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Best Dual-Purpose GPS?


We Three C's
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The best thing I've been able to find is the Nuvi 500 which (supposedly) offers street navigation for car use, as well as Geocaching features for off-road use.

 

It appears to let you load GSAK files directly, and seems to show you the cache information, as well as the extended description, last few finds, etc... and lets you mark it as found or not, yada yada.

 

I have never laid hands (or eyes, for that matter) on one in real life, and wonder if others are using the particular model, and if they're satisfied with it.

 

Are there other combo units available that perform the same duties in a better, more effective way?

 

Thanks in advance for any tips/pointers!

 

:laughing:

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I have one and its awesome. Its basically like any other Nuvi for driving but dont think of it as just a standard Nuvi like the others. It also has a geocaching mode like the Oregon/Dakota's do which is almost identical.

 

It shows full descriptions, hints logs, etc... You can mark the caches as found/unfound and it is also waterproof! You can drop GPX files directly on the device so you do not need to use any other program like GSAK to use it.

 

I was really torn between buying the Oregeon/Dakota series, the Nuvi 500, and the PN-40. I ended up going for the Nuvi for a couple reasons. First I wanted turn by turn directions with text to speech which it has. The Oregon/Dakota or PN does not have that. The second thing which pushed it over the edge is it comes with full US Street maps and Topo Maps. If you pick up one of the other Oregon/Dakota models (except the high end models) you have to pay another hundred bucks for the Topo maps then another hundred for the Street maps.

 

If you look though my previous posts you will see a few other posts for me on it but I highly recommend it!

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I have one and its awesome. Its basically like any other Nuvi for driving but dont think of it as just a standard Nuvi like the others. It also has a geocaching mode like the Oregon/Dakota's do which is almost identical.

 

It shows full descriptions, hints logs, etc... You can mark the caches as found/unfound and it is also waterproof! You can drop GPX files directly on the device so you do not need to use any other program like GSAK to use it.

 

I was really torn between buying the Oregeon/Dakota series, the Nuvi 500, and the PN-40. I ended up going for the Nuvi for a couple reasons. First I wanted turn by turn directions with text to speech which it has. The Oregon/Dakota or PN does not have that. The second thing which pushed it over the edge is it comes with full US Street maps and Topo Maps. If you pick up one of the other Oregon/Dakota models (except the high end models) you have to pay another hundred bucks for the Topo maps then another hundred for the Street maps.

 

If you look though my previous posts you will see a few other posts for me on it but I highly recommend it!

 

I'm not able to answer any of the OP questions, but I thought I'd pose this question in the interest of extracting more information from MustangTim... which might be of interest to the OP.

 

Anyway, I'm just curious, when you have it in the car, i assume it is mounted in a landscape orientation, are you able to electronically rotate the display 90 degrees to a portrait orientation like you would use a handheld unit?

 

Thanks.

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No, the nuvi 500 can't be rotated for portrait display.

 

I prefer to have separate car and auto units, but many geocachers prefer an all in one solution. My favorite for that, if you can afford it, is a Garmin Oregon + City Navigator.

 

The nuvi 500 series may have been improved through firmware updates since I tried it, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm curious as to how responsive and accurate the compass is at this point.

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Like Redwoods Mtn Biker said you cant rotate it. It is always in the landscape mode.

 

As far as to how accurate it is I will have to do more testing. I have only done 5 caches with it so far becasue it is so cold out, but what I have done it was perfectly on par with my iPhone. I will have to take it under some heavy tree cover and see how it holds up but for the ones I have done so far it was within 10 feet each time.

Edited by MustangTim
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I prefer to have separate car and auto units...

Me too (edit : I'm sure you mean separate car and handheld units - I missed it earlier too :D ). Consider the advantages of a separate car unit:

 

1. Larger screen

2. Spoken directions

3. Backup GPSr device

 

The 5x0 Nuvis are 3.5" screen - I prefer the 4.3" screens. Old eyes and all that, you know.

 

A handheld unit:

 

1. Takes AA batteries (cheaper, more easily available)

2. Is more rugged and more geocaching friendly

 

The 5x0 series are more rugged and are geocaching friendly, and although their battery is field replacable, they take a lithium ion battery.

