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My GPSr Sojourn Continued


BakuraFam
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Due to my very, very depressing GPSr shopping trip in town and the comments on my last thread (thanks folks!), I have started to shift gears a bit.

 

My budget is about $150 for the unit itself (minus accessories). While the eTrex Legend has a lot of great reviews online and seems to be the only Garmin GPSr I have seen in town, I don't think I will be getting it. I simply don't want to spend another $30 just to get the serial PC connection to work with a USB PC connection.

 

The other choice on my list was the (USB) eTrex Legend Cx. The reason I was considering that (discontinued) model simply because it was on sale with a store I trust for the same price as the former unit.

 

With the help of my new buddies here, I have decided, why not just get the current eTrex Legend HCx online for about the same price? Well, I agree. That's a good plan. So, I checked out the eTrex Legend HCx online and it seems reasonable. Now the question is, why not spend just a little more for the eTrex Vista HCx? Here are the only advantages with the Vista:

Here is my biggest dilemma: I hate buying stuff online without actually trying the unit first!

 

To answer Miragee's question of whether there is an REI store in town, the answer is no. However, we have a Summit Hut which I intend to hopefully stop by this upcoming weekend. (Yes, I know, it's Monday and I am already looking forward to the weekend!) I am hoping that I can finally test out a unit. I have never used a handheld GPSr before! I just want to get a feel for what I am getting myself into, but none of the stores in town seem to have models I can test...

 

I just got impatient and called Summit Hut and they said they would deinfately allow me to test some units which is nice. They also refered me to another store called Tucson Maps and Flags. I talked to that fellow for a bit and I didn't realize that these GPSr's already gave you elevations as reported by the satellites to, so while the Barometric altimeter might be nice in the Vista, it may simply not be worth the extra expense. It may be better to just go ahead and use that money towards some accessories.

 

Anyway, so this is where I am in my "journey" right now. If you have some input that might be beneficial to me, feel free to share. Thank you in advanced! During the mean time, I will lose myself in my day dreams of what it will finally be like hold hold and use a GPSr! lol. I hope to get to these stores this week or weekend.

 

Thanks all!

 

PS -- Is it so bad that I would want to default to Garmin seeing as how this is my first purchase? Am I missing out on other great units within my budget?

 

Edit:

Ah! What a stinking bummer! These units don't include a 64 MB microSD card as the Legend Cx did. I knew these one more expensive than I thought. I guess this is doable. Websites like ecost.com often have super cheap cards (after rebate). The only issue is actually getting that rebate money back which is a hassle more often than not. Anyway, just another observation.

Edited by bakura82
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Okay, this post will do nothing to help you out in your quest, but, as I am in the same boat and it will bump your thread I'll post anyways.

 

I have spent endless hours researching the Vista Hcx and GPSMAP 60Csx. I have concluded that they are, for "all intents and purposes" pretty similar with the exception of the different button layout and antenna. I have also concluded, after reading and posting here, that even if I clip the Vista HCx onto my chest strap or my belt when I run that it will still get good reception of although it does not have the helix antenna.

 

That pretty much solved my dilemma... if I can still get reception with it on the belt or strap I'm buying the Vista HCx. For me, I was not concerned about the $80-100 increase in price, I just wanted the better of the two units that was at the same time versatile (bike, run, hike, geocache-- already have car GPS so don't need it for that) but it seems they are quite similar. Besides, the Vista HCx will fit better onto my handlebars and running belt.

 

I also thought about the buttons (no store close enough to make it practical to go try it out). I figure I will get used to the Hcx "click stick" although the buttons on the 60CSx look more intuitive.

 

Although I don't have either (I committed myself to order one tonight and stop going back and forth) from what I have read we won't regret purchasing a high sensitivity unit ("H"Cx) versus one without.

 

As for the compass and altimeter, I myself am torn on the same thing. I will carry a magnetic compass, so why go through the hassle of calibrating the electronic one?

