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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good handheld GPS
This is my first hand held GPS which I have had for a few months now and after some initial problems I am now delighted with the device; which I bought after my Nokia N95 failed to get a signal in cloudy conditions on a 6 mile walk.

So to those problems. My first unit broke down after one day, the replacement unit from Cave & Crag arrived just a few days after...
Published on 19 Feb 2010 by G. Sherlock

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80 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good walking GPS but has problems
This is a good sized GPS that fits reasonably well into a pocket and a generally good touch screen with a customisable menu.

The touch screen interface works really well, but the screen inteslf can be difficult to see in some lighting conditions. It does not perform as well as the eTrex series colour screens. Having said that - it is not such a big problem that...
Published on 27 Nov 2009 by Mark A. Nichol


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80 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good walking GPS but has problems, 27 Nov 2009
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
This is a good sized GPS that fits reasonably well into a pocket and a generally good touch screen with a customisable menu.

The touch screen interface works really well, but the screen inteslf can be difficult to see in some lighting conditions. It does not perform as well as the eTrex series colour screens. Having said that - it is not such a big problem that you should not purchase.

If you've read about the device having a Tide Time table - be aware that this only applies to the US. Even if you purchase the European unit, the built-in tide timetable is not for Europe, just for the US coast.

Also if you are using the device for walking and want to have an estimated time of arrival at your destination this does not appear to work with any pre created tracks (e.g. Memory Map, Base map tracks, etc). This may be a bug that is fixed in a later update, but this problem was reported to Garmin early October 2009 and it is still an outstanding issue.

On the whole a good robost device with a easy to use interface.
Just be aware that there are some issues, but hopefully some of these will be fixed by a future software update??
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two flaws, but still decent, 11 Dec 2011
By 
G. Turnbull (UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
I've had this a few months now and overall pretty pleased, but two things worthy of note:

1. The unit has lost memory three times - batteries have been full and I've loaded it with a route and it's just reset itself when I've gone to use it next. Very annoying if you've planned a walk and are relying on it as everything is gone - all setings, time, date, country, your route, waypoints etc. You have a new factory setting device.

2. The unit comes with what are called maps but I found them unusable - they don't even show footpaths. OS maps cost me 190 so not cheap as an extra. You can get free maps though from Open Streetmap Porject, but they're not perfect and third party open source maps.

On the plus side, I've found the screen usable, it's been reliable getting signals and I find the battery life good - it lasts for at least a day and easy to change being standard AA.

Overall I'm glad I have it and would probably buy agin at the price (as no better alternative I found), but it falls short of what I expected

Update March 2012:
The unit died suddenly and is frozen on bootup. Good customer services - posted it on Thursday, they've got a replacement to me on Tuesday two working days after it reached them. Searching on Google quite a few people seem to have had to return theirs so hoping this one stays good.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good handheld GPS, 19 Feb 2010
By 
G. Sherlock "PFH Fan" (St Albans, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
This is my first hand held GPS which I have had for a few months now and after some initial problems I am now delighted with the device; which I bought after my Nokia N95 failed to get a signal in cloudy conditions on a 6 mile walk.

So to those problems. My first unit broke down after one day, the replacement unit from Cave & Crag arrived just a few days after I had returned the original. I thought the map update was slow and clunky and it kept bouncing around even when I was going in a straight line. The OS map is fixed to the device which means it cannot be loaded into Garmin's Mapsource software for planning routes. Trying to plan a reasonable walk on the device would take up to 40 minutes or more.

The replacement unit has been fine with only the rare system crash (I'd expected more in all the times I have used it). I got around the bouncing map problem by fixing the map to always show north as up. This probably saves a lot of battery as well; as it is no longer rotating the map but simply scrolling it. I found a free to use OS Openspace application that can be used for route planning and now it takes less than 10 minutes to enter a route and download it to the device. The application also uses the same OS maps as the device.

Since finding these work arounds I am now delighted with the device; which is very quick to gain a signal (much faster than my car sat nav), usually within 15-30 seconds, even under heavy cloud cover. The accuracy is really good as well. I've tested it's weather proofing with using it in light rain and snow without problems. I really like the way many of the applications can be customized so they show the information you require, and I have not had to calibrate the 3-axis compass or altimeter, they both seem to work fine out of the box. Not sure if the battery life is as good as they say, but it easily lasts a days walking with two 2700 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries.

One problem I have found is not with the device, but if you upload a route into Mapsource and edit that route before saving it to the device, you cannot seem to navigate to that route using the device. This seems to be a bug in Mapsource.

Overall a brilliant unit which has already given me hours of pleasure with walking and caching, the book I use for walking now usually stays in my back pack as it is no longer needed; and this also gives me the ability to walk a route in the reverse direction to that given in my book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small size, custom maps... almost perfect !, 15 May 2010
By 
Arnaud (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
I bought this mainly for hiking and geocaching.

The possibility to add your own custom map is very appreciated ! With that, I could add the map I wanted etc. Perfect !

My previous GPSr was a Garmin eTrex Summit. The Dakota catch more quickly the satellite, and this is also appreciated (eTrex could take 10 minutes, Dakota only one or two, when it is long ! ;) )

The main drawbacks of this device is the backligth : the screen is not lighten enough and it could be hard to see something, some times...