 

In terms of cost, I think a Nuvi 500 makes more sense than a handheld with City Navigator NT.

 

If you get a handheld, you need City Navigator. For a little over the cost of City Navigator, you can get a low end Nuvi when it is on sale, and have both a car and a trail unit.

 

Edit for clarity.

Edited by Chrysalides
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I'm an all-in-on unit lover :D

 

Best choice after much looking was an Oregon with City Navigator installed. There are many Topo maps available for free.

 

The use of AA batteries was the deal maker...this makes this a great outdoors unit perfect for long trips. Also, the Oregon has more off-road features than the Nuvi 5x0, and is still having more and more caching additions being made to it e.g. custom maps, active geocaching dashboards, waypoint averaging etc etc. Better GSAK integration. Much more effective than the 5x0. Found over 3K caches with this unit, fills the role perfectly.

 

http://garminoregon.wikispaces.com/

Edited by Maingray
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No, the nuvi 500 can't be rotated for portrait display.

 

I prefer to have separate car and auto units, but many geocachers prefer an all in one solution. My favorite for that, if you can afford it, is a Garmin Oregon + City Navigator.

 

The nuvi 500 series may have been improved through firmware updates since I tried it, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm curious as to how responsive and accurate the compass is at this point.

The compass is slow. Would you recomend 24K topo from Garmin or City Nav?

Thanks

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Wow! I appreciate all the responses, and informative ones, too!

 

So far my only real question is to the Oregon owners...

 

Would you mind giving me your impressions of the On-Road navigation features of the Oregon?

 

I'm going to shoot over to the Garmin website and read through the Oregon information again, but I got the feeling it really didn't do much for you in terms of Routing, Re-Routing and Multi-Stop Routes.

 

If I remember correctly, the Nuvi 500 did well in those three areas, and had audible turn-by-turn directions.

 

While it might get a frown or two from the professional geocachers onboard :D ... I really want a clean, accurate street navigation system as well.

 

And just for a little more background on my situation - I have a decent handheld GPS, just wanted the best of the combo units.

 

Thanks again, and look forward to reading more!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

:D

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No, the nuvi 500 can't be rotated for portrait display.

 

I prefer to have separate car and auto units, but many geocachers prefer an all in one solution. My favorite for that, if you can afford it, is a Garmin Oregon + City Navigator.

 

The nuvi 500 series may have been improved through firmware updates since I tried it, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm curious as to how responsive and accurate the compass is at this point.

The compass is slow. Would you recomend 24K topo from Garmin or City Nav?

Thanks

If you don't mind the more limited regional coverage, I'd choose the 24K.

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No, the nuvi 500 can't be rotated for portrait display.

 

I prefer to have separate car and auto units, but many geocachers prefer an all in one solution. My favorite for that, if you can afford it, is a Garmin Oregon + City Navigator.

 

The nuvi 500 series may have been improved through firmware updates since I tried it, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm curious as to how responsive and accurate the compass is at this point.

The compass is slow. Would you recomend 24K topo from Garmin or City Nav?

Thanks

If you don't mind the more limited regional coverage, I'd choose the 24K.

I am in Wisconsin do I wait for the dvd or buy the sd card?

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Wow! I appreciate all the responses, and informative ones, too!

 

So far my only real question is to the Oregon owners...

 

Would you mind giving me your impressions of the On-Road navigation features of the Oregon?

 

I'm going to shoot over to the Garmin website and read through the Oregon information again, but I got the feeling it really didn't do much for you in terms of Routing, Re-Routing and Multi-Stop Routes.

 

If I remember correctly, the Nuvi 500 did well in those three areas, and had audible turn-by-turn directions.

 

While it might get a frown or two from the professional geocachers onboard :laughing: ... I really want a clean, accurate street navigation system as well.

 

And just for a little more background on my situation - I have a decent handheld GPS, just wanted the best of the combo units.

 

Thanks again, and look forward to reading more!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

:)

 

So if you have a decent handheld unit already why need a dual purpose ? :laughing: The Oregon is very capable and for me was the best compromise for the two functions. I didn't need voice directions, I find them annoying on units anyway when in caching groups. A simple single / double beep system is enough. Routing and re-routing is very fast. It can handle preplanned multi-stop routes too. It will not have most of the high end functions of a dedicated Nuvi car unit

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So if you have a decent handheld unit already why need a dual purpose ?