 

Anyways, this was more to bump your post because I want to see some feedback as well. :huh:

Sorry I don't have any real advice! :ph34r:

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Thanks for the thoughts. You at least showed me a new model which I looked up and compared and based entirely off the Garmin website, I really don't see the point in the GPSMAP 60CSx. The battery life is lower on that model and that may be because of the larger antenna. So the question is, is the 60CSx antenna really worth it?

 

Honestly, from what I saw, I think the Vista HCx will probably be the best for some of it's advantaged such as battery life, form factor, and price.

 

In regards to my dilemma, I still have no clues today. I really hope to get out to those two stores I mentioned because I am so ridiculously ready to actually hold and use some of these units.

 

Thanks for the chat!

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Here's my story regarding these units. When I first started out geocaching, I used the original blue etrex legend and over time upgrading through the newer etrex units until I finally settled on the 60CSx. Once I had the 60CSx I used it extensively and liked it a lot. Most recently I sold it (huge mistake) for the new Colorado 400t and hated the 400t so much due it's bugs I returned it, but that's another thread :laughing:

 

Anyway, after returning the Colorado (i'm sure over time it will be refined, but i'm impatient) I needed to settle on another gps. My first thought was picking up another 60CSx, but although it's an excellent unit I found the ergonomics lacking for me. I hated how high the antenna stuck up and I really grew to dislike the buttons on the bottom and found them spongy. Then I thought, I really had liked the form factor of the etrex units so I bought a VistaHCx.

 

What I really like about the VistaHCx is it's compactness (i hike alot), the super long battery life, bright display and button layout. I think the ergonomics for me are perfect, i'm also a fan of the click stick. Don't let anyone fool you about the antenna on these units. They are exceptional and I found it to be better than the 60CSx. My accuracy always tends to be +/- 12 ft on average. Although the compass in these units needs constant calibration I like it and find it beneficial. The altimeter is neat, but take it with a grain of salt.

 

Anyway, personal preference is the key here. What some people like others will hate. Try them out and see what works for you. From a technical and performance standpoint you will not go wrong with either a LegendHCx ot VistaHCx.

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Thanks for your input. From what you just described, these are great units in your opinion and honestly, I am starting to think it might be better for me to get a Legend HCx and then use the price difference to get some accessories and a 2GB card which I can get for about $10 on eCost.com.

 

I am really hoping to try these units out. The "click stick" sounds interesting.

 

Thanks again!

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Just save yourself some heartache and order the Vista HCx from a place like TheNerds.net. You'll have it in hand by the weekend and then you can go have some fun. :laughing:

 

I guarantee you'll be happy with your purchase . . . I was . . . and I had the GPS in had two days after I ordered it. :rolleyes: It took a little longer to get the data card from Amazon.com . . . ;)

Edited by Miragee
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You could get the Legend HCX on eBay for $180!

Okay, now you have me thinking. Sure, I can get a GPSr much cheaper online. What about warranties though? I typically only by electronics from CompUSA or Circuit City where I can get their warrenties to make me feel super comfy. Can I even trust online warrenties? I mean, I haven't even heard of 95% of the online stores makign teh sales (even though they may have 5000+ ratings).

 

I guess this is what has me worried now -- warranties...

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Okay, now you have me thinking. Sure, I can get a GPSr much cheaper online. What about warranties though? I typically only by electronics from CompUSA or Circuit City where I can get their warrenties to make me feel super comfy. Can I even trust online warrenties? I mean, I haven't even heard of 95% of the online stores makign teh sales (even though they may have 5000+ ratings).

 

I guess this is what has me worried now -- warranties...

 

WRT the post above this one - they all have "internal memory" that's used to store some stuff, like waypoints (I think). And there will be a base map that's of very little value unless you're caching next to an Interstate Highway.

 

Regarding warranties, Garmin won't honor its warranty for an eBay purchase (unless maybe the seller is a Garmin Authorized dealer with an eBay store???). Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. make TONS of money selling extended "warranties" that aren't really a warranty. They're a "service contract" or "protection plan." Basically a way for them to pad their profit. Online horror stories abound about them, from Consumer Reports to various "gripe" sites. The best "warranty" you can buy your new GPS is a screen protector from Shield Zone (except they have a new name now...), and don't let your dog chew on your GPS! Seriously, unless you're VERY hard on your equipment (like you sit on it, drop it off cliffs, run over it with your car, etc.), an "outdoor" GPS shouldn't need an extended warranty for Geocaching-type use.

