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Best High Sensitivity?


twhTami
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Hi All! New to this forum and looking for some advice.

 

I need to buy a new GPS--my old magellan died--won't load maps. After reading here it confirms my thougts-don't like Magellan. I had a auto Magellan and if it was snowy or fogy - it would not load. Same thing with the handheld.

 

However, I LOVE my Garmin NUVI 680. It can be a blizzard and it loads. I am looking for the same thing in a handheld. Should I be looking for SiRFstarIII™ chipset technology? I actually use it for trail riding on my horse, although the geocaching looks really cool. But am very busy so my primary use will be riding. I need it to pick up when I go in the trees and when it is cloudy---and not take forever. Any thoughts on what my best bet will be? I don't have a problem if it is $300 but if I can get the same sensitivity as I have with the NUVI I would be very happy. Right now I am carrying my Nuvi on my horse. Not a good idea as it is easy to drop it but it works in a pinch.

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks Tami

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However, I LOVE my Garmin NUVI 680. It can be a blizzard and it loads. I am looking for the same thing in a handheld. Should I be looking for SiRFstarIII™ chipset technology?

 

Your best choice at this moment would be the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx (or one of the other eTrex's in the H class) which uses the MediaTek chipset, and actually has better sensitivity than the units based on the SiRFstarIII chipset. I have both a nuvi 350 (SiRFstar III) and the Vista HCx and can attest to the better sensitivity of the MediaTek chipset as far as sensitivity & ability to hold a lock in challenging situations.

Edited by SergZak
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Welcome to the Forums! :o

 

For your use, I will also recommend the Vista HCx because of its small size. You can get Topo maps for a reasonable price on eBay because, unlike the auto-routing maps, they do not have an Unlock code.

 

When you get your GPS unit, get an Invisible Shield for it, as well as the Garmin neoprene case. Those two things will keep it looking like new, even under the rigors of riding, and Geocaching. :)

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Welcome to the Forums! :)

 

For your use, I will also recommend the Vista HCx because of its small size. You can get Topo maps for a reasonable price on eBay because, unlike the auto-routing maps, they do not have an Unlock code.

 

When you get your GPS unit, get an Invisible Shield for it, as well as the Garmin neoprene case. Those two things will keep it looking like new, even under the rigors of riding, and Geocaching. :o

 

Good advice, I dropped mine yesterday and put a nice scratch on the top right corner. Oops :)

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Thank you so much Sergzak and Miragree!! You guys are fast!!!

 

Miragree--questions for ya. I usually use the strap and hang it on my saddle. I can't be stopping to get it out of a little case because my horse is an a**. I love him but someone beat the snot out of him before I got him and he is a little high strung. Standing still is difficult for him. Is the etrex going to take the abuse of hanging on my saddle? I will put it in the case at the end of a ride but my other was always out on my saddle when I was riding. I will definately get the invisishield. I just put a sheild on my Treo 700 yesterday.

 

Thanks for your commets!!!

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Okay looking on line for best price. Is any Etrex a vista or do I need to search for that specifically. They have Garmin - eTrex Venture HC on sale at Best Buy right now. Same thing? Equal? I keep putting in Vista and the Legend keeps coming up. Differences?

Edited by twhTami
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Although the Garmin case doesn't fit the Vista HCx screen perfectly, you can see through the plastic "window." I usually only have to take it out of the case under low-angle light situations.

 

What kind of saddle do you use? I can see you being able to put it in front of the seat and securing it below the horn. I wouldn't just hang it from a latigo strap because the bumping could cause it to shut off. I have had that problem using mine on my mountain bike.

 

The Venture HC is not the same thing, although that model might work for your purposes. Check the Garmin comparison page to see the features of each of the 'H' models. You want one that connects to your computer with USB instead of with the Serial port.

 

On Edit: There are better places to order a GPS unit than Best Buy. Try Offroute.com, TheNerds.com, or GPSOnSale. The Vista HCx has a compass and altimeter. The Legend HCx does not have those features and sells for less money. I got the Vista HCx because it continues pointing towards the cache, even when you stop or slow way down.

Edited by Miragee
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Okay looking on line for best price. Is any Etrex a vista or do I need to search for that specifically. They have Garmin - eTrex Venture HC on sale at Best Buy right now. Same thing? Equal? I keep putting in Vista and the Legend keeps coming up. Differences?

