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Newbie looking for handheld unit


Hrethgir
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Wow, that title doesn't sound as good when you read it as it did in my head. Hmm, anyways.... Hey all, I'm new to geocaching, just got my first GPS unit (Pharos Ostia on a Dell Axim X30 PDA) a few months ago, and was originally using it for directions and whatnot. But one of the guys I carpool with (he's on geocaching.com as "soup") got me interested in in GC. We actually went out today and I got my first two finds, and only needed help with one of them (oddly, it was the easier on). But what I noticed is that the handheld unit of his I was using was great, since we were on bicycles, while my PDA unit needs to stay with the car (cable unit, receiver get's it's power from the cig lighter, not the PDA), so it's good to get me close, but I want something portable so I can still navigate my way to a cache onces I leave the car. Now, I wondering, how much stuff do you really need a handheld to do when it's only task will be short walks in the park looking for a hidden box? I'm looking at a Garmin Geko 201, seems like it will work quite well for me, but is that a unit I'm going to quickly out-grow, or should it be good for years to come? I'm thinking all I need is the ability to save waypoints and a compass/distance reading, and I'm good to go. Anything I'm missing? Sorry for the Wall of Words.

 

Cliff Notes: I'm brand new to GC, looking to get a handheld to supplement PDA GPS in car that is not able t be used outside of the car. Will I outgrow the Garmin Geko 201 quickly, or will that be a good handheld for me to use for years to come?

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The Geko is a neat little gps, but with the new high sensitivity receivers out you may want to look at the newer Garmin etrex H series units. They have nice bright color displays, long battery life and lock onto and hold signals much better than the older Geko.

 

If you like the Geko, you may like the Legend HCx as it has expandable memory for maps (you need to buy them and the micro sd card) but worth it in the long run as you will not grow out of the unit anytime soon. Go to Garmin's website and check out the etrex H series line, good luck!

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The Geko is a neat little gps, but with the new high sensitivity receivers out you may want to look at the newer Garmin etrex H series units. They have nice bright color displays, long battery life and lock onto and hold signals much better than the older Geko.

 

If you like the Geko, you may like the Legend HCx as it has expandable memory for maps (you need to buy them and the micro sd card) but worth it in the long run as you will not grow out of the unit anytime soon. Go to Garmin's website and check out the etrex H series line, good luck!

 

Thanks for the advice there. The more sensitive receiver is a good point. Now, I was looking at the eTrex H, which is the base-base model, is that one any better than the Geko? Seems like the only difference between them is the receiver and the eTrex H weighs twice as much. Don't really need maps, I already have turn-by-turn in the car, so whatever i end up with will be used either on foot on on my bicycle. Will the high sensitivity receiver really make a huge difference?

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Thanks for the advice there. The more sensitive receiver is a good point. Now, I was looking at the eTrex H, which is the base-base model, is that one any better than the Geko? Seems like the only difference between them is the receiver and the eTrex H weighs twice as much. Don't really need maps, I already have turn-by-turn in the car, so whatever i end up with will be used either on foot on on my bicycle. Will the high sensitivity receiver really make a huge difference?

 

The etrex H will be a lot better than the Geko and will work well due to the receiver. The only downside is that it does not come with a cable for transfering data. Plan to get one, they are cheapest on eBay for around $10 or spend a little more to get the Venture HC which has the cable included.

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I saw the Geko models at an Army Armor conference a couple of months before they became available on the market and the two Garmin engineers that had the display said the Geko was designed with geocaching in mind. They intentionally made is small. I had been using the eTrex Legend since December 2002. The Geko is good, but it does have shortcomings. All GPSRs have shortcomings. I will be honest when I say I would not recommend it, though. This is why. The Geko screen is extremely small. The Geko is very limited in features. The waypoint entry is cumbersome. I'm not sure if it connects to a computer, but a computer is the best way to enter geocache information. The screen is monochrome. A color screen is much easier to use. The eTrex is a little larger, but is also cumbersome with the way geocache information is entered, it is also monochrome, and it doesn't allow computer use either. I know they are a lot more than you may want to spend, but I would recommend the map60CSx. I have the map60C (C = Color screen). I recently purchased the Colorado 400t and have been extremely disappointed with it. All the other geocachers I know who tried the 400t opted for the map60CSx. They had all owned the map60C, and has been discontinued. I would also recommend finding other geocachers in your area who may be using different models and/or brand of GPSRs and see how they work. Go to some events and see what people are using. Ask them to show you how they work. The Geko might be a good beginning model, but I think you would soon find that you want something with more capability.

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I saw the Geko models at an Army Armor conference a couple of months before they became available on the market and the two Garmin engineers that had the display said the Geko was designed with geocaching in mind. They intentionally made is small. I had been using the eTrex Legend since December 2002. The Geko is good, but it does have shortcomings. All GPSRs have shortcomings. I will be honest when I say I would not recommend it, though. This is why. The Geko screen is extremely small. The Geko is very limited in features. The waypoint entry is cumbersome. I'm not sure if it connects to a computer, but a computer is the best way to enter geocache information. The screen is monochrome. A color screen is much easier to use. The eTrex is a little larger, but is also cumbersome with the way geocache information is entered, it is also monochrome, and it doesn't allow computer use either. I know they are a lot more than you may want to spend, but I would recommend the map60CSx. I have the map60C (C = Color screen). I recently purchased the Colorado 400t and have been extremely disappointed with it. All the other geocachers I know who tried the 400t opted for the map60CSx. They had all owned the map60C, and has been discontinued. I would also recommend finding other geocachers in your area who may be using different models and/or brand of GPSRs and see how they work. Go to some events and see what people are using. Ask them to show you how they work. The Geko might be a good beginning model, but I think you would soon find that you want something with more capability.

 

Actually, the Geko I'm watching on eBay has a PC cable, but that other stuff makes a lot of sense. I've been out one with my friend soup, and I borrowed his Magellen something-or-other with a monochrome screen, and it got the job done, but I'm sure that a color screen would be easier to use. I'm actually watching a couple of map60c units on eBay, and I've played with that one a little, and it seemed nice, but the weight kind of concerns me. I know, I'm being kind of picky, but I want something I can easily use/carry on a mountainbike but that I won't outgrow, and I also don't want to spend too much, either. But if I can grab a map60 for a really good price, I'll go for it. I'll keep my eye open for a Venture HC, also.

 

Thanks for all the advice, guys, I really appreciate it!

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OK, I think I know what I'm going to get: the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx. I want Garmin so I can directly download locations from geocaching.com to the unit, it has a color screen, small size and weight without really sacrificing screen size, high sensitivity receiver, and while it's about twice what I wanted to spend, I should still be able to find it reasonably priced on eBay or somewhere else. It also has expandable memory and the cable is USB instead of serial. Thanks for all the advice, guys, I'd rather spend a little more now and be happy in the long run that cheap out and outgrow it quickly.

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Im in the same boat as you, I use my Verizon cell phone gps, and also have a Megellan RoadMate that is no longer in production, therefore, all of the software updates/upgrades are not compatible with my unit.

 

Although I can carry both of my units with me, they focus on cross streets and major points of interest rather than actual long./lat. coords. I spent quite a bit on both of these units, and they work fairly well for what I purchased them for, but, I' no where near where I need to be when I'm looking for a micro cache in a 4 acre field.

 

Anyway, if you have any great results to share with me, or any suggestions on maybe a handheld hiking GPS, I would love the imput.

Steve :):D:):):)

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