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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

Magellan or Garmin

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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

I just read about Geocaching in the Houston Chronicle, and I must say that it looks like I found an awesome new hobby. One that appeals to my gadget obsession, and my love for the outdoors. Now here's my problem, I don't know which unit to buy. I've narrowed it down to the Magellan 330M or the Garmin eTrek Legend or Summit.

 

I can get the Magellan 330M at cost. But, I don't want to base my decision on the price factor alone, I enjoy quality and I'm willing to pay its price if it truly is the best product. The thing that I like about the Magellan is that it comes with the CD-ROM and the data cable. I also like the fact that it has an ext. antenna which I suppose will help it lock onto signals better, which can also be awkward if you are trying to fit it into a day pack or in your shirt pocket.

 

It seems that the Garmins are newer than the Magellan 330M which would lead me to believe they are a little bit more advanced, I have read that the 330M is DGPS ready, but I haven't seen anything mentioned about the Garmins on that. It seems that the Legend has a better display resolution. The TracBack feature sounds cool as well. It also seems that the Garmin with its Click Stick switch would be easier to pan and select functions. the thing that I like about the Summit is that it has the built-in compass and barometer. But, I already have a Suunto Vector Wristop computer for that, so its no biggie.

 

I would appreciate any input and recommendations in relation to these units. I'm looking for quality, reliabiblity and accuracy.

 

Like I said the Magellan appeals to me because I can get it cheap, but I strongly believe that if you invest in a good product in the long run it will save you money because it won't break down and it will last you longer. So if the Magellan ends up being the best, then its a win-win situation for me. If the Garmin is better recommended, it will cost me more, but at least I know I have a reliable product that will give me greater satisfaction.

 

Sorry for the lengthy post, and I will thank you guys in advance for your recomendations.

 

GMcB

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Guest peter

ications where the maps are very useful. Since selective availablity has been off, the altimeter readings from regular GPSs have become much better, reducing the need for a separate barometric sensor; and I'd always recommend carrying a regular compass anyway - you don't want to have all your navigational eggs in one basket.

As to your specific questions, all the units you mention are compatible with optional DGPS receivers but that adds considerably to the total cost, size, and power requirements. The newest Garmins, incl. the Legend, support the WAAS form of DGPS where the correction signals are broadcast from geosynchronous satellites. This substantially improves the accuracy, but currently there are only two WAAS-equipped satellites and they're low on the horizon for most of the US - good for boaters and pilots who have clear views, but not so useful for hiking.

None of the units you mention support external antennas - if you need one, then the Garmin eMap or new Map76 may be the way to go. The internal antenna in the Magellan is oriented for best performance when held vertically while the Garmins give best performance when nearly horizontal.

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Guest bubba232

I would concur with Peter. I have a Gar III+ love it. I have very little experience/knowledge of the Mag. Except my dad had one heck of a time locking Sat's. with his Mag. (model unknown) while hunting in the woods. Good thing he had a backup III+ icon_wink.gif

 

I would take a strong look at the new Gar. map76, if price is no object.

 

Good Luck and have fun.

 

Steve

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Guest bubba232

I would concur with Peter. I have a Gar III+ love it. I have very little experience/knowledge of the Mag. Except my dad had one heck of a time locking Sat's. with his Mag. (model unknown) while hunting in the woods. Good thing he had a backup III+ icon_wink.gif

 

I would take a strong look at the new Gar. map76, if price is no object.

 

Good Luck and have fun.

 

Steve

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Guest bpuetz

I have an eTrex Vista on order, priamrily because of the memory and the altimeter. However, can someone explain the relevant differences between it and the Map76, other than the compass and altimeter? For example, the Map76 says it comes loaded with worldwide cities > 200,000 population. What exactly does that mean? Is that just major streets?

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Guest bob_renner

I have an older Garmin 38 and have had no trouble with it at all. Everything I have read on sci.geo.satellite-nav has been EXTREMELY positive on Garmin's warrenty policy and customer service. You may want to post your question there also and get the response from those who aren't on this forum. I haven't had any experience with the Magellan line.

 

Bob

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Guest bubba232

I just reviewed the eTrex Vista, looks like a pretty sweet unit. Especially the 24mb mem.! I didn't see that much difference between the Vista and map76. Map76 is waterproof and is geared toward boaters.

 

Personal preference is that I didn't care too much for the side buttons of the eTrex series. The compass is a handy feature though.

 

S.

