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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SeabreezeOZ
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by SeabreezeOZ » 01 November 12 9:47 pm

For several years and up till recently we have been using Garmin Etrex Legend HCx Mapping and I loved it, only thing was the screen was a little bit small. Unfortunately, i have miss placed it, i think i left it on a Qantas plane coming back to WA from Sydney, i dont think ill ever see it again.
I loved the colour topo maps and being able to connect to the computer to download caches etc. The navigation while driving was a bit dodgy, sometimes it would send you 20 or thirty ks down a road, u turn you and send you back to .5k of where you started, so double checking the route was always imperative. The mapping software MapSource is a bit clunky and has poor resolution but is great for storing all your waypoints once you fill up the memory
Since i got my iphone and geocaching app, i have made this my primary geocaching tool, i love being able to switch to sat map to get a pinpoint on a cache, also its great for driving navigation, depending on mobile reception.
I am now researching a new gps and am very tempted to get the Garmin Montana 650T, huge 4inch screen, colour topo maps, pre loaded caches with full descriptions for paperless caching, bluetooth connectivity etc and many more features. This has a new mapping software which i have not looked at yet but i would expect its an improvment on Mapsource. Now available on Ebay for $670 free del, overnight courier, very good deal.
I am however holding off for the moment as i want to research the gps performance of the new iphone 5 and also a windows 8 phone. If these machines can access satelites without a mobile signal then i will have my new solution.
regards, Team SeabreezeOZ

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gmj3191
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by gmj3191 » 01 November 12 10:14 pm

If you put your name and address on the start screen, there's still hope ....

GazaC
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by GazaC » 25 April 13 3:32 pm

Has anyone gotten thier hands on one of the new Oregon 600 units yet?
They look good and I am certainly interested in getting one, but want to hear some field reviews not attched to the Garmin marketing machine before I jump in.

HHHEddy
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by HHHEddy » 02 May 13 7:29 pm

Just ordered one from JA, now playing the waiting game.

Needed a new one since my Oregon 550 died, water ingress. They don't seem to like that very much.
Sadly disappointed given the brief second or two in the water it should have survived it's dunking. The worst part being it worked for the next 30 minutes before the batteries went flat. Not realising there was water in the unit, it was left for a week before the batteries were changed and a new GPX file was to be loaded. It started but locked up on the splash screen (no pun intended), there endeth the 550. It had a good life travelling far and wide.

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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by GazaC » 05 May 13 5:04 pm

let us know if the new one lives up to the hype

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mtrax
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by mtrax » 06 May 13 11:02 am

Apart from JA and Cartographics any other retailers going to stock the Oregon 600?

HHHEddy
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by HHHEddy » 07 May 13 3:17 pm

Will let you know how it handles once I have it in my hands.
JA are expecting delivery of the Oregon 600 on the 13th so all going well I should see it a couple of days later.

therofes
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by therofes » 02 October 13 11:56 pm

The kids and I were bitten by the geocaching bug a few months back after reading about it in the July 2013 issue of RACV's Royal Auto magazine. We've been geocaching almost every weekend since, using c:geo on a cheap Huawei smart phone. This set-up has been reasonably successful, and relatively easy to use, but the accuracy of the Huawei's GPS seems to be somewhat questionable and the display is quite difficult to see in bright sunlight.

I've been thinking about purchasing a GPSr, and was attracted by the specs of the Oregon 600. I can pick one up from JA for $395 shipped, but I'm going to have a hard time justifying a spend of approx. $400 to the missus. So the Oregon 600 will have to stay on the wish list for a while... I'm looking at a choice between the Oregon 450 and the Etrex 30 instead, and was hoping for some advice.

I think I'm a touch-screen kind of guy (although I've only just migrated from a button phone to a smart phone this year). However, I've heard that the Oregon 450's display can be a little difficult to see in bright sunlight compared to the Etrex 30's display. In addition, the Etrex 30 looks like it might be a little more rugged and therefore more suitable for the kids to carry. But I'm concerned that I'm going to shell out for the Etrex 30, and then find myself cursing that I didn't go for a touch-screen when I'm trying to enter coordinates or scroll through menu options.

I'm not really interested in a camera, but I find I use the compass function in c:geo a lot, so an electronic compass would be handy. GLONASS is not necessarily a must, but any improved accuracy over my current set-up would be nice.

At the bargain-basement end of the scale, I was at Dick Smith's today and they have the Magellan Explorist 110 for $98. I see that it doesn't have a compass, or the ability to add maps, or an SD slot, but thought it might be worth giving it a try for the price. However, I've read reviews that the joystick / enter button combo is a bit sticky. Two questions I have about that unit: 1) I read a review that said that you can use the "Send to GPS" function on Geocaching.com to get caches onto the device (I thought that only worked with Garmins), and 2) is it possible to update the basemap on this (or any other) GPSr, or are you just stuck with what's loaded onto the device at the time of purchase?

