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Would love to buy a gps for my husband--help!


Brynne
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Hi Everyone,

 

My husband loves to geocache with his brothers. I thought it'd be fun to get him his own equipment as a surprise birthday gift...something not too expensive but not cheap (quality-wise) either. Any recommendations??? (I'd ask his brothers but they can't keep secrets very well!)

 

Thanks,

Brynne

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Garmin eTrex Legend is a solid choice. It runs anywhere from 170-250 bucks depending on where you find them.

 

I personally use the eTrex Summit, but it's 250 and doesn't have map storage capability. I bought it for hiking originally and it has an altimeter which I use alot.

 

There's the eTrex Vista but that baby is about 350! That one has compass, altimeter, memory for storing maps, WAAS technology, etc.

 

I'd go with the Legend as it's cheaper and has the mapping ability and WAAS tech also. If he's an avid hiker or mountaineer, I'd consider the Vista if you can afford it.

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Go on Outpost.com and look at the Magellan

Meridian. They have the "yellow" for $99.00

and the "green" for a little more. This is a

great price for these units. They are great

for Cache hunts, and have a slot for a SD memory

card so you can add memory and upload detail

maps.....you can't beat this deal.

 

Exploring the world,,,one Cache at a time !!!!!

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He'll play around with it for a little while, then get bored if it dosnt have mapping. I'd say get him at least a Legend (decent) or a Vista (will take some learning but provide a huge smile for weeks and weeks and then every time he uses it he'll be like, dadgum! she's cool! How did she know?"

 

Spend some $ it's worth it. Then you will never have to upgrade, my dad got me a Summit, but I had to upgrade when I got hooked on GPSing. icon_eek.gif

 

go check out www.gpsnow.com CHEEP DEALS

 

Mf

I like nachos.

 

www.thechamplainchannel.com/champlain2000/

http://www.geocities.com/mfrenchy2002/GEO.html

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I'm a newbee.. but I purchased a New Megellan MAP330 for $142.00 on Ebay. Ebay is a good way to buy IF you know how to find the good deals and a seller with LOTS of GOOD feedbacks. I have seen new GPS's go for $80.00 to $140.00. I would not recomm icon_biggrin.gifend this to someone who is scared of Ebay. But its a great place to shop!!!

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Definitely the Meridian Yellow for $99! You can't beat this deal! I used to own a Sportrak Pro that cost me close to $300 and now I'm more happy with this. Get him the meridian yellow or green at outpost.com then go to eBay and buy a 32MB sd card($20-25), SD card reader($15-20), and some mapping software. If he's really into outdoor stuff I would get him the Mapsend Topo, and if he mainly just needs Street information then the Streets and Destinations CD. If about $100 is all you have to spend then just the gps will do him fine for geocaching for now and he can buy the accessories later, but with the extras only going to run you about $60-70 more he will have everything he needs to get started. In comparison to the Garmin Units that were mentioned for a total cost of about 160.00 you have a 32mb memory gps with mapping software and a handy sd writer which makes transfers to and from the gps way faster for less than you can buy the Legend GPS by itself. Also the Legend has only 8mb of memory even when you do buy mapping software for it that isn't upgradable and an inferior antenna. Easy choice! Good luck!

 

Nathan & Anne

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I think Nathan & Anne might be putting the cart before the horse. If you research the antenna issue you will see that the antenna is not inferior. They use comparable antennas, however when Garmin can't pick up a signal it says it can't where when Magellan can't pick up a signal it will fake it and make you think it can pick something up while searching for its next fix.

 

I did buy one of these "GREAT DEALS!" off of Outpost.com and I sent it back yesterday. You will see a common problem with the Magellan is a power off problem. I experienced 6 of these while using the unit 5 different times. Plus I experienced a total loss of all waypoints 3 times.

 

I called Magellan and told them the problem and the guy said, "Well you need to update your firmware to v4.02." I told him I had and he then expressed that the problems didn't surprise him as this was something he heard of frequently. I was going to give them the opportunity to fix it under warranty, but they told me to send it back to the store so I did......and then ordered a Garmin Legend.

