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What Is A Good Gps For $200 Or Less???

Cacher Short
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I am a new geocacher and I wanted to know of a good GPS that I can get for $200 dollars or less. I dont need color or it to be used in a car. Just strictly for geocaching. I have looked @ the magellan Explorists 100, 200,and 300. I have found the diff. between the 100 and 200. I have seen the e trex but havent heard any good about it. But these are all that I have had to really consider. If anyone can help please do.

Thank you,

Cacher Short

Edited by Cacher Short
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The eTrex line is great line of GPS's. The Legend fits right into your price range and would be a fine choice. It has mapping, it's easy to use, durable and compact.


The eXplorist line does not have a data port, which makes them unsuitable for serious geocaching, and even semi serious geocaching. Actually it makes them unsuitable for all but the very ocassional geocacher. I have no idea what Magellan was thinking when they made an entire line without the capability to hook up to a PC.


The Sportrak Map is also in your price range and is Magellan's answer to the eTrex Legend, but the Legend has more memory and holds 1,000 waypoints to the Sportrak's 500.

Edited by briansnat
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eTrex Legend would be my first choice, given your criteria. And you'll have plenty of change left over. The eTrex units are just as accurate as more expensive models, the light weight make them better for backpacking, the thumb-stick is great, and I really like the picture-oriented menu.


The cons: smaller screens, less reception under dense tree cover, and buttons are placed all over the unit.


I definitely think the Legend is the best unit for under $200. If you want something better, scrounge some extra cash and go for the Garmin GPSMAP76S or Magellan Meridian Platinum.


Happy shopping,


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The cons: smaller screens, less reception under dense tree cover, and buttons are placed all over the unit.


The screen can be a problem for someone with poor eyesight, but the superior resolution helps. I use my eTrex under heavy tree cover all the time without a problem. As far as the buttons, I really like their placement, as it makes one handed operation a snap. I have a 60CS now and prefer the button arrangement on the Vista/Legend.

Edited by briansnat
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Go for the Gold!


For most geocachers, the extra stuff that you get with the Meridian Platinum simply aren't worth the extra cost. Is it really vital to have a compass and a barometer built into your GPSr? I have a Magellan Meridian Gold with a 64m SD card in it. It is perfect for geocaching, and with a little patience, can be found used on ebay for a little over $100.00. I carry a compass from Wal-Mart that I paid $2.39 for. I am honestly not all that concerned about barometric pressure while geocaching. The Magellans are somewhat larger than the comparable Garmins, but unless you are seriously concerned about size/weight (backpacking, etc....) then this is the best unit for the money. For some (middle aged folks like me who wear glasses) the extra screen size is actually a plus from the larger units. It is also expandable from a memory standpoint, having a slot for a SD card.


OK, enough blathering on.


My $0.02 somehow expanded to a dollar eighty-three...

Edited by Martindav
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Okay, I have to jump in and say I like my Magellan SporTrak Pro and I got it in June for just under $200.


It's the only unit I've used so I have no way to compare it with the Legend, but I read a lot of reports that say it does better in heavy tree cover -- which I run into a lot when caching. Every SporTrak owner I've seen comment likes it.

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Up until this last weekend I had been using a Magellan Blazer 12 bought on Ebay for $25.00 a few years back. Has served me well, with 63 finds in my first year of caching. Only draw back I found was it would not allow loading the last three digits for the longitude and latitude coords. Had borrowed an Etrex and liked how well it performed and just bought my own this week. They are on sale at Dick's Sport for $99.00. Hope it is a good upgrade.

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we have a Legend and a Sportrack Pro -


I got the Legend for my wife after I had the Pro for a while - wanted her to have some of the fun chasing the arrow.


She hates the satelite screen with the coordinates because the font is so small. Had to get special tinted bi-focals so she could read it on the trail. I don't much like that either but it is usable. Love the tracking on it - hate it on the Pro. You can set it for large numbers for all screens -- >> EXCEPT the most important one - you got it - the coordinates.


The pro has much larger numbers and is easier to read. It has much better reception under the trees. Legends goes dead all the time - Pro has never lost satalite lock. Live in the SF Bay Area - about 75% of my caching is mostly under tree cover. If you have a lot of tree cover where you cache, you might want to consider that.


