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3.6 out of 5 stars37
3.6 out of 5 stars
Style Name: With TOPO UK, Ireland Light Map|Change
Price:£297.94+ Free shipping
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Style Name: Standard|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a map and compass kind of guy who learnt the basics in the army, but with the advent of technology it is impossible not to get drawn in. If truth be known I love gadgets.

I have been using this little device for a number of weeks now, trying to eke out its good points and find the shortcomings. Now that the weather has turned for the better I have been dragging out the children for a bit of intensive Geocaching and playing catch up.

I have been running it in comparison with a iPhone 5S and a Garmin eTrex 30.
Ok, the iPhone has an acceptable function as a GPS but it just does not warrant being spoken of in the same breath or being compared in accuracy so that's the last time I will mention it.

The eTrex is all buttons whereas the Oregon 600 is a touch screen. While I know my way around the eTrex the usability of the the touch screen is so much better, so much more functional and is easier to use. This is probably down to the fact that my last 6 or 7 mobile phones have been touch screens. It is what i have become used to.

The Oregon is also quite a bit bigger in the hand and feels bulkier but not too big that it becomes a burden. The menu system is generally Ok when flicking between screen or setting the device up but Garmin needs to refine this a little more and make the breakdown of the menus more intuitive.
Sometimes what you expect should be there is hidden in another sub-menu. They could learn a little from Apple or Samsung.

I have now been able to use the device in bright sunlight! The screen handles it fairly well but don't expect Retina or Super Amoled screen clarity, it is more `second generation' colour screen technology. While the screen is bright, really bright sunlight washes it out, so a bit of shade helps. If you are used to handbag sized phones this screen will feel a little small and cramped.

Much of the screen size is down to battery drain, a bigger brighter screen and you would need to carry a rucksack full of batteries with you.

It does boot up quickly and finds where it is within a reasonably quick time. The map can get blurry and grainy when you zoom in as it is like an overlaid photocopy of a paper version.

However, notwithstanding that fact, the quality of a GPS is in how accurate it is, and this is accurate, I would like to think to within maybe two meters. I have compared it to the GPS that I use when I fly and accuracy is good. It helps that it can lock on to the American GPS and Russian GLONASS.

Extras include an alarm clock and and calculator thought these have limited value to me but might just appeal to someone else. There is even an installed program for a way to walk round an area and then calculate the size of the area. Man overboard? I have sailed in my time but would it be necessary or should you be looking at a maritime dedicated device. I reserve judgement on the photo viewer.

Preloading the device with Geocache stashes is straight forward and easy when you know how either wirelessly or by cable, though for speed I tend to stick with the cable.

It is a shame that the device does not come preinstalled with a proper UK map data base, though if you have looked to purchase a full set of 1:500,000 for the UK you will know that it comes in at around £200 or more. Luckily there is an open source alternative, it has a little less polish than the OS maps but does the job and costs nothing. It might be worth looking at those that offer a discounted deal for the maps at the time of purchase.

Installation of maps can be a little confusing to the uninitiated but there are many websites that offer a guide to installation.

In conclusion, it is accurate and portable though maybe a little heavy to hang around your neck. Garmin could improve the device, a little more thought to the menu system and to make it more intuitive. A slightly larger screen but not to the detriment of battery life might be found in future generations of the device. All in all it is a very good. Accurate and with an easy learning curve. It is a huge improvement over the eTrex in usability.
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Style Name: Standard|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using an old Garmin eTrex GPS for years. The Garmin Oregon 600 is a massive step forward from the eTrex. The technological leap is the equivalent of moving straight from a Nokia 5110 mobile phone to an iPhone 5 - the additional functionality, the readability of the screen and the ease of use are initially a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately there's a bit of a learning curve too.

Firstly, it has a touch-screen, and its in colour. Secondly, it connects easily to my PC, using standard (mini) USB connector. Thirdly, you can download maps, and this alone makes a massive difference to the usability. Be aware however that maps cost money - you may like to consider buying the version of this GPS that has Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps preinstalled, if it is available. I'll come back to maps in a minute.