 

The Magellan does have a larger screen, but right now the Garmin has more pixels. If buying the topo software, Magellan will tell you that theirs is the same (1:100,000) as Garmin, however they will also tell you that they cut corners so their lines aren't as definite as the Garmin's to save memory.

 

I got the Legend off GPSDiscount for $209 (incl. shipping) and then there is the $50 rebate. A smaller, lighter unit; more user friendly unit....I'd say a much better deal than the $100 for the Meriyellow!!!

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NWMOutdoorsman is comparing a defective unit to a functional unit. I haven't had any of the problems he was stating and I also considered getting a Garmin, but if the patch antenna in your Legend really is just as good as the Quadifiler Helix in the Magellan than tell me why does Garmin upgrade to the very same type Quadifiler Helix antenna in their Top of th line $500 handheld, the GPS V. It is a better antenna, even if what your saying about the guessing is correct when it loses satellite lock, I think the gps can "guess" better than we can as to where we are going and at least it still points us in the general direction then giving us nothing at all. Anyway like I said, This is not common that you would get a defective unit, I didn't. Plus Garmin's don't have upgradeable memory which there is use for more than 8mb of memory and it is very limiting. We are straying from what she wants, she wants a cheap gps for her husband that will work well for geocaching. The Meri Yellow is in many ways better than the Legend and the fact that it is even comparable is funny since the Legend costs twice as much. The Meridian Yellow will work great for him for geocaching and can be upgraded if he needs it for more. Good luck to you!

 

Nathan & Anne

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If he's used to Magelland go Magellan.

 

The Sport Track Pro is great for the price.

 

If he's used to Garmin go Garmin.

The Vista is good. The Legend is popular (though I'd go Vista myself). And probably works as well as the Vista all in all.

 

If you want him to have the Best all around GPS.

Get a GPS V by Garmin.

 

Can't decide? Find your best prices and let your budget choose for you.

None of these units are bad.

 

Wherever you go there you are.

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To refrain from continuing this p!$$!ng match, I'll contact Nathan & Anne personally so we don't drag this out on the forum.

 

She said she didn't want an expensive unit, but not a cheap one either. I'd say she is wanting middle of the line then. If that is the case then I'd say stay away from like the Merigreen or yellow and the Garmin eTrex or Venture.

 

I'd say go the step up in whatever brand you get. Like Renegade Knight said, if you are used to one brand then stick with it. I used the Garmin and loved it, moved to Magellan and HATED it so I'm going back to Garmin. I think you'll find that if you are used to how one company does things then you won't like the other.

 

If nothing else, try to inconspicuously find out what units the others have and get a comparable one.

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I say get whatever for the first unit. When you determine that that one could use additional features, then you'll go get the additional features and own TWO GPSr. Its not such a bad thing, and it helps out the semiconductor business. Lend one the the wife or kid.

 

MtM

 

Flameproof

 

*****************************************

This Space Intentionally Left Blank

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quote:
Originally posted by Brynne:

...something not too expensive but not cheap (quality-wise) either. Any recommendations???

Brynne


 

If you suspect the GPS will spend more time in the car then on the trail, consider a Garmin eMap. Excellent mapping display and pretty inexpensive where you can find them. Works great for geocaching (it's what I use) as long as you don't expect it to spend much time being dropped in rivers, etc.

 

ApK

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I knew I could count on you guys--thanks! icon_wink.gif Looks like I have some more researching to do, but you all gave great information. I think I'd like to stay under $300. My husband is a great guy and deserves a fun toy! Plus, I think we'd all have fun using it. icon_smile.gif Thanks again! If you have any more info or tips, feel free to post them!

 

~Brynne

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My husband and I are new at this. I just bought us a Gamin eTrex Vista on line last night. I started out at bizrate.com put in GPS and I connected and bought from gpsdiscount.com.

