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Thread: Recommended GPS?

  1. #16
    Senior Member woodsxc's Avatar
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    I got my little brother a Magellan eXplorist 200 on sale for $30 at Sports Authority a couple days ago. It seems to do all the basic stuff. Check for clearance sales of last year's models.
    For special purposes a hunting knife is superior, as are double-bitted axes, cavalry sabers, Gatling guns, and dynamite, but the modest mountaineer contents himself with a modest blade. -The Mountaineers (from second edition of FOTH)

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  2. #17
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    "The best just got better" (Garmin 62 claims?)

    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    The rumored Garmin GPSMAP 62 series has just been announced. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145 A very quick comparison suggests that it has the same (or at least very similar) specs to the GPSMAP 78 series.

    It appears to be an improvement over the 60Cx/60CSx. (Similarly, the 78 series is an improvement over the 76Cx/76CSx.)

    Doug
    As the holidays approach I thought I'd bump this thread. I'm finally ready to upgrade from my eTrex and am wondering if there is anything worth looking at that we may not have seen before. How might the new 62 compare to the Colorado ? Thanks. (I appreciate the knowledge/experience/input and understand there may be nothing really new to discuss, just don't want old tech again.)
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  3. #18
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    As the holidays approach I thought I'd bump this thread. I'm finally ready to upgrade from my eTrex and am wondering if there is anything worth looking at that we may not have seen before. How might the new 62 compare to the Colorado ? Thanks. (I appreciate the knowledge/experience/input and understand there may be nothing really new to discuss, just don't want old tech again.)
    The Colorado has a much panned user interface and has been discontinued. I wouldn't get one.

    The 62 appears to be the electronics of an Oregon with a button interface rather than a touch-screen interface. The non-touch screen is more readable than a touch screen in certain conditions.

    "Inside" info on the 62: http://www.gpsfix.net/garmin-gpsmap-62/

    FWIW, IMO the button interface is better than the touch screen for use in the woods. (Think of dirt on the screen, screen abrasion, and the need to use gloves or mittens.)

    Performance-wise, the reports suggest the 62 series to perform at least as well as the 60 series.

    Doug

  4. #19
    Senior Member Guthook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    I'm finally ready to upgrade from my eTrex and am wondering if there is anything worth looking at that we may not have seen before.
    I'm also looking to start learning about GPSes, so this is good to see. What is bad about the eTrex that you have, or what do you want to upgrade? In my quick look at the various models, the Vista HCx seemed to have what I was looking for (tracking my route, visual map, following waypoints, making waypoints, storing them to a mini sd card), but I don't have any experience using these things.

  5. #20
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guthook View Post
    I'm also looking to start learning about GPSes, so this is good to see. What is bad about the eTrex that you have, or what do you want to upgrade? In my quick look at the various models, the Vista HCx seemed to have what I was looking for (tracking my route, visual map, following waypoints, making waypoints, storing them to a mini sd card), but I don't have any experience using these things.
    There are a number of eTrex models--the older ones have significantly poorer reception under reduced skyview conditions.

    Don't even consider any model which is not a modern "high-sensitivity" unit. (The eTrex Vista HCx is ok, but doesn't have as many features as the 60CSx, 76CSx, 62s, and 78s.)

    There are a number of threads about choosing a GPS--I suggest you search for them.

    Doug

  6. #21
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    There are a number of eTrex models--the older ones have significantly poorer reception under reduced skyview conditions.

    Doug
    That's my problem with my older eTrex: spotty reception at best.
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  7. #22
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    That's my problem with my older eTrex: spotty reception at best.
    My first GPS was the original eTrex Vista purchased in 2001. Good for its time, but the current units are dramatically better in a number of ways, including reception of weak signals in poor skyview conditions. The Vista would usually lose lock when under tree cover, my 60CSx almost never loses lock.

    Doug

  8. #23
    Senior Member Guthook's Avatar
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    Okay, good to know. I looked through some of the older posts on the GPS threads, and it sounds like not many people use anything other than the 60CSx. Doug, in an older post you did mention that the eTrex models with H (high sensitivity antenna), C (map sets) and x (memory card, I think) are okay. The Vista HCx fits those criteria. Do you have any experience with the newer etrex models like that? I'm looking at specs for the 60 CSx and the Vista HCx on the Garmin website, and they seem to be practically identical.

  9. #24
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guthook View Post
    Okay, good to know. I looked through some of the older posts on the GPS threads, and it sounds like not many people use anything other than the 60CSx. Doug, in an older post you did mention that the eTrex models with H (high sensitivity antenna), C (map sets) and x (memory card, I think) are okay.
    C denotes color. Unfortunately, Garmin's letter scheme is not consistent across all models, so one should still check their website or other reviews to get the details.

    The Vista HCx fits those criteria. Do you have any experience with the newer etrex models like that? I'm looking at specs for the 60 CSx and the Vista HCx on the Garmin website, and they seem to be practically identical.
    I haven't used the eTrex Vista HCx. (I have an original eTrex Vista, a 60CS (non-high sensitivity), and a 60CSx (the first high sensitivity unit and still the landmark by which others are measured.)

    The feature lists on the Garmin website miss a lot of the details--you may have to read the manuals (available from the website), read reviews, and/or read some of the GPS-oriented websites to get the missing details. The specs of the basic GPSes within the HCx and 60CSx are pretty similar, although they use different GPS chipsets (? for the HCx and SiRF Star III for the 60CSx). However, there are some sizable differences in the feature sets. For instance, the 60CSx will take an external antenna, the Vista HCx will not. The antennas and their preferred orientations are also different.