 

The real answer is pretty simple. There are four of us that share the handheld, and sometimes we wish we had another one - hence the desire for another handheld...

 

And if your mother put you in charge of locating and navigating to a dozen yardsales every weekend - let's just say I'll really appreciate some good on-road navigation as well.:laughing:

 

I haven't really gotten to checking out the Oregon review (and it's website) but it's cool to hear that it does well with auto re-routing.

 

Thanks again for all the first-hand info! Happy Holidays!

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I want to contribute a bit to the OP:

 

I use a Nuvi 205 for both car navigation and for geocaching (in off-road mode). So far, I've found over 200 caches with it and I'm pretty satisfied with the precision of the unit.

 

Always gets me to within 5 ft of the cache. I use the advanced nuvi macro with GSAK to transfer geocaches (with all info) to the unit. If I get a new GPS (maybe next year) I would consider an Oregon unit. Mostly because of the waterproofing of the unit and the Wherigo capability.

 

I also use CacheBerry (I have a Blackberry Curve 8900) for the hunts, but I do not rely on any electronic compass for getting to a cache. I prefer the "Radar" display of the CacheBerry, I have gotten to many many caches before any iPhone user that I know! That is when I just use the CacheBerry for searching, over 90% of the time I just rely on the Nuvi and its been wonderful!

 

My 2 cents.

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I have one and its awesome. Its basically like any other Nuvi for driving but dont think of it as just a standard Nuvi like the others. It also has a geocaching mode like the Oregon/Dakota's do which is almost identical.

 

It shows full descriptions, hints logs, etc... You can mark the caches as found/unfound and it is also waterproof! You can drop GPX files directly on the device so you do not need to use any other program like GSAK to use it.

 

I was really torn between buying the Oregeon/Dakota series, the Nuvi 500, and the PN-40. I ended up going for the Nuvi for a couple reasons. First I wanted turn by turn directions with text to speech which it has. The Oregon/Dakota or PN does not have that. The second thing which pushed it over the edge is it comes with full US Street maps and Topo Maps. If you pick up one of the other Oregon/Dakota models (except the high end models) you have to pay another hundred bucks for the Topo maps then another hundred for the Street maps.

 

If you look though my previous posts you will see a few other posts for me on it but I highly recommend it!

 

 

Anyone can answer this but I just wanted to quote his answer, what are the capabilites of the Delorme PN-40 as far as on road navigation. I don't think it talks to you but what are the capabilites that it has?

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I have one and its awesome. Its basically like any other Nuvi for driving but dont think of it as just a standard Nuvi like the others. It also has a geocaching mode like the Oregon/Dakota's do which is almost identical.

 

It shows full descriptions, hints logs, etc... You can mark the caches as found/unfound and it is also waterproof! You can drop GPX files directly on the device so you do not need to use any other program like GSAK to use it.

 

I was really torn between buying the Oregeon/Dakota series, the Nuvi 500, and the PN-40. I ended up going for the Nuvi for a couple reasons. First I wanted turn by turn directions with text to speech which it has. The Oregon/Dakota or PN does not have that. The second thing which pushed it over the edge is it comes with full US Street maps and Topo Maps. If you pick up one of the other Oregon/Dakota models (except the high end models) you have to pay another hundred bucks for the Topo maps then another hundred for the Street maps.

 

If you look though my previous posts you will see a few other posts for me on it but I highly recommend it!

 

 

Anyone can answer this but I just wanted to quote his answer, what are the capabilites of the Delorme PN-40 as far as on road navigation. I don't think it talks to you but what are the capabilites that it has?

It works OK but nothing like a Nuvi or even as good as a Garmin with City Nav. It will get the job done in a pinch. It will beep and that is it.

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what are the capabilites of the Delorme PN-40 as far as on road navigation. I don't think it talks to you but what are the capabilites that it has?

As an experieced PN-40 user who just bought a Nuvi 255W (the W stands for Wife) and wrung it out a little bit in the last few days, I would make the following comparison:

 

The Nuvi text to speech models are designed to default to "Chatty Samantha" vocal directions for turning at the next intersection or two. The screen defaults to a bigger, cruder view of the next intersections as well as an artist's conception of the road ahead while driving. This is helpful, if unfulfilling to a PN-40 user. Other viewing options may be available by drilling down on the mash and scratch screen menus. With the proper menu selections the 255W will give a text listing of turn directions for a route.

