Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Discussion about software such as GSAK, OziExplorer etc, as well as all things hardware, GPSrs, laptops, PDAs, paperless caching, cables etc
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jabes7
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Post by jabes7 » 01 December 07 11:33 am

I am fairly new to geocaching, and bought a Garmin etrex (new) on ebay for $169 (plus postage) as I didn't want to spend big bucks initially, not being sure that I'd really become hooked. I'm hooked. I bought a generic cable off ebay for under $20 that goes to my computer, and also plugs into the cig lighter to preserve battery life while in the car. I then bought a 2nd hand PDA from ebay which I'm very happy with.

For maps I use google, but I can see that having maps in the GPS would be very desirable. Down the track I will update, but for starting out I am very happy with the etrex, and have had no problems with the cable which was MUCH cheaper than buying the real thing. If you are interested in the cable seller just put in GPS cable and it will come up.
Edit to add ebay cable seller: gfc_u_no_me

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Post by EvilDan » 04 January 08 2:26 pm

For what it's worth, you can't go past the eTrex Venture CX.

They're available for under A$200 from the USA.
eg http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Garmin-eTrex-Ven ... dZViewItem

Colour screen, takes a MicroSD card (I bought a 1GB for $15), very easy to use, supports autorouting, USB plug, etc. I use a $15 Motorola car charger to USB to power it and it's perfect.

Along with a copy of Mapsource City Nav Australia (pirated) it's fantastic. Very easy to find an address, have it navigate you turn by turn, etc.
Screen is a fraction smaller than the others but it has loads of features.

That's the one I'd recommend!

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gmj3191
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Post by gmj3191 » 07 January 08 12:54 pm

I started out using a Legend in 2002, for Geodashing and Geocaching. It satisfied most of my needs, but after after about 4 years the clickstick started to play up and become intermittent. I have now replaced it with a GPSMap 60 CSx which is fantastic. I also bought a copy of City Navigator.

The big improvement is now using it's ability to navigate me me to the general vicinity. If you are alone in a car and in an unfamiliar earea, it is both time wasting and dangerous to keep referring to a paper map. The CSx takes care of that nicely, and I am often surprised by the level of detail in country areas.

There are also numerous handy features such as the Recent Find list, the ability to have almost infinite tracks recorded onto the microSD card, the superior satellite lock over that of my Legend, and its just a helluva lot of fun to use.

The basic operation is not much different to the Etrex line in its simplest form, but there are lots of extra features to be constantly discovered, which is fun in itself.

The 60 CSx is not cheap however, and you really also need City Nav maps as well to get the most out of it. I also have Shonky and a few others loaded into it too. You could save a few hundred dollars by buying from the US as the basemap won't get used once you install other maps.

The batteries last way longer than those in the Legend, but I do tend to run it off the cig lighter when in the car, as this keeps the back light on and saves the batteries.

USB communication is bliningly fast copared to the old serial port on the Legend, but I guess all the new ones are USB now.

Anyway, that my view on this. Also, there seems to be much more support for Garmin in terms of internet resources such as downloads and newsgroups which someone else also mentioned.

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murf
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Post by murf » 18 January 08 8:15 am

OK, can someone please play salesman/devils advocate/whatever and tell me what I am missing... (Apologies up front if this gets a bit ramble-y)

My trusty old GPSII+ is reaching the end of its useful life, and I have approval to replace it. I'm looking for another shiny new Garmin, and have been doing some reading and looking at some comparisons:

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do? ... 19&cID=145
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=8717
https://www.ja-gps.com.au/gpscomparison_colour.html

This leaves me with a dilemma. When I was dreaming about getting a new GPS a little while back, I had a quick look around and convinced myself that the 60CSx was the ducks nuts, and didnt look any further. After looking at the above comparisons, and reading a few other reviews, it appears that the eTrex Vista HCx has a different chipset, which may possibly be "better" than the SIRFIII in the 60CSx. Looking at the rest of the comparisons, it seems that the Vista is:
- smaller (good thing as far as weight etc goes, not so good about a smaller screen, but I dont think thats a huge issue)
- lighter
- better on batteries
- cheaper

So, can someone please tell me what I would be paying the extra US$100 for if I got a 60CSx? Because I just cant see it...

