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Another "What GPS" thread


Chief301
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OK, I told myself I wouldn't do this, since there are so many "What GPS should I buy?" threads already out there. But I have been comparing units for awhile now and have a general idea what I'm looking for, just wanted some sage advice from those who have experience.

 

I'm currently using a Garmin Legend HCX, in combination with my iPhone 4 with the official Groundspeak app. Been using this setup for nearly a year but I'm feeling the urge to upgrade.

 

So far my main criteria are:

 

1. Paperless caching...This is my #1 reason for wanting to upgrade, so it is my primary criteria.

2. Would prefer to stick with Garmin. This based on my general satisfaction with the Legend and positive comments on the forums regarding customer support and experience.

3. Preferably in the range of around $300 (U.S.) This is my target but I would consider going a "little" higher if the unit is really great....$400 absolute max but it would need to really be awesome by comparison.

4. 3-axis electronic compass...Not as big a criteria as the previous 3 but a feature I would like in my next unit

 

Other criteria:

 

-Ability to add free maps from a third party source like gpsfiledepot

-Ability to do auto routing would be a plus but not a deal breaker

-A DECENT attachment point for a lanyard or carabiner...something the old ETrex series lacks

 

I'm not committed either way on touch screen or not, although I'd probably lean more toward "not".

 

Now, having said all that, I'm leaning heavily toward the new ETrex 30, which seems to fit all the above criteria and has the added advantage of a similar user interface to my current Legend. However, I'm very interested in the GPSMAP 60 or 62 series (I think you can still buy 60 series although they're showing Discontinued on Garmin's site), less interested in the touch screen Dakota, Oregon, and Montana line, but they're still up for consideration if the price and features are right.

 

So, there's my situation. Based on the above, and your prior experience with some of the units I've mentioned, what would you suggest? Pro's/Con's of each? Features you really love or hate about the units you've used? Which UI is the most comfortable and intuitive to work with?

 

I know this is a bit involved, but I'm trying to make an informed decision so I'm not wanting another unit 3 months from now. Thank you all very much for any input you have to offer.

Edited by Chief301
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I have the iPhone 4s (LOVE IT!!) so I was not interested in paperless caching. I choose the 60CSx and so far it has not been a disappointment.

Today I thought about going to cache in a forest area and thought "oh man, none of these caches are in my garmin". That's when I knew I had become attached to that little guy.

 

Got it on eBay, $250, with topo maps already. It's a durable little guy that can take a lot of abuse.

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I believe the new eTrex 30 is within your price limit, and it also receives the GLONASS signal. Has everything you want, and I've seen great reviews on the new series. If you want the quad-helix antenna like the 60 CSx (better reception under tree cover and in canyons, etc.) the 62s might be the one, though you'll need to find a deal to get it under $300. The 60 CSx does NOT do paperless. There are some work arounds that give it some of the functions, but as you can see in other threads, I kept mine for about 3 weeks, then sold it again. I'll be getting a 62s after the new year. With the iPhone, paperless isn't crucial for you, and a LOT of people LOVE the 60, and use a phone/pda/other device for the paperless stuff. Of the 3, you'll get a 60 cheaper, but imo, you get what you pay for.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Later!

Edited by DazDnFamily
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The 60 probably doesn't fit your criteria, as it isn't paperless capable. The eTrex 30 probably fits you well, but I will still suggest the Oregon 450. Can be had for relatively little money these days, and the higher screen resolution and bigger screen are extremely useful if you're a map-oriented person like I am. Plus, since you mentioned UI intuitiveness, you can't really beat a touchscreen there.

Edited by dfx
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Thanks for the input, everybody....I'm not ready to buy just yet, maybe they'll have some sales after the Christmas season?

 

the 62s might be the one, though you'll need to find a deal to get it under $300

 

I would like to keep it under $300, but for the right unit I might bump that up a bit.

 

With the iPhone, paperless isn't crucial for you, and a LOT of people LOVE the 60, and use a phone/pda/other device for the paperless stuff

 

I'm essentially paperless now, with the iPhone. But I would like to get away from having to juggle two devices out in the field. If I'm having to rely on the iPhone out in the woods I'm essentially still subject to its main drawbacks, i.e. poor battery life and lack of durability, plus having to switch back and forth between the two if you need to refer to the description, recent logs, etc. On some caches I'd really rather be able to leave it in the car, therefore the paperless GPS.

 

The 60 probably doesn't fit your criteria, as it isn't paperless capable. The eTrex 30 probably fits you well, but I will still suggest the Oregon 450. Can be had for relatively little money these days, and the higher screen resolution and bigger screen are extremely useful if you're a map-oriented person like I am. Plus, since you mentioned UI intuitiveness, you can't really beat a touchscreen there.

