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Has GPS technology changed any since 2012 or so? Are newer units better today?

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Hello everyone.  I tried searching for this topic but didn't find anything useful.  I have a couple of older GPS units from many years ago.  One is a Garmin etrex Vista HCx and another is a Garmin Oregon 450.  Has GPS technology changed much since these units were made or are they still good to use?  I know they have come out with new units in recent times but wasn't sure if they had any other new bells or whistles on them that beat what I currently have?  I recently went to a cache location where I had zero cell signal on my phone and was wishing I had one of my GPS units with me, and also curious if any of the newer units might be better in some way.


Thanks in advance!


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Both your Oregon 450 and eTrex Vista HCx can still do the same job they were designed to do originally, and just as well now as then. 


There have been many updates and improvements to the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) these devices use today,  so more modern receivers will have added capability, including much improved positional accuracy and amazing battery life that is measured in days not hours. 


You can compare most Garmin handheld receivers, both old and new,  at GPSrChive.


If you have any specific questions, let us know!

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There have also been great improvements to caching apps (plural) for the phone.  Caching fully offline, with the same style of preparation as with a classic GPS unit, is totally possible nowadays.  Smooth even.


See the API partners list for options.  There are quality choices for both Android and iOs.

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For finding geocaches, both these units will take you to ground zero as will any modern unit thus won't increase your geocache find or the ability to find that tricky cache any easier.


But modern GPS units can use more than just GPS, like GLONASS, Galileo etc.. so while the Oregon 450 might give you 12 foot accuracy, modern units might give you 6 foot accuracy. Again, for geocaching not much of a breaker but for other uses, it might be. 


Modern units except for the Etrex 10 will give you pretty much unlimited geocache and map storage, the Vista HCX only has a very limited amount of memory for maps and no paperless caching at all. Can't remember if the Oregon 450 uses an SD card or not and if so, what's the max storage is.

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I think one of the major changes in technology is the advent of dual frequency units , both on some handheld devices and phones.  Accuracy is increased and it can help in areas where reception may be weak, but considering all the variables with caching that mat or may not be important.  

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In addition to dual frequency, there are more satellite systems available.  My 3yo phone, for example, gets satellites from the US, Europe, Russia, and China, typically getting a lock from 26-28 satellites outdoors, and 10 satellites indoors at my desk as I write this.


That's multi-GNSS, as it's called, and it seems to be more common than dual-frequency, but both help.  (My phone doesn't have the latter, but the former means it rocks for finding caches.)

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I've used an iphone 13 mini (only pro models have dual frequency...) and it's shown to be still shy in "accuracy" of a long-discontinued 60csx.

Most of us have had days when the person using a similar GPSr to the hider was on the money all day, while the rest were off some.

Anyone else remember the Garmin/Magellan "accuracy" thing in early 2000s, where 12' seemed the difference between the two?

Know what?  I don't mind one bit.  Not in a hurry, part of the fun (for me) is to look...

Some discuss all the bells n whistles of their brand-spankin'-new GPSr play toy being "accurate' to a gnat's can, but nine times outta ten that cache's owner isn't using one.     ;)


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