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Magellan vs. Garmin


InkyCat
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There is a difference, but they are minor and its mostly a matter of personal preference. The Garmin eTrex line is compact and easy to use. The small size was important to me because I'm a backpacker and the unit easily fit into my pants pocket.

 

Magellan units also work well. They have waypoint averaging, but the benefits of this feature are debatable. One of the major plusses of the Magellan Meridians is that they allow you to add memory. This feature is attractive to many people. I'm sure it is a plus, but I've yet to find a need for additional memory in my Garmin Vista. I'm sure that someone who travels frequently may prefer the expandable memory of the Meridian.

 

And don't let anybody tell you that the eTrex's patch antenna is inferior. It is different, but far from inferior. I've noticed better rectption vs. the quad helix under certain conditions. I'm convinced that the people who complain about it, don't know how to hold the unit.

 

For the money, you can't go wrong with the eTrex Legend ($169 at Amazon.com, last I looked). It comes with the computer cable, while the basic models (e.g yellow eTrex) don't. Add in the cost of the cable and you're talking nearly the same money.

 

 

"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm

 

[This message was edited by BrianSnat on September 03, 2003 at 04:51 PM.]

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Better for the money? Who's got the best sale or the current rebate right now?

 

Naturally Garmin is better even if it's not the best deal that week.

 

Hmmm...

 

My "Perfect GPS"

 

Etrex size. Street Pilot III screen. Magellan case (none of this rubber band and click stick problems) GPS V buttons and backlight (maybe SP III if it's better than the V for backlight). Quad Helix antanea with external attachment. Garmin interface. Magallan customizability and SD card. Give me a stinking USB interface that NOBODY has that charges my batteries while I'm dowloading waypoints.

 

Call it a Gargellan or a Magman.

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Currently using Garmin Etrex Vista, which I absolutely love. A base feature you should require regardless of the brand is a 12 channel GPS model, which will really help accuracy - especially in overgrown areas, and where there are a lot of buildings. I get a lot of value out of the electronic compass. On the Vista, you do not have to be moving for the electronic compass to work which is great feature. I also favor GPS's with tons of onboard memory (the Vista comes with 24 Meg, and I'm sure there's a Magellan with similar features). This allows for plenty of map space so I can "zoom in" on specific areas. The Vista has a click stick that allows me to enter in waypoints pretty quickly. I've recently used a base Etrex model and found the button sequences to get be tedious after putting in the 3rd waypoint in a 4 stage multi. Regardless of which brand you pick, show around and get the best you can afford. The extra features are definitely worth it.

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Pick by features, not manufacturer. There are thousands of geocachers out there using Garmins, and thousands using Magellans, and they're all finding caches. We have a rock-bottom yellow eTrex with a data download cable, no maps, no electronic compass, no WAAS, and we're doing fine. You really can't go wrong, unless you get a model with no option to plug it into your computer (Geko 101, we're looking at you). We've occasionally thought about getting a unit capable of holding map information, but never strongly enough to actually do it. When/if we manage to break the yellow eTrex, we'll probably buy whatever's got the features we want for the lowest price. I'm a bit curious about Magellans; it might be fun to learn to use a different kind of unit. But for all the Mac vs Windows sort of squabbling you hear around here, I've never seen anything that convinces me either brand has a real advantage. Some people say Magellans hold signal better under tree cover, I dunno. We don't have many trees here.

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quote:
Some people say Magellans hold signal better under tree cover, I dunno. We don't have many trees here.

 

I found a cache today on a rainy day, under very heavy tree cover, on a rocky hillside, using my Vista. It put me within 9 feet of the cache. Ya can't quarrel with that. Phoo, to those who say the Magellans are more accurate.

