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Oregon's Extremely Poor Display Visibility

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I'm finding my new Oregon 400t to be one sweet little unit in all respects except for its poor screen visibility which I can't believe is this terrible! I find myself constantly having to use the backlight at max just for it to be usable whatsoever. Is this just the price you pay for a high resolution, touch screen?

I wonder if using the backlight constantly is going to cause the it to fail prematurely? Has anyone actually noticed the run times variance between light on vs. light off ,since its use is practically a necessity?

Looks like Garmin's got a real little winner here except for this one (but major) flaw! :laughing:

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Simply run a test like I did for my recently acquired Nuvi 205W.


Battery Life Tests:

20% BL, 100->0%, 5:06 H:M

80% BL, 100->0%, 3:14 H:M

80% BL, 100->0%, 5:59 H:M, set the touchscreen lock to off


My assumption from these tests is that Garmin's 4 hour rating is based on 50% back light. I selected 20% because the display is marginally readable if you can find any shade, but not readable in full sun.


Charge the battery to 100%, reset the odometer, turn the unit on outside and wait until it dies, the odometer will record the time.


BTW, if your Oregon works like the Nuvi, then setting the touch lock will dim the display. Maybe I'll run that test today.


Edit: After 6+ hours on the deck, I retrevied the Nuvi, still had enough juice to show a low battery warning when I touched the screen.

Edited by MtnHermit
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I agree the screen visibility is bad.


I was at a sporting-goods store on Saturday that had an outdoor sale and their whole Garmin lineup displayed at one table. In full sunlight the Oregon was almost unreadable to me, in a well shaded area the colors were still washed-out and indistinct looking. I picked up a 6Csx from the table for comparison and the difference was huge.


The sales rep agreed with me (not that the Oregon was "awful," just that the 60Csx was brighter/clearer). Said the difference was due to materials used in the touchscreen and the higher resolution, that it couldn't be helped, and that he had "gotten used to it" and now found the Oregon to be very usable.


Then I pulled my iPhone out -- a touchscreen with very high resolution -- and compared it to both Oregon and 60Csx. It's pretty clear to me a hi-res touchscreen CAN be made with good visibility, so the sales rep's explanation didn't ring true.


But I'm sure some people like it -- everyone has an opinion.

Edited by lee_rimar
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Then I pulled my iPhone out -- a touchscreen with very high resolution -- and had compared it to both to Oregon and the 60Csx. It's pretty clear to me that a hi-res touchscreen CAN be made with good visibility, so the sales rep's explanation didn't ring true.
If your read this Post from GO$Rs Oregon Wiki thread, then you'll understand the why of both the Oregon and the iPhone touchscreens.


The Oregon's resistive TS is superior for glove use and has lower cost. For me I'd give up on glove use to gain the sunlight visibility. I always need sunlight visibility, I rarely use gloves or can easily remove them if needed. As to cost, well the Oregon's price takes my breath away, so their would seem room for better components.

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The screen is definitely the sore spot of the OR. Otherwise they have put together a great unit with great features.


I'll be doing some battery life tests with different BL levels over the next few days myself.


Thanks, I'll be interested in seeing what battery life you get with 100% BL.

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