For folks that haven't used a GPS before, its important to note that the positioning offered by a device like this is far more accurate than a mobile phone. I'm not sure why this is, but I assume it is tracking more satellites than a mobile phone can manage.

Almost all the functionality comes from little app icons. There are four on the home screen and you can swipe up from the bottom to see more. For Geocachers, you can enter coordinates easily (choose the "Where to" icon, and then "Coordinates", and enter the coordinates in decimal format (hddd mm.mmm) - you can reconfigure the device to use hddd.ddddd or hddd mm ss.s formats if your geocaches use those formats, or you can use the Ordnance Survey National Grid format. There's built-in support for Opencaching geocaches, but there aren't any of those near where I live.

Configuring units doesn't allow for the hybrid that we use in Britain (with miles on roadsigns but all other distances measures in kilometres and metres). For walking, kilometres are probably the best bet.

Physically, the device comes with a detachable carabiner. There is no belt-clip (the thing on the back looks like a belt-clip, but it isn't). You need to remove the carabiner to access the USB port, which is annoying - its far too easy to mislay the dratted thing when you're uploading your tracks to your laptop. It is allegedly water-resistant up to 1 metre, although you do need to dry out the USB connector before you use it it is has become wet. I have not tried this out, and I don't intend to. It takes two AA batteries, which can be lithium rechargeables or can be normal alkaline. I've bought some rechargeables, but the two Duracell Plus alkaline batteries that I initially fitted are still going strong after a couple of weeks of intermittent use. If you connect the GPS to a USB charger, it runs off that instead of the batteries.

Screen brightness is very good, even in bright sunlight. If you press the on-off button briefly, it takes you to a brightness-adjust screen that also shows you the time till sunset, your altitude and how far you have travelled in the current trip. Pressing the second button on the side marks a waypoint (you can name your waypoints easily using the touch-screen). Some Oregon GPSes have a camera; this one doesn't.

Now, back to the maps. If you live in the UK, you will almost certainly want to use Ordnance Survey maps. The basic vector maps you get preinstalled on this version of the Oregon 600 are pretty poor, just showing major roads and placenames. Ordnance Survey offers a free 1:250,000 map of the whole of the UK, and Garmin has helpfully made it available for download - but only to the PC Basecamp software. You can't install it on your GPS device. I can only assume that this is to force you to buy maps from Garmin: I suspect that maps probably make as much for Garmin as the GPS devices themselves.

For maps to install on your device you have two choices. There are "Maps" - which you can either download from Garmin or buy from Amazon (on a micro SD card that fits into your Garmin under the battery). They include the reasonably-priced Garmin City Navigator NT Maps UK/Ireland 2012 SD/microSD card - 010-10691-00, which sounds like it would be fine for vehicle-based use or Garmin GB Discoverer (All of Great Britain,1:50K), which is the equivalent of a complete set of the purple-fronted 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey Landranger maps. Unfortunately, the maps are a few years out-of-date now - presumably an updated version is due soon.

The alternative sort of map, which Garmin calls "BirdsEye", is the one you really want, the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer series. And here's the catch. You can't just buy the whole of Britain at this level of detail. You need to set up a Garmin account and buy a multiple of 1,500 square kilometres of the map which you can then select in the BaseCamp program and download. You don't have to select one big area: you can make multiple selections, and they don't need to be rectangular (you could presumably buy a narrow strip map all along the Pennine Way, for example - this is where that free 1:250,000 map comes in handy, because it lets you select the area you want to download more precisely). Once downloaded you can send them to your device. Its great having this sort of map on your GPS, but the price is really a bit steep. And its a pain having to buy the maps little by little rather than just buying the whole of Britain in one go.

Whichever maps you choose, they are linked to one GPS device only, which makes them seem even more expensive. As I said earlier, its worth looking at what preloaded maps you can get with this device, although the version with the Ordnance Survey Landranger maps preinstalled seems to have been discontinued.

