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Want Hand Held

Red Horn 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I need a unit for general use such as marking spots along inland and Lake Michigan while walking and fishing the shoreline. I want to keep it as simple and light as possible without having a real small screen. I won't have difficulty learning techy functions, so if there are features that will probably become the norm in the near future that would be OK. Have color screens come of age and are they now a distinct advantage over grayscale :?:
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Comments

  • tomj03 0 Points
    Vista HCx is lighter and cheaper.
  • Marc 301 Points
    And unless you really need an electronic compass and altimeter the Legend HCx is even cheaper.
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    And unless you really need an electronic compass and altimeter the Legend HCx is even cheaper.
    I did the comparison on Garmin's site and feel for more $ I won't wind up wishing I had it later. Anyone with first hand knowledge of this feature please chime in. I generally don't carry a compass and have a Marbles and Silva which I have not used in such a long time that I don't know where they are.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    The majority of people don't need an electronic compass, and they can be difficult to use at times. We have more about it here:
    GPS Electronic Compass
  • Marc 301 Points
    Personally I think you are far better off spending 5-10 dollars on an old fashioned magnetic compass. You don't have to calibrate it, it works when your GPS doesn't, which can be a real advantage if you are in the woods and need help getting out. I actually have a 2 buck liquid filled mini compass attached to the lanyard of my GPS.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Agreed. They work much faster too. :)
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    far better off spending 5-10 dollars on an old fashioned magnetic compass. You don't have to calibrate it, it works when your GPS doesn't
    I agree, ty. Decided Electro Compass not needed. Now what about other choices :?:
  • Marc 301 Points
    If you are talking simple and light- you can go down in features from the Legend HCx- any of the Etrex with an H for high sensitivity, depending on what features you want. I would take a look at the Garmin comparison page.

    Going up in cost, features and weight there is the Garmin 60Cx and at the top end in terms of displays the Delorme PN-20.

    I would stay away from the new Magellan Tritons-well as the Garmin Colorado- still too many bugs.
  • Red Horn 0 Points

    Going up in cost, features and weight there is the Garmin 60Cx
    Are there any others that would be a wise choice :?:
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    I still have not selected a unit. Other issues arose and I am now back to fishing and can really use one now. I'm sure a lot has changed model wise. I'd like to keep it under $200 as I may get a better one next year. Recently saw a Delorme PN-20 for $180 at Bass Pro. Is this a good model / price?
    Can you list a couple worth considering?
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    The PN-20 has a nice assortment of imagery (aerial photos, USGS maps) which you can get with a yearly subscription, but it is an older model and has been faulted by reviewers as being very slow to draw the screen. Personally I would stay away from it. The newer model (PN-40) gets very good reviews and is much faster.

    $200 is a pretty low budget. I think you will need to stay within the eTrex line to meet that. And remember, none of these include any maps. Take a look at the free maps at GPSFileDepot.com. They have been created by other users and contributed to the community. Maybe you can find coverage of your area there? If not, it will be hard to meet your budget and also have a map for the GPS.
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    If I stretch to $350 what do you suggest?
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    PN-40 can be had for $330 at Amazon with free shipping.
    If I stretch to $350 what do you suggest?
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    That's a good choice. I also think the Oregon 400t is still on sale at REI for $350. Or if you don't want the pre-loaded US Topo maps or compass, you should be able to find an Oregon 200 for less than $300.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    You can also find the PN-40 for $299 right now.
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    I guess its no surprise they are out of stock at that price :wink:

    Worth a call to crutchfield to double check though...
    You can also find the PN-40 for $299 right now.
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    I am an REI member and have always highly regarded their services. Is it possible to say which is better? 400t or PN-40? Lastly can I get more inherent value if I increase my $ limit even more? I was taught at a young age; "you get what you pay for" and "buy cheap, buy twice".
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Is it possible to say which is better? 400t or PN-40?
    It really comes down to a difference in the screen and presentation. If you want a wide variety of data formats... aerial imagery, NOAA nautical charts, official USGS topos, vector topos, etc-- then go with the PN-40 so long as you don't mind the smaller screen. If you want a nice big screen and ease of operation, go with the 400t.

    Here is a very in-depth comparison of the DeLorme PN-40 with the Garmin Oregon 400t if I might say so. :)
  • The majority of people don't need an electronic compass, and they can be difficult to use at times.
    The one in my 60CSx is very easy to use, lets you know when it's perfectly level and is highly accurate. Lines up exactly with my Brunton type 15 magnetic compass. I've compared the two a LOT and I've only calibrated it twice. Once when I first got it and again after putting the batteries back in when I was done loading maps on SD cards.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    It is a pain to have to calibrate it. Calibration fails periodically. I also frequently swap batteries and you need to re-calibrate when you replace the batteries because each battery has its own unique magnetic field. Having to hold it level is a pain.