 

I paid $312.05. That encluded shipping and a charger and battery pack with those batteries (n-something) can't remember. It was a package deal. The battery pack was worth $22.00.

 

I checked on ebay, halfebay, and amazon.com.and the link from geocaching.com that takes you to Offroute. That was the best price. Also

 

Sandy

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Nathan & Anne is right! Regardless of whether it is Garmin or Magellan, the Quad helix antenna is better than the patch antenna. Notice that the patch is on the lower end GPSr's (Etrex and Geko) and the Quad helix are on the upper price range GPSr's.

 

Even Garmin admits this:

From the GPSMAP 76 page "This unit features a built-in quad helix antenna for superior reception..."

 

The Etrex has gotten beat up so badly on the message boards that the Garmin Etrex yellow web page has to post this about it. "No need to worry about dense tree canopy with this unit, the eTrex will continue to maintain a tight satellite lock even while operating in forest-like conditions." Why would they have to advertise NOT to worry. Sounds like they're trying to patch up the patch reputation.

 

It might not make much difference in normal use, but if you are in a dense forest the difference will be obvious (I know, I have tried both).

 

If you want a Garmin there are many models to choose from without the patch. You can buy a 72, 76 series, V, Rino... If you're not going to be in heavy trees, go ahead and get an Etrex if you want.

 

If you want a Magellan you will be getting a Quad helix antenna (they don't have any patch antennas that I know of). On the Magellan side I like the 315+ series, Sportrak series, and I really like the Meridian series. The best thing about the meridian series is the SD card. I can load maps onto it much faster than possible on any serial port GPSr. I've got 128MB of storage and it's awesome. If I decide to go to another state it's just a matter of uploading a map of that state in a few minutes.

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quote:
Even Garmin admits this:

From the GPSMAP 76 page "This unit features a built-in quad helix antenna for superior reception..."


 

I wouldn't call it 'admitting' so much as 'wanting to sell the more expensive units.'

 

From what I've learned here, all else being equal, QH is apparently better than patch, and I'd certainly want the better antenna but one can implement a great patch design and a lousey QH design, so don't decide just on that.

 

Kekenj and I use an eMap (patch) and an GPS V (QH) side by side when we cache and we're very happy with both, but have never noticed an advantage in getting a lock or reported accuracy with the V under any conditions. Quite the opposite sometimes, but I suspect that has to do more with other factors. (I'm taller, so my eMap is closer to the satellites. icon_biggrin.gif)

 

ApK

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Thanks again! I bought an eTrex Vista for $280 on amazon.com, plus there's a $50 rebate so it'll be $230 when all is said and done. icon_wink.gif (Plus free shipping!!!)

 

From what I've heard from most people and reviews, it seems like almost all units are good for beginners, and each person has his/her own preferences. So, I think dh will be happy...I'll keep the receipt just in case. icon_wink.gif

 

Thanks again for all of your valuable input! icon_smile.gif I really appreciate it!

 

~Brynne

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quote:
Originally posted by ApK:

Even Garmin admits this:

From the GPSMAP 76 page "This unit features a built-in quad helix antenna for superior reception..."

 

 

I wouldn't call it 'admitting' so much as 'wanting to sell the more expensive units.'

 

From what I've learned here, all else being equal, QH is apparently better than patch, and I'd certainly want the better antenna but one can implement a great patch design and a lousey QH design, so don't decide just on that.

 

Kekenj and I use an eMap (patch) and an GPS V (QH) side by side when we cache and we're very happy with both, but have never noticed an advantage in getting a lock or reported accuracy with the V under any conditions. Quite the opposite sometimes, but I suspect that has to do more with other factors. (I'm taller, so my eMap is closer to the satellites. icon_biggrin.gif)

 

ApK


 

Actually I always thought that the quad helix was better and still do, but I've since learned that they can be created equal with the same gain. I've been researching it alot and I've found out the reason why the etrex line has such reception problems is size. One thing that all of us DO know about antennas whether we like patch or quad helix, is that a bigger antenna means better reception. All Magellan antennas are significantly bigger than etrex's patch. This is probably giving the Magellan's antenna most of the reception advantage because without a doubt they do have an advantage in size. You do pay for having that smaller size. I guess the majority of gps users don't notice it, but I think all hardcore users would. Have fun with your vista, there are a lot of pros to go with the cons!