 

Best Buy and the like are best for trying out the merchandise before buying online from a reputable retailer with a better price. REI is a good place to try AND buy, because you'll get a rebate at the end of the year that you can use toward next year's hot new GPS model. :rolleyes:

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I finally did it. :D

 

Yesterday, at work, I decided that I will purchase a GPS unit by the end of the day or not get into the hobby. Too many times in the past I have spent so much time researching that I get sick of it and never buy the product. Anyways, I bought a Vista HCX on Amazon.com.

 

I don't think I will be disappointed. I figure since all of Miragee's posts rave about the unit, and his or her's avatar is the Vista, that it must be good. :rolleyes:;)

 

I bought the unit and the basic carrying case for now. I wanted to wait on the maps and the memory card.

 

The unit is scheduled to arrive Thursday... 71 and Sunny in Pittsburgh... maybe I'll get out and find my first cache!

 

Now it is time to research what maps to get for hours on end! ;)

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JSWilson, thanks for the input about memory. That means I should get that means extended memory is something very important to get right away!

 

In regards to warranties, I can understand a lot of what you are saying. I guess the key is making sure that at least Garmin will honor its warranty. That may be hard with some of these vendors online. While I am sure they are durable as you say, I always worry about getting a "lemon." That has happened way more often in my life than it should have.

 

trobs007, congrats! It looks like you purchased the cousin of what I will likely get (legend hcx). I hope you enjoy it! I will be buying soon, but if you get it relatively quickly, I would sure like to here any thoughts you have before I buy mine!

 

MtnHermit, yeah, it's looking like I am not going to get the Vista model which has the altimeter. I just don't think that is something I really need at all. Who knows though, after a few months, i might regret that, but for now, I just can't see myself wanting it.

 

Thanks for the input all!

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In regards to warranties, I can understand a lot of what you are saying. I guess the key is making sure that at least Garmin will honor its warranty. That may be hard with some of these vendors online. While I am sure they are durable as you say, I always worry about getting a "lemon." That has happened way more often in my life than it should have.

Garmin is raved about on this board for their service. As long as you get a receipt or invoice that shows you bought the unit new, you're good with their warranty (and sometimes longer).

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Garmin is raved about on this board for their service. As long as you get a receipt or invoice that shows you bought the unit new, you're good with their warranty (and sometimes longer).

 

Thanks. I think the key is in what you said earlier -- "reputable retailer."

 

I can't wait to test out the GPSr's this weekened.

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I got my Garmin eTrex HCx yesterday! At bakura82's request I am going to give some details!

 

Initial Impression: Sturdy little unit. I definitely like the size. It fits easily into my hand, and the click stick is not as bad as I thought. I have been working it in both my right and left hands, and even when using my right, my thumb does not cover the screen that much.

 

The side buttons take quite a bit of effort to press, but I'll get used to it.

 

As for the accuracy...

 

I powered it up in my room with it laying on my desk. In about 20 seconds I had a signal.

 

Laying flat on my desk, it is saying "Location +/- 11 ft".

I stood it up on my desk and waited a few minutes, it is saying "Location +/- 11ft".

 

I thought I was good with gadgets. This unit, however, will take some reading... this may be the first instruction manual I read... definitely not grab'n go!

 

and of course,

 

Pictures!

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trobs007, I am glad you got it. I am getting my today too. I went to a local dealer and used the Vista for a bit and it works for me! Honestly, i tried a view and they all generally do the same. So many to choose from. Since I am comfy with the Legend or Vista HCx, I mine as well get it. :P

 

I still don't know if I should ditch out 30 more bucks for the Vista. I am already over budget and I can't see my self needing the Barometric altimeter...

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Well, I did it also. I bought the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx from Amazon.com themselves. Some guys on the chat room convinced me based off of the compass it has. It was only $20 difference, so why not? Now I just have to show some patience. Man, 3-5 days. Ow.