 

The Oregon wasn't on my short list, but I'll give it a closer look. Thanks!

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re: the Oregon 450...It can be found online for $275 so the price is definitely right. Does it have any attachment point for a lanyard or carabiner? I couldn't really tell from the pics, the back looks pretty clean and slick, i.e., no attachment point. Would I have to buy one of those little snuggie cases for it?

 

EDIT: OK, should have done my homework before I posted...I see the carabiner clip comes included in the box. Good deal...

Edited by Chief301
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Been looking hard at the Oregon 450 and it's moved way up my list of candidates! I like the bigger higher-resolution screen and the price is right. It seems to meet all the criteria I mentioned above. How well does that touch screen hold up? I've had touch screen devices before and with the exception of the iPhone (real glass) the screens seem to get beat up and scratched pretty badly. Is it fairly scratch-resistant?

 

My old mountain bike is an "Oregon" model. Think that's a sign? :blink:

 

Also, how's the battery life? Seems like one of the poorer ones compared to the others (of course, those are Garmin's stated figures on their site). Also read at least one review that says it really sucked down batteries. Opinions?

 

I compared it to the Oregon 550 but it appears that a built in camera was the only major difference. I don't need or want a built in camera. The Montanas are just out of my price range.

 

Still considering the Etrex 30. Have just about ruled out the 62 series...out of my ideal price range (even for the lowest model) and don't seem to offer any additional features to justify it.

 

Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks!

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We had an Oregon 200, and the battery life was good. I can't remember exactly how long, but I'd use 2 sets of rechargeable batteries for a full day (more than 10 hours) of dedicated use. And, I leave my backlight on all the time, so I prolly kill batteries faster than a lot of people do. Also, the screen held up well for me. I'd recommend a screen protector, but otherwise it was durable. The camera is the only difference between the 450 and 550. The main feature of the 62 (and 60 series) that sets them apart is the quad helix antenna, which holds a better lock on the signal in difficult areas (under heavy tree cover, in canyons, etc.) I might be wrong, but they use the same chipset, and the touch screen on the Oregon does make them extremely easy to use. Also, from your listed criteria, the 62s is the one you'd want from that series. (Which is the cheapest one in the series.) The ST includes topo maps (which I'm betting you can find for free) and the 62 stc includes a camera, which you said you don't need or want.

 

Later!

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Thanks again for the replies. I'm now leaning in favor of the Oregon 450...watched some online videos about it and the interface just seems so much easier, especially for a dedicated iPhone user :). I don't really need any of the "T" models, I figured out how to to load free maps from gpsfiledepot.com on my Legend, so no worries there. If the quad helix antenna is the only real advantage of the 62 series, then I think I can pass on that too...no canyons around here (real or urban:) )and I'll only be under heavy tree cover occasionally.

 

I hope the online price I'm finding (around $285) is a regularly available price and not a temporary fluke, because I'll probably wait til after the holidays to pull the trigger.

Edited by Chief301
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After selling my Garmin 60cSX due to the fact that it did not do "Paperless" I settled on the Garmin 62s as I am comfortable with that form factor.

 

I need to buy a set of North American street maps for it, but I like the fact that on the 62s you can control what maps are being used easily, that was a dog on the 60cSx.

 

I also purchased a very cool case for my new Garmin 62s, I bought a GizzMoVest case, it just came in the mail and I must say it is pretty awesome all around, I doubt you can smash the GPS while it is in this case for sure.

 

Check them out at http://www.gizzmovest.com/

 

Are there good street maps other than the ones that Garmin sells for the 62s?

 

Thanks

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Where do you find the oregon 450 for 285?

 

Amazon.com....$270 this week...

 

The Oregon line has been out for awhile now, hasn't it? Seems like the Montana is the top of the Garmin touch screen heap at the moment, perhaps the Oregon price is coming down because it's not the latest technology anymore? Anyway, still well within my price range and seems like a good unit. Kinda leaning away from the Etrex 30 now...

Edited by Chief301
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Had a chance to handle an Oregon 550T at Cabelas today...the main thing that impressed me was how solid the unit feels compared to my Legend...has a bit more heft to it, but in a good solid workhorse kind of way. Touch screen UI is a breeze. They didn't have a 450 available to play with but the size and form are the same I think.

 

Looked at the Montana briefly...nice huge screen but the whole unit Is just too big, I find. Also well out of my price range.

 

I think it's gonna be the Oregon 450....just putting some money on the side :)

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Well, I finally pulled the trigger today...decided to go with the Oregon 550...been watching the price creep down on it since Christmas, got it for $346.07 + $5.00 shipping from Amazon.com.