Legend is a little easier to use (a Windows-like interface) - Pro harder to get used to because of the deep menu system but easy once you get used to it.


I think the buttons area easier to use on the Pro because they are BELOW the screen and you don't block it reaching for the buttons as on the Legend. I do like the joystick on the Legend but my wife had a hard time getting used to using it - still is a little too rough with it. If you are 'fat fingered' person you might want to check that out in the store before you buy it.


So there you have it - both sides of the fence from one person. If you get 100 replies you'll get 50/50 on the Garmin/Magellan argument. You will eventually have to make up your own mind. Everyone loves and defends what they have and are used to - human nature. There are good and bad sides to both units. But these two brands are the top as far as I am concerned.


I have not seen a Garmin color but saw a Pro color on the trail recently (boo hoo - I WANT ONE!) very easy to read screen. The Sportrack series are basically the same unit with different amounts of memory or color screen. You cannot upload maps to the Map. I traded my Map for a Pro so I could upload local maps.


If possible go to a store or stores that have one on display so you can play just a little, get the feel of it -


check out amazon for the Legend - I got mine for about $135.

they have the Color for $235 right now - that's a good price

decent write up description if you scroll down this page -


do a google search on "sportrack color and see what pops up


the explorist series is ok for a starter but you'll likely want to upgrade soon. You can't upload waypoints into these models. This is something you will want to be able to do.


good luck - and happy hunting -


Edited by CompuCash
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I love my litle yellow eTex. I occasionally curse it but I do the same with my wife and children. I've got about 200 finds and have placed six caches with it, left it on the car roof until it fell off at 45MPH, dropped it in a creek, used it in the rain, dropped it in the snow, walked on it, smacked it into innumerable tree trunks and rocks, twice replaced the electrical tape holding it together ... well, you get the idea.


Cost me just under $110 with tax at Target in May '03.

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The pro has much larger numbers and is easier to read. It has much better reception under the trees. Legends goes dead all the time - Pro has never lost satalite lock. Live in the SF Bay Area - about 75% of my caching is mostly under tree cover. If you have a lot of tree cover where you cache, you might want to consider that.


I think this perception comes from people who don't know how to use the eTrex series. I've witnessed people with them clipped to their belt, hanging from the laynard around their neck or just holding them in their hands dangling at their sides, then complaining that they can't keep a sat lock. Of course they can't. The eTrex line likes to be held flat with the face pointing to the sky. For best reception you need to hold it almost like a waiter carrying a tray of beer.


When I first got my Legend I was frustrated by its "poor reception" until someone clued me in that I'm not going to get good reception with it hanging from the laynard around my neck. I do most of my geocaching under heavy, to very heavy leaf cover and I rarely lose a sat lock and if I do, I get it back quickly. Now that I upgraded to the Vista I have equally good performance under trees.


For long hikes, holding the GPS in my hand the entire time was not really possible, so I bought the case from Garmin ($15) and I clip it to the top of my pack's shoulder strap where it lays flat, in optimum position.

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Shop around, see what you can find on sale. There are lots of good arguments for most of the modern units out there today, and just as many arguments against them. Explorist, eTrex, sportrak, meridian, if it's caching you plan to do, you'll easily be able to find them with any of these.


Regarding the arguments on "Reception", I get somewhat of a kick out of the absolutes involved in the arguments. I bought my sportrak in an attempt to get "Better reception" than what I was getting with my eTrex's. It did get better reception in some conditions, but not in all, and the better reception came at the expense of position wander and lag in some conditions, and much more of a tendancy to get completely lost. Not nearly the slam dunk sort of comparison you'd think existed based on many of the posts I see. My own thought process is find the unit that fits your needs function, size, and style wise, then learn to use it in a way that makes the most of it's strengths.


Good luck

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go with the legend! I have one, and although it was stolen in boston this summer wento out same day and bought the same one.

Easy to use, and easy to download waypoints. plus limited mapping built right in, expanded mapping can be purchased for it too. I use it in the car, although I shouldn't because the maps are too small and I'm going to crash someday!

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My first GPSr was the ETrex Legend. It served me well until it decided one day to stop communicating with my laptop?!? I interpreted this as a sign to upgrade. Bought a Garmin 60C which I've been using for about 6 months with great success. Accuracy is much improved vs the legend; battery life about 2x.

Edited by JHutch
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