 

I did go to Summit Hut and tested it out and I liked it. I would have bought it there if I didn't have to pay $85 more...

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Bump! Well?

 

Did you get it? Did you cache this weekend? :ph34r:

No! :( I am sitting at home in agony! lol Last known status is as follows:

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US 04/21/2008 6:25 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN

 

I guess it has been en route for the last 14 hours.

 

Anyway, what about you? You have had it for some time, right? Have you found and caches with it? How is it treating you?

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News Update: Newly purchased GPSr en route. Last known status: ALBUQUERQUE, NM, US 04/22/2008 5:16 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN

 

Since I am in Tucson, I figure there is a good chance I can get my GPSr today... I hope... maybe. All I know is, it's so tempting to come home early for work. I am sure this would classify as a holiday -- GPSr day!

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Did you get it? Did you cache this weekend? :(

 

Hey! I got it yesterday and spent more time than I should have playing with it... erm... I mean, setting it up.

 

I put some topos on my Vista HCx and was a bit disappointed by the maps. I understand they they aren't the most accurate in terms of streets, but it displayed my house coordinates as 0.3 mi south of where I was. The coordinates on my GPSr are accurate and I am going to double check later with a benchmark, but the maps aren't great where I am. My beef then is with Garmin and their topo maps. It's not just them because TotemLake entered the coordinates on his Magellan map software and it also put me ~ 0.3 mi South. WeightMan really did a lot to help me out and taught me a lot off the bat when it comes to maps, how they were made, datums, and etc. Anyway, WeightMan was nice enough to check out my coordinates and determined that the Garmin City Navigator maps are much better for roads. So, whenever I get those maps, I will be much happier. (Note: Met these guys in the GC chatroom.)

 

I am going camping/hiking/caching in two weeks and I am really curious is the topos are accurate with POI's and such at least while on the trail. I can understand the roads on a topo not being the best.

 

I found my first cache!

I went against the grain for newbies and tried to find a micro for my first cache. I picked this one because it was out of the way and so I wouldn't feel so awkward. It was on the way to work this morning, it wasn't hard to find and I am happy!

 

So, what about you? Have you gone out trobs007? Looks like your profile says one find! How are you liking your Vista HCx?

Edited by bakura82
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Give this free AZ TOPO a look: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/1

Hey wow! Thanks man. I will definitely do that. I guess I also have to figure out how to switch between maps on my GPSr. Thanks!

After loading at the same time this and what ever other maps to your unit, press the QUIT/PAGE key until you get to the map display page and press the MENU/FIND key and select "Setup Map" and press the ENTER/ROCKER key (you can also get there by going to Main Menu-Setup-Map). Now select the Map Setup - Information from the top row with the ENTER/ROCKER key (it's the letter "i" in the circle). From there, press the MENU/FIND key, and you can select witch maps to hide or display.

 

Example: If you show the basemap and the AZ TOPO and hide the others, you will get the 24k TOPO's for the area's you have loaded, and the basemap in the other areas.

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After loading at the same time this and what ever other maps to your unit, press the QUIT/PAGE key until you get to the map display page and press the MENU/FIND key and select "Setup Map" and press the ENTER/ROCKER key (you can also get there by going to Main Menu-Setup-Map). Now select the Map Setup - Information from the top row with the ENTER/ROCKER key (it's the letter "i" in the circle). From there, press the MENU/FIND key, and you can select witch maps to hide or display.

 

Example: If you show the basemap and the AZ TOPO and hide the others, you will get the 24k TOPO's for the area's you have loaded, and the basemap in the other areas.

Thanks! I saw this before, but it was never showing mroe than one map. it seems when I upload maps, it replaces the previous one. I wonder how I upload city maps AND topos so I can choose... i guess this is my next task.

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After loading at the same time this and what ever other maps to your unit, press the QUIT/PAGE key until you get to the map display page and press the MENU/FIND key and select "Setup Map" and press the ENTER/ROCKER key (you can also get there by going to Main Menu-Setup-Map). Now select the Map Setup - Information from the top row with the ENTER/ROCKER key (it's the letter "i" in the circle). From there, press the MENU/FIND key, and you can select witch maps to hide or display.

