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Legend Or Vista?


cyan_blue
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Hi folks,

 

So I'm trying to figure out which Garmin to buy as my first GPS, and I've narrowed it down to the Legend or the Vista. I'm trying to figure out whether the Vista is worth the extra $$.

 

(I've only been out caching a few times so far, so pardon me in advance please if any of these questions sound woefully ignorant. I'm just starting...)

 

I haven't seen the GPS compass used in geocaching, so I'm not sure what it does or how it adds to the regular features. Could someone explain how the addition of the compass in the Vista functionally affects play?

 

Also, what is the functional difference between 8 mg and 24 mg of memory? I'm not familiar yet with the different things that the memory is used for (storing of maps, right?) and so I don't yet really have a sense of just how soon I'd hit the 8 mg limit if I got the Legend.

 

Also, in the products comparison section, what does "Glide Ratio, Glide Ratio to Destination, and Vertical Speed to Destination" mean?

 

And lastly, if anyone knows of a source for finding either on sale, that would be great. I saw a $150 Legend on Craigslist, and a $230-240 Vista in some different places... am I likely to find better prices?

 

Thanks for all your help!

Cyan_Blue

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In reverse order:

 

1) The prices you've listed look about right. You might find them a little cheaper but not much cheaper, especailly if you stick with new.

 

2) I don't fly or glide so I never found a need for the glide ratio or glide ratio to destination. They basically tell you a ratio like 200:1 that shows how many horizonal feet you go while loosing 1 foot of elevation.

 

3) 24 MB is a lot more than 8 MB. What really matters is how much you need to load (the distance you usually travel) and the map types you load. Maps like Metroguide take up a lot more than topo maps and topo maps take up more than Roads & Recreation. So it just depends on how much you need. One thing for sure 8 MB is never better than 24 MB, but in some cases its just as good.

 

4) I use a compass when geocaching. It's difficult to explain but the Legend can only get a direction you are traveling by taking two sample locations at two different points in time. In other words, you have to be moving in a consitent direction for the pointer to work. This works just fine when you are some distance from a cache. Once you get close and stop moving in a consistent direction the Legend gets confused about your orientation. This is when I turn on the compass on my Vista (or GPSmap 60CS). If the GPS accuracy is 20 feet, let's say, then I stand 30 feet away from the cache with the GPS compass turned on. When I do this the pointer should point in the general direction of the cache. This changes slightly about every second or so when the GPS gets a new triangulation of location. So it's not perfect but very close especially with a good GPS accuracy (< 20 feet).

 

You didn't mention the barometric altimeter with the Vista, but it can be very useful if you learn what to expect from it.

 

When hiking in the mountains I turn off the GPS and allow the Altimeter to keep track of elevation. Once calibrated it is usually very accurate if you stay in the same general area and the weather is not chaging dramatically. If it's just a day trip, I leave the GPS on but the altimeter allows elevation readings even if the GPS signal is lost. This is the whole purpose behind including the barometric altimeter in the Vista and Summit.

 

More importantly, when I am in the lowcountry (where elevations are <100 amsl) the barometric altimeter becomes a decent barometer that can warn of weather changes but usually can't predict more than a couple of hours ahead of time. This is good for fishing but not much use for predicting weather. A portable NOAA weather radio is a cheap solution to knowing weather changes ahead of time.

 

Interestingly, the RINO 130 has all the features of the Vista plus a built-in NOAA weather radio.

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In my opinion forget the compass. It only needs a lot of battery power. Take a conventional compass with you. It's better and cheaper. A problem of the Vista is that the compass (and the light, too) switches on in situations you don't become aware of and the batterie goes down fast.

Edited by alpen_wasser
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I've tried both units and there both great. I have a Vista right now I haven't loaded anything bigger that 7 megs of maps

so you might be alright buying the Legend. I can't see having more than 7 megs of map in your unit any way. I can say

the download time it real slow using Com Port thats why IM going to get a 60cs pretty soon. Do I need it no, But I've got to

keep up with the Jones. I only Geocache and hike other than that there is no other use for a new unit.

