Jump to content

Magellan Sportrak map or garmin vista?


Recommended Posts

Yep, another newbie wondering about GPS units..


Is there REALLY any difference between these units? I keep reading that Garmin are easier to use but, Magellan are more accurate...


The unit will be used for geocaching, hiking and a bit for driving.


Thanks for your input!



Link to comment

I think its an apples to oranges thing. I have had very bad luck with my Garmin GPS V and am going to try and exchange it today for another one and see if I have the same results. If so, no more garmins for me. I was out with a fellow cacher who had a Sporttrack and he had lock when nobody else in the party did. I had couple of magellan units (early models) my V and a etrex (green, not sure of the name) The etrex guy has quite a bit of problems with his and lock. I would go with the sporttrack on that comparrison alone but thats me. The garmins have a better resolution screen which I like but that subjective. The biggest thing to look for is the accuracy and how the unit locks on and if it stays locked. My V does not but I think its a lemon. If I get rid of the V I will probably go with a Lowrance iFINDER because I have a Lowrance Global Map 100 and it out performs my V hands down and tied behind its back. My GM100 is 4 years old and I just wanted a change of pace but maybe I should have never switched. I would like more memory also. Keep that in mind. Neither unit you mentioned does not have expandable memory via cards so you will be limited. At anyrate do a search on the subject because its been discussed a 100 times, also look over in the GPS unit forum.



Not so sure, Somewhat new Owner Of a Garmin GPS V Received on 10-03-02

Link to comment

umc, you must have a lemon of a GPS V. I don't have one, but everybody who I know that does, absolutely loves it.


In response to Kixy's post. I have the Garmin ETrex Legend and really like it. I hear the SportTrak Pro is a fine unit as well, so you won't go wrong with either. I think when you are referring to Garmin accuracy, most people are talking about the ETrex line. The patch antenna does sometimes lose the sat lock under very heavy tree cover, but it picks it up again very quickly. The other Garmin models do not have the patch antenna, hence get better reception under a heavy canopy.


I like the Etrex because of its ease of use, durability, compact size and light weight.


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

Link to comment

I've done extensive research on the Vista and SporTrek. I've downloaded both manuals and printed them both off. Online research is extensive. Santa is going to provide me with a SporTrek for Christmas. While the Vista is roughly 100 bucks more, it doesn't have the technology that the SporTrek has. Specifically the antenna used on the Vista is a simple patch antenna. The antenna on the SporTrek is a quadra-helix antenna. This makes for better finding all around. I've read online many instances of the SporTrek locking to sats while in ones home. Also, another feature of the SporTrek is it has audible alarms. I like to ride my bike down trails to find cache and it's annoying to have to constantly look at my coords. With the SporTrek, I'll be able hear a bell when I am close (you set up how close you want it to be when it beeps). The screen on the SporTrek is a bit bigger but the resoution on the Vista is a bit prettier (not much). The Mapping included in the SporTrek is better then the Vista in that it comes stock with more things like parks and obstructions. When it comes down to it, it's silly for me to spend 100 bucks more on older technology. The SportTrek clearly out performs the Vista.. If it's performance you're looking for (get it, looking for) the clear choice is the SporTrek. Want proof? Check it out:

Great review complete with stats.

Link to comment

I've had my Legend get a lock in my living room and one time I pulled it out of my pocket, execting to have to wait for a lock and it already locked and ready.


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

Link to comment

Here's my $.02 worth and I'll charge even less....


In your shoes I would physically look at the following in no particular order:

SportTrak series, 76S, Platinum and the V.


IMO, the only advantage of the E-Trex series is size. The etrex patch antenna and lack of external antenna port kils it for me. And as the owner of a 76S (and quite happy) I have NOT found the size to be an issue. I think the size, for me, is preferencial to the etrex line. I have used mine hiking, canoeing in the BWCA, flying privat & commercial, driving, caching, hunting and biking.... For this compilation of activities, the 76S is perfect for me. The only time I wish I had something different is when driving, then I wish I had autorouting.


BTW, the only software I have is Topo and it serves me very well Urban and Rural.


The top accessories (which can be aquired over time) have been:

1) Topo (or whatever OEM map software you choose)

2) RAM mount (awesome addition for canoeing and biking, also plan to take it snowmobiling this winter. Very good deal for the $)

3) GPSGEEK antenna. My 76s has excellent reception in the woods w/o antenna, but this external antenna increases accuracy when placing a cache in the woods and when searching in the most dense of woods. I do NOT use the antenna while driving, the 76S does just fine in my cars. This antenna can be found on ebay. For more info on how this antenna compares to the Mighty Mouse or Garmin's antenna, do a search under my user name and you'll find some interesting antenna posts. Mine cost ~$30, much less than MMII or Garmin and just as effective.