 

Example: If you show the basemap and the AZ TOPO and hide the others, you will get the 24k TOPO's for the area's you have loaded, and the basemap in the other areas.

Thanks! I saw this before, but it was never showing mroe than one map. it seems when I upload maps, it replaces the previous one. I wonder how I upload city maps AND topos so I can choose... i guess this is my next task.

Yes, any new upload will overwrite the old upload. In MapSourse, you need to select the regions of one map product, and then switch map products and select the maps from that product. Then upload both sets at the same time to your GPS unit.

Edited by coggins
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Yes, any new upload will overwrite the old upload. In MapSourse, you need to select the regions of one map product, and then switch map products and select the maps from that product. Then upload both sets at the same time to your GPS unit.

Hmm. I did that. Problem though, when I go to the setup menu as you said, now it lists probably 50-100 maps. It's impossible to scroll through and select/deselect stuff. I thought it would simply show the two types of maps I installed, city and topo, and then allow me to choose between the two. Instead, it seems like it lists all the map segments as individual maps...

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Yes, any new upload will overwrite the old upload. In MapSourse, you need to select the regions of one map product, and then switch map products and select the maps from that product. Then upload both sets at the same time to your GPS unit.

Hmm. I did that. Problem though, when I go to the setup menu as you said, now it lists probably 50-100 maps. It's impossible to scroll through and select/deselect stuff. I thought it would simply show the two types of maps I installed, city and topo, and then allow me to choose between the two. Instead, it seems like it lists all the map segments as individual maps...

 

Yes, it might list all those maps segments in the info window. Press the MENU/FIND key and you can turn on or off any product.

Edited by coggins
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Yes, it might list all those maps segments in the info window. Press the MENU/FIND key and you can turn on or off any product.

Ahhh... you have to do that while in the (I) menu. You can do it from the others. It looks like this Garmin actually overlaps the maps. So, if I have City on, it covers my topos. So, depending on my need, I guess that is how I switch back and forth.

 

Question, should I just disable the base map? Is there anything on it worth keeping once you add your own map?

 

I wonder if there are hotkeys on this thing... to speed up changing of maps... all well. Thanks for you input.

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Yes, it might list all those maps segments in the info window. Press the MENU/FIND key and you can turn on or off any product.

Ahhh... you have to do that while in the (I) menu. You can do it from the others. It looks like this Garmin actually overlaps the maps. So, if I have City on, it covers my topos. So, depending on my need, I guess that is how I switch back and forth.

 

Question, should I just disable the base map? Is there anything on it worth keeping once you add your own map?

 

I wonder if there are hotkeys on this thing... to speed up changing of maps... all well. Thanks for you input.

I leave the base map. There have been a few times when I "ran off the edge of the world" on my unit (I thought I had loaded all the maps I would need for a trip, only to learn that I had to travel a few miles across an area that was just off the corner of some map section or another). There have also been unexplainable empty areas in the middle of some of my maps--usually in remote places. There is info on either the topo or the city map, but once there was nothing on either of them, although there was a sparse bit of info on the base map (of course, that was one time I really, really wanted a good topo map to help me pick a good fishing spot).

 

The base map may not be the best in the world, but it certainly beats nothing!

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i'v had a legend for 8yrs never had any issuse with it, great unit, love the click stick, but as I get older my vision is getting worse, the little B/W screen is hard for me to make out, so I was thinking of going to the legend hc also. i just hope it is simular in operation to the old legend, I am becomming an old dog and don't feel like learning new trix.

I hear what you are saying about big buys and warrenties over the internet, I bought my legend and a nuvi local. and any time I had questions about the units I called garmin direct, they stand behind the product. when the mount broke on my nuvi, they over night expressd me a new one no questions asked, and although Ive had my nuvi for almost 3 years, they sent me the 2008 update maps for free.

if you can find a store that will let you play with them that is best, but if you cant, go to utube and search garmin, there is all kinds of demo videos

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