 

Nathan

 

Nathan & Anne

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I’ve got to laugh at a lot of the arguments I hear regarding the marketing of the different antennas. Reminds me a lot of the old arguments for going to digital vs analog cell phones a few years back. So many bought into the digital “No static” argument, without thinking much about the fact that the digital phones had so much less range and that in the areas where analog had static, it was very likely the digital wouldn’t work at all. Those that venture into the backcountry a lot know that a phone with analog capability will generally have at least a third more range in areas where it might make a difference. Of course digital does expand the capability of what you can do with the phone, and the smaller bandwidth is a benefit for the providers, the humor is just in the way in which they marketed it.

 

As for the arguments of what a hard-core user would use GPS wise: Both of course. A hard-core user will have multiple units. Reception wise, if you’ve played with multiple units much you’ll be aware that it is just as easy to find areas where an etrex will get reception and a Sportrak, or 76 won’t as it is the other way around. Good reception in flat heavy tree cover may equate to severe multipath and positional error in a mountain canyon, or often no reception at all. The differences between the antennas are more than just gain. You also have to worry about noise (Can be affected by directional characteristics, or lack thereof), multipath rejection etc. The theoretical arguments have a lot of depends involved, with good arguments for both designs.

 

Finally, I’ve got to wonder why so many of those who lament the “Reception” of the Magellan designed receivers don’t speak out much about position error problems while moving in reception problem areas. The receivers are extremely heavily filtered, which results in position lag, and error when reception gets a little bad. It also makes it very difficult to actually compare reception while moving, as the receivers don’t necessarily report what’s going on at the single point in time, but rather an averaged out sort of result.

 

As to which is better, get several, they’re cheap. Of the units I own, I lean towards the eTrex line somewhat as I’m a fairly hard core hiker, exploring a wide variety of areas. The unit seems well balanced enough to work out for me most of the time. (I’ve use one in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, forests of England, climbing mount Washington in New Hampshire, Exploring swamps in Louisiana, but mostly exploring the rocky mountain west. It’s a unit that doesn’t necessarily excite me, but doesn’t piss me off much either. If I could only have one unit though, I’d probably be just as happy with my Sportrak. It does however create sort of a love hate relationship with me. It does some things so well, but at the same time can absolutely drive you nuts with some of its quirks.

 

Bottom line, there are pretty good arguments for just about any of the modern receivers out there. Those that are absolutely convinced that one is superior in every way probably hasn’tplayed very much with other units, or explored a wide enough variety of different areas.

 

For what it’s worth

 

Jeff

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quote:
Originally posted by Searching_ut:

I’ve got to laugh at a lot of the arguments I hear regarding the marketing of the different antennas. Reminds me a lot of the old arguments for going to digital vs analog cell phones a few years back. So many bought into the digital “No static” argument, without thinking much about the fact that the digital phones had so much less range and that in the areas where analog had static, it was very likely the digital wouldn’t work at all. Those that venture into the backcountry a lot know that a phone with analog capability will generally have at least a third more range in areas where it might make a difference. Of course digital does expand the capability of what you can do with the phone, and the smaller bandwidth is a benefit for the providers, the humor is just in the way in which they marketed it.

 

As for the arguments of what a hard-core user would use GPS wise: Both of course. A hard-core user will have multiple units. Reception wise, if you’ve played with multiple units much you’ll be aware that it is just as easy to find areas where an etrex will get reception and a Sportrak, or 76 won’t as it is the other way around. Good reception in flat heavy tree cover may equate to severe multipath and positional error in a mountain canyon, or often no reception at all. The differences between the antennas are more than just gain. You also have to worry about noise (Can be affected by directional characteristics, or lack thereof), multipath rejection etc. The theoretical arguments have a lot of depends involved, with good arguments for both designs.