 

The PN-40 is designed as an multi-purpose button pushing GPS device, with dedicated road routing capabilities. The PN-40 gives the user more features, more easily used, than the typical car GPS, but does lack the text-to-speach audible directions, the larger screen, and the artistic license in the road display. The PN-40 does conveniently display a listing of all Directions as text, and does give audible beeps.

 

Actual pixel by pixel screen resolution for detailed road display is about the same on the Nuvi 255w as on the Delorme PN-40. The geocaching usability of both types of devices has been covered multiple times elsewhere.

Edited by 39_Steps
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I happen to own a nuvi 500 and an Oregon 400t so I have plenty of hands-on experience with both. I typically use the nuvi in the car and the Oregon on the trail but I've swapped roles with them plenty of times; more often than not by using the Oregon in the car. But there are compromises involved with using the Oregon in the car or the nuvi on the trail:

 

The primary problem with using the Oregon in the car is seeing the damned thing. There are times, typically when the sun is getting down near the horizon and streaming through the windshield, when it's just a lost cause. Even under ideal conditions, map details are too small to safely pay any kind of attention to in traffic because a quick glance doesn't work. Turn-by-turn navigation works quite well, though, provided you have City Navigator maps installed (which I do) but you have to do without the voice prompts.

 

The biggest problem with using the nuvi on the trail is you basically have to hold it. Garmin should have provided a method to attach a neck strap or carabiner clip had they truly wanted to make the nuvi a dual-purpose device, but unfortunately this is a glaring omission. The compass is also a lot slower to respond and has a habit of getting "hung up" at walking speed when you get near GZ. In all fairness, this is a lot less of a problem now that I've established a good geosense, but it drove me nuts as a newbie.

 

The bottom line is I wouldn't like it if I had to use my Oregon for in-traffic navigation or had to use my nuvi for finding geocaches on foot. They will both work in those roles, but there is simply too much compromise involved. That said, if I had to choose one or the other to use in both roles, I'd probably choose the nuvi simply because it's a lot safer to use in traffic.

 

On a final note, I suggest getting the CD version of Garmin maps because you can use them on your desktop and laptop computers as well which I think is a huge advantage. About the only disadvantage is you can only use the CD version maps with one GPSr while you can move the flash card version of the maps from device to device.

 

Pete

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what are the capabilites of the Delorme PN-40 as far as on road navigation. I don't think it talks to you but what are the capabilites that it has?

With a PN-40 and a Nuvi 255W to choose between, I'm happy to let the PN-40 do routing from one cache to the next. But for more extensive routing, the higher number of POIs, faster route calculation times, and better search capabilities of the Garmins gives them an edge in this category. The PNs *do* allow insertion of multiple via points. You get warning beeps for turns, but no zoomed in view of the turn.

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Before moving to two distinct units, my experience is that it is easier for a handheld to serve as an automotive unit than it is for an automotive unit to do trail duty.

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I'm in a similar situation. I have been using a Pocket PC with voice promtted naviagation in the car andit works OK in the field. It also is loaded with thousands of GSAK generated full cache web pages for paperless caching. I have to replace it so I want to get one that will give me these features. Does the Nuvi 500 do that? How many caches web pages? Does it provide a breadcrumb trail? Have MAgnetic compass or altimeter? Does it show that caches on the maps as you're driving? Does it have traffic ocndition alerts?

 

As an aside I do have a Vista HCx with Topo and Mapsource but I find the PPC more convenient. It's nice to see the caches while I'm driving around and be able to have eerything in one unit and only have to download point from GSAK once to the PPC.

 

Tks Alan2.

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Just another piece of data, but the Nuvi 1300 is currently on sale at OfficeMax for $119. I picked one up and (other than the lack of being waterproof) it's pretty nice as a paperless geocaching unit. I loaded my custom query via the GSAK macros mentioned elsewhere here and they all appear just fine in the Nuvi display. Very quick acquisition and good lock. At a minimum as a drive-to-the-cache-location it's a great unit. Very nice in its primary usage as a car gps.

