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Please, Help Me Choose Right Gps For Me.


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My basic GPS needs:

Sightseeing (usually short 6-50h trips without access to power outlets).

In same cases – weekend hiking trips (about 40h w/o power).

Once a year – 2 weeks trip to mountains.

And maybe.. in distant future in car navigation.


Currently I narrowed my choices to two:

1. PDA(h2215) & BT GPS (belkin Belkin F8T051)

2. Magelan Gold & (PDA & notebook in some cases)


There few things I’m worried about:

Absence socket for external anthena (do I need that?)


All comments and suggestions are welcome


P.S. I don’t want to spend too munch on it (I already (almost) have PDA:)

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By chance I have the HP2215 and the Meridian Gold GPS, I also have the Sportrac Color. I use the Sport Track color most often but that is only because I have not had it very long, I have been using the Meridian Gold for over a year. I use the HP2215 for pocket quaries (I am never sure of the spelling) which is great fo GEO caching. I have used it while hooked up to my GPS to use the National Geographic Topo maps rather than the GPS topo maps, NG are much better. For hiking you are better of with the GPS, the pocket PC is not water proof and not as rugged if you drop it, good luck.


In my Meridain I have a 128 mb card but I have never used more than about 16mb for maps. As far as batteries, carry extras. I think I get about 6 hours on my Sport Track and maybe 8 on my Meridian. Of course while geocaching you would tend to leave the GPS running.


If you use the HP2215 for geocaching download a copy of GPXsonar, I use this to store all the cache info. Of course last night I did something to it while not paying attention and now it is not working, but that is my fault :ph34r: . I also have a copy of GPXView for a back up, that is working. GPXsonar has a lot more features.


If you get a LapTop with windows XP it will not see your GPS if you use the serial port. you will need a USB to Serial port adapter, this may be a problem with HP products only which is the type of Lap Top I use.

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I like the Meridian line of GPS's also. For the money they are hard to beat.

If you buy new from a dealer the Meridian Gold is the best bang for the buck.

However remember you need a memory card to go with it to load detail mapping such as topo or mapsend streets. I myself have a Magellan Platinum and various other GPS's, the Platinum is a step above the Gold.

Edited by RockyRiver
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I'd take a look at the Garmin MapGPS 60c or (cs). I like you recently purchased my first GPS and looked at many options (too many according to my wife but I'm an Engineer so it comes by my nature). I looked at the options you are since I too already use a PDA. I was ready to buy the Magellan Gold but looked further and bought the Garmin. I haven't looked back. It's easy to usem accurate and the display is clear and easy to read. It's got great battery life, uses USB to connect to a PC (so the interface is faster than serial) and is easy to carry. I've used it Geocaching and as auto navigation on a trip last week. It was fine stand alone without the laptop and the auto recalculation of route is great.

We all have our own ideas of what we want (and like) in a GPS but for me the 60c was an ideal first (and only for now) GPS.

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I just purchased my first GPSr also, I ended up getting the Garmin 60CS. After looking at about everything available, I thought this was the best one for my needs. I will use if for hunting, ATV rides, hiking, and City navigation - all of which it does very well. I think once you get a GPS, you will use it for more than you originally planned - get the Garmin, you will not be disappointed.

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While the 60's are great units, they are so expensive, and I don't see the justification of the price.


If you are going to go on extended trips, like you said, the MeriGold would be perfect, because of the storage space for possible Topo software, but most importantly, you will be able to save numerous tracks onto the SD card. You can save them separately, to have tracks from different events on the trip. I would think that could serve a great purpose for you. The price is very hard to beat.


Also, they do lack an external antenna jack, but you could always get a battery powered re-radiating antenna for about 50 bucks. I have heard they work great.


They get a decent battery life, comparable to most other GPS's. I can keep mine on all day, and do it again the next day, more or less.

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I would not consider a PDA because it is not made for the environment you are going to be in. I have a Compaq Ipaq 3955 but use it only to download quaries and maps from pocket streets and trips. I use a Magellan SporTrak Pro for my daily use. If you purchase the vehicle mounting bracket you will be able to run this off you cars electrical system. This is important since no GPS has the kind of battery life that you describe. I will not recommend one brand over another, because both Garmin and Magellan make excellent units. I would recommend that you purchase a GPS with either built in memory or the ability to use a memory card. That way you can download maps of the areas you will be visiting. This will improve your experience. The Magellan maps fit into less memory, but they are not as detailed. Hopefully this will assist you in your purcahse. :)

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For your price range, I, too, think the Meridian is a good candidate.


It gets a good signal lock, and you don't need an external antenna. If by some set of circumstances you decide you *have* to have one, you could get a re-radiating antenna. Or, I see that ww.shopharmony.com is currently offering refurbished colors for $219 (they have an antenna jack).


A set of batteries should realistically carry you around 9 hours of continuous use. For a two week hike, you would have to decide how much you're going to keep it on and either bring enough batts (or a solar recharger, I suppose). If I were in that situation, I think I'd only bring one or two extra sets and use the GPS selectively.


To use maps in the Meridian, you need to buy an SD card and map software; budget accordingly. MapSend Topo is the best for hiking, but DirectRoute will give you the better car navigation capabilities. You can use it without maps and add them later, but they definetly enhance the usefulness of the Meridian.


Consider the Gold Traveler's pack...it stretches your budget, but it has most accessories you may want in the long run. Consider buying used.


BTW, to offer a [somewhat] different view than Night Stalker on the PDA: I feel comfortable taking mine almost anywhere, but I do try to be careful of its relative vulnerability. I will take it kayaking, for instance, but I keep it in a dry bag when not using it.


Good luck!

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