Very good product !!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good GPS unit from Garmin, 28 July 2010
By 
R. Chester "Bobbit" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
I've previously used a Garmin Oregon 300 & this unit is very similar. However it is less expensive & the touch sensitive screen is less milky than the Oregon 300 which is a bonus. Both are readable in bright sunlight but the Dakota is easier to see. The unit also seems to give a more consistant location under tree canopy. On the down side the smaller screen compared to the Oregon 300 means you keep wondering even more "what is just off the edge of the screen" when looking at 1:50,000 OS mapping for the UK. Having said that the OS mapping is well worth buying; the base map supplied with the gps unit not being up to much for hill walking. If you want to know what is off the edge of the screen then look at the offering from Satmap; it costs more but has a much larger screen but I've tried it & its also very good in my opinion. Moving the menu 'buttons' onto the screen seems more intuitive & quicker to me than older untis with more buttons but they do pack in a lot of buttons with various options which makes it more difficult to find the few functions you want to use regularly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally satisfied walker, 28 Jan 2011
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
I knew hardly anything about GPS for walkers, but thought it'd be a good idea to jump on the bandwagon......

Boy, am I glad I did.

First, the best advice I can give ANYONE who is NEW to GPS for Walkers is to purchase the Pathfinder Book - GPS for Walkers (by Clive Thomas) it explains GPS perfectly GPS for Walkers: An Introduction to GPS and Digital Maps (Pathfinder)

I must admit, I purchased my copy AFTER I'd purchased my Dakota 20 but that didn't matter because I knew I'd purchased the right device for me. But to be safe, I'd suggest reading the book first (it's really brilliant, not expensive and can be read in a couple of hours).....

Anyway, the Dakota 20 is a fantastic device and yes, the Basemaps are very BASIC and unrefined. I'd be very surprised if you'd not load up your device with something else.

For me, I knew I wanted to use the OS maps so I bought the 1:50000 for FULL Great Britain (Garmin map) and am totally satisfied.

So, my advice to anyone contemplating buying a GPS device (for walking) is to know what Maps you will want to use BEFORE you purchase your device (not all maps work with all devices).

If there is anything I'm concerned with about the Dakota 20, it is the battery life. I am aware of how to make the most of the battery life and not to wear them out prematurely, but *definitely* when out walking, you'd want to take with you a couple of spare pairs of batteries just to be safe.....
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great, 6 Jan 2010
By 
M. Sear (Milton Keynes UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
Bought this for geocaching. It is OK. I would say that a few things detract from it.

a. menu system

In geocachng mode this is very cumbersome. To view the clue you have to quit the map and go to the man menu, then go down a level to the clue. A "fast show" button woudl be great.

b. battery life

I am finding the battery life is OK, BUT you cannot put the screen on its brightest setting when the battery life is even 80%. This is a weak point to the entire process.

c. backlight

The screen is very dull in just about all circumstances.

None of these are enough to make me hate the unit, but I am sending it back to try the oregon 300. This is only 10 more and I am sure that as its slightly bigger and has a better backlight this may be a better unit for me. Thanks to Amazon I can try both and keep the best one.

Pluses of the unit are:

a. Signal - gets signal quickly and efficiently

b. Size - superb size, easy to carry

c. Maps - I dont use the "pay" maps, but its easy to load the opensource ones - and they are fantastic.

My guess is that as garmin refine the software this unit will move from 3* to 4* and possibly even 5*.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice GPS that will not work with supplied map!, 30 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
This is my second walking GPS so I knew what to expect - unfortunately things did not go as I expected. Only swapped to this Garmin Dakota 20 as I could not get Windows 7 drivers for my old Magellan Explorist and it was hard to transfer files to other apps.

I really can't believe why Garmin can supply a totally inaccurate basemap with a GPS capable of much higher accuracy. I was thinking I had a faulty unit when the position of my house was shown on the map, the wrong side of a main road, 200+ meters from where I live. On a drive down the main road the track was 500m from the main road on the basemap. Tracks on screen were a long way out from the main road - I could not figure out what was wrong. I took the saved track and dropped it onto Google Earth - AMAZING - it showed exactly where I had been and proved that tracks were not being shown with the basemap accurately. I put on an open street map (thanks [...]) onto the SD card I had fitted. Turned on the unit and showed me the correct position on the map. I wasted a lot of time sorting this out.

I like the unit, would have been 5* if it had not given me grief over 4 days while I sorted things out. Need to take it out on a test walk.

If they sorted the Basemap it would be BRILLIANT. Really easy to use with a Windows computer to save tracks and see them in other apps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb piece of kit, real value, 17 Jan 2011
This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
After purchasing the Dakota 20 I used it Mountain Biking and Hiking in the Lake District. I found it to acquire satellites quickly and to record detailed tracks even when at high-speed biking downhill. The unit feels sturdy and is fairly kind on battery consumption. My only gripe is that the basemap it is supplied with lacks detail to such an extent that unless you wish only to record tracks and import them into your PC you need to spend some money purchasing the maps you want if you are going to use it for any kind of navigation.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice bit of kit, 29 May 2010
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This review is from: Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System (Electronics)
An excellent item. As a geologist a GPS is often vital. This ticks all the boes Quick to aquire a signal, accurate at nearly all times, even under tree cover. Paperless Geocaching is easy to use and effective. Battery life is variable and the meter is slightly iffy often going from full to emergency in an hour so a spare pair of batteries is often a wise investment. Lack of accessories and their high price is also a pain but its a case of choosing wisely. Overall a really great little item and highly effective for price
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Garmin Dakota 20 Handheld GPS System
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