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The idea of an electronic built-in compass can be somewhat misleading to new people, in my opinion. Both units will point you to the cache, but a noncompass unit will need you to be moving. To remedy the need for "moving", you can take a step or two, in a certain direction. It's such an easy remedy, that I hardly think paying a decent amount extra is worth it. I have a Meridian Gold, with no compass, and I never have any problems, or wish I had one. I have used a unit with a compass, and while it was neat, it wasn't so amazing.

 

The extra memory may be worth it though. If you plan on using detail maps, you may run out of the 8 megs quite fast, depending on your travel.

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...To remedy the need for "moving", you can take a step or two, in a certain direction. It's such an easy remedy, that I hardly think paying a decent amount extra is worth it...

Hey what do you know. We agree on some GPS advice.

 

A compas alone isn't much of a reason to buy a GPS. True you don't need to move for it to point the right direction.

 

However as was said. Two steps with a non compass GPS and it points the right direction.

 

Having said it's been my real world experience that those who have a compass use it and like it and those who don't, don't care that they don't have one. They are not afflicted with "Compass envy".

 

There may be other reasons to buy the higher end GPS but the compass alone shouldn't be it.

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If you decide on a Vista I wouldn't worry so much about the backlight or compass draining the battery. I always left my compass on and would get 6 - 10 hours out of my rechargable batteries. Unless you decide you REALLY like caching it probably won't be an issue.

 

As for memory - waypoints don't take up much space it's the add on maps such as MapSource for the Garmin brand that eat up memory. If you're going to use Maps I would go with the Vista - or something with a comparable amount of memory. I only have half of New Jersey on my 60CS and it's taking up about 30 megs of memory.

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Just food for thought, you can get a Magellan sport trak map at Costco with Topo software and a case for $199.99, then you also get a $50.00 rebate. I just got one to have an extra GPS. Is is very much like the garmin legand with a little less memory The Magellan has 6mb the Garmin has 8mb. Both have enough for a days worth of geocaching.

Edited by JohnnyVegas
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I have used a GPS with and without an electronic compass. After using one with a compass, I would never buy one without a compass. An electronic compass is very nice when you are standing in the middle of briars trying to determine which direction to go. Sure, you could buy another compass but I think it is difficult to juggle a GPS, a compass, maybe a flashlight, and push birars out of the way. Also, it is much easier to use just one device to navigate. Why would you want to look at a GPS that says you need to go 100 feet northwest, then have to pull out another device to know which way is northwest?

 

If you generally geocache in areas where you can keep moving, maybe you don't need an electronic compass. It comes down to what your style of caching is. Personnaly, I would not have a GPS without an electronic compass.

 

I own a Vista and really like it.

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While I do agree with you JPlus, I have been in the same situation, and didn't really feel the desire to have a compass. It seems, that even if you are in the middle of briars, you had to get into the middle of them somehow. You came from some sort of direction, and while you were moving, the GPS pointed you in the right direction. You can pretty much just keep going straight in that direction. It's a neat plus to have a compass, and I think they can be very helpful, but so far, (and I use my GPS quite often) I really haven't seen the need at all to have a compass.

 

If I was spun round and round, with my eyes closed, and was then told to go towards the cache, then I would want a compass! :lol:

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While I do agree with you JPlus, I have been in the same situation, and didn't really feel the desire to have a compass. It seems, that even if you are in the middle of briars, you had to get into the middle of them somehow. You came from some sort of direction, and while you were moving, the GPS pointed you in the right direction. You can pretty much just keep going straight in that direction. It's a neat plus to have a compass, and I think they can be very helpful, but so far, (and I use my GPS quite often) I really haven't seen the need at all to have a compass.

 

If I was spun round and round, with my eyes closed, and was then told to go towards the cache, then I would want a compass! :lol:

I bought a Vista and sold my Legend not because of Geocaching, but because I was having trouble positioning my boat over saltwater reefs.

 

The problem is that once I slowed the boat down and began looking for the reef on my depth/fishfinder, the GPS map became useless. The "world" on my GPS map would spin because wind and current would push the boat in directions other than straight.

