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Lowrance Ifinder Go


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I've seen a bunch of recommendations for inexpensive GPSrs. One of them is the Lowrance IFinder Go - probably the cheapest of the 'new' GPSrs. I have been looking on EBay/'Net to find an inexpensive GPSr to introduce my brother to the game, however my price point was $50-75.

 

I finally bit on the IFinder from Tiger GPS - $77 including shipping. I just got the unit today, and played around with it a bit. I have owned a Sportrak Topo ($285) and currently own an Explorist 500 ($280), so I can compare it to them.

 

My first impression from the IFinder is that there's no mistaking that it's a cheap model - the shiny plastic case is visibly lower quality than the other units - looks kind of like a 'playskool' GPSr. The battery case is a bit tough to close, and the AAs are very tight - I don't think there are any illusions to this unit being waterproof (Though the unit is spec'd to meet IPX7 standards, which means it should be waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes). The unit comes in a small box with a abbreviated manual and a lanyard - you can download a very detailed manual online, however.

 

The other item that struck me was the very small type face that the unit has - I'd say (and the pictures really don't do this justice - that the size of type is perhaps 1/2 that of the Explorist. All screens show this small type.

 

Now, for a cheap unit, this puppy packs in the features. It has an 'easy mode' that shows only three 'pages' or navigation screens (map, location & compass), and with advanced mode, it adds in the satellite screen. Add on the 32MB of memory and basemaps, and it's a pretty nice deal. Also there are lots of opportunities to customize the navigation screens, and the unit also has WAAS capabilities.

 

The waypoint entering screen is very intuitive, but the familiar Magellan 'keyboard' is not there, and you must use the up/down keys to scroll through the alpha/numerics listing to enter the waypoint names. In fact, I had initially planned to enter the 20 closest caches to my brother's location, but gave up after 10...

 

I got a good fix within about 2 minutes of 'initializing' the unit. I thought the unit performed well in my short time I used it, though the small type faces started to really bother me, and the contrast/brightness was disappointing as well - I had to change the constrast/brightness from using it in sunlight to using it in the house at night.

 

A photo comparing the IFinder Go to the Explorist 500

01t.jpg.jpg

 

A photo of the Maps on the IFinder - the GPSr location type is very small - you need good eyes for this unit!

02t.jpg.jpg

 

A photo of the two 'satellite' screens - the Explorist was just turned on, thus no fix yet.

03t.jpg.jpg

 

Showing the two 'location' screens - note that the IFinder has 6 customizable items on this screen!

04t.jpg.jpg

 

This shows the comparison of the compass screens. Again, the IFinder has 4 customizable fields to the Explorist's two.

05t.jpg.jpg

 

I don't expect that someone who is really into geocaching will want to keep this unit once they figure out they're hooked, simply due to the lack of a computer interface. Having to punch in waypoints to me is too time consuming and error prone.

 

However, for the money, this looks like one pretty nice unit, and something that you could probably use for a first unit or a backup. Once you decide to upgrade, it looks like you could make most of that $70 back and put it towards a new unit if you tried to sell the used one on EBay.

 

Brian

 

Edit: added a little more detail, fixed broken image link.

Edited by Dosido
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Nice review & good pics :(

 

I haven't had either the GO or the Explorist in my hand yet, and can imagine the casing of the GO would be pretty entry-level material. Hopefully the thing is waterproof as they do claim it is on their website.

 

The tiny text could be a nuisance to deal with, but the maps sure seem pretty amazing considering the thing only cost around $70.

 

I'd be very interested to learn how well the GO and Explorist compare when it comes to grabbing and holding satellite signal lock in various terrains (treecover, etc). They both have patch antennas and are both new models. I would guess they should perform fairly similar.

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Thanks for the info. You have answered a qustion for me that I can't seem to find the answer to. Mainly Does the I findergo have a computer interface. according to the manual at lowrance IT does. I have posted numerous messages here trying to get an answer but have'nt. I even emailed lowrance tech support but just got back a canned reply.(that was a week ago) So thanks again for the update

skillett :(

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Lowrance says it is - should be waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. My only concern was the tight fit on the battery compartment. I'd tend to guess, however, that while I didn't test the waterproof ability of the unit, that Lowrance did. So, I'd go with their findings over my observations.