    Given that if you need a compass you should have a physical compass anyway-- the electronic compass in the GPS just seems worthless compared to the physical compass which works without any of those headaches.

    If I'm carrying a compass anyway, I don't see the need.
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    I would give anything to try the PN-40 for a few days for navigating streets, thats my only question mark with that unit. It doesnt need to be as fancy as the Nuvi, just get me where I am going would be nice.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    I find using the PN-40 for street navigation pretty useless, while I'm otherwise very fond of the device. It takes minutes sometimes to create routes, the routes it picks are often exceptionally poor, and it if you miss a turn you might as well pull over and wait for it to recalculate. The street database is also very poor overall compared to Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ with many more missing streets and lots of misaligned streets. To me it just isn't worth the effort.
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    I thought Delorme had superior maps overall? I was kind of banking on that fact actually...

    I would say in most cases, I know where I am going, its when you get close to your destination and you arent sure exactly where you are relative to it.
    I find using the PN-40 for street navigation pretty useless, while I'm otherwise very fond of the device. It takes minutes sometimes to create routes, the routes it picks are often exceptionally poor, and it if you miss a turn you might as well pull over and wait for it to recalculate. The street database is also very poor overall compared to Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ with many more missing streets and lots of misaligned streets. To me it just isn't worth the effort.
  • It is a pain to have to calibrate it. Calibration fails periodically. I also frequently swap batteries and you need to re-calibrate when you replace the batteries because each battery has its own unique magnetic field. Having to hold it level is a pain.
    Is it really that hard to put it on a flat surface and rotate it in the same direction twice? Only takes a few seconds.
    If I'm carrying a compass anyway, I don't see the need.
    I like the fact that I can have my magnetic bearing with an arrow to my destination right there on the compass so I don't have to hold/use two things at once. I also like the bearing lock feature where I can sight the two tick marks on a reference in the distance and lock that bearing arrow right on the compass. But, I know you don't use GPS as much as others and prefer to rely on mag compass, map, DR, etc. It's all cool. 8)
  • I find using the PN-40 for street navigation pretty useless, while I'm otherwise very fond of the device. It takes minutes sometimes to create routes, the routes it picks are often exceptionally poor, and it if you miss a turn you might as well pull over and wait for it to recalculate. The street database is also very poor overall compared to Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ with many more missing streets and lots of misaligned streets. To me it just isn't worth the effort.
    And that's a lot of the reason I kept the 60CSx and sent the PN-40 back.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Is it really that hard to put it on a flat surface and rotate it in the same direction twice?
    Apparently, because I get a "calibration failed" message about one out of five times and have to go through the process again.
    But, I know you don't use GPS as much as others and prefer to rely on mag compass, map, DR, etc. It's all cool. 8)
    I sometimes geocache by DR for fun, but otherwise I rely on GPS and keep the compass in pocket. But even still I find little need for the electronic compass. I almost never use it on devices that have it. If I really need a compass heading then I'll use the compass-- I just almost never need it when I have a GPS with me that is tracking a trail or route... I just follow the line.
  • I thought Delorme had superior maps overall? I was kind of banking on that fact actually.
    Superior "regular" maps, but not street maps. NavTeq is the king in North America with TeleAtlas coming on strong and is better in Europe.

    I really wanted to like that little orange PN-40, but I didn't get so far as to downloading satellite or aerial maps. As a GPS, it just felt "funky" overall and my experience with Garmin just "clicked" with the 60CSx. I've never had a product from Garmin I didn't like...yet...
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Regarding the electronic compass on the 60csx... it really didn't impress me either. It drains your battery significantly faster. You get optimal GPS reception with the unit held vertical, but you need to hold horizontal for the compass. But if you like it, more power to ya. That's why they make different models.

    Lordgrinz... "Superior" maps for hiking/exploring are a far different thing from auto navigation. Most of us like real USGS topo's for outdoor use, but many of them have not been updated for 10, 20 or even more years. Not so cool if you're trying to find a house in a new development.

    If you're in love with the PN-40, just plunk down another $100 for a Nuvi 205 or a cheap TomTom and leave that in the car. You will be much better served that way.