This really is a brilliant little GPS. It's superbly accurate, and the screen really is visible in bright sunlight. I do wish the Ordnance Survey Explorer maps were a bit easier and cheaper to install, but that's really my only complaint.
22 comments|68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 December 2013
I can't get the device started. You need to install a plugin and it won't install properly. I have googled it and lots of people have problems installing it on Chrome or IE. Looked at Garmin website but I just get an error message. Rang their support line but just get a recorded message. This has gone on for hours. Emailed them. Surprise surprise, the email wouldn't send. I wish I had not bought this thing. A lot of money for zero tech support. I have no confidence in Garmin now.
Getting batteries in and out is difficult because the little D ring is tiny so hard to get hold of, and when you squeeze it to turn,it is quite painful on the fingers.
The little rubbery flap you open and shut to connect the USB cable is in my opinion too flimsy for an item of this price. I am sure it won't be long before the flap falls off completely. I'd have expected better even though this is a fairly minor detail.
...Right. I have now plotted a track. By accident. They tell you in the manual what it will do but not how to get it to do it. They tell you what to press on screen but not how to find it in order to press it.
The device comes on its own. You must pay extra for a battery, a carry case and a cable to recharge the battery! To access 1:25000 maps you have to pay to download a programme then pay on top for the maps. I mean, come on!
I'd give the gadget itself a 5 but because aftercare is non-existent, manuals are rubbish and there are so many hidden extras to pay for, I can't give it more than a 3.
11 comment|18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Great item. Loads and loads of technical reviews on here, but beware this item does not come with any maps and therefore I have just paid a further £125.00 for a set of Landranger 1:50,000 maps (edition update March 2015 - watch out they are not all up to date and it pays to go to a recognised supplier). Fantastic when combined with bootcamp, the software which permits you to configure routes etc on a pc/map and transfer them to your Oregon; it is a nice piece of software which I am slowly learning more about.

In use it really is good, picks up the signal quickly and is accurate I would suggest to a couple of metres. The screen is very bright and clear and responsive to the touch and it could prove to be a lifesaver if you were stranded. I have acquired mine for geocaching and hiking over distances of 7-10 miles; for those purposes and to suit my needs it really is great. I know that it can do much more and if you read the other reviews, you can see that it is far more advanced than what I really need it for.

So why 4 stars? Firstly it is a good 4.5 star rating, but I have been a bit disappointed with battery consumption. The manual recommends that you don't use alkaline batteries and so I use Duracell rechargeable Nimh batteries; you can use the Garmin battery pack but there are some scathing reviews on that and so I have stuck to my own batteries and charged them separately. The unit goes through batteries fairly quickly. I have checked my settings and I am operating the GPS on as low as power consumption that I can and struggle to get 10 hours use from it. May I say that I only really refer to my GPS when I just want to check my bearings and location and for much of the time it is switched off. I have used different sets of batteries and re-set it, all to no avail. Surprisingly alkalines, despite the recommendation, are better, but obviously more expensive to use. It is on that basis that were I to go away for a weekend, without access to electricity, might I suggest that you need than one spare set of batteries for this item; just to be on the safe side.

Would I change it? To be honest I wouldn't. It really is a nice item, is weatherproof, has a cracking screen and when combined with the landranger pack is ideal for me. The screen is very clear and the touch sensitive tracking allows you to scroll the map easily. I just wished that the batteries would last a bit longer. One last thing :-) if you are not familiar with GPS of this nature, you might wish to consider purchasing a training package, either on-line (webinar) or take a formal course. Whilst these items are pretty clever, they are not that simple to operate.


Went for a reasonable walk on Saturday (20th June 2015) having configured the GPS via the touchscreen. Very happy with the navigation element and was very pleased to examine the information stored which recorded our walk. Nice to know exactly how far we walked, the average speed, the highest point climbed etc etc. It explained the aching legs and I can't wait to try this in some high country during the summer holidays.
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A couple of years ago, I bought a Garmin Oregon 450. After many years using Garmin's traditional handhelds, they were starting to feel a bit old-fashioned next to their range of touchscreen nuvi car satnavs, and the 450 was one of their first forays into the touchscreen market for hiking satnavs.

