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Questions about recent Garmins


Torgut
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Hello fellows!

 

I started my geocacher life with a Garmin unit, in 2004, then moved to an eXplorist 500 in 2006. Today is a new day! I just lost my old companion, forgotten in a cache - and gone. So it's time to start thinking about its sucessor.

 

I have a couple of questions about the Garmins Dakota / Oregon, so if any of you could be so kind to clarify these for me......

 

1) Is it so bad to use them outdoors, under sunlight or it's still perfectly Ok, as with any other unit?

 

2) One thing that I loved in my eXplorist compared with my older Garmin was the ability to organize the waypoints in different folders, by files. My old Garmin had all the waypoints in a single list. Is it still like this or Garmin created a way to organize / separate waypoints?

 

3) Does GSAK export directly to these units, I mean, to their Geocache Paperless section?

 

4) How tough are the toucscreen screens? After 3 years with my eXplorist its screen was naturally scratched and had sustained several hits of assorted nature: rocks, ground, etc.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Ricardo

Edited by Torgut
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Hello fellows!

 

I started my geocacher life with a Garmin unit, in 2004, then moved to an eXplorist 500 in 2006. Today is a new day! I just lost my old companion, forgotten in a cache - and gone. So it's time to start thinking about its sucessor.

 

I have a couple of questions about the Garmins Dakota / Oregon, so if any of you could be so kind to clarify these for me......

 

1) Is it so bad to use them outdoors, under sunlight or it's still perfectly Ok, as with any other unit?

 

2) One thing that I loved in my eXplorist compared with my older Garmin was the ability to organize the waypoints in different folders, by files. My old Garmin had all the waypoints in a single list. Is it still like this or Garmin created a way to organize / separate waypoints?

 

3) Does GSAK export directly to these units, I mean, to their Geocache Paperless section?

 

4) How tough are the toucscreen screens? After 3 years with my eXplorist its screen was naturally scratched and had sustained several hits of assorted nature: rocks, ground, etc.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Ricardo

 

I've been using Oregon 300 for 6 months, no problem out doors. Stores waypoints seperate from Geocaches and POIs. Geocaches can be sorted alphebetically or by closest. POI can be in different folders. GSAK can export to the unit but if you do pocket queries you can just copy the quiery to the unit without software. The touch screen is very tough, I've done around 300 caches with the unit and have not had any issues. I'm pretty rough on the hardware in the field. The new dakota looks like a very capible unit, suposed to be smaller than the Oregon. Overall I'm happy with the unit, I upgraded from a 60csx. :wub:

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I've been using Oregon 300 for 6 months, no problem out doors. Stores waypoints seperate from Geocaches and POIs. Geocaches can be sorted alphebetically or by closest. POI can be in different folders. GSAK can export to the unit but if you do pocket queries you can just copy the quiery to the unit without software. The touch screen is very tough, I've done around 300 caches with the unit and have not had any issues. I'm pretty rough on the hardware in the field. The new dakota looks like a very capible unit, suposed to be smaller than the Oregon. Overall I'm happy with the unit, I upgraded from a 60csx. :wub:

 

Oh boy, silly me! I guess I meant "POI" and not Waypoints. Let me give you a practical example: I go Sweden so I upload a collection of places I want to visit, using for that GSAK (which I use as a database manager for everything). Then I go Spain and I wanna do the same. Do you mean I can create a folder Sweden and a folder Spain and keep these points separately? That would be great news indeed!

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I had a Garmin 60GxS and it was stolen. I replaced it with an Oregon 400t. I like the 400 because of it's paperless function. You can download the files directly to the unit and I have not had any issues seeing the screen in the sunlight. The only problem that I have is when you select "go" to a cache and it plots a line to the cache; when you turn the gps in another direction, the ploted line to the cache does not return to the actual direction of the cache. It just follows the GPS as you turn it. I sent Garmin an email about this issue and their response was to reset it. Naturally, this did not help. My 60GsX never had that issue, but it did not have paperless caching. I really like the paperless feature of the Oregon. Currently if you are looking for accuracy, then the Oregon is not there yet. But everything else about the GPS is great!

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I have a couple of questions about the Garmins Dakota / Oregon, so if any of you could be so kind to clarify these for me......

 

1) Is it so bad to use them outdoors, under sunlight or it's still perfectly Ok, as with any other unit?

 

I have a Oregon 200 and find it very dark, annoyingly so. If it weren't for the touchscreen, intuitive interface and paperless caching, I'd sell it.

 

2) One thing that I loved in my eXplorist compared with my older Garmin was the ability to organize the waypoints in different folders, by files. My old Garmin had all the waypoints in a single list. Is it still like this or Garmin created a way to organize / separate waypoints?

 

You could create seperate GPX files for organizing. I believe the max. is 100 GPX files and max. 1000 points. Not sure.

 

3) Does GSAK export directly to these units, I mean, to their Geocache Paperless section?

 

Yes. :-)

 

4) How tough are the toucscreen screens? After 3 years with my eXplorist its screen was naturally scratched and had sustained several hits of assorted nature: rocks, ground, etc.

 

I had a screen protector on mine since I bought it, not sure. I recently switched protectors in an attempt to see the screen better.