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Guest peter

quote:
Originally posted by bpuetz:

I have an eTrex Vista on order, priamrily because of the memory and the altimeter. However, can someone explain the relevant differences between it and the Map76, other than the compass and altimeter? For example, the Map76 says it comes loaded with worldwide cities > 200,000 population. What exactly does that mean? Is that just major streets?


I don't think it's any streets - just locations of the cities (although it does also have a basemap with major streets/highways for the Americas). The Map76 is more optimized for marine applications so it comes with a database that includes detailed coastlines and navigational aids (buoys, lighhouses, etc.) in addition to the cities. It also has an audible alarm for conditions like dragging your anchor or proximity to a wreck or reef in addition to the more common functions - turn coming up, batteries low, etc. Unlike the eTrex series, it has a jack for an external antenna so you can use it below decks or in cars that have metallic coatings in the windows - the ext. antenna can also be useful for hiking under dense foliage cover. Finally, it's physically larger which is not so good for hiking, but does give it a larger screen and enough volume so it floats if you drop it overboard (the Magellan 315/330 float too).

 

 

[This message has been edited by peter (edited 03-23-2001).]

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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

Thank you all for your responses and recomendations. It looks like I'm going to go with a Garmin. Does anyone know if REI will credit the purchase of a GPS unit towards the Dividend Refund they do once a year? If they don't, then can someone recomend a good site, with good prices for the Garmin Legend or Vista? I want one besides www.amazon.com

 

Thanks again,

GMcB

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Guest peter

Yes, GPSs are 'dividendable' at REI (at least the one I bought was). A good internet source is http://www.tvnav.com . Darrel makes sure to upgrade each unit with the latest firmware before he ships it and he's willing to talk through any software compatibility or other issues with you over the phone or by email. (No connection other than as a customer.)

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Guest Quinnow

Here ya go bud... http://www.gpsworldsupply.com/

This place has about the lowest prices I have seen. I order from them quite a bit and get my stuff fast. Just got topo for my Garmin III Plus through them and it was here in a flash.

They auction tons of stuff on ebay so be sure to check out garmin products on ebay auctions and I am certain you will get a better deal there by far.

The garmin III Plus by the way has the capability of an external antenna for the car as well as heavier tree coverage (this can be very important) its also been called the elite of the gps family. look into it and you might consider this as a choice. The mapping is excellant and has way too many options to go over. good luck in your choice and have fun in the field!

 

 

------------------

Quinn Stone

Rochester, NY.14616

www.Navicache.com

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Guest Moun10Bike

My last GPS was definitely "dividendable" at REI, as well. And I concur wholeheartedly with Peter's recommendation for an online GPS: http://www.tvnav.com. The website isn't the prettiest around, but Darrel has great prices and customer service.

 

[This message has been edited by Moun10Bike (edited 03-23-2001).]

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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

I've have checked out all of the sites that you guys recomended. And I must say that all of them have very good prices. I've been told that the Vista has started shipping on the 26th, and I was also told that it was going to be shipped early April. I believe that the first person must have meant that Garmin will begin shipping on the 26th, and in turn the dealers will begin to fill their orders early April. Is that assumption correct. Because, I'm thinking of ordering a Vista, but it the qualities are going to be limited since it's a new unit, I might as well order the Legend. I'll be looking to place my order early next week.

 

GMcB

 

p.s. I'm waiting until my girlfriend leaves the country on Saturday so I can hide the evidence better. She's always coming over and I don't want to hear her *****ing about me getting another gadget, and I don't want to have it sent to my office because sometimes non-documents get delievered a few days after they actually arrive.

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Guest Moun10Bike

quote:
Originally posted by GuyMcBeerdrinker:

I've been told that the Vista has started shipping on the 26th, and I was also told that it was going to be shipped early April. I believe that the first person must have meant that Garmin will begin shipping on the 26th, and in turn the dealers will begin to fill their orders early April.


 

I received mail from Darrel at tvnav.com yesterday that said Garmin was shipping Vistas to him this Friday (3/30), and that he would in turn ship them out to those who had pre-ordered them immediately afterward. I'm not sure how many Vistas each dealer will get initially, but it looks like they probably won't be widely available after that for another couple of weeks. If you can wait, though, I think that it will be worth it!

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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

Vista it is then. Yeah, I got an email from Darrel at tvnav and he seems to have the best prices (although he charges shipping and 4x4books doesn't). I'm going to send him a cashier's check and have it mailed to my buddies house to keep my girlfriend from seeing it. I know some merchants are looking out for fraud and are weary of sending an order to an address different from a card holder's. Thanks again for the info.

 

GMcB

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Guest Anton

One more thing...er, well a few things.