 

The Venture HC has the MediaTek chipset but does not have the built-in barometer/electronic compass that the Vista HCx has. Venture HC also does NOT have a micro SD memory card slot. It comes standard with 24MB of internal memory which cannot be upgraded. If 24MB of fixed memory will be enough for you, then this is the model to go with.

 

Note that the current naming of the units follows a pattern:

 

H: High sensitivity chipset

C: Color unit

x: Expandable memory via built-in MicroSD card slot

Edited by SergZak
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I ride in an endurance saddle like this http://www.timberlinesaddlecompany.com/pioneer_2.html

I hook it on the loop that is in front of the knee rolls. (I don't have knee rolls). It ends up laying right on the horse so doesn't bounce hardly at all. That is in part due to the fact that we have gaited horses--twh=Tennessee Walker. They don't trot and are very smooth. I always say if I wanted to bounce, I'd buy a trampoline! I just thought of something--I wonder if there is geocaching my horseback--how cool would that be? I live in West Michigan--how would I find out if there is such a thing?

 

Are you telling me the venture does not have a compass--that is just weird--or am I interpreting it wrong?

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Oh, now you are making me jealous . . . I used to have Tennessee Walkers and Paso Finos. My username is the pet name I had for a Paso Fino I owned named Mirage. :o

 

Back on topic -- The Venture has a "compass" page after you hit "Go To." However, it doesn't have an electronic compass. The Vista HCx does have the electronic compass.

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Are you telling me the venture does not have a compass--that is just weird--or am I interpreting it wrong?

Virtually all GPSrs have a compass, but they are GPS based...which won't work when you don't have a GPS fix, when you're standing still or when you're moving very slowly. The compass we are talking about on the Vista HCx is a built-in electronic compass which works without a GPS fix or when standing still.

Edited by SergZak
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A word of warning about the Venture and Summit... if you want auto-routing (directional prompts with street level mapping) then you should go with a Legend Hcx or Vista Hcx. The Summit is identical to the Venture except that it has the electronic compass/baraometer/altimeter added. The Venture and Summit do not auro-route.

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I have a 60CSx and an Etrex Legend. I use them hiking, caching (well, not lateley...), driving and bike-riding. I find the click-stick on the Legend to be a major annoyance when driving or cycling. With bumps and vibration, I too often move it sideways when trying to click down. The buttons on the 60 CSX are superior for those applications, in my opinion. Since the Vista HCx also has the click stick, I wouldnt' consider that model if I were shopping today.

 

So, whatever you decide to get, try it out in person. Make sure the controls work for you and what you do.

 

And, btw, the "best" high sensitivity GPS is probably a surveyor's model from Trimble that runs upwards of around $5000.00!! :o

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I have a 60CSx and an Etrex Legend. I use them hiking, caching (well, not lateley...), driving and bike-riding. I find the click-stick on the Legend to be a major annoyance when driving or cycling. With bumps and vibration, I too often move it sideways when trying to click down. The buttons on the 60 CSX are superior for those applications, in my opinion. Since the Vista HCx also has the click stick, I wouldnt' consider that model if I were shopping today.

 

So, whatever you decide to get, try it out in person. Make sure the controls work for you and what you do.

 

And, btw, the "best" high sensitivity GPS is probably a surveyor's model from Trimble that runs upwards of around $5000.00!! :D

Interesting . . . I actually prefer the "click stick" to the rocker button and Enter button on the 60 Cx/CSx. I think for horseback riding, the smaller eTrex line would be the better choice.

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Thank you so much Sergzak and Miragree!! You guys are fast!!!

 

Miragree--questions for ya. I usually use the strap and hang it on my saddle. I can't be stopping to get it out of a little case because my horse is an a**. I love him but someone beat the snot out of him before I got him and he is a little high strung. Standing still is difficult for him. Is the etrex going to take the abuse of hanging on my saddle? I will put it in the case at the end of a ride but my other was always out on my saddle when I was riding. I will definately get the invisishield. I just put a sheild on my Treo 700 yesterday.

 

Thanks for your commets!!!

