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Risk free glimpse at Garmin Oregon’s screen?

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There is more than enough info on web to realize that you have to see the Oregon screen in sunlight yourself before buying the unit. Many people claim they’ve returned it just because of the dim screen and others say it’s not a problem and you can see it clearly once you bump up the backlight.


After unsuccessfully trying to convince managers of three Best Buy stores to walk out of the building with me with their demo Oregon unit on a sunny day I said fine – I’ll buy it and return it if screen is too dim. Unfortunately I had to return it 20 seconds after signing credit card slip as I noticed a sticker saying “15% restocking fee if opened”. Staffer said Oregon 400t was an exception to their standard 30-day no-cost return policy. I wasn’t able to find the unit on display in any other store and online retailers all charge 10% to 20% restocking fee, except REI which lists it for $100 more than others and still does not refund shipping both ways. And buying it from REI knowing that I would return it even if I liked it to get the better price elsewhere would be not very fair.


Any advice how to see Oregon’s screen on a sunny day outdoors for 5 minutes without paying $50 would be greatly appreciated. And if some owner would be so kind to show it to me over lunch in Manhattan, lunch is on me :blink:.


Please note that the topic of this post is not if screen is bright or not. It’s about how to evaluate brightness risk-free.





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The more light you have straight in the screen the better, under an angle it's less readable due to reflection.

You might try a veeeery bright flashlight under different angles.

Don't you have any Comp Usa, West Marine, Sport Chalet or something like that?

Edited by splashy
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I was out today with my Oregon 300 and was in tree cover and then sunlight with some overcast. I used the backlight from time to time, but never really had a time were I couldn't "see" the screen. Sure it wasn't overly bright, but it didn't stop me from doing what I wanted to do with it. I used a eTrex Vista for a while and had a harder time seeing the scree then with the Oregon. Though I would like it a little brighter, I still really enjoy the Oregon and all the features, haven't regretted the purchase at all!

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having read similar reports about the back light i bit the bullet and bought an oregon 300t, I have not found it as bad as some reports if it were stuck on a bike handlebars and you could not move it around i could see some problems, if your hiking its no problem at all, i love it

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I bought my Oregon last August and had the same concerns as you. Brightness was a deal-breaker for me. I went to REI on a bright sunny SoCal day. I explained to the sales person that I needed to go outside and test it in the sunlight. I offered my wife for collateral, but they would only accept my driver's license. Maybe the local store would accept that type of guarentee rather than them going outside personally; or perhaps a manager could work something out.


Other than that, I concur with the event idea - or, if you see log from a local cacher stating that he/she is using an Oregon you might email them and set up a meeting.

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I'd decided not to get an OR after reading that the screen was 'no worse' than a PDA screen in bright sunlight, and taking my ipaq outside for a look - I couldn't even tell if it was turned on !!!


Then I accidentally bought an OR (long story ...). There's a certain angle where it seems the sun lights the screen up instead of the screen cover and you can see clearly without the backlight on at all. I've always been able to read the screen fine one way or another so far.



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Like everyone one else, I had concerns about being able to see the screen in bright sunlight. At first, I put on the protector that came on the Oregon 400. It was almost impossible to see the screen outside. Then I put on a 'WriteRight' protector and it makes the screen very easy to see in sunlight without backlighting. I love the unit and have stopped taking my Etrex Vista C along as backup.


Give it a try. Goldbug Ron

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