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Hey great thanks. I see from the macro page that most Garmins work with the macro including the 7xx series. I think I'll go with the 765T since it also has lane assist feature and traffic which would be great here in the NYC area. They also have it for around $195 from Amazon. Funny I checked yesterday and they were around $220 then $211. I should wqait a week and Amazon might be giving them away for nothing!!

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Sorry I paod $215 for new unit at Amazon. The $195 I saw there was for a refurbished uni765T. STill a good buy. They all seem to be dumping all these units at very good prices.

 

Funny thing is I just got my PPC to work again with its own navigation program but it's going to be nice to have a Nuvi - a lot easier to use on the road. Tks. again. Al.

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Anyone can answer this but I just wanted to quote his answer, what are the capabilites of the Delorme PN-40 as far as on road navigation. I don't think it talks to you but what are the capabilites that it has?

 

Poor. Topo based road mapping so innaccurate e.g. no one way tabulation etc. Street names are often omitted for State Road designations. POI coverage is low and spotty (topo based again). Bad re-routing speed. Without a doubt the Garmin handhelds plus City navigator outperform the PN-40 plus it's routing solutions.

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By far the best multi purpose GPS is the Lowrance XOG. I think its discontinued but the unit is so easy to use with a big touch screen and very accurate base maps (Especially lakes & coastline) and has spoken turn by turn directions that include street names- I would still buy one again. I took this GPS when delivering a 44' Down East sailing yacht from San Francisco to Santa barbara, Ca. When the onboard Garmin Chartplotter malfunctioned and wouldn't load the marine charts- we used the XOG to plot and navigate the whole 330 statute miles to SB- and mind we were rounding Point Conception and "Destroyer Point" at sunset. Our crew had no problems using the unit without any prior experiance.

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I've been trawling this tread and find it hard to believe people would have two GPS units to tell them to go from A to B. Unless the person is a Taxi driver, Courier or a tradie I can't see the point in having two models.

The Oregons are multi purpose, thus sacrificing some functionality to be all-rounders, i.e replacing nagging for beeps.

Anyway, each to there own.

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned... I don't know about the Oregon... but I have a Dakota 20 and the beeps are barely audible. The road noise alone (in a Ford Focus) causes a bit of 'competition'. Forget about it if you have the radio on. And there is no way to adjust the volume. I don't understand how such simple and obvious design flaws make it into a released product. But I bought the GPS for hiking, backpacking, running, biking and search & rescue. Road navigation is just a bonus.

Edited by TakeoK
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Just another piece of data, but the Nuvi 1300 is currently on sale at OfficeMax for $119. I picked one up and (other than the lack of being waterproof) it's pretty nice as a paperless geocaching unit. I loaded my custom query via the GSAK macros mentioned elsewhere here and they all appear just fine in the Nuvi display. Very quick acquisition and good lock. At a minimum as a drive-to-the-cache-location it's a great unit. Very nice in its primary usage as a car gps.

 

Interesting, we are looking at a Nuvi1390 - what GSAK macro did you use? gamin-nuvi-exportgpx ver2.0 ?

 

Has anyone used a Nuvi1390 for caching ?

(and the real question) Has any used GSAK with a Nuvi1390 and if so which macro?

 

To follow the thread - I use the Oregon 300 for on road / caching - I love it, it does not have spoken names just beeps which is fine by me, dad however used the Nuvi310 (until now as he has antenna issues and it is going to cost too much to fix {hence looking at the Nuvi1390}) - the Nuvi310 with the GSAK macro was perfect for him, a little bit less acurate than the O300 but he also does some professional driving and needs the "turn left at High Street" function he also used its bluetooth (difference between the N1390 and N255W).

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The second thing which pushed it over the edge is it comes with full US Street maps and Topo Maps. If you pick up one of the other Oregon/Dakota models (except the high end models) you have to pay another hundred bucks for the Topo maps then another hundred for the Street maps.

That's what had originally kept me from buying a Dakota 20 to replace my Summit HC. Discovered that I was completely wrong in that assessment. Good maps are available for $0. All it costs is the price of a large SD card, which you'll need in any case if you plan to load up a ton of map data. gpsfiledepot.com has provided me with all of the topos I could ever use. Those 24K maps include reasonably recent street data, too. If you need routable maps, look at openstreets for theirs.