  • Apparently, because I get a "calibration failed" message about one out of five times and have to go through the process again.
    Hmmm...haven't seen that yet. It tells you "just right" for the speed of rotation and I haven't had a problem maintaining it.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    I thought Delorme had superior maps overall?
    Not for street maps, unfortunately. With NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas you typically have to look pretty hard to find errors (although you personally don't! :)) but with the DeLorme maps finding errors is pretty easy.
  • If you're in love with the PN-40, just plunk down another $100 for a Nuvi 205 or a cheap TomTom and leave that in the car. You will be much better served that way.
    This is great advice!
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Hmmm...haven't seen that yet. It tells you "just right" for the speed of rotation and I haven't had a problem maintaining it.
    Maybe my magnetic personality throws it off. 8)
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    Yeah but the lack of good TOPO and USGS maps on the Nuvi is really hard to deal with. Somebody needs to make one that can do both street and offroad(1:24k with Buidlings and features) well, the Nuvi 500 is close, but still far away.
    I thought Delorme had superior maps overall? I was kind of banking on that fact actually.


    Superior "regular" maps, but not street maps. NavTeq is the king in North America with TeleAtlas coming on strong and is better in Europe.

    I really wanted to like that little orange PN-40, but I didn't get so far as to downloading satellite or aerial maps. As a GPS, it just felt "funky" overall and my experience with Garmin just "clicked" with the 60CSx. I've never had a product from Garmin I didn't like...yet...
  • Hmmm...haven't seen that yet. It tells you "just right" for the speed of rotation and I haven't had a problem maintaining it.

    Maybe my magnetic personality throws it off. 8)
    LOL I do have to keep the GPS and mag compass a foot or more apart because any closer throws them both off, which is no real surprise.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    The trouble with the "convergence" devices like the Magellan Crossover and the Nuvi 500 series is the form factor. IMHO, a Nuvi 500 just isn't comfortable to hold in your hand like the Oregon, DeLorme PN, or 60CSx is. And the handheld models don't have a big enough screen to be a solid street navigation systems.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    I have to agree with Tim. The requirements for a good automotive unit vs a good handheld are really different. There are just going to be too many compromises to get this all in one package. And all of us would have our own ideas of which features were the most important for each mode of use.

    But beyond that, it isn't going to be cost effective to roll this all into one package. Face it, unless you can accept a LOT of compromises you will need two different tools for two different jobs.
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    Yeah I'll admit I am looking for errors, I like the Nuvi 500 for its street maps and navigation, and not so much for its address lookup, I just find its hiking use severely lacking. Though the new updated TOPO's from Gpsfiledepot were a big plus, it would be really nice if Garmin or someone added all the building structures and terrain info though.
    I thought Delorme had superior maps overall?

    Not for street maps, unfortunately. With NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas you typically have to look pretty hard to find errors (although you personally don't! :)) but with the DeLorme maps finding errors is pretty easy.
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    I actually find the Nuvi 500 to have way too big a screen, I dont spend much time looking at it while driving, just listening. If they made it a little smaller(knock 3/4" off length and width), and added a strap attached to the bottom of it for holding it while walking/hiking, or around the neck, then it would be ergonimically sufficient.
    The trouble with the "convergence" devices like the Magellan Crossover and the Nuvi 500 series is the form factor. IMHO, a Nuvi 500 just isn't comfortable to hold in your hand like the Oregon, DeLorme PN, or 60CSx is. And the handheld models don't have a big enough screen to be a solid street navigation systems.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Though the new updated TOPO's from Gpsfiledepot were a big plus, it would be really nice if Garmin or someone added all the building structures and terrain info though.
    You may as well forget about that, I can't imagine that Garmin will do this. The simple solution is to just allow us to use raster based maps (eg: scans of images), but that doesn't seem to interest Garmin much. In the UK they have introduced a product for the Oregon/Colorado/Nuvi 500 which has scanned OS maps (their equivalent of USGS). So those models do have that capability, but I guess Garmin doesn't find it a big enough market in the US.

    Garmin's maps are all vector based (lines which "connect the dots"). They are just not going to trace every building into that format. And while I know that the USGS topo's are sort of a "holy grail", the location of buildings on most of them is very out of date. I am using 24k US Topos with OziExplorer on two different units now, and have been driving around recently looking at them. The buildings are of more interest from a historical perspective than anything else. In my own area they show all kinds of farm structures which have probably been gone for more than 20 years.
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    The requirements for a good automotive unit vs a good handheld are really different.

    So ideas on best for outdoor uses would be?
  • The requirements for a good automotive unit vs a good handheld are really different.