 

I know I said originally that I didn't care for a camera, but the more I got to thinking about it it made sense...One of my main reasons for the upgrade was so I didn't have to haul my iPhone around in the boonies anymore, but if I leave it in the car now I've got no camera either, right? So what if I need to snap the tracking number on a TB, or a clue I'll need for a puzzle, or a pic of something for a virtual (or just the kids doing something goofy at the cache site)? Yeah, a nice, rugged, waterproof camera would be nice (or so I've convinced myself)... :P Plus the pics are geotagged, so that might come in handy.

 

I also hadn't realized that the 550 comes with rechargeable batteries and a charger, so another plus there. :)

 

Thanks, everyone for the suggestions...I came here with a completely different idea of what I wanted but after your input and trying one out in person I think the 550 will be the ticket for my needs. Thanks! :):):)

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My 550 arrived today from gpscity.ca Not only does the unit ship with a charger, but the charger is 110/220v and comes with various European plug adapters - good deal.

 

A friend lent me his 450 for a week and I was impressed and managed to load most of the same files that my Nuvi 1350 uses. I belong to Poifactory and I found out an Oregon 4xx or 5xx will process a csv or gpx redlight camera file which means you can just leave your Oregon in your breast pocket and when you are enroute to a cache and you are approaching a redlight/speed camera, a small beep will sound. The screen also flashes a warning message - very handy.

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Well, my Oregon 550 arrived yesterday and I'm liking it so far. Been playing around with it, learning the controls and features, and swapped the micro SD card from my Legend for maps...they showed up on the 550 with no problems. I then downloaded a PQ vis GSAK to the 550, no problems there either, so everything is clicking like it should. (Haven't had a chance to take it caching, though... :rolleyes:

 

Now, one issue I'm having is this...is there a way to bulk delete Geocaches en masse from the unit without deleting ALL the waypoints? It's easy to delete caches one at a time, obviously, and I see how to delete ALL waypoints from the unit. But is there a way to delete ONLY the geocaches and leave other waypoints intact? I have some waypoints that are not Geocaching related that I'd like to keep when I clear off the Geocaches. I could do this quite easily on my eTrex Legend, am I missing something here?

Edited by Chief301
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You can't delete caches from the unit using any means. They need to be deleted when hooked to a computer.

 

Waypoints and caches are completely separate and have nothing to do with each other.

 

Oh, OK, you're right, you can't delete Geocaches from the unit. My bad. I used to be able to do it from the Legend (or to be technical I guess I wasn't deleting Geocaches, I was deleting waypoints that had the Geocache symbol). So how is this done from the computer? The manual is not real clear. Thanks!

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You delete the GPX file that contains the cache. Because of this, you will find things are easier if you use pocket queries or something like GSAK to send caches to the GPS in one file.

 

You will run into the problem that "child waypoints" are stored as "waypoints" and these need to be deleted on the unit...

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I also started with a Garmin E-Trex legend. Worked great aa a starter GPS. But, I wanted to move up to paperless geocaching so I bought a Garmin Colorado 400T. I will keep my opinions of it to myself, but about a year ago I got tired of fighting with it and I bought a Magellan Explorist 610. Much better receiver, much easier to use, I couldn't be happier with it. I especially like the three axis compass that works when standing still.

 

I have a friend that uses the Magellan Explorist GC (Much less expensive than the 610, but designed specifically for geocaching) and he is very satisfied with it.

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Does anyone know how many caches will the Oregon 550 holds? They use to note that in the specs and I couldn't find it... I also noticed the new Magellan explorist GC 110 (blue & gray body) is noted to only hold 500 geocaches where as the GC (green and gray body is suppose to hold 10,000). I wonder why such a big difference? Anyone know what the difference is between these two other then 20.00. 129.00 & 149.00.

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Does anyone know how many caches will the Oregon 550 holds? They use to note that in the specs and I couldn't find it... I also noticed the new Magellan explorist GC 110 (blue & gray body) is noted to only hold 500 geocaches where as the GC (green and gray body is suppose to hold 10,000). I wonder why such a big difference? Anyone know what the difference is between these two other then 20.00. 129.00 & 149.00.

If you shop, you can find the Explorist 110 for $115 and the GC for $136, both delivered price in the USA.

The biggest difference is that the 110 has a full featured track log feature, where you can save your trip/hike/bike in a GPX file. You can review statistics on the track, see an elevation profile, backtrack. You can load tracks you created on your computer or from another GPSr. The GC has none of this. The 110 also has some customizable screens and a better menu system. They both have full road maps, showing parks, etc. Reason for large difference in caches is product differentiation. The next model up, the 310 has 10,000 caches. Between the 110 and the GC, I recommend the 110. It only takes a few seconds to loan another pocket query GPX file.

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