The other thing that throws a spanner in the works is the new Colorado. But there is an even bigger jump in price from the Vista to the Colorado... Im sure the paperless geocaching mode would be -very- nice, but what other features make it worth the extra US$210 over the Vista?

In summary: Can anyone tell me why I -shouldn't- go for a Vista HCx? Money isn't that big a problem, I just want to know why you would spend that much extra on a 60CSx or Colorado, when the Vista seems better in some ways for less money?

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Map Monkey
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Post by Map Monkey » 18 January 08 9:07 am

Just remember that the 60CSx has a larger screen (although still almost the same pixel numbers), and may or may not be of use dependant on eyesight and the Colorado has an even larger one again :P Make sure you view the Vista Hcx in person before deciding on that route as it may be the persuading factor.

The 60CSx also has an external antenna connection which the etrex series never had....this may be of use depending on your circumstances.

The 60CSx works better held vertically and the Vista Hcx works better held horizontally, due to their antenna types, and this may be an important consideration.

Another reason you are paying more for the 60CSx is that it was released long before the Vista Hcx, and the RRP doesn't change too much with Garmin, not until they are intending to discontinue the version anyway.

BTW the Chipsets are similiar in performance eg sensitivity etc, yet the newer chipset of the Vista Hcx uses less power, hence the increase in battery life. It would be hard to compare performances of both these chipsets using these Units as they have different antenna setups ie quad helix vs patch antenna. At the end of the day, most users will not see the difference in performance between the units unless in the right circumstances and they will both find most caches effortlessly, caching Gods willing. :wink:

Sounds like you want the Vista Hcx..... :P

Hope this helps

mm

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murf
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Post by murf » 06 February 08 8:27 pm

Thanks for the input MM, it was great advice as it turned out.
Just a bit of a followup...

In the end, I managed to find a shop that had a 60csx and an etrex (I think it was actually a legend, but they are similar in setup). After holding both, I am now the proud owner of a 60csx.

Why? This was what swayed me:
- Ergonomics / controls. I just couldnt get my hands around how the etrex was meant to work. If I went to use the controls, my hand ended up over the screen and I couldnt see what i was doing
- external antenna connection - may or may not end up being essential, but I figured it was useful to have
- serial output - again, not essential, but it was nice to know that my existing cables from my GPSII+ would still work and let me drive my iPaq
- bigger screen - ok, not much bigger, but it was still a slight advantage

There wasnt much in it in the end, but I was happy to pay the extra. If money was really an issue, I probably would have still been happy with a Vista Hcx.

And in case anyone is wondering, I ended up buying from the US. http://www.jandhproducts.com

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Post by Bundyrumandcoke » 12 March 08 10:07 am

The aussie dollar at the moment has to come into play for importing. A few months ago, I bought a GPS60CSx from the states- landed here by EMS for AU$440. Best local price I could find was around $800. Thats when the dollar was around the 94 UScent mark.

All my original hardware- mount, cable, ect, from the GPS60 fits the new one, which was a contributing factor in my decision for the CSx.

Cheers
Bundy

dead_reckoning
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Post by dead_reckoning » 22 April 08 6:56 pm

I will be buying my very first GPS in a few weeks time, but can't decide which one to go for.
I've read many reviews on all types of Garmin, and I think I've narrowed it down to either the etrex Vista HCX or etrex Legend HCX.
The reason I chose these two were because of the long battery life, light-weight, fairly detailed maps. (which is good for the long hiking trips I go on).
So which ones better?
Or are there other GPS systems I should consider?