Still leaning towards the Oregon 450 or Etrex 30 though. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

geo_jas
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by geo_jas » 04 October 13 9:59 am

I've had an etrex 30 for about a year now and I'm very happy with it. The joystick takes a bit of getting used to and the screen is a bit small at times but otherwise fantastic.

The GLONASS gives great accuracy and I've loaded openstreetmaps which is great in my area for both roads and walking trails.

I'd like to have a touchscreen at times but I picked mine up on frequent flyer points so can't complain.

I found the best thing was the accuracy over my old smart phone. A lot less wandering around in circles with the GPS trying to make up it's mind but and GPSr will give you this.

I'd suggest trying to have a go at the joystick control to see if you can live with it. I'm used to it now but out took a little while to get set up.

Good luck and happy caching. I'm sure you won't be disappointed with whatever you choose.

Jason

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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by therofes » 05 October 13 1:40 am

Thanks for the advice geo_jas, much appreciated.

Just having a quick look at the Etrex 30 specs, the screen is 5.6cm diag, which seems pretty small. Whereas the Oregon 450 is 7.6cm diag, which is about the same as my smart phone (and I find that difficult enough to focus on at times). Do you find the Etrex display a bit pokey? And with lower resolution than the Oregon 450, does that make things even worse?

I can pick up an Etrex 30 for AUD $250 shipped from a couple of different Australian retailers. And I just noticed that Harvey Norman stock the Etrex 30 with bonus Aus/NZ topo maps for AUD $284. Given the small display size, how useful would topo maps be on the Etrex 30?

Probably another thing to take into account is kid-friendliness. My kids won't be the primary users of the GPSr, but they do like to take turns holding the smart phone and reading the compass when we're out caching. The Etrex units look reasonably rugged, yeah? And how easy do you think it would be for kids to navigate some basic menus and options?

Any point considering the Explorist 110 at DSE for $98, or am I just going to be hopelessly disappointed?

Cheers,

Justin

geo_jas
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by geo_jas » 05 October 13 9:06 pm

The screen is a bit small and could be an issue if you plan on using it a lot for reading descriptions and logs. I tend to use my phone to read cache descriptions and logs and the GPS for compass navigation once I get close.

The touch screen would be much easier for the kids to navigate than the etrex menus. I give the etrex to the kids set on the compass and let them go. They're not overly interested in choosing things by themselves.

I tried the topo but I prefer the openstreet maps. I found the topo lines confused the track lines.

The Oregon is probably a better unit from what I've seen but for me the etrex does just what I need from it.

I've never played with one but I would have considered the explorist if the etrex wasn't on frequent flyers. I would think the best bet would be to go into the shops and have a play or better still if you could catch up with some other cachers for a look at their GPS's. Events work well for this.

Hope I've helped a bit. Good luck

Jason

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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by tmc_aus » 17 October 13 11:26 am

After 12 years with my Magellan Meridian GPS ive finally upgraded so something a little faster. (Ok a lot faster by comparison!)

I couldnt go passed the deal at Harvey Norman; Ive just picked up the Etrex 30 + The topo maps for $284.

Ive been playing with it the last few nights and it will take some getting used to, moreso using Basecamp (yuk!)... The GPS is self intuitive.

I havent had it out bush yet but even with the smallish screen i think this will be a great performer and for the cost, given my last GPS cost me about 4 times as much im really impressed with it! Now i just need it to last at least 3 years and it will be better value for money so to speak :)

Travis.

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tronador
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by tronador » 30 October 13 10:08 pm

Rays Outdoors has the Etrex 10 on sale for $79.00

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gmj3191
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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by gmj3191 » 31 October 13 4:04 pm

tmc_aus wrote:After 12 years with my Magellan Meridian GPS ive finally upgraded so something a little faster. (Ok a lot faster by comparison!)
I couldnt go passed the deal at Harvey Norman; Ive just picked up the Etrex 30 + The topo maps for $284.
Ive been playing with it the last few nights and it will take some getting used to, moreso using Basecamp (yuk!)... The GPS is self intuitive.
Travis.
You can probably get away without using Basecamp.
I load my Oregon with GSAK and if you don't have that you can probably do it with Windows Explorer and raw GPX files from Pocket Queries.
I have only ever looked at Basecamp from a curiosity perspective and never used it in anger.
I think anyone who is geocaching and doesn't use GSAK is hobbled.

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Re: Newbie thread: Which Garmin handheld GPS to buy?

Post by rudi63 » 01 November 13 12:13 pm

I have recently purchased an Oregon 600 to replace the 550 (long story). Last weekend I used it in "anger" for the first time and I could not be happier with the unit. The screen can be veiwed in nearly all light conditions, including bright sun light. The configurable buttons on the side make jumping between map, compass, description, log pages really simple. I also use it as the GPS for the bike, and the ability to view the map in landscape orientation is a bonus. The changable dashboard on the map means that you can have the dashboard that suits the activity being undertaken.

Purchased from Prestige Communications in Perth, great service, free delivery and best price I could find at the time. ($410).

All in all, very happy with this unit and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone

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