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What GPS unit is right for me?


J. Galt
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You will ultimately end up with five catagories of reply from your question. They are (in no special order) as follows:

 

Garmin without mapping.

Garmin with mapping.

Magellan without mapping.

Magellan with mapping.

All other MISC units.

 

Without mapping is cheaper. Way to go if you don't need maps. Mapping costs more, but if you need the maps, there you go.

 

Over time there has been an arguement over which unit receives the best. If you research the forums for such, you will soon discover that it swings both ways with no real clear winner.

 

Size and weight are a concern. So it ease of use, and battery life. If you are like me, battery type is also important. Everything I carry, from ham radio to cell phone, beacon strobe, flashlight, digital camera, and GPS all use AA batteries. I carry fewer spares because I can swap batteries from one unit to another.

 

I started out with the cheap yellow E-Trex. It was a gift. It is very light-weight, very easy to use in one hand, and has a long battery life. The one thing it didn't come with was the computer cable.

 

Later on, the family offered to get me a better unit. I did some research on the Magellan Sport Track series. What I learned was that it is larger, heavier, didn't have a better display resolution than the E-Trex, ate batteries about twice as fast, and needed two hands to operate efficiently. Most of this also applied to the Meridan series.

 

I ended up upgrading to the E-Trex Venture. It has all the advantages ot the yellow E-Trex, plus a better resolution display, and comes with the computer cable. It also allows for longer waypoint names, longer track names, and double the number of legs per track. Last, it has 8mb of memory for some very basic mapping info. It is a good compromise unit.

 

In the end, you will need to decide what you want. Opinions are many, but the final decision is yours alone. I recommend you shop around a bit before you buy. Good luck.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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software available for PDA's has already reached, or slightly exceeded that available for the streetpilot, and seems to be moving forward more rapidly than the stand alone GPS software. Just about anything out there should provide good data to the mapping software on your PDA.

 

In the field however, handheld units rule. Tough, weather resistant, and in some cases small and lightweight. For handheld use, my preference is the eTrex series. They seem to be the best compromise for my needs. Great resolution on the display, more detailed and accurate TOPO maps, and the small size and weight make them very convenient when working difficult terrain. I also prefer the performance characteristics over that of my Sportrak. Having just hit the 100 caches found mark using a Sportrak and eTrex side by side for cache hunting, I’ve now decided to officially retire the Sportrak for that purpose, feeling the Legend is the slightly better unit overall. Either one would be a good choice though.

 

That said, my recommendation would be a Legend or Vista if you’re going using the unit a fair bit in the field. If you’ll only be doing a limited amount of handheld use, shop for the cheapest unit you can find amongst the newer units out there.

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I see most of the replys are directing you to handheld GPS units. If you want information on GPS units that attach to the Toshiba e740, I suggest you check out the web page www.gpspassion.com (by the way, if you aren't familiar with www.pocketpcpassion.com, try that site also). I never have used a PocketPC/GPS unit but have used the Toshiba e740 and Garmin GPS V and both are excellent.

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