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larryc43230

Oregon 450t vs. 550t

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I just visited the Garmin Web site and looked at the chart comparing the Oregon 450t with the 550t. The one and only difference listed is the camera in the 550t. Interesting.

 

--Larry

Edited by larryc43230

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I just visited the Garmin Web site and looked at the chart comparing the Oregon 450t with the 550t. The one and only difference listed is the camera in the 550t. Interesting.

 

--Larry

 

I've noticed that too. Since I always carry a small point and shoot digital camera I'd be interested in the 450t rather than the 550t. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, the 550 doesn't have a tripod mount. My Leki hiking pole has a screw mount under the cap and I frequently use it as a monopod. I shove it into the soil and it's freestanding.

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Someone has posted that Oregon 450 may have better screen in the sun.

Time will show.

 

For some strange reason the chart do not list fitness option as Cadence and Heart rate monitor. Orgon 300/400 do support it, but do not list it.

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Plus, if I'm not mistaken, the 550 doesn't have a tripod mount.

I have a 550t, and it doesn't have a tripod mount.

 

--Larry

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When the 550 was introduced, it was said to include a better screen. The 450 could have that same "better screen" and just represent an improvement over the 200/300/400 models.

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I think you'll find that the 450 and 550 are the same hardware with the exception of the camera. I'm hopeful that the 450 will have a better screen but based on feedback I heard from CES the 450 looked the same as the 550. Besides I think Garmin would be creating another problem -- their flagship GPS would have worse screen viz than the next in line.

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Last week I was in an REI store in Atlanta and wanted to compare the screen difference in an OR 300 and an OR 550t; I use an OR 400t and have always had issues with easily viewing the screen in certain conditions (even with backlighting on)... days when it is bright outside and the unit is in indirect light. So I set both units to no dem data, no back lighting, both on the same zoom level of 0.2 mi., both with the same water drops background, and both locations on maps panned to the same locations - I could not detect any meaningful difference in the screens. If I wanted to be wishfully optimistic for the 550t, ok, maybe a 5% improvement at best. Sales person agreed with me that he has never really seen any differences in the screen's view ability of the Oregons. So I don't expect any change with the 450's from the 550's but there is hope.

 

What I have seen and couldn't explain is the difference in 2 different OR 400ts when held side by side with all settings identical. A couple of months ago I was loading some of my maps on a friends 400t, I set his up with all the identical settings and custom white backgrounds as mine. When I compared the maps I had installed on his to mine (both units with full backlighting - indoors side by side) I immediately noticed that his screen was a more truer white in color and my screen had a faint yellowish gray tint to it. His screen was definitely slightly easier to see, maybe 10% easier. I turned the backlights off and still the same difference in color rendention, making his truer white screen easier to see.

 

His 400t was only 2 months old, mine 1 year old. Both have had Zagg Screen protectors since day one. Both had fully charged NiMh batteries. Mine has been used quite a bit and his hardly any. The only thing I could contribute the difference to was that maybe my screen protector and yellowed slightly from UV rays or that maybe due to age my backlight had weakened. Or that Garmin at some point made a slight modification to the backlight, which I really don't think happened.

 

Just curious as to what others have seen first hand when comparing Oregons side by side with all other variables being the same. I have seen where a few users claim to see a slight improvement in the 550s over the other Oregons; I just haven't seen it myself but still hoping for that touchscreen breakthrough, maybe OLED?

Edited by eaparks

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It is as likely Garmin change their supplier for the display elements OR the same supplier has improved their technology.

 

I'm more interested in the 450 because I don't need yet-another-camera. It looks like the picture quality is the same as for the Kodak Zi6 I sometimes take along. If I want great pictures I'll lug along the big Nikon, which has two macro lenses to cover things.

 

The big question I have is the preloaded Topo on the 't' models. Someone slagged the Topo in an Amazon 400t review:

This is a really nice unit but if you buy it with the base map pre-loaded (400t) you'll be sorry. The pre-loaded maps can NOT be manipulated. In other words, you CAN NOT plug this unit into your computer and add waypoints, tracks, plan hikes, etc. etc. Garmin tech support response: "Oh well. You can always buy the software." I would NEVER recommend buying this model--buy the cheaper model without the pre-loaded maps and then buy the maps seperately.

