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The vendor you bought it from is the first place you should look. If for whatever reason Garmin shows the id of this specific device as only having a limited mapset, then that will only be problematic for future updates. So you need to ensure the vendor sold you what you bought.
I suggest you ask where you bought it from.
I'd call again. Ask for 2nd level support.
I've read that people are using these with no SIM card or data connection as a replacement for a dedicated GPS, specs are impressive and street price a little over $100. No personal experience with them though.
All devices offer exact coordinates. You'll need to check they have the format you want though ... Most normal ones are available so it's only if you want something out of the ordinary.
Let friends and other acquaintances know that you are looking for one. One might just give it to you. You never know.There must be something that will fit my meager requirements... Any ideas?
Probably quite a few of them have older gps's that they don't use any more because they wanted the latest and greatest.
Otherwise I think you will be in the $100 US range plus or minus $20. Even on ebay you can't get a good deal. People bid used cycling gps's up to almost retail price. I know, I've been trying to nab one for my Son.
The cheap phone isn't a bad idea. But if you want to buy a used GPS, you could look for one of the old eTrex H series
The Vista has a compass and altimeter, the Legend does not. Both use the so-called high sensitivity gps chips (as compared to the regular eTrex Vista and Legend that had the older chipset).
Have not looked at pricing, but these are probably the cheapest models with decent chipsets. Of course, it's hard to say what to expect from an old model unit like this, it would be ideal to see it in person but that probably won't be possible. There were various things that broke on these old devices, such as rubber gaskets and switches.
Perhaps you will find good pricing on used Magellan units, they don't get much love. ;) I have a Magellan Triton 1500 that I never use anymore. It has the same SiRFStar chipset as the Garmin GPSMap 60csx which is still very popular (and ridiculously over priced in the used market), I also have one of those.
If you want something more modern, the eTrex 10 has the latest technology chips with GLONASS so you will receive more satellites. It has a monochrome screen and cannot load maps. Looks like Cabellas has it for $80. Perhaps you can find a factory refurb for less (Garmin refurbs have the same warranty as new).
Any modern Garmin handheld will do what you describe (set waypoints, record your track so you can backtrack to the starting point), so I am unclear why you think it won't. Maybe I don't fully understand what you are trying to do. That said, if all you want is a second device as a backup to do the same thing you are doing with your smartphone, why not just buy another cheap outdated smartphone? No cell plan, data plan or sim is required. Just use the wifi to install any apps or maps you want and use the GPS function for recording your hike.
It should be quicker but sometimes it takes a while for the pay servers to 'talk' to the map servers. That said, I hope your device is not one of the models determined to be EOL (End of Life) by Tomtom whereby no more maps or support is available. Check your model here:
Support to call:
Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m EST
You can completely erase - in that case - everything on the present card before updating. Anything an update has placed on a card can be deleted before a new update.
Updating, after all, can be done on a new - and therefore empty - card.