The 450 was ... ok. It worked acceptably, but I think it is quite significant that I didn't feel able to sell my old GPSMap 60CSx. The 450 had the feel of a first generation product - a bit slow and clunky. The worst features were the touchscreen and the display - the display was basically unreadable in bright sunlight, and the resistive touchscreen felt primitive and unresponsive for anyone used to using a modern smartphone.

But now Garmin have launched the 600 series, and I am very pleased to find that they have got it right this time. First off, the touchscreen is capacitive and hugely responsive - taps, swipes and pinches all work the way they should, and the difference in usability over the 450 is huge. They have also used a transflective screen, which works best in bright sunlight - in dim light, you will need the backlight, but outdoors it is clear and legible.

These two changes alone are enough to justify the upgrade, but there's more. The receiver can now also pick up signals from the Russian GLONASS satellites, making it more accurate and better at holding a signal lock. The user interface is beautifully customisable - you can set it up just how you like it. Even the calculator has got its scientific mode back, which occasionally came in useful for geocaching. The device also feels usefully a bit less chunky and Fisher-Price-like, while still feeling very solid and robust, and the bezel around the screen is a lot thinner, which makes it easier to use.

In short, this is what the 450 should have been. If you have a 450, stick it on eBay and find the money for one of these - it's so much better. If you are looking for a touchscreen hiking GPS, this one comes strongly recommended.
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Style Name: Standard|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Please note this is a review by a NOVICE for NOVICES! There are several good reviews on here already written, I think by people who use these things all the time. They are familiar with the set up and know where to acquire better maps. They compare with earlier models and conclude that this item is good to very good. Fair enough. This review is for people like myself who are new to this and want to know what the Garmin Oregon 600 is like out of the box. Firstly, small point, no batteries. You have to acquire an optional battery pack or use 2xAA batteries. Note the 2XAA batteries I put in do not seem to be lasting very long. Secondly the installed maps. First impressions absolute rubbish. The photos are misleading. Everyone is saying ah but you can use open street or something which is free from the internet. At this price (twice the price of a car TOMTOM) you should at least have some half decent maps you can use. This is aimed at walkers, out of the box it is virtually useless. It would appear that you have to spend seventy pounds plus to acquire extra maps. I have ordered one and will update this review once received.

Now some of you will be saying what an idiot, well could be right! and I am interested in hearing advice from experienced users of this. I am familiar with gps devices (for cars) use IPADS, computers, smart phones and modern TV's. So not a total tech numpty. I do intend to persevere with this because I am a keen walker and want this to work for me.

At this stage I cannot possibly give this more than one star for the novice who has spent this amount of money and cannot use it out of the box. I will update as I progress and will review the star rating if necessary.

Update 31st March 2014

Ok I have now got some decent maps and I have amended the star rating accordingly. I still think it is a lot of money to fork out for novices who are not aware it cannot be used properly 'out of the box'. Once you have paid the extra £70/£100 you do get a very good piece of kit. The screen is clear and it does acquire satellite signal very quickly.
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on 5 November 2014
I'll not reiterate what others have said but I will comment on the TOPO Light map that comes with this particular model. They are very good. Based on Open Street Maps they will route you through paths in the countryside or wherever paths are to be found. We did a long walk at Rowlands Castle across country before we got this device. When we got it I entered a few points on Garmin Basecamp and had it set to Walking. The route it selected was identical to the one we had walked previously.

To be able to auto-route using footpaths, bridleways etc., is brilliant. You can just put a waypoint in on the the map and as soon as you hit GO it will find a route to that waypoint. Brilliant. The more I study this device the more amazed I am at its abilities.

