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Hello, I and my family are going to be new to this hobby once I return from Iraq and have been looking at GPSr's trying to narrow the field down. Now being in the military with kids and such I am not rich by any means but I would like to get a GPSr that will last me for a while and possibly pull other duties such as in the car navigation, on the bike navigation or in an airplane navigation. As I said ONLY POSSIBLY. I do know how to read a map and I am fairly adept at driving myself around so these other possibilities are only that. So with that said I have narrowed it down to three units.


1. Garmin GPSMap 60CS 56MB Handheld GPS 189.99

2. Garmin eTrex Venture HC High-Intensity Color Mapping Handheld GPS 136.99

3. Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS 108.00


Yes I am usually in the mind set of you get what you pay for but would like to know if the 60CS is worth the extra money over the other two or if I can do okay with the eTrex Venture HC. I have searched the forums for the pros and cons for these units and must admit that my head is swimming even more so any guidance you can give would greatly be appreciated.


John K


P.S. the 190 price is about my breaking point for the cost of something like this....MAYBE 200 but that is it.

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May I throw another into the mix - The Garmin legend HCx. Small rugged, expandable memory, routable mapping, Fast USB connection, color screen, long battery life. Cost if you look around a bit is about $190.


The Venture and low end eTrex you mention are fine units but do not have expandable memory for maps or routable mapping.


You will need to spend anothr $100 or so to purchase any addtional mapping products you want. Extra maps are not needed for finding any geocaches.

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Yes I am usually in the mind set of you get what you pay for but would like to know if the 60CS is worth the extra money over the other two or if I can do okay with the eTrex Venture HC.


Absolutely not. The 60CS is an old unit that has been discontinued for a few years. It has the older receiver, which doesn't always give the greatest reception under tree cover. The Venture HC is one of the latest units from Garmin and has the high sensitivity receiver for great reception in difficult conditions.


The only advantages of the 60CS would be that it can handle autorouting (turn by turn driving directions) and it has more than double the map memory of the Venture HC, but if you're going to spend the $189 then look into the Legend HCX.


The Legend HCX was $188 last time I looked on Amazon.com. It has the high sensitivity receiver of the Venture HC and it also handles autorouting like the 60CS. But more than that, the Legend HCX also has expandable map memory and will hold thousands of waypoints, rather than the 1,000 waypoint limit in the other units. It's a unit you can grow into and you won't be looking to upgrade in 6 months.


The cheaper eTrex unit is also an option if you don't want the bells and whistles of the higher end units. Just make sure it's an eTrex H and not just an eTrex. The H is important because it indicates the high sensitivity receiver. The eTrex H looks nearly identical to the eTrex, sells for roughly the same price and often sits on the shelf along side the eTrex, so be careful and make sure you're getting an eTrex H. Also, $108 is pretty high. It's $89 most places I've looked.

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There has been a big jump in GPS receivers in the past few years. Until recently, a GPS would lose signal in a canyon or even under moderate tree cover. A new generation of receivers uses "high sensitivity" chipsets that overcome that problem.


The grandaddy of high sensitivity receivers is the Garmin GPSmap 60 CSx (that last 'x' is very important). It's very good, but somewhat pricey. Garmin upgraded their eTrex line last year to add high-sensitivity receivers. The "HC" suffix designates the high-sensitivity eTrex models. The eTrex Vista HCx is the top of the eTrex line, but the Legend HC is also highly-regarded.


Keep in mind that you might also need to buy a map set for your receiver. The base map that is included has very limited detail. Topo maps run about $80, street maps are a bit more expensive. And you need Garmin maps for Garmin receivers.


Hope that helps!

Edited by imajeep
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