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Buying either eTrex Vista HCx or GPSMAP 60CSx - advice

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Hey folks,


I'm looking at buying a new GPS unit this week for an upcoming trip. I've narrowed it down to the eTrex Vista HCx or GPSMAP 60CSx but I'm having trouble deciding. I'm leaning towards the HCx because it is about $80 cheaper (buying from gpscity.ca) and more compact. Anyone care to sway me the other way? I like the idea of the bigger display on the 60CSx but I'm not sure it's worth the bulk and the money.


I'll be using the GPS mainly for hiking, but also for driving and geotagging as well.

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Based upon the problems with the Vista HCX and the chip that is uses (significant drift issues that you can read about on this forum) I would personally go with the 60 CSX (it uses a different chip). The Vista could be an awesome unit (bright screen, small, excellent battery life), but Garmin refuses to acknowledge the issues with the chip and/or the software.


Just my thoughts....good luck on the purchase!

Edited by TopherAC
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I have the Vista HCx and prefer it to the 60CSx. I like the small size and prefer the click stick for navigation. Once you know which button does what, you can use the Vista HCx in the dark.


If you can handle each one, that will help your decision. Many people like the 60CSx because the buttons are in the front, and state it is easier to use in a vehicle for road navigation. I've never had trouble using the Vista HCx in my vehicle.

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Hi, I went with the Vista HCx and it's worked perfectly. A friend of mine also picked one up and also hasn't had any problems. The GPS MAP 60CSx is also a fine unit that has had problems report here. I believe that these cases are isolated. I don't think you will go wrong with either unit. If you have a problem with it, take it back to the retailer for an exchange.

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the chipset issue (I personally have no idea what this is) must not be happening on mine, but maybe some people do have problems. I for one love my Vista HCX and used it on a 2 week drive from Iowa to California and back. Routing worked great, was able to hike the Grand Canyon with TOPO 08. Does everything I needed and more. I havent tried other unit, but if you do decide the vista, you wont be disappointed. Oh, and i never did update the unit when I purchased it. I am using 2.40 I think still. I prefer not to, if it works, dont fix it.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. Has anyone handled both units? I'm wondering what the actual size/weight difference is. Specs are one thing but I'm wondering if anyone has used both. Are there any side-by-side photos?


I've got both the 60CSx and the Legend HCx (identical in physical dimensions and operation, just lacks the electronic compass and altimiter). The 60 is definitely bigger and a little heavier, but I definitely find it much nicer when driving because of the front buttons and the larger screen. Performance wise, I give the edge to the 60 simply because it doesn't have the "drift" issue that the HCx series has (which will get fixed eventually)


I included a couple of side by side pictures for reference (I'll never be mistaken for a professional photographer)





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If you're just using it for geocaching and won't be doing any city/street navigation you'll probably want to go with the Vista HCX. It's much more compact which is good for portability. The Vista has the same GPS functionality as the 60csx (barometer, alimeter, compass) but has fewer waypoints and track points.


Hope that helps!


(Found a great comparison of handhelds here: http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/garmin/e...-comparison.htm if you want to compare the specs)

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There are many people who have reported the so called "drift" issue on this forum. If you are running software version 2.60....you get the "drift" issue. If you downgrade to an earlier version....you get the odometer accuracy issue. I am now running version 2.30 because the drift issue caused the first track point and the last track to differ by 400+ feet while hiking a loop. I haved hiked a "there and back" trail and the tracklog would seem to indicate that I hiked two different trails (100+ feet apart and worse at times).


The Vista HCX has the potential to be an awesome unit with exceptional battery life and a small form factor. But I cannot recommend this unit for low speed activities (less than 3 MPH) until Garmin fixes the very serious "drift" issue.

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The reason that the term "drift" is in quotes is because that is the term that Garmin uses to describe it. The Vista HCX can be off from a know location by 400+ feet (a Colorado user just posted an error of 600+ feet...the Colorado uses the same chip as the Vista HCX) and if you are moving, your track will continue to be +/- 400 feet off. This is not normal drift. If you powercycle the unit, the location changes to reflect where you actually are. Unfortunately, your track log is pretty much worthless not to mention the backtrack feature.


Out of curoisty...why wouldn't an odometer be necessary if you were walking/hiking? Wouldn't you like to know how far you have traveled? If you are using it just for geocaching, maybe not. But as a backpacker, it's pretty nice to know.

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I have had my 60CSx for close to 2 years and love it. I bought my wife a Vista HCx and we cached together for about a month with it. Her HCx did not show the accuracy that my 60CSx has. I finally sold the HCx and bought her the 60CSx. Personally I do not recommend the HCx for caching. The 2nd 60CSx I bought cost me about $315 delivered.

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The 60CSx is a more solid performer, but with an exception. I have both Map60CSx and 60Cx, and if they are not held relatively vertical, the 60 series will pick up, and use dirty signals, causing a wandering effect. Many times if my 60CSx was laying down, there was extreme wandering, but if I intentionally kept it at a 90 degree angle from the ground, 5 feet off the ground, the 60CSx was very accurate. When laying flat or near flat, the stick antenna of the 60CSx is more likely to "See" the bad signals, and use them, causing significant Wandering. My 60CSx, when held flat can travel miles, standing still, but when held vertical, it stays spot on, when standing still.


The advantage of the HCx, is that it can be mounted flat just in front of you on your small water craft, much easier than trying to stand up a 60CSx on the small boat.


One caution with the 60CSx, with the latest GPS chipset software, is that it will sometimes boot up with the date of 31 March 2007 @ 8pm, and to remedy this, is to just stay put for a minute, without moving, and it will correct itself, with starting a new tracklog, as it corrects itself, then it is safe to start moving. If you are moving, while you boot up the 60CSx, it can take a few minutes to find itself, causing a bit of the beginning of the tracklog to be garbage.


Delorme is comming out with the PN-40 GPS, and it will have a high powered receiver, with an accelerometer, and 3-axis electronic compass, and hopefully the accelerometer can aid in better positioning, so the PN-40 GPS can get a better position fix. I am thinking of getting the PN-40 GPS, when it comes out.


Check this out:


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Both the 60csx and HCx units have a feature called “Tracklog” this will give you an accurate reading of the distance you’ve travelled, per track. The units have on average 10,000 track points, and can save up to 20 different tracks.


You can also use the calculate the distance between 2 waypoints, using the area calculation feature.

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If you're just using it for geocaching and won't be doing any city/street navigation you'll probably want to go with the Vista HCX. It's much more compact which is good for portability. The Vista has the same GPS functionality as the 60csx (barometer, alimeter, compass) but has fewer waypoints and track points.


Hope that helps!


(Found a great comparison of handhelds here: http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/garmin/e...-comparison.htm if you want to compare the specs)


I just checked the Garmin site and both the 60CSX and Vista HCX have 1000 waypoints, 10000 track points in 20 track logs.


They are the same in this regard.


I have the Vista C (yes a couple of models ago) and I really like it. It is small and compact and light weight. Have put some miles on it. I have found a nice carrying case for it that will clip to my belt loops or some other thing so I don't have to carry it all the time in my hands.


The only bad thing about the eTrax type GPSr is the rubber gasket around the out side of the unit has been known to come un-glued. I have heard it is related to heat. Like being on the dash of a car. (I have the mound for it in my car and that is where I put the GPSr when I am in the car.) Mine has started to come off and I called Garmin and they sent me the clue strip and a new rubber gasket to put on. They sent it free. I think they still have not the glue figured out but they do take care of this problem when it pops up. My unit is out of warranty and they still sent me that stuff (I got it today) free.


I hope this helps you.


kf4oox - Paul

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