 

"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm

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I don't have alot of experience here, but I bought a Magellan Platinum nad love the thing. I heare the Garmins are as good or better depends on who you talk to and what they are using. I bought mine because of all the features it has and the ability to upgrade its memory. I recently bought a 64mb smart chip so can now download entire maps to it, either topo or streets. Either way you go I believe they are both good buys...I still wouldn't trade my Magellan though lol

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quote:
Originally posted by Renegade Knight:

My "Perfect GPS"

 

Etrex size. Street Pilot III screen. Magellan case (none of this rubber band and click stick problems) GPS V buttons and backlight (maybe SP III if it's better than the V for backlight). Quad Helix antenna with external attachment. Garmin interface. Magellan customizability and SD card. Give me a stinking USB interface that NOBODY has that charges my batteries while I'm downloading waypoints.

 

Call it a Gargellan or a Magmin.


 

A couple of tweaks on yours would make my perfect GPSr.

A recessed screen like the Meridian. I don't like the flush screen on the V. I don't think the buttons matter except the back light.

I want a faster processor. The unit should never have hiccups or glitches.

I don't like the removable antenna of the V. The external antenna jack of the 76s or the Meridian color would be fine.

 

39197_3500.jpg39197_3600.jpg

POWDER!!!!!!

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I have a Garmin Vista and have no experience with Magellans. While I use my GPS for caching, I also use it while driving to help me get to the cache and other places. The mapping programs that carry the street in our area take a lot of memory. (I live in Queens but keep all of Long Island and other NY Metro area maps loaded) Therefore, I would get a unit with more memory as you'll need it later on. The Garmin Vista has 24 MEgs vs. 8 Meg for the Garmin Legend vs 19 Meg for the Garmin V (which also auto routes in the unit). The vIsta also has an on-board compass which I use all the time while caching. The other two do not. You need a separate compass.

 

Good luck on whatever you decide. There's lots of nice areas you'll find for the first time in L.I. and around this area once you start caching.

 

Alan

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I have a Magellan SporTrak Color. My friend has an ETrex Vista. In the intense geocaching conditions that we've encountered (inside caves, under thick tree cover, etc. etc.) my Magellan holds the signal a LOT better than my friend's Garmin. If you're not planning on going under extreme conditions, it probably doesn't matter much.

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I have both an Etrex Legend and Magellan Meridian (Green).

I've had the Etrex longer 1-1/2 years and it did the job well enough. The upgrades that let add your name and information to the startup screen and the ability to store 1000 waypoints is really great for a multi-state cacher like myself.

 

Noticed Differences-

The Etrex patch antenna works great in the open but loses signal before the Meridian does under heavy tree cover. However, when you do lose signal, the Etrex lets you know immediately. The Magellan may let you walk for minutes without any indication of signal loss. The heading just remains fixed at the last good signal.

 

The Etrex updates the position much more often than the Magellan. The pointer will swing towards the cache faster than the Meridian even if they both have signal lock. I've often walked past the cache for 100-200 feet before the Meridian tells me I've past the cache.

 

The display on the Meridain is much larger which it easier to read while driving. Especially for us old near-sighted folk. The Meridian display is a bit chunkier and details are sometimes overwritten. The Etrex also hides details or waypoints at different levels of zoom but not as bad.

 

The backlight display is about the same at night but the Meridian is easier to read with the larger display. Again, a vision problem on my part.

 

The Etrex has a larger set of waypoint symbols. They've even added open and closed chests symbols for Geocaching.

 

When using the map display for a GO-TO, The Etrex show a line from your current position to the destination and updates that line as you move. The Meridian show a line from where you started the GO-TO to the destination and never updates that line unless you start a new GO-TO. I prefer the Etrex method but the Meridian method would always show your starting point if that important to you. I rely on the breadcrumb trail for backtracking.

 

Battery life is about the same but the Meridian might be a bit shorter. I use NiMH rechargeables and always have spares so running out of power is never a problem for me.

 

The Meridian under certain conditions has lost waypoints. This has happened when the low battery display comes on and I ignore it. Occasionally this has meant newly saved waypoints will be gone after I replace the the batteries. This has never happened on the Legend under similiar circumstances. Turning off the Meridian and then back on with very low batteries seems to record the waypoints.