If you want to use the Invisible Shield, you might want to go with a case like this instead. I have one for my Vista HCx and it's nice. They also make them for other models if you want something different (search Amazon for "Foarm"). It comes with two screen protectors that look like they're the same material as the Invisible Shield, but they're small--only the size of the case opening, instead of covering the entire area.

 

If you use the neoprene case that has the plastic window, it will stick to the Invisible Shield. Plus, it's just harder to see through 2 screen protectors.

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Amazon.com has the Vista HCx for $220 free shipping....

 

That's where I ordered my HCX from when I couldn't update my Meridian gold maps anymore. It takes alittle getting used to, but overall I'm very happy with this GPSr. I think you will be too! I've had it about a month now and have a pretty good idea how to use all the functions. BTW you can also get a service repair plan from Amazon as well if you are interested in these kinds of things. Best of luck!

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Actually, for the money, the best value has to be the Garmin eTrex H, with the same chipset as the higher tier units, but without the mapping SW, Elect. conmpass or barometer, but it does have a sensitive receiver, and this IS what you want!

 

I have the Vista HCx and the eTrex H and BOTH lock on to at least 8 birds at the very least.

 

I get fixes on both units in the basement without a hitch.

 

For low cost, ease of use, the eTrex H series is hands down, the choice.

 

Move uto the Vista HCx later, but you can't go wrong with the eTrex H yellow.

 

And Wally World has them for $99.00 in the box....CURRENT pricing(bought my second yesterday).

 

Happy horsing and geocaching!

 

AEC98

Queen Creek, AZ.

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Ok getting ready to order the HcX and have someone else that wants one also. They posed a question to me that I did not know. She said her current GPS does not show street level mapping. She said it goes down to the big streets but not smaller streets. How will this HCx do, or will she need to get more mapping software.

 

I could care less, as I have a Garmin Nuvi 680 for driving that works great--but she will use it for driving also. What are your thoughts on having street level mapping?

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Ok getting ready to order the HcX and have someone else that wants one also. They posed a question to me that I did not know. She said her current GPS does not show street level mapping. She said it goes down to the big streets but not smaller streets. How will this HCx do, or will she need to get more mapping software.

 

I could care less, as I have a Garmin Nuvi 680 for driving that works great--but she will use it for driving also. What are your thoughts on having street level mapping?

To have the same type of mapping in the HCx as your Nuvi your friend will need to get the City Navigator maps.

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I have a 60CSx and an Etrex Legend. I use them hiking, caching (well, not lateley...), driving and bike-riding. I find the click-stick on the Legend to be a major annoyance when driving or cycling. With bumps and vibration, I too often move it sideways when trying to click down. The buttons on the 60 CSX are superior for those applications, in my opinion. Since the Vista HCx also has the click stick, I wouldn't consider that model if I were shopping today.

 

As an owner of both a 60Cx and a vistaCx I would totally agree, the click-stick is a pain to use on my bike & the side mounted buttons aren't much better in the car. I do prefer the smaller size of the etrex but it's not nearly as durable as my 60 series. I've been through three different etrex models over the last 4 years, and all of them eventually have the rubber come loose making using the buttons almost impossible.

 

Over the last year I have only used my vistaCX a handful of times and have been super careful to make sure I get no water on it or leave it anywhere to warm(hot car). Well after inspecting the rubber surround I am already seeing a bit of gummy glue under the battery cover around the sides of batterys(this is usually the first signs of the rubber failing), and the bottom corners are starting to loosen and pull away. Guess garmin is still using the same crappy Glue, or is my hand just to hot to hold this GPS? :)

Edited by hogrod
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Also note the eTrex series does NOT have waypoint averaging mode - boo! Even my ancient eMap has that.

My Summit HC DOES have waypoint averaging. Don't know about the basic yellow eTrex H, or the others in the H series (although I would be surprised if any of the high-sensitivity mapping models is missing this feature).

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Also note the eTrex series does NOT have waypoint averaging mode - boo! Even my ancient eMap has that.

My Summit HC DOES have waypoint averaging. Don't know about the basic yellow eTrex H, or the others in the H series (although I would be surprised if any of the high-sensitivity mapping models is missing this feature).