 

Now that I have a handheld that COULD do street navigation for me, I still don't use it for that. Frankly, it wouldn't be safe to use while driving. Screen is too small, and what does "beep" mean unless I'm trying to focus on that little screen?

 

Screen size, spoken nav directions, etc., are just WAY too handy on a good road nav unit. And while I could use my TomTom street nav GPSr for geocaching (even off in the weeds using ORN - a 3rd party application - something you can't do on a Garmin), I don't. The form factor is just all wrong.

 

Given the choice to do it all over again, I'd do it the same way ... purpose built road nav GPSr and a separate handheld unit for the field.

Edited by ecanderson
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Just checking to see if there are any updates for a dual purpose unit.

I need audible turn-by-turn directions for frequent out-of-town city driving, but would like something that can serve dual duty for paperless geocaching when traveling.

Would LOVE to be able to get driving directions to geocache parking areas as my old unit allows input of street addresses only, and these are not always readily available. Does the Nuvi 500 allow the user to enter coordinates for driving directions, rather than just addresses?

And, this post has not been updated in awhile - is there another, newer unit that works well for dual use?

THANKS for any tips!

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Just checking to see if there are any updates for a dual purpose unit.

All of the typical "downsides" to using one unit (per all of the posts in this thread) continue to apply.

 

Handheld = screen too small, no text to speech

Automotive = poor battery life, not rugged, not waterproof, large and awkward to hold in the field

 

Nothing is changing in this arena. A unit built for one purpose still doesn't server well for the other.

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Just checking to see if there are any updates for a dual purpose unit.

I need audible turn-by-turn directions for frequent out-of-town city driving, but would like something that can serve dual duty for paperless geocaching when traveling.

Would LOVE to be able to get driving directions to geocache parking areas as my old unit allows input of street addresses only, and these are not always readily available. Does the Nuvi 500 allow the user to enter coordinates for driving directions, rather than just addresses?

And, this post has not been updated in awhile - is there another, newer unit that works well for dual use?

THANKS for any tips!

 

I just bought a Nuvi 500 to replace my lost 60CSX which I used extensively for road navigation. The Nuvi is better for road navigation than the 60CSX was, with the larger screen and spoken instructions and the Nuvi 500 has some nice geocaching features including a compass navigation screen and the ability to enter coordinates, but I can't imagine using it for geocaching in most instances. Its battery life is less than half that of my 60CSX and though the battery is field replaceable, it's a specialty battery ($30 from Garmin), not widely available AAs.

 

Furthermore, the shape is just plain uncomfortable to hold in the hand. It's like walking around holding a picture frame. Nor is there a lanyard to keep it safe if you drop it, or a way to clip it to your belt or pocket.

 

I have the Nuvi loaded with caches and will use it to find the nearest parking, but when I get out of the car I'm using my PN40 to get me to the cache.

 

I think if you must have a dual use unit, I'd go with an Oregon loaded with City Navigator, but for what you'd spend for City Navigator you can pick up a perfectly fine automotive unit.

Edited by briansnat
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I have a Nuvi 500 and it is great. I also use it to get there and then use my PN-40 or my new 62S to get the cache. I think you can buy another Nuvi and load caches to it using GPX files. It will be in your favorites and very little info. I like it to see what is coming up while driving.

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I have a Nuvi 500 and it is great. I also use it to get there and then use my PN-40 or my new 62S to get the cache. I think you can buy another Nuvi and load caches to it using GPX files. It will be in your favorites and very little info. I like it to see what is coming up while driving.

You can do that with any Nuvi if you load them in as custom POI.

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I have a Nuvi 500 and it is great. I also use it to get there and then use my PN-40 or my new 62S to get the cache. I think you can buy another Nuvi and load caches to it using GPX files. It will be in your favorites and very little info. I like it to see what is coming up while driving.

You can do that with any Nuvi if you load them in as custom POI.

Problem is its time consuming, the other nuvis have poor battery life and are not very rugged or water resistant. On top of that the other Nuvies don't have bearing and distance to waypoint/geocache. How is the battery life on the Nuvi 500?

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