CSX is saying "Excuse me!") IMHO, the Nuvi is a much better beast for in car navigation. Since they're both Garmin units, they're both basically running the same mapping software and 99 out of a hundred times they're going to give you the exact same route. That being said, one needs to give some thought to how one is going to use the units IN the car. Most often, I am caching alone. I don't have the benefit of someone else keeping an eye of the 60CSX to see what it wants. Yes, I can see it when I need to turn, but yes it is more difficult than the Nuvi. I believe this is true even if the 60CSX is mounted on the dash. The Nuvi's screen format is more conducive for quick visualization. The Nuvi will speak, giving voice guided directions so you look at it less. The Nuvi's screen is larger and easier to see. And, most important to me, it's easier to input information. The Nuvi has a touchscreen. It's VERY easy to input the information. On the 60CSX, with mapping software, you're going to have to use the buttons and the directional arrow. This is a lot more difficult to do if you're driving. (Think how hard it is to text message and drive. It's really quite the same.) Again, I think it depends if you're alone or have the benefit of a copilot. I know I'm spoiled and have the best of both worlds. But my husband believes that the cost of the Nuvi is ultimately cheaper than the insurance premiums if I wreck the car! (And probably quite true.)

Link to comment
It seems people have forgotten the OP's original question. He didn't ask which is best for navigation. The question was...
Obviously a Car gps with 4" screen and text to speech would be the best solution, but can a driver use a Vista HCX or 76CSX effectively to navigate in car?

The answer is, still, Yes.

I agree and I use mine all the time. Obviously, I'd rather use a larger car gps when I'm not geocaching. But it is a luxury and not a necessity if you already own a decent autorouting handheld.
Link to comment

I guess I must apologize then. I thought I did answer his question and offered him a fair analysis. Since I own the 60CSX (the sister unit to the 76CSX), I felt that I had some personal experience to using the unit. I offered up my opinion that #1 It COULD be done, just wasn't all that easy and #2 An in-car navigation was a better alternative. I took the question as asking for the practicality of using the 76CSX. I assumed the OP already had discovered that it COULD be done, just was curious as to the ease of use.

 

Again, I apologize for my reply.

 

(Edited to remove a smiley that I didn't put in there)

Edited by Jenischmeni
Link to comment

I guess I must apologize then. I thought I did answer his question and offered him a fair analysis. Since I own the 60CSX (the sister unit to the 76CSX), I felt that I had some personal experience to using the unit. I offered up my opinion that #1 It COULD be done, just wasn't all that easy and #2 An in-car navigation was a better alternative. I took the question as asking for the practicality of using the 76CSX. I assumed the OP already had discovered that it COULD be done, just was curious as to the ease of use.

No need to apologize. I thought your comments were appropriate and offered direct comparisons between your handheld and Nuvi.

 

The reason for my original question is that I have a SP2610, but no handheld. I'd like to get a handheld, but was wondering if it is worth it to get a high priced AutoRouting one or just a basic. There are times when a small handheld would be more convenient for occassional mobile use (different car, motorcycle, etc.), but I don't want to spend the money if navigating with it is inconvenient enough it would seldom get used. I appreciate the comments so far. I realize there is no PERFECT solution. I'm leaning toward spending the money.

Link to comment

I have the 60csx and agree with the previous posts on the unit. It's the only GPS I have or plan to have in the near future. I bought it primarily for outdoor use. Though it performs well enough so far for in car use. I use the window mount and a power cord with the backlight on for road navigation. I wrote a short review on my Blog.

Edited by damayo
Link to comment

My Magellan Platinum (greyscale) sits in my truck in a holder next to my A Pillar. I use it with Direct Route all the time and it works great for me.

I can't afford multiple units and I use this unit in multiple vehicles, a bike and on the trail. It's a good compromise.

 

With the small screen and the clunky address entry, it's best to enter destination while stopped; but after that it all works great.

Link to comment

Greetings, fellow geocachers—my first post!

 

After reading these forums for quite awhile, this past summer I purchased a Garmin 60csx, intending to use it for hiking, geocaching and auto navigating. After using it for awhile in my car with the suction windshield mount, I soon realized that at times it was difficult or impossible for me to read the small screen, due to sunlight, glare and/or my 50something eyes. Wearing sunglasses, I would often have to raise them in order to read the screen, even with the backlight at 100%. (We have a lot of sunny days here in Colorado!)

 

When I read Jenischmeni’s post I related completely. For me, it was too distracting to try to read a small, sometimes impossible to see screen and drive on unfamiliar streets. The beeps don’t help if you can’t read the direction of the upcoming turn! I then bought a Nuvi 350 and the Garmin beanbag dash mount, and it is fantastic! A larger, brighter screen, simplified graphics and especially the voice prompts with text-to-speech make me feel like a much more confident and safer driver because I can now keep my eyes on the road almost all the time.

 

I still absolutely love my 60csx and don’t regret buying it. It is rugged and has many features the simpler Nuvi doesn’t have. I would use a handheld occasionally for auto navigation if I had to, but wouldn't want to on a regular basis. I very much prefer the specialized Nuvi for that task now.