I'm very pleased with it. The battery life is very good. The only dubious thing is the compass. I always carry a 1:25,000 map and a sighting compass (just in case). The last time I calibrated the Oregon compass it didn't agree with my Suunto compass. About 10 degrees out. Put that aside as it really is a minor issue against all the other great things about the Oregon. Just carry a proper compass with you.

As has been said, the menu system is not really that intuitive (I've found that with every Garmin I've had) but there are tons of tutorials on the web to see and follow. It's then that you realise the power of the device. I love it.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2014
Style Name: Standard|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have to say I'm not a heavy user as per many of the people here who are probably walkers, orienteers e.t.c. and are probably far more conversant with maps and pushing this GPS to its limits than myself ...... a bit of a newbie to this.
This is only my second GPS and my other I have only had 3 months before getting this - I use a Dakota 10 which I go geocaching with and also use it on my mountain bike. This is a huge step up from the Dakota 10 though, and is a really nice bit of kit.
First off the Oregon 600 is larger than the D10 and therefore the screen is too it really feels like a quality unit and has great styling. The screen itself is set flush on the unit so no finger bump, for example the D10 has a lip at the edge of the screen so when using the touch functions especially when resizing or moving a map your finger keeps banging it and so it kind of limits what you are trying to do at times - but then again the lip can offer a little screen protection if you inadvertently lie it down on a rough surface. The Oregon 600 screen itself is supremely responsive when moving and when using touch and the menus are so much better laid out than on the Dakota. It's a whole lot easier to read in the sunlight than my D10 too. Also the screen will adjust accordingly to how you are holding the unit i.e. hold it sideways and the display will change to landscape.
It uses two AA batteries and when I've been using it (usually for around 2 hours without powering off) I've never had to use my backups, I tend to use re-chargeable batteries and usually recharge them after each trip so I can't say how long the unit runs until they die, I guess that would depend on the amount of time you used the backlight though. You can buy an optional battery pack but it seems a bit pricey considering you could probably get four AA batteries and a recharger for less.
As with the Dakota the map supplied is pretty basic and I agree with people who think at these prices a decent map should be included.
I've been on 3 geocaching trips with it over the last week or so and had no issues with the software (using 3.80) and it has been a dream to use. When I first powered it on I think it took a little longer to acquire the satellites than the Dakota did when I first got it but since that initial set up it takes just seconds, in fact it'll pick up the satellites when I'm indoors whereas the D10 doesn't. I'll be using this as my main geocaching unit now and my trusty D10 can stay on the bike.
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on 5 August 2013
The first Touchscreen Garmin where you can actually see the screen!
This could just be the very best Garmin has made for outdoor enthousiast thus far. Screen is just fine, battery life is OK, touch actually works... The only drawback is that there are a LOT of software glitches still to be fixed. Manupilating settings, trips and menus frequently results in freezes, crashes - or worse. Updates are being rolled out frequently, though they do not seem to focus on fixing the bugs yet.

Sat reception does seem less sensitive than the High-sensitivity Etrex series though...

Recreational map for Europe (600t) is actually quite good, though not routable. Using OSM maps works just fine.

All in all, very happy with the purchase!
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on 8 March 2015
Upgrading from an etrex legend HCx , this is useful in that it can take bigger maps, including open source, downloaded.
It can also manage more tracks at a time, with longer, more descriptive names.
It is more flexible in changing the appearance/interface, too.
Of course, the screen is larger. It's a bit of a nuisance having to lock it but that is the nature of touch-screens.
As an ancient female I don't find it too heavy to hang around my neck but it does tend to be 'locked in' by rucksack straps and, if not in constant use, can be held in a jacket pocket.
Its main problem is that, in comparison with the Legend, it eats up batteries. I can't get it to last longer than one day. That means a lot of battery sets if you are doing a week or so away from civilisation.
The installation of the micro-Sd is also fiddly as the positioning is behind the batteries. The old legend used to have a 'pop-in/out' slot. So, if you have to change cards and haven't got strong nails, that's a nuisance.
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