 

Thanks for noting your Summit HC as having waypoint averaging. I'll hafta find one in a store to play with, because that and the lack of an external antenna connector are what's keeping my money in my pocket.

 

I downloaded the manual for 'The HC Series' from Garmin, then issued a search inside the PDF reader for 'waypoint averaging' which returned 0 results. It finds that feature in the manuals for the 60 and 76 series (and my ol' eMap, hehheh;-).

 

Perhaps it's called by another name in the HC series manual ? ? ?

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The eTrex HC series manual dicusses waypoint averaging on page 9. I have an eTrex Venture and it has this feature, so I am sure that all other models have it.

 

Yup, page 9 it is - not referenced specifically as phrase 'waypoint averaging' so the PDF search function failed me - lesson - shoulda looked for just 'averaging' eh?

 

Thanks much, forums to the rescue!

 

HH

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Good thread going here. I sure wish Garmin would offer that new chipset that's hotter than the SIRF III in units like the 60 and 76 series that have the better helix antenna - now THAT would be a show stopper.

 

Also note the eTrex series does NOT have waypoint averaging mode - boo! Even my ancient eMap has that.

 

OOPS, turns out the newer eTrex DO waypoint averaging - see rest of thread entrys below !

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I'm about ready to sell my P.O.S. Vista HCX! Maps are 100-200 ft. off consistently! I'm going back to Magellan!

Are you sure you have the Vista HCx set to the correct Format and Datum for the coordinates from this site.

 

My Vista HCx is just as accurate, if not more so, as my previous GPS units, with the added bonus that it never loses signal, while the previous ones, without the High Sensitivity receiver, would lose signal under certain circumstances.

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because that and the lack of an external antenna connector are what's keeping my money in my pocket.

 

With the high sensitivity receiver there really is no need for an external antenna.

 

HUH ? That's an awfully blanket statement! An external antenna is imperative if you are using your GPSr handheld unit where it's not possible or desireable to have the unit itself exposed to the sky or only able to see partial sky with the internal antenna. If you cannot imagine such a situation, I'll explain further . . .

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because that and the lack of an external antenna connector are what's keeping my money in my pocket.

 

With the high sensitivity receiver there really is no need for an external antenna.

 

HUH ? That's an awfully blanket statement! An external antenna is imperative if you are using your GPSr handheld unit where it's not possible or desireable to have the unit itself exposed to the sky or only able to see partial sky with the internal antenna. If you cannot imagine such a situation, I'll explain further . . .

 

What I think Hosta is saying that the high-sensitivity receivers remove a lot of need for external antennas with respect to old receivers. For instance, to get consistently reliable tracking with my Garmin GPS V from my car, an external antenna was needed. However, with my Legend HCx, this is no longer the case. I keep an excellent lock even with the HCx in the cup holder going on tree covered roads. Where the GPS V would not show the slightest signal when I was inside my home, the HCx maintains a lock. I'm glad my V had the ability to have an external antenna, but I have never considered the need for one with the HCx.

 

--Bill

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because that and the lack of an external antenna connector are what's keeping my money in my pocket.

 

With the high sensitivity receiver there really is no need for an external antenna.

 

HUH ? That's an awfully blanket statement! An external antenna is imperative if you are using your GPSr handheld unit where it's not possible or desireable to have the unit itself exposed to the sky or only able to see partial sky with the internal antenna. If you cannot imagine such a situation, I'll explain further . . .

Please do! :)

 

My Summit HC (High Sensitivity Receiver) has never lost a signal yet in any location where I actually want to use a GPSr - under dense tree cover, in the "urban canyons", etc.

 

When in my car, I don't need to be fussy about placing it high up on the dash - it works great anywhere in the cabin. It consistently records a good track even when it's in my backpack in the boot of my car. It also gives a good fix sitting on the seat-back tray in jet airliners (don't have to hold it up to the window), gives a good location fix inside my house (with steel roofing), and will even locate me in my high-rise office if i am within about 10 metres of a window.

 

About the only reason I can imagine for needing an external antenna with these high sensitivity units would be at a GPS shop, so you can get a good solid 3D fix to better demonstrate the functionality of the units. (A well-positioned external antenna may slightly improve the accuracy of your fix in poor reception conditions, but for most users, the difference would be negligible in my opinion.)

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