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I think it's truly amazing, almost amusing if I wasn't involved. the diferences of the comments regarding the effect of sunlight on the screen. Reading the few users reviews of Oregon 550 on REI is the perfect example:

 

"Oh my, the screen is awesome. I was lucky to pick up at REI the same time that the Garmin rep was there. I talked with him for a while. He told me that they had worked hard on the screen to make it much more sunlight readable. He said that the screen uses sunlight to actually make it brighter in direct sun. I took it outside and was surprised that it really is much better. I would say it is better than the Colorado and the 60CSX. I would rate it as almost as good as my iPod touch."

 

Next...

 

"The screen outdoors is unusable. In direct sunlight the screen is almost readable, but the highly glossy screen is almost like a mirror when the sun reflects off of it. When going from direct sunlight to shade, the screen can't be read at all. If you are considering buying one, make sure that you ask someone at REI to take it outside to show it to you before you buy. Inside the store it looks fantastic, but I need something that works well outdoors."

 

And...

 

"the display! After getting the unit updated, configured and loaded for our first test trip I quickly discovered the units real short-fall. Trying to see the display on this unit while on the trail was unacceptable! While asking assistance from some of my hiking buddies to create shade over the screen while I checked our status, one of them pulled out his $49 cell phone and showed everyone how much better it displayed than my $600 GPS. I thought for sure I must have settings that would change contrast, since I knew the backlight was on high. Back on the phone with Garmin . . . their response . . . "it's a known problem, and many people call to complain." Known problem? When I asked what he meant by that he replied the Oregon and Colorado units have the same display and both have a "marginal outdoor display." I asked how is that could be with a unit that was designed for outdoor use? He could only tell me the complaints have been sent to engineering numerous times."

 

Finally, next...

 

"First, I would like to say that if I had gone by the previous reviewer's comments, I would not have purchased this Oregon 550 unit. I am not sure why there was an issue viewing the screen. The screen is actually extremely viewable, especially in direct sunlight."

 

How the hell can these fellows be talking about the same device??

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For me the readability standard is my 76CSX. Brighter the sun the easier it is to see the screen. The Oregon I played with sadly lacked that feature. If I turned my back to the sun and held it in my shadow I could make out the screen. I guess that is why I bought and use a M500 PDA with the LCD screen instead of my E2 with the nice color screen.

 

Jim

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I have an Oregon 300 and I turn the backlight on and leave it on. It reduces the battery life, but it's certainly readable even outdoors in the sun. You may have to tilt it a bit to get a better viewing angle, but I really don't see a problem with it. Since I use rechargable batteries, I'm not concerned about the reduced battery life. I still get around 10 hours of battery life with it.

 

JetSkier

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Oh boy, silly me! I guess I meant "POI" and not Waypoints. Let me give you a practical example: I go Sweden so I upload a collection of places I want to visit, using for that GSAK (which I use as a database manager for everything). Then I go Spain and I wanna do the same. Do you mean I can create a folder Sweden and a folder Spain and keep these points separately? That would be great news indeed!

Yes, you can create separate POI folders and access each one individually on the unit.

Here's a bit of info -> http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=140808

and here -> http://www8.garmin.com/products/poiloader/

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I can see peoples concerns about the Oregons screen in sunlight, but personally i think its abit overboard and NOT as bad as people coplain it to be. As with JetSkier i use the backlight turned on all the time in automotive mode and plugged in the the car when driving, when out Caching i have it on a 30sec time out. I use to have it turned on all the time but found no need to, i can still read the screen fine without it, mind you with the backlight on its does improve the readablility, but even with it turned on all the time i still get a full days worth out of it 10+ hours.

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Having owned both a PN-40 and (for now) an OR, I can tell you the screen is DEFINITELY harder to see and I leave the backlight on full blast all the time wth the OR. Add to that the fingerprints and smudges you cannot help but getting constantly on the OR and you have a hard-viewing unit! YES, you can tilt it when you need, but even that isn't the best in some situations where the light is overpowering (or even in some shaded situations, I have experienced)!

 

Does it make the unit unusable? NOPE! It just is a quirk some can live with and others (like myself) like to complain about! :) But then, some like to complain that the smaller screen of the PN series makes it harder to use...it's a matter of preference IMHO!

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1) Is it so bad to use them outdoors, under sunlight or it's still perfectly Ok, as with any other unit?

 

The sunlight readability is fine. Many will point out that it could be better - which I agree, it would be nice if it was as bright and easy to read in direct sunlight as it is indoors, but I don't want to change batteries every 20 minutes or lug around a car battery.

 

I've been very happy with my Oregon and the readability.

 

4) How tough are the toucscreen screens? After 3 years with my eXplorist its screen was naturally scratched and had sustained several hits of assorted nature: rocks, ground, etc.

 

I would imagine that the Oregon screen will be about the same on the durability front. The texture is a matte finish that your finger glides easily over for scrolling the screen but a build up of dust, dirt and the like would of course cause a problem over time.

 

As a result I ended up putting a Zagg Invisible Shield. I've been very pleased with it's ability to protect the screen and even feel that it boosts the contrast and slightly improves screen readability outdoors. Keep in mind that screen protectors are usually shiny (at least semi shiny or glossy) so you will increase reflectivity of the screen surface.

 

I'm also very happy with the Invisible Shield's performance so far.

 

Love my Oregon - every aspect of it...

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I also use a screen protector, and would highly recommend it, for the 4 months of so ive been using my Oregon with the screen protector there are no scratches, cracks or anything (been dropped many times), Ive heard storys where people have droped units on tips of rocks tree brnaches and totally cracked the screen.

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