 

Garmin eTrex Vista = dish antenna

Garmin GPS MAP-76 = quadrifilar antenna

 

The MAP-76 has an external antenna jack, as has been pointed out by others. Contrary to popular opinion, the antenna is the most important part of any receiver. Quality of signals = quality of data on the screen.

 

The next most important consideration is the menu of functions on hand. Does either model have position averaging, for example? I haven't checked that yet. This is a big convenience when marking a cache, or when checking accuracy of a waypoint over time.

 

Then consider resolution and the size of the display screen - more & bigger is better.

 

Some weight-conscious hiker-techies will argue about size and weight, but a GPS isn't a backpack. If you want a good receiver, don't worry about a few extra ounces.

 

BTW, what are you REALLY going to do with 24mb of memory anyway? More memory always sounds good, but this is just overkill in my opinion. This isn't a laptop, it's a GPS.

 

Anton

 

------------------

Anton Ninno, N2RUD

Syracuse, NY 13210

 

[This message has been edited by Anton (edited 03-30-2001).]

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Guest bacpac

Have any of you gotten together to compare GPS performance? I guess maps and features are important, but what about accuracy through tree cover, near a cliff, near water?

 

My Garmin 12 worked great around the house, but once I took it off the trail things went South (figuratively and literally) in a hurry. I had to find a spot where the reception was clear in order to get a decent reading.

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Guest Moun10Bike

">quote:


Originally posted by Anton:

Some weight-conscious hiker-techies will argue about size and weight, but a GPS isn't a backpack. If you want a good receiver, don't worry about a few extra ounces.


 

I have to disagree here. If you hike more than a couple miles with a GPS in hand, the difference between 5.3 ounces (Vista) and 1 pound (GPSMAP 76) becomes significant.

 

quote:
BTW, what are you REALLY going to do with 24mb of memory anyway? More memory always sounds good, but this is just overkill in my opinion. This isn't a laptop, it's a GPS.

 

I don't think 24 MB is ENOUGH! I travel consistently throughout Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and would love to be able to upload all of the maps for a drive at once. I can't even come close with the 1.4 MB of memory in my GPS III+, and the Vista will just barely allow it. If you throw in the desire to upload Metroguide sections (8MB each) or topo data, you quickly run out of space.

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Guest Moun10Bike

quote:
Originally posted by bacpac:

My Garmin 12 worked great around the house, but once I took it off the trail things went South (figuratively and literally) in a hurry. I had to find a spot where the reception was clear in order to get a decent reading.


 

That is not surprising, and is the case with all receivers. See http://users.erols.com/dlwilson/gps.htm for everything you wanted to know (and more!) about GPS errors.

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Guest bacpac

Moun10bike,

 

I looked through your link and though there was a lot of technical data, I did not see a comparison of performance between models, brands, etc.

 

I am not really interested in some experts opinion anyway. How bout the average Geocacher? Surely you guys have gotten together to see who's was bigger, er ah better.

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Guest 300mag

I just love my lowrance gm100.Ok its a bit heavy and loves batteries but so what.I like the way it locks and holds it's lock on sats.It does it in just a few secs.Thats what was important to me and it's also very accurate.It beats my old mageland in a flash icon_smile.gif

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Guest 300mag

I just love my lowrance gm100.Ok its a bit heavy and loves batteries but so what.I like the way it locks and holds it's lock on sats.It does it in just a few secs.Thats what was important to me and it's also very accurate.It beats my old mageland in a flash icon_smile.gif

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Guest Moun10Bike

quote:
Originally posted by bacpac:

I looked through your link and though there was a lot of technical data, I did not see a comparison of performance between models, brands, etc.


 

That's because there's virtually nil difference between consumer grade models in terms of accuracy. The distinguishing characteristics of the various brands and models are generally features. The most important GPSR features affecting accuracy are antenna and number of channels (and now, WAAS capability). All of the manufacturers have roughly the same accuracy performance once you match up these features between models and lines. For good information of the various effects of these features, see http://joe.mehaffey.com ; look for articles on 12-channel receivers, antennas, etc.

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Guest cache_only

Definitely Garmin. I bought a Magellan Pioneer when they first came out about 3 or 4 years ago. The thing was terrible. A cloud could pass over and there went my satellites. It would not keep a signal for anything. Recently I bought a Garmin 12. I need that particluar model because I am in the Armed Forces Reserve and it has MGRS (Military Grid Reference System) capability. It is awesome. Even on VERY cloudy and rainy days I have 7 or 8 satellites talking to it. Magellan makes junk, in my opinion. Rob

 

[This message has been edited by cache_only (edited 19 April 2001).]

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