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thesleestaks

Garmin eTrex 20 vs. Dakota 10

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New to geocaching and looking for a hand held GPS. Amazon has the Garmin eTrex 20 and the Garmin Dakota 10 for about the same price. Any experienced users have any advice on which unit to buy - or can you suggest another in the 150-200 dollar range? I will mostly use this for geocaching and maybe some hiking at some point. Would like to be able to geocache paperless and will rely only on the GPS (No smartphone - just a dumb one).

 

Thank you very much in advance for the info!

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Basically what it comes down to is weather you want touch screen or button interface and weather you want the unit to hold 1000 caches or 2000 caches. Other then those 2 items both units have nearly the same specs. IMHO having a touch screen is much better then the button interface. I've used an eTrex legend and i currently use a Dakota 10. I like the Dakota touch interface allot better especially when i'm having to enter in coords for the next stage of a multi. Or when i want to add notes to my find to make the logging of the cache go easier when i use the Field Notes page. I can live with only holding 1000 caches since a PQ tops out at 1000 caches.

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Not sure where you hike but here in the UK the weather pretty much dictates a button operated GPS :(

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https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=145&compareProduct=30925&compareProduct=87771

 

I'd buy the Etrex 20 given it's got more memory and also accepts SD cards, and also picks up EGNOS satellites, brighter in daylight. The Etrex 20 also has sound while the Dakota 10 has no sound at all.

 

Etrex 20 does have about 15 percent less screen about physically, the same size as a Dakota 10.

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Not sure where you hike but here in the UK the weather pretty much dictates a button operated GPS :(

 

What does weather have to do with it? The hand held units with a touch screen interface are just as water resistant as any with a button interface. Rain and moisture are not going to effect the touch screens. If they where capacitive touch screen that may be an issue but they are resistive touch screens.

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Can't operate them so easily when wearing gloves :)

 

I beg to differ. I don't know what kind of gloves you wear, but I prefer handling a touch screen with things like these over fumbling with a tiny joystick or buttons any day. Plus, in the worst case you can always grab the nearest stick and use it as stylus :P

 

Northface-dilithium-II-glove-fb.gif

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I always install the plastic screen protectors on all my GPSr's to prevent scratches.

 

Can you use these on a touch screen?

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I always install the plastic screen protectors on all my GPSr's to prevent scratches.

 

Can you use these on a touch screen?

Yes. As mentioned the touch screen units use Resistance touch screens. So anything can be placed over the screen as long as the screen can still detect the pressure from an object pressing on it.

 

When it comes to the iPhone and other smart phones they use a capacitance touch screen so you have to use the right screen protectors for it otherwise it won't be able to detect the small electrical difference presented by a finger touching the screen.

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My recommendation would be the 20. I have the Dakota 10 (along with a Montana 650).....granted the touch screen is very nice and I do like that feature over the Etrex...but IMHO when comparing features and price between the two units which are very close - the touch screen is actually a negative when comparing the units - I've done the comparison because I have two close friends looking to buy in that same price range.

 

The Dakota is pretty much worthless in anything other than direct sunlight (even more so for those of us that need reading glasses) and even then you are constantly trying to adjust the angle so you can read it - the backlight is so weak that you need direct sunlight on the unit to be able to read it....although when it is in sunlight, it is very readable then...but you don't always cache on sunny days or without trees overhead. For about the same price you get a small bump up in features and a screen that is readable with the 20....the touch screen is just not worth the pain of not being able to read the darn thing and if you mount it on something like a bike - you can't move it around to see the screen - you have to move your head around to get the right angle - don't crash into a tree while your trying to do that :blink: . I still use it when I need something smaller than my Montana (like skiing last weekend) - but other than that it stays in the car most of the time and is just a backup!

 

BTW - why did I even buy it - I got my Dakota new in the fall on the cheap through Qbids for $5 - you can't beat that price.....otherwise I would not have purchased it.

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I'd buy the Etrex 20 given it's got more memory and also accepts SD cards, and also picks up EGNOS satellites

Did you mean to say GLONASS? I haven't seen an EGNOS option on my eTrex 20.

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EGNOS is the EU equivalent of WAAS, it's available on the 20 although I've never seen any real benefit so have it switched off :)

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When I was looking through the Garmins, I thought that a touchscreen was a must. Having taken delivery of an Etrex 20, I am now a fan of the joystick & button method as it's faster to use with muddy gloves whilst walking.