Whatever you choose, enjoy. Again I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU GET TO A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN PHYSICALLY SEE AT LEAST A SPORT TRAK COMPARED TO A 76 OR V & PLATINUM. Garmin & Magellen do things a little different and the screen resolutions are dramatically different. You'll have to choose which combination you like best.


All of this is just MY Opinion.... I think this grew to more like $0.05 worth... icon_biggrin.gif


"Never have a philosophy which supports a lack of courage..."49061_400.gif

Link to comment

my partner at work has the legend, and i have the spotrak pro. when entering manhattan he loses signal completely, and has a hard time regaining. my sportrak maintains a signal under same exact conditions.


he also complains of signal loss under light tree canopy. i have not had that problem. as i type here.. my unit is showing 5 satts in my living room.


sportrak map vs pro.. pro for the memory.

platinum vs sportrak pro.. plat for expandable memory.


i went with the pro for price vs options. it has plenty of memory for me. may upgrade in the future, and give wife the pro.


just babbling here, but good info.





"Fire burns, and when it rains... you get wet."

Link to comment

If you can get the Vist for the same price as the SporTrak map your better off with the Vista, but I found that the SporTrak Pro was closer to the price of a Vista, and for the money the SporTrak Pro is probably better. It has a larger screen and keeps its coverage better. If you have an unlimited budget go for the Garmin GPS V. It is awesome.

Link to comment

I took a photography course about 20 years ago and the instructor said;" Most newbies want to know what is the best camera to get for XXXX Photography. As long as it's a SLR it really doesn't matter. By the time you get experience, you will know what you want and need".


I think the same is true for GPSrs. They are all the same, and they are all different. As you gain skill you will use any strengths and work around any weaknesses that the unit has. By the time you've been at it for about a year, you'll know what you need and want.


I would really rather NOT believe!

Link to comment

1)If the etrex line sucked that bad at reception, Garmin wouldn't be able to sell them.


2)If size matters to you, get the eTrex. I looked at the Vista and SporTrak Pro online - and then I went to outdoorworld and saw what a monster the Pro was. I'm not a "professional" GPS-er. When I find that my Vista has shortcomings, I'll get a new GPSr. And by that time, I'm sure technology will be better anyway and I'll give my Vista to some youngin' to pique his/her interest in the outdoors.


3)Vista is completely useable in 1 hand. I didn't realize how convenient it would be to use the gpsr with 1 hand and hold up a map, or be reading a printout of a geocache, etc.. Unless your hands are huge enough to reach the buttons while holding up the Pro.. sorry..


4)Vista felt ALOT more rugged. I'm not afraid to drop it (well o.k. i am but that's because it's shiny and new). I definately would be afraid to drop the Pro.


Opinions based on experiences with eTrex Vista...

Link to comment

From my experiences, the sportrak is the way to go. It's a brand new product line, whereas the eTrex has been around for a while, so the technology is much newer overall. What people are saying about reception is definitely true: the antenna on the Sportrak is MUCH better! Don't think of the antenna as just one of many components on the GPS: if you can't get reception out in the woods on your eTrex, what good is it at all? The antenna is crucial! Also, pricewise, check out Tigergps.com, they have the Sportrak Pro for only $233 with a $50 rebate on top of that. Definitely cheaper than the eTrex!!

Link to comment

i used the garmin vista this past year when i hiked on the continental divide trail for 5 months. i had loaded 400 waypoints using the topo software prior to starting out. NEVER had any problems what-so-ever. definately came in handy when we were out of water and lost, which was pretty much every day. still, a gps is no substitute for a map and compass. ya' gotta carry all three.

Link to comment

$289.99 for:

Sportrak Pro

MapSend USA Streets and Destinations

Windshield mount

12v external power cable that will snap into the windshield mount

Cover with clipin/clipout belt clip. Until you've used one of these, you don't realize how nice and handy they are. Has a positive clipin lock so that the GPS won't accidentally fall of your belt. When caching, I set the proximity alarm to 250ft, clip it on my belt and off we go.

Wrist lanyard (attaches to the D ring on the battery door.)

Data cable (serial)

Costco prints out a nice $50 rebate form for you to send in (limit 3 per household). When you add up the price on all the extras (of which I use every single one, they're all necessities in my opinion), it's a rather sweet deal.



"Everyone spends time in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...