85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
It's good but...,
This review is from: Garmin Oregon 550T Handheld GPS System (Electronics)I don't often review stuff I buy...
But in this particular case, I felt so strongly about this product that I felt I had to say something.
I wanted to wait until I had actually used it in the great outdoors before writing this review so I felt I would be able to give a valid critique.
My reasons for buying this top-of-the-Garmin-range Oregon was mainly because of the included European topo maps and the intergrated camera which is useful for geotagging photos which can be uploaded to Picasa. Also for paperless geocaching.
The product arrived on time and I removed the rugged, sturdy unit from the box. It felt good in my hands and once I had inserted the batteries, reassuringly weighty. I switched the unit on and cycled through the lovely, colourful screens. The sreens are fairly intuitive, but I suppose it helps that I have two other Garmin products: The incredible Garmin 60csx and a Vista etrex Cx.
The problems began when I thought I'd go out into the back garden and mark my position as a waypoint and to generally see how the unit looks and operates outside, where it's supposed to be used, right...? Wrong! It was a sunny day and I found the unit virtually impossible to read without tilting the unit this-way-and-that to try to read the screen.
Okay, I have used this device on some walks in Snowdonia and other parts of Wales. I have just got back from a walking holiday in Majorca where we walked in the mountains every day for a week. I loaded the Oregon with several tracks (from the Walk! range of books) before leaving the UK and we used the GPS to guide our way, which it was very good at...if you tilted the unit so you could see the screen.
I cannot tell you just how incredibly bad this display is. It ruins what is potentially a superb device.
I know some might say "It's difficult to read any LCD screen in bright daylight" Wrong! I took along my trusty Garmin 60csx and I could read this screen as clear as it could possibly be, absoultely crystal clear no matter what the light levels were. I found I was using the 60csx (I had loaded duplicate tracks, waypoints and geocaches to this device too) instead of the Oregon because I could see it more clearly by merely glancing at it and not trying get the best position for viewing.
The 60csx has a crystal, scratch resistant glass screen, the Oregon seems to have a soft plasticky easiy scratched screen. The screen resolution is horrendous compared to the 60csx. I also purchased Garmin's GB Discoverer 1:50K Maps - Northern England & Midlands for £105 and this is dipayed very poorly too. I can't say if it's the Oregon or the software or a combination of the two. Basically, it's only useful at a zoom level of between 200 and 500 feet. Any closer and you get jagged edges on the map detail.
Another thing is the extremely poor battery life. If you want to take this unit on a two or three day hike, you are going have to carry your own body weight in spare batteries. If you want to use all the features of the unit i.e. compass, camera etc you will be lucky to get between six and eight hours use. On my 60csx I get 16 to 18 hours using duracells (although I know this has no camera).
This unit does not like Alkaline batteries and recommends the NiMH rechargeables included with the product. If you use Alkalines like I do, the camera and tones shutdown (when it gets to two bars in the power meter) to conserve power and a nag screen tells you to use NiMH batteries.
The product only includes two reachargeables so you WILL have to buy more. And although it comes with two batteries and a charger, this will only take two batteries which I suppose is fine if you are only going out for a couple of hours. You will need to buy a charger and at least four batteries if you are going out for any length of time.
The 3.2 megapixel camera is adequate for the job. If you look at the picture you have just taken on the unit, the picture looks awful because of the poor screen quality. Once you transfer it to the PC it looks much better.
In a nutshell...would I buy this product knowing what I know now? No, mainly because of the screen quality. I could live with the poor battery life if the screen was better.
Although it doesn't have the same availability of mapping that the Oregon has, I would go for the 60csx which is absolutely amazing.
I think I may be selling this Oregon sometime soon. I will get a geotagging camera instead and stick with my trusty 60csx.
I notice the other reviewers have not mentioned the poor screen quality. Maybe I have a faulty unit?? It looks lovely indoors though...in the dark..
If I could operate it from my couch, in the dark, I would give it five stars.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Feb 2012 14:26:15 GMT
C. A. Kirkwood says:
thanks for that. I have just deleted this product from my basket and will have a look at the 60csx.
Posted on 23 Mar 2012 13:02:06 GMT
You can get FREE maps of the UK from Talkytoaster.info
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