Finally, I’ve got to wonder why so many of those who lament the “Reception” of the Magellan designed receivers don’t speak out much about position error problems while moving in reception problem areas. The receivers are extremely heavily filtered, which results in position lag, and error when reception gets a little bad. It also makes it very difficult to actually compare reception while moving, as the receivers don’t necessarily report what’s going on at the single point in time, but rather an averaged out sort of result.


 

I don't speak out much because I haven't encountered such problems and "you wonder why more magellan users don't speak out about this problem"; maybe it's because there isn't much of this problem or it is very rare. On the other hand however, there is numerous complaints all the time about the whole etrex line's reception problems under tree cover. I wonder why they do decide to mention it? Hmmmmm maybe it's because there is an actual problem there. The etrex line has several pros like I said earlier, but memory and reception are definite cons. Sure I could buy one of each unit and then I wouldn't have to worry about which is better, but they aren't cheap to me or better yet I don't think it's a very smart choice to just go buy one of each brand. I would rather just have the best one for my needs and I have that with the Meridian now. You can't beat the sd card's speed compared to serial and cost of memory. I seriously considered the etrex line, but then decided that the line was more geared toward being lightweight and a pleasing style then to performance. Lack of memory, reception, serial only connectivity, and a small screen helped me make my decision and I have no doubt I made the right decision. Check out gpsinformation.net if you'd like to read from someone that has experienced more gps receivers than most and definitely qualified to compare. They recognize the etrex line's reception problem under tree cover and their opinion was good enough for me. One more thing I would like to make clear is that I'm not putting down Garmin's etrex line at all. I like them and just like a good argument. Have fun with whatever you have! We need to start a new thread on this. icon_smile.gif

 

Nathan & Anne

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I brought up the Position lag problem precisely because it isn't mentioned much. It kicks in however when reception starts becoming a problem long before you'll ever notice a reception problem with an etrex, which just goes to show that in the conditions the receiver was being used in there probably wouldn't have been a problem with any unit.

 

As for complaints about the eTrex reception, I think a part of that has to do with people using the receiver wrong, and an even bigger part has to do with expectations. (The reception pattern and behavior of the antenna make orientation and positioning in regards to the users body much more important.) Complaints, or speculation about the eTrex having reception problems materialized months prior to anyone actually having used one of the receivers, and became the expectation and "fact" quite quickly. It was kind of interesting watching how it happened. Similar information becomes fact in other ways as well. For instance, for ages I bought into the argument that Magellans TOPO was based on 1:100,000 scale USGS maps. Once I got to own and use it though, I quickly learned it's based on data with a considerably lower resolution, but that the spacing of the contour lines made it appear to be comperable to 1:100,000 scale. Whether or not the reduced memory requirements are worth the trade off though, that's another argument. You'll often find people ready to define you as nuts if you point out that the "known facts" aren't everything they appear to be.

 

Regarding Joe's site, he does indeed do great work. If you read through it all however you'll find he only suspects the eTrex patch antenna reception as being maybe 2 to 3 db low, which is pretty insignificant really. Figure about 5 times that difference for using an external antenna (Which will of course be a patch). Again, the somewhat flatter reception pattern of the helix antenna while possibly a plus in flat terrain, often leads to more multipath problems in mountainous terrain than what you'll experience with a patch antenna type receiver. It's a balancing act, which may or may not have much of an impact.

 

As for the SD card that's a great plus for the meridian. Most of the features are all trade offs though. Bigger screen which is better for driving, but only about half the resolution which hurts if you're trying to use topo maps in the field. Front mounted buttons which is great when mounted on your dash, but the small size and side mounted buttons of an eTrex can be much more convienient for one handed field use.

 

For what it's worth

 

Jeff

 

http://home.sprynet.com/~searching_ut/index.htm

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