Is this true or is it the rantings of someone who doesn't understand their GPSr unit?

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It is as likely Garmin change their supplier for the display elements OR the same supplier has improved their technology.

 

I'm more interested in the 450 because I don't need yet-another-camera. It looks like the picture quality is the same as for the Kodak Zi6 I sometimes take along. If I want great pictures I'll lug along the big Nikon, which has two macro lenses to cover things.

 

The big question I have is the preloaded Topo on the 't' models. Someone slagged the Topo in an Amazon 400t review:

This is a really nice unit but if you buy it with the base map pre-loaded (400t) you'll be sorry. The pre-loaded maps can NOT be manipulated. In other words, you CAN NOT plug this unit into your computer and add waypoints, tracks, plan hikes, etc. etc. Garmin tech support response: "Oh well. You can always buy the software." I would NEVER recommend buying this model--buy the cheaper model without the pre-loaded maps and then buy the maps seperately.

Is this true or is it the rantings of someone who doesn't understand their GPSr unit?

 

I have the UK model of the Garmin Oregon 400t which comes with the Topo Europe map included. However it does not come with Mapsource or BaseCamp to let you copy the maps onto a PC and add tracks etc. I have a feeling that there may be other software that will let you add tracks and waypoints (GSAK of course will load geocaches and waypoints) but was not too bothered as I already had a copy of Mapsource and the Topo UK map for my eTrex. As Garmin allow you to link this to 2 GPRs I was able to add the Topo GB map to the Oregon and use Mapsource with the Oregon. (Topo Europe is great for my holidays in mainland Europe but doesn't have as much detail of paths and canal towpaths as the Topo GB does.)

 

Chris

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This is a really nice unit but if you buy it with the base map pre-loaded (400t) you'll be sorry. The pre-loaded maps can NOT be manipulated. In other words, you CAN NOT plug this unit into your computer and add waypoints, tracks, plan hikes, etc. etc. Garmin tech support response: "Oh well. You can always buy the software." I would NEVER recommend buying this model--buy the cheaper model without the pre-loaded maps and then buy the maps seperately.

Is this true or is it the rantings of someone who doesn't understand their GPSr unit?

 

No... You cannot use the maps on the computer (OK, it is possible, but you are not meant to). You CAN, of course add tracks, route, waypoints etc...

 

There are lots of programs for waypoint/track/route transfer. Garmin's Mapsource is free and easy to download (legally) if you want to use that. There is also Garmin's Basecamp, which is better suited to the handheld market.

Edited by Red90

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This is a really nice unit but if you buy it with the base map pre-loaded (400t) you'll be sorry. The pre-loaded maps can NOT be manipulated. In other words, you CAN NOT plug this unit into your computer and add waypoints, tracks, plan hikes, etc. etc. Garmin tech support response: "Oh well. You can always buy the software." I would NEVER recommend buying this model--buy the cheaper model without the pre-loaded maps and then buy the maps seperately.

Is this true or is it the rantings of someone who doesn't understand their GPSr unit?

 

No... You cannot use the maps on the computer (OK, it is possible, but you are not meant to). You CAN, of course add tracks, route, waypoints etc...

 

There are lots of programs for waypoint/track/route transfer. Garmin's Mapsource is free and easy to download (legally) if you want to use that. There is also Garmin's Basecamp, which is better suited to the handheld market.

 

I have and use MapSource with my 60C, it's a bit clunky and the memory limitation is a nuissance, but the detail is the thing and works quite well on the unit. When did it become free (as in beer?)

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I have been using my 550T for about two weeks now. My first impression of using it in bright daylight was not to good. After reading some in the oregon wiki, I downloaded the custom screens and made some changes to the screen settings and now it is okay. Not great, but okay! I use the camera every now and then to snap a pic of coordinates on the multis. It does great at closeups. Quick and easy. I did not think I would use it much because I had a 3.2mb camera on my phone. But instead of grabbing the phone to snap a pic, I just use the 550T camera. Beyond that, I think the 550T does great. I definitely like the new dashboard features in the new os update!

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MapSource is not free. You need a previous version on the PC to download an upgrade from Garmin, or you can download Garmin Training Centre for free, and upgrade to latest MapSource from it.

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