 

I've probably missed a few points of difference but I have both for because I wanted one to have with me on a daily basis to do caching after work. I keep one in my work van and the other at home or in the car.

 

"Adrift in a world he never made!"

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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quote:
Hmm. Do other people with Garmins have trouble with the rubber grippy part of the casing coming loose? Ours is starting to slide around when we push buttons, which results in some of the gunky glue beneath the rubber getting out occasionally. Is the Magellan case better?

 

This happened to my Legend and it was still under warranty so I sent it back and they returned it fully refurbished less than a week later. If its no longer under warranty, it will cost you $100 to have the whole thing refurbished, including a new rubber rand, clic stick and new software.

 

"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm

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quote:
I have a Magellan SporTrak Color. My friend has an ETrex Vista. In the intense geocaching conditions that we've encountered (inside caves, under thick tree cover, etc. etc.) my Magellan holds the signal a LOT better than my friend's Garmin. If you're not planning on going under extreme conditions, it probably doesn't matter

 

No GPS will keep a lock inside a cave. Magellans do "lie" about the fact that they have a lock. If they lose the sats, they will try to project your position for a few mins. The Garmins on the other hand will tell you immediately that they lost the sat lock.

 

I think this is why people who compare a Magellan and Garmin side by side think the Magellan has better reception.

 

"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm

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I've actually carried and used both a sportrak map, and etrex legend on almost all my caches so far. While I originally bought the sportrak hoping for better reception, the more I've used them together, the more I've come to count on the eTrex for guidance in the tougher areas. Both do great most of the time, but I'm up to three so far that I wouldn't have been able to find had I just been using the sportrak, but have yet to have a case where the eTrex couldn't get me there. While the eTrex sometimes looses reception more easily, especially when moving, the sportrak is prone to sometimes having very significant positional errors. So far I've always been able to work around the reception issue with by simply moving slighty, while I can't always work around the sportrak error problems. The latest example of this was last weekend:

 

I was hunting a cache in a steep mountainous area, when the GPS guided me to a cliff area on the other side of a small lake with a very steep approach to the base of the cliffs. As I rounded the lake, the sportrak distance to go jumped from about .11 miles to go, to 1.38 miles in a totally different direction than it had been directing me just a few minutes ago. The etrex stayed consistant and useable until I figured out I had to be on top of the cliffs while the sportrak never recovered till I moved more than .2 miles from the cliff face. Had I not had the etrex on this particular day, I most likely would never had figured out I had to find a way around to the top where the cache actually was.

 

As a result of this sort of stuff on several occasions, I'm much more a garmin than magellan fan.

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quote:
Originally posted by Kite & Hawkeye:

Hmm. Do other people with Garmins have trouble with the rubber grippy part of the casing coming loose? Ours is starting to slide around when we push buttons, which results in some of the gunky glue beneath the rubber getting out occasionally. Is the Magellan case better?


 

I've been using my Magellan Meridian Green since just before Christmas, and I've had no problems with the case. I've used it in many various conditions (Heat, cold, rain, snow, etc etc etc) and in various situations (Caching, driving, biking, hiking, etc etc etc). Well I guess I've had one problem. I dropped it about 5 ft. onto a concrete floor. The case flexed enough to allow part of the rubber gasket around the case seam to pop out. I just loosened the screws and put it back in place.

 

And to answer the main question posed. I've used both a Garmin GPS II+ (my first GPSr) and the Magellan Meridian Green. There are things that I've liked/disliked about both of them. As far as actual reception and such I would say they are comparable..although I never did a side by side test or anything, and no longer have the II+. I think, as most have said, it's really a personal preference about features, size, styling and whatnot.

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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BrianSnat hit on most of the reasons I have my Vista. I don't like the size of the Magellans, although I do love the screens they have. Will I ever go to a Magellan again (first was a Magellan Pioneer)? Maybe. They'll have to come up with a more intuitive design that appeals to me like the eTrex series does, and maybe I will. A SD port would be a great addition, since I like to have far more map on my GPS than I really need. icon_smile.gif

 

Brian

Team A.I.

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