    Doug

  10. #25
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    I think the substantial advantages of the vista hcx over the 60 csx are 1) lighter and smaller and 2) longer battery life. For a hiking GPS, either of those can be important. the 60 csx may have slightly better GPS performance, but the vista hcx is good enough that it may not matter in real life situations (It won't lock in my office, but always has on the trail). I am not thrilled with the joystick interface on the vista, it works, but is awkward, and particularly tricky when biking. I also find that I regularly push buttons and the joy stick unintentionally, this doesn't matter or effect anything, but it does happen a lot.

    If Garmin is coming out with a button interface 62, that would be worth a look. My guess is that the vista hcx will be much cheaper, in the $200 range.

  11. #26
    Member BF's Avatar
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    I've gone through a similar learning curve as many others here. I also started with the Vista, then the 60cs and now I use the 60csx. I am very happy with the 60csx. Now that this unit has the high sensitivity to lock and stay locked (IMO the biggest problem with the older models.) and the availability to add large amounts of map data onto the chip, I have seen no need to get a newer model. I do not feel like I'm missing anything, yet. For those that are still sorting this out and are price conscious and feel that they would like to own a 60csx, check out EBay. The 60csx can be gotten for $260 new.

    Does anyone here see any drawbacks to purchasing this older model?

  12. #27
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BF View Post
    I've gone through a similar learning curve as many others here. I also started with the Vista, then the 60cs and now I use the 60csx. I am very happy with the 60csx. Now that this unit has the high sensitivity to lock and stay locked (IMO the biggest problem with the older models.) and the availability to add large amounts of map data onto the chip, I have seen no need to get a newer model. I do not feel like I'm missing anything, yet. For those that are still sorting this out and are price conscious and feel that they would like to own a 60csx, check out EBay. The 60csx can be gotten for $260 new.

    Does anyone here see any drawbacks to purchasing this older model?
    IMO, the 60CSx has no fatal flaws. The 62s appears to be slightly better, but I feel no need to rush out and upgrade my 60CSx. If I didn't have the 60CSx and wanted a new/upgrade GPS, there is a good chance that I would get the 62s.

    Doug

  13. #28
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelb View Post
    I think the substantial advantages of the vista hcx over the 60 csx are 1) lighter and smaller and 2) longer battery life. For a hiking GPS, either of those can be important. the 60 csx may have slightly better GPS performance, but the vista hcx is good enough that it may not matter in real life situations (It won't lock in my office, but always has on the trail). I am not thrilled with the joystick interface on the vista, it works, but is awkward, and particularly tricky when biking. I also find that I regularly push buttons and the joy stick unintentionally, this doesn't matter or effect anything, but it does happen a lot.
    The differences in rated battery life are 18 vs 20 hours--not enough to be an issue, IMO. Either will run for a full day on a single set of batteries. (These numbers may include using battery-saver mode. I dis-recommend its use--it decreases the accuracy and increases the probability of losing lock.)

    The display on the 60CSx is larger and has been highly praised for its visibility in both sunlight and by backlight. I don't know if the HCx is as good. (It might be worth comparing them side-by-side.)

    Many joysticks became unreliable on the original eTrex Vistas, hopefully this has been fixed for the HCx.

    The optimum orientation for the eTrex series is horizontal, the optimum orientation for the 60 series is vertical. While I try to position my 60CSx vertically in the top of my pack, I've had no problems if it has shifted into some random orientation. Hopefully the HCx is also sensitive enough that sub-optimal orientation doesn't cause any problems in the field.

    My guess is that many if not most users will find the HCx to be adequate for most of their needs. (FWIW, the 60CSx came out well before the HCx, so the early adopters had only the 60Cx and 60CSx to choose from.) It would certainly be adequate for most of my needs, but there are times when I use features of the 60CSx that are not available on the HCx (eg external antenna).

    If Garmin is coming out with a button interface 62, that would be worth a look. My guess is that the vista hcx will be much cheaper, in the $200 range.
    The current MSRPs are Vista HCx: US$299.99, 60CSx: US$399.99, and the 62s: US$499.99. There is also the reduced feature 62 for US$349.99. (All MSRPs from the Garmin website.) We should also note that the 60CSx and HCx have been available for a number of years and are much more likely to be discounted, while the 62 series is new and discounts will be harder to find.

    Doug

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    The differences in rated battery life are 18 vs 20 hours--not enough to be an issue, IMO. Either will run for a full day on a single set of batteries. (These numbers may include using battery-saver mode. I dis-recommend its use--it decreases the accuracy and increases the probability of losing lock.)
    The vista is rated at 25 hours, so it is a significant difference. The vista battery life is exceptional, so it can run continuously over multiple days. The vista weighs 5.5 oz, and the 60 csx is 7.5, so also a significant difference. The 62st tips in at over 9 oz. Weight may not matter to some, but carrying 9+ oz of GPS is hard to justify most of the time.

  15. #30
    Senior Member spongebob's Avatar
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    I have been using the Garmin Vista HCx for about 2 years, and it is way better for reception than my previous Garmin 76CS.(couple generations difference)

    I am not a fan of the joystick, and the screen seems smaller than my previous GPS. (I am too lazy to check) I actually prefer the form factor of the 76 series.....I am in the minority on this site though with that. But if you are buying a Garmin, and you want the best valued Garmin for money and features this is the best one in my opinion.

    Just remember the base map that comes with the GPS's blow. And you will have to get a some 100k topo maps from Garmin.....Which do the job fine. The best bet is to get the bundle pack.(Just as an example)....or search around for deals on them separately....or you might have the maps already.

    But the Vista HCx does all the basic things I like well.....Well except it does not have a delete VFTT member JayH button....Which maybe they will fix in a future firmware update.
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