 

Brian

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In another thread I have been discussing the computer interface on the Go and Go2 units. I called Lowrance and was told that they do have PC interfaces and that you can upload waypoint data. But I am trying to get a confirmation by email about this. I do know that you can buy a PC cable for it.

 

skillett, what was the "canned" reply that you got?

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Here are some pics I took today. I have some of the same impressions that the OP had. The small fonts on the display are a sticking point with the GO and GO2, but overall its a pretty nice unit for the price.

 

GO2

95cc9e3d-9ba6-48b2-9673-37f51d4904d2.jpg

 

The GO2 alongside several other popular units

371eb45c-65ba-4435-bec6-06b5660b94f3.jpg

 

Sat display compared with other units. Note the sat bars in this photo and the above are almost identical to the eTrex

3874eb61-f71d-4386-bc53-935b9f36be1d.jpg

 

Map pages. Vista and H20 have topo. Meri has Streets and Destinations and the GO2 has its base map. You can see the lack of detail in the Go2's map

b6bedeb9-2d9a-4e06-bd7b-723ef9c403c1.jpg

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The pics are interesting. Someone had posted illustrations of just the display and it made the Go look great. But that was just showing the number of pixels basically and did not account for the small size of the Go display. The added pixels are not such a plus if they are so small.

 

But considering price, shouldn't a low end unit be added to the comparison, like maybe the eTrex, even if it doesn't have maps? The Go can be compared to mapping units since it has maps, but a lot of people will buy it as a low end unit (ignoring the maps) because of the price.

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Yes great pics, thanks! But in that particular roundup the iFinder GO2 is a humble Chevy surrounded by Porches & Ferraris though ;) can't forget how much cheaper the GO2 is. It's probably more direct competition to models like the Magellan Explorist 200 or Garmin Geko 201 based loosely on features.

 

By the way briansnat, what has your impression been of the iFinder H20? Could you post an impression of it, perhaps in a seperate thread? :lol:

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By the way briansnat, what has your impression been of the iFinder H20? Could you post an impression of it, perhaps in a seperate thread?

 

I'm pretty impressed so far. I'm not crazy about the "feel" of the unit and haven't taken it out under heavy tree cover yet, but its a very good unit. The topo software that it came with is far better than Garmin's.

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By the way briansnat, what has your impression been of the iFinder H20? Could you post an impression of it, perhaps in a seperate thread?

 

I'm pretty impressed so far. I'm not crazy about the "feel" of the unit and haven't taken it out under heavy tree cover yet, but its a very good unit. The topo software that it came with is far better than Garmin's.

Hows the accuracy of the Topo maps? Im thinking about getting the software...

 

If its pretty accurate and up to date, I might just do so.

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By the way briansnat, what has your impression been of the iFinder H20? Could you post an impression of it, perhaps in a seperate thread?

 

I'm pretty impressed so far. I'm not crazy about the "feel" of the unit and haven't taken it out under heavy tree cover yet, but its a very good unit. The topo software that it came with is far better than Garmin's.

Hows the accuracy of the Topo maps? Im thinking about getting the software...

 

If its pretty accurate and up to date, I might just do so.

I'll let you know when I travel on a few roads that I know are missing on Mapsource Topo.

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I am thinking of getting the Ifinder Go for my 8 year old grandson to do geocaching. He learned how to use my Garmin eTrex Vista very quickly, and was hooked! Do you think the Ifinder Go is as easy to use for entering waypoint coordinates (manually) and finding caches? How about accuracy for locating caches compared to Garmin?

Thanks,

-Dave

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I am thinking of getting the Ifinder Go for my 8 year old grandson to do geocaching. He learned how to use my Garmin eTrex Vista very quickly, and was hooked! Do you think the Ifinder Go is as easy to use for entering waypoint coordinates (manually) and finding caches? How about accuracy for locating caches compared to Garmin?

Thanks,

-Dave

Its very easy to enter waypoints. One nice thing about it is that it has a basic mode and an advanced mode, so a kid can just stick with the basic mode until they learn a bit more.

 

As far as accuracy and reception its as good as any other.

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