 

Thanks for all the great posts, help and advice on these forums!

Edited by joebiwan
Link to comment

 

The reason for my original question is that I have a SP2610, but no handheld. I'd like to get a handheld, but was wondering if it is worth it to get a high priced AutoRouting one or just a basic. There are times when a small handheld would be more convenient for occassional mobile use (different car, motorcycle, etc.), but I don't want to spend the money if navigating with it is inconvenient enough it would seldom get used. I appreciate the comments so far. I realize there is no PERFECT solution. I'm leaning toward spending the money.

 

If you have the money, can comfortably afford it, by all means pick up the 76CSX or 60CSX - you won't be disappointed. It's a great unit.

 

If it was me, and I couldn't comfortably afford the extra money involved for 60CSX or 76CSX, then I'd keep my in-car navigation and purchase a lesser handheld.

 

Yes, the handheld would be convenient for the occasional use. I use my 60CSX's routing capabilities when I'm dashing out for a last minute cache (or trying to be first to find).

 

Good luck & let me know what you decide!

Link to comment

I have the 60CSx and have used it for auto-routing but even with a suction mount to make it closer to eye level, it still was difficult to see. What I do now and will do if I need auto-routing is connect my GPS to my laptop, use Garmin's NRoute software that I download and I get voice routing and my big laptop screen which is very easy to read. This set up worked great for me when I was trying to negotiate Santa Fe this summer.

Link to comment

Don't use a Handheld for Car Navigation if you have one of the following:

 

1- Bad eyesight

2- Hard hearing

3- Arthritis

3- Frequent travels

 

Use a Handheld only, if you:

 

1- Need money for other more important stuffs

2- Have a co-pilot (that's competent and doesn't nag)

 

I'd rather have a cheap handheld (like new Garmin H-eTrex) and a cheap car unit (TomTom One, Mio C220...), than an expensive Handheld, or Car unit.

Link to comment

I used a MAP60CS to travel throughout Southern California and Nevada and enjoyed the experience. Our caching friends did not like using theirs to do the same, so they bought a StreetPilot. Of course, that was a great improvement in autorouting and we always used that when caching and traveling in new areas.

 

We bought a Nuvi 660 and, of course, now use that for navigation. The MAP 60CS is still a good unit, but obviously better suited to the field.

 

When we travel with our friends, we always cache along the way and, we either use the StreetPilot or the Nuvi (depending on who is driving) to autoroute. But we also have the MAP60CSs up and running to show upcoming caches along the route. The driver drives and the navigator manages the caching GPSrs. I know you can use the Nuvi to show upcoming caches, but I'm just not ready to go there yet; and we use the MAP60s for the final hunt for the cache anyway. Best of both worlds.

Link to comment

We have a 2620 e/w bean bag mount & a 60CSX with the bean bag car nav kit, both loaded with CN v8.

Coming from Florida to Canada last spring (2200 miles) we set both on the dash.

I must say the voice directions from the 2620 was far superior to the beeps from the 60CSX. We found the 60CSX too small a screen to be comfortable with. It is definitely usable but placed side & side the regular car unit is a much more comfortable unit to use.

Link to comment

I think I'm in the minority here, but I think that the Vista C (and probably the Cx and HCx, for the same reasons) is not very good for navigating in the car, unless you've got a passenger with you who will read it as you're driving and interpret it for you.

 

Maybe it's just the shapes of the roads where I live: lots of winding, narrow roads with oddly-shape intersections -- nothing like the square grids found in other places. But I can't count the number of times that the Vista C either leaves out significant turns in its directions (it'll tell me to take a left, without even mentioning that first I'll be coming to a "T" intersection where I need to take a right before I can take that left), or gives a turn-beep signal that actually means "keep going straight on this road, don't take the next turn" -- unnecessary and very annoying.

 

It's better than nothing at all if I'm driving in unfamiliar territory. But what I usually have to do is have it calculate the route, then I'll read and attempt to memorize the list of turns so that each beep is just a reminder of what I've read already.

 

It's unfortunate that it doesn't have the capability for different tones for "turn left" vs "turn right" -- that would be immensely helpful. It's also unfortunate that it doesn't seem to use route numbers very much: often I'll get a long list of turn-instructions onto streets whose names I try to memorize, and then when I'm actually driving it I realize that that long list could have been substituted with "stay on route 162 for 12 miles".

 

(edit: this is with City Select 7.0. Maybe the newer maps on newer units are better?)

Edited by the hermit crabs
Link to comment

1- Bad eyesight

2- Hard hearing

3- Arthritis

Should you be behind the wheel? ;)

 

1- My eyes are good at less than 30cm , and more than 2m ;)

2- Miss the beeps if car windows are both opened, air conditioning doesn't work (car too old!) :D

3- Fingers get tired with long addresses search ;)

 

I can afford an extra GPS for the car. ;)

Link to comment

I have experienced problems seeing the 60csx screen while driving only if the backlight is off (timed out using the battery). With a DC cord attached the backlight stays on all the time. Even with my 48yo eyes reading the screen hasn't been a big problem. Just make sure you have the auto routing settings where you want them before launching.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 5
×
×
  • Create New...