    So ideas on best for
    outdoor uses would be?
    There is no "best". You just have to compare the features and price point you want.
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    OK, I decided to shoot for a 400i. Comes preloaded with inland lakes which is a plus. Thought long and hard about the 60Cx but want a more modern unit. Also looked at the 76 series but could not find much feed-back on them.
  • OK, I decided to shoot for a 400i. Comes preloaded with inland lakes which is a plus. Thought long and hard about the 60Cx but want a more modern unit.
    Cool. Let us know how it is after you use it in the field. I really looked hard at the Oregon, but they are too new and there were WAY too many complaints about screen readability, battery life and accuracy/signal lock in the many, many reviews I read. And, it's too expensive. Learned my lesson LONG ago about paying mega 700+ $$$ for a GPS (Nuvi 660) and seeing them today for around $200 when you can find them (discontinued), which isn't hard. I got my 60CSx for less than half of what they were going for a couple of years ago when they were brand new and it works great...and all the Garmin firmware bugs we know and love have been worked out! Several geocache sites still rate, to this day, the 60CSx as one of the very best tested, tried and true field GPS units. 8)
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    I think you just missed the sale at REI where they had the Oregon 400t for $350. Not a bad deal. Have seen the Oregon 200 for as little as $250.

    They have just released the Oregon 500 which has a "enhanced sunlight-readable touchscreen" which Garmin says "is brighter and easier than ever to read and use in all conditions". Will be interested to hear more about that. I wonder if they will upgrade the screens on their other models now?
  • I wonder if they will upgrade the screens on their other models now?
    I doubt it. They'll probably just pull a "Nuvi" and introduce MORE models. They've barely cut the umbilical cord on the Oregon and they're releasing yet another new one. :roll:
  • Red Horn 0 Points
    I really looked hard at the Oregon, but they are too new and there were WAY too many complaints about screen readability, battery life and accuracy/signal lock in the many, many reviews I read. And, it's too expensive.
    Oh well, back to the drawing board.
    They have just released the Oregon 500 which has a "enhanced sunlight-readable touchscreen" which Garmin says "is brighter and easier than ever to read and use in all conditions".
    I see a 550 & 550t listed on their site, but no 500. Really don't feel I need a camera.

    I am beginning to think that getting a basic unit to get my feet wet might not be a bad idea. Hell I may even just go with a monochrome display if there are any highly rated ones in this day and age.
  • I am beginning to think that getting a basic unit to get my feet wet might not be a bad idea. Hell I may even just go with a monochrome display if there are any highly rated ones in this day and age.
    Look up the Magellan SporTrak Pro. It's an older non-color unit that has given me many years of excellent service. Rugged and very sensitive/accurate, too. I'm sure they don't make them anymore, but I'll bet lots of places still have old stock and they should be dirt cheap. The base map is still pretty decent to this day and I bought mine in early 2004. I just wanted a fancier color GPS with an electronic compass so, after 5 years, it was time to update. In fact, here's the whole line up! :lol:

    Left to right: OLD late 90's vintage Lowrange Globalmap 100, Magellan SportTrak Pro, Garmin 60CSx. Nuvi 660 and Brunton Type 15 compass on top.

    image
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    I really looked hard at the Oregon, but they are too new and there were WAY too many complaints about screen readability, battery life and accuracy/signal lock in the many, many reviews I read. And, it's too expensive.


    Oh well,
    back to the drawing board.
    Personally I would not go "back to the drawing board" based on the third-hand info from somebody who has never used an Oregon... but that's just me.

    Visit the forums at Groundspeak and you will see that it has a loyal and growing following these days. There have been many firmware updates since some of the initial reviews were written. I have a 60csx and an Oregon, and I never use the 60csx anymorel
  • Personally I would not go "back to the drawing board" based on the third-hand info from somebody who has never used an Oregon... but that's just me.
    There's a LOT more info from just "somebody" out there.
    I have a 60csx and an Oregon, and I never use the 60csx anymorel
    Hmmm...still in the Amazon 30 day return window...maybe I need to go back to the drawing board! :lol:

    But, you have to admit the 60CSx is still a rock solid great GPS. Are you going to sell yours or keep it as a backup? And, I'll admit to being internet search lazy... How does the electronic compass on the Oregon compare? 2 or 3 axis?
  • lordgrinz 0 Points
    Hey equipment junkie, where is our PN-40 review? :P
    Personally I would not go "back to the drawing board" based on the third-hand info from somebody who has never used an Oregon... but that's just me.


    There's a LOT more info from just "somebody" out there.

    I have a 60csx and an Oregon, and I never use the 60csx anymorel


    Hmmm...still in the Amazon 30 day return window...maybe I need to go back to the drawing board! :lol:

    But, you have to admit the 60CSx is still a rock solid great GPS. Are you going to sell yours or keep it as a backup? And, I'll admit to being internet search lazy... How does the electronic compass on the Oregon compare? 2 or 3 axis?
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