20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Simple, accurate, rigid, but a little bit obsolete technology, 8 Oct 2009
I have owned this handheld for half a year. I also have another satnav for driving navigation. I have used it in Peak district, some forests in England, High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and in few other hill areas in Slovakia. Generally, I am satisfied with the unit. Meeting with few people owing different GPS units I can make some comparisons. It represents a compromise between expensive mapping units from Oregon series, devices with long battery life and devices with great satellite signal reception. In details:
- Versatile device, offers great performance, many features and long battery life in one unit
- Great satellite signal reception, best of all GPS devices. Signal is picked up quickly and it holds even in dense forests, inside the building, if the device is in your backpack below packed clothes. Some problems may appear if you walk in an area surrounded by high rocks, and the device receives signal bounced from other rocks. But this is very rare problem
- Long battery life. Although device has colour display and high-sensitivity receiver, on one set of Duracell batteries it stays on for around 20 hours. Manual says that if you switch to battery save mode, batteries will work for around 30 hours.
- Very bright display - during the day there is no need to turn the illumination on. The brighter the sunlight, the better the display readability. Even during dawn and dusk illumination is not necessary. Other GPS devices with black screen background (those with touch screen) must be illuminated during the day and in direct sunlight the readability is worse. (but you can still read it).
- when additional memory card is inserted the device can record tracklog on it... resulting that it can store milions of track points and many tracks (more that 20, the exact number depends of the size of the track and size of the memory card, but in general it can store hundreds (even thousands) of tracks.
- Rigid - solid built, waterproof
- Lots of settings - Settings even of page sequence, data which should be displayed on each page, grid system, units, and many many others.
- Pressure altimeter is calibrated automatically and allows to measure depth of places without GPS signal (such as caves and tunnels)
- Compass sensor is automaticaly switched of while device is in motion what saves the battery (north is calculated from position change)
- If you download City navigator, the unit will navigate you to your destination. No 3D motion display, no voice for turns (only sound beep), but all turns and roundabout exit will be displayed.
- Last software completely fixed the problem of crashing the unit when it calculated route
- Proved and durable device ( it feels it will work forewer)
- Large buttons - the unit can be operated in leather glowes
- Garmin still keeps releasing free updates to it's software solwing problems
- Looks great :)
- Little bit obsolete (obviously, writing takes much more time and it is more inconvenient using buttons than writing on touch screen, but it is not as difficult as I initially thought) => Creating waypoints using device takes some time
- Waypoint name length is more limited than on Oregon or Colorado series
- Screen has larger pixels than you are used to from modern phones - less details fit on the map, contours and icons are not smooth.
- Base map has just few major roads, some rivers and lakes, cities towns and some villages. Auto-routing or routing is not possible with this map, and if you don't have garmin topo map loaded in device you must have a paper map to determine your position from coordinates. Even if you have a topo map in device it is better to carry a paper map.
- Map doesn't have 3D rendering
- Compass accuracy depends on good calibration. It is wise to check the north from the device inbuilt compass and north that will be shown when you start to move.
- Sometimes altimeter is not calibrated properly when you switch the device on, especially if there has been big ambient pressure change. If you do a hike, check the elevation after few minutes of walking. But mostly the altimeter is very accurate (my average accuracy in Tatras was around 1-2 metres compared to paper map altitude.
- Car turn-by-turn navigation is very basic and can't be compared to car satnavs (as I mention earlier, you need also different map for car navigation). I will not suggest to buy this device for those who intent to use it for both hiking and navigation.
I am very satisfied in terms of battery life, signal strength and device performance and accuracy. I love it's bright screen and rigid body, but does not like large pixels and base map. Even topo map loaded into device looks a bit weird, but it does it job.
Whether I would buy it again? Good question :) I hesitated between 60CSx and 400t before and I hesitate now (between 60CSx and 550t). Long battery life, device durability and bright screen of 60CSx are nice, but smoother and more detailed map, paperless geocaching and nicer GUI of 550t are nice too. It's all about preference.