 

Believe it or not the compass on the Vista really helped fix the problem. It still doesn't help much when the wind and waves are bad (> 3 feet) because the compass is a little too slow to react.

 

However, when I took the Vista on its first geocache, I was blown away by how much it helped.

 

I can certainly understand those geocachers that want the challenge of using paper maps and a real compass. I would love to think that I could get good enough with orienteering that I could find a cache with nothing but a good topo map and a compass.

 

That being said, one must remember that geocaching was invented to give people a reason to use their new GPS units, so in my mind it’s all about the GPS.

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Of course caching is about the GPS use. And your boating example is a perfect example to show how a compass can be very helpful, and even a necessity. I don't want to use a paper map or a real compass. I know I would probably get nowhere near the cache area. I do carry a real compass, but have yet to neet to use it. That's all! :lol:

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A problem of the Vista is that the compass (and the light, too) switches on in situations you don't become aware of and the batterie goes down fast.

 

While this is how Garmin's ecompass models work based on default gps settings this is NOT how a gps with ecompass NEEDS to operate.

 

I set the ecompass on my 60cs to only turn on ONLY when I MANUALLY turn it on - it never turns on by itself. I use the unit's GPS compass 98% of the time and then switch to ecompass when I have a specific use for it - in this way I have complete control of the amount of battery power used by the ecompass.

 

In the compass settings it gives you the choice of determining at what speed the ecompass turns on - typically i believe it says something like below 10 miles/hr or so - set it to zero and it will never turn on automatically. Only when YOU turn it on...

 

Having an electronic compass isn't a negative - you get the best of both worlds - the standard gps compass where you require a satellite fix and need to be moving in order for it to properly indicate direction - and the ecompass which requires neither...!

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Rubberhead, if you're going out in a boat to reefs without a good mag compass mounted in front of the wheel, remind me not to get in your boat.  That's even more basic than a bilge pump.

Give me a break buddy. When I go offshore, I've got two of everything and three of a lot of things.

 

I will, however, disagree completely about the compass or bilge pump. I'd rather be lost and floating than to know my way back home but underwater.

 

The point is that the built-in electronic compass makes what used to be a chore a much more pleasant experience. If I were to rely on my dash-mounted compass (which has lost it's liquid but still works just fine) I would still have to get the bearing from my GPS so what's the difference? I not talking about finding the reef or finding my way back home, but locating my boat over the exact piece of stucture that I want to fish.

 

And by-the-way, I'm very picky about who I take out in my boat. You would probably not pass my minimum requirements either.

 

:lol:

 

edited to remove a double word.

Edited by Rubberhead
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rubberhead, where do you fish. i'm on the texas gulf coast and fish up to 90 miles out. small boat calm seas, you know the drill. working the gps offshore is alot different than onland for a cache. cant wait for the seas to calm down and we head for the tuna grounds again.

 

bone and kim

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I''ve used my Vista for over 2 1/2 years. I'm gald I got one with a built-in compass. I think you'll be happier using one instrument to get location (GPS) and direction to travel (compass)rather than having to juggle 2 - one in each hand. Frankly, I find it's hard enough to keep my GPS in one hand and my hiking stick in the other and read clues on the cache "page", or look at paper maps, and hold my dog's leash, and swat the mosquitos, etc. Having one less instrument to hold and fiddle with is worth it. Having one is seamless operation.

 

Also, triple the memory with the Vista became really important to me as mapping programs eat up memory like crazy. It stinks when you get into an area that you'd like to cache in and find you don't have road or topographic maps loaded for that area, If you have the extra $70 or so, get the Vista.

 

Alan

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If you have ever been geocaching with a GPSr that has a built in compass you will never go back. The compass works together with the go-to function in a way a stand alone compass could not. I speak from experience. I have owned 3 diffrent GPSr's. The last two a 76s and today I received my 60cs. Save a little more, bite the bullet and go with the electronics. This is 2004 the compass works! If you do you have MY guarantee you will not be disapointed. Its like, should I go with the Yugo or the Corvette? The Yugo will get you there (maybe) but who wants to go with a Yugo when you can drive a Vet.?

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