 

I know the touch screen will still work in the mud, but I can't see it doing the screen any good (scratches, etc.) Screen protectors are ok until you get dust under them.

 

Just personal choice at the end of the day, I suppose.

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EGNOS is the EU equivalent of WAAS, it's available on the 20 although I've never seen any real benefit so have it switched off :)

 

Not a good choice. EGNOS does provide benefits, even though they might not be obvious at first. Plus, having it on doesn't have any negative effects.

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Benefits of WAAS/EGNOS -- more accurate and stable fixes. On current models the difference in battery drain should be tiny or even non-measurable.

 

Folks will argue this (and almost anything) until log after the popcorn runs out. So don't trust my word or anyone else's. Try it both ways for yourself or several outings. If you thing you can find any repeateable, measurable difference, go with what seems to work best for you.

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Yep, I have on numerous trips done side by side comparisons ... seen no perceivable difference with WAAS/EGNOS on so it stays off. Difficult to measure battery drain but logic says if the processors working harder it must have some effect :)

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Difficult to measure battery drain but logic says if the processors working harder it must have some effect

I have a couple of admittedly unscientific thoughts on that:

 

1) If it's difficult to measure, it's usually not worth worrying about.

 

2) It probably was a bigger issue on older models, diminishing to "difficult to measure" or even non-existent on current ones. Hardware and software progress, becoming capable of doing more, faster -- so the extra calculations become a smaller fraction of that capability.

 

I used to think a color screen and hi-res maps would go through batteries faster than a monochrome screen just showing minimal block graphics and some numbers -- but Garmin advertises identical battery life for the eTrex 20 and 10. So my intuition about what drains the battery doesn't always match the real world.

Edited by Portland Cyclist

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I take your points, mind you I only said that it's 'difficult to measure battery drain' as I'm no electrician, I'm sure it's possible :)

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Yep, I have on numerous trips done side by side comparisons ... seen no perceivable difference with WAAS/EGNOS on so it stays off.

The thing is that it's pretty much impossible to get a real side by side comparison, as it takes a while for the EGNOS to kick in, and until that has happened the GPS readings will already have changed. For a proper comparison, you'd have to do it within the same unit at the same time, which isn't possible. Simply enabling EGNOS doesn't do anything by itself, you also need an EGNOS lock to potentially see any difference.

 

The most noticeable difference for me is that with WAAS enabled, the lowest accuracy reading I get is 2 meters, while it's 3 meters with WAAS disabled.

Difficult to measure battery drain but logic says if the processors working harder it must have some effect :)

Not necessary. Old CPUs had always the same power consumption, whether they were idle or fully loaded. But I tried to measure it here:

(the WAAS part starts at around 8:00)

Within the limited precision of my cheapo multimeter, there was no measurable difference. I don't know about you, but I take higher coordinate accuracy over a few minutes of battery life gained any day.

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But an electrician would be the last person I'd ask.

 

What matters to me is how often I have to stop to change batteries, how many batteries I need to carry for an outing. If WAAS being or or off doesn't change those details, then whether or not it uses more power doesn't matter to me. Garmin advertises battery life of 20 hours for the Dakota and 25 hours for the eTrex. I know from my own use that the eTrex number is realistic, maybe even conservative. If WAAS took a 10% bite out of that runtime, it's still more than sun-up to sun-down, and likely a whole weekend of real-world use on one set of freshly charged cells.

 

I'm really just saying this because I said folks could argue about this until the popcorn runs out :D

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...

 

I'm really just saying this because I said folks could argue about this until the popcorn runs out :D

 

If there is popcorn left .....

 

The EGNOS satellites deliver a signal that tells the unit about any errors in the signals from the main navigation satellites. The unit then uses this to compensate and get a better fix. When you have lock on an EGNOS satellite there will usually be a significant enhancement in accuracy (maybe down to 1 or 2 metres). Part of the problem in the UK is that the EGNOS satellites are located over the equator, and so are quite low in the southern sky and so you don't always pick them up. (By the way - the EGNOS satellites are numbered 33, 37 and 39)

 

That said I'd be very surprised if enabling EGNOS made any significant difference to battery drain. Processing in the EGNOS data is a small part of the overall processing chain. I always leave the WAAS/EGNOS on, and enjoy the added accuracy if I get it.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Jell

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