Thanks :)

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Post by rhinogeo » 22 April 08 8:21 pm

dead_reckoning wrote:I will be buying my very first GPS in a few weeks time, but can't decide which one to go for.
I've read many reviews on all types of Garmin, and I think I've narrowed it down to either the etrex Vista HCX or etrex Legend HCX.
The reason I chose these two were because of the long battery life, light-weight, fairly detailed maps. (which is good for the long hiking trips I go on).
So which ones better?
Or are there other GPS systems I should consider?

Thanks :)
<p>I bought a Vista HCx from the US last year to upgrade from the Venture I'd been using from my 6th find and am very happy with the new unit</p><p>With the discount it's less expensive than the Legend at $US 232.99 + postage :) . A grat deal from <b> Geomangear</b> IMHO 8)

dead_reckoning
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Post by dead_reckoning » 24 April 08 8:28 pm

Thanks Rhino, especially for the link! :D
I think I might head this way. Does shonky maps worth with this? I've heard most maps are expensive to by for garmins. are there other freeware for the garmin vistas?

VKC1SR
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Post by VKC1SR » 08 July 08 6:42 pm

I purchased the Colorado 300 a couple of months ago. Very happy with it. It appears to be a new version of the 60CSX. It comes with base maps for the world. They are not very good for here but would get you from major town to town. I purchased city navigator to go with it.
The unit I imported from the States, there is no difference between them for different countries. I had the unit posted to my door for $500au. A big saving. :D I purchased city navigator from here for $190au.
I had 1 issue and that was the map datum, I couldn't find wgs84. :cry: You select no map datum but then it has an option for Spheroid and that is where wgs84 is. :P
All in all this is a great unit and easy to use. No need to buy extra cables to connect to pc, just use USB. It has built in geocaching function and the new Whereigos.
I would recommend it to any one.
cheers
Adrian

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Craig
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Post by Craig » 11 July 08 9:07 am

rhinogeo wrote:I bought a Vista HCx from the US last year to upgrade from the Venture I'd been using from my 6th find and am very happy with the new unit.

With the discount it's less expensive than the Legend at $US 232.99 + postage :) . A grat deal from Geomangear IMHO 8)
How quick was their postage? Their website is quoting me $50 for surface, don't think I can wait a couple of weeks :shock:

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Post by rhinogeo » 11 July 08 9:50 am

Craig wrote:
rhinogeo wrote:I bought a Vista HCx from the US last year to upgrade from the Venture I'd been using from my 6th find and am very happy with the new unit.

With the discount it's less expensive than the Legend at $US 232.99 + postage :) . A grat deal from Geomangear IMHO 8)
How quick was their postage? Their website is quoting me $50 for surface, don't think I can wait a couple of weeks :shock:
I only paid $25USD for express postage from Geomangear and had it in less than a week 8)

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Post by rhinogeo » 11 July 08 10:21 am

rhinogeo wrote:
Craig wrote:
rhinogeo wrote:I bought a Vista HCx from the US last year to upgrade from the Venture I'd been using from my 6th find and am very happy with the new unit.

With the discount it's less expensive than the Legend at $US 232.99 + postage :) . A grat deal from Geomangear IMHO 8)
How quick was their postage? Their website is quoting me $50 for surface, don't think I can wait a couple of weeks :shock:
I only paid $25USD for express postage from Geomangear and had it in less than a week 8)
I'd send them an email and query that shipping rate ... $50.50 seems a bit steep and it certainly shouldn't be Surface at that rate :shock:

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Craig
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Post by Craig » 11 July 08 3:26 pm

rhinogeo wrote:
rhinogeo wrote:
Craig wrote:How quick was their postage? Their website is quoting me $50 for surface, don't think I can wait a couple of weeks :shock:
I only paid $25USD for express postage from Geomangear and had it in less than a week 8)
I'd send them an email and query that shipping rate ... $50.50 seems a bit steep and it certainly shouldn't be Surface at that rate :shock:
That's what I thought! Will shoot them an email early next week and find out what the go is.

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