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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, but DONT buy it with the maps & shop around for best price!!!, 3 Feb. 2014
This review is from: GARMIN GPSMAP 62s Full Country Bundle (Electronics)
I have now owned this fantastic device for a few months and have walked hundreds of miles with it.
Before buying, all of the technical stuff within the reviews concerned me a little (and the odd review stating it being difficult to navigate its many functions)... All I can say to that, is please don't worry. I'm no technology genius, and it can be used by anyone to navigate straight out of the box...
Yes, there is a LOT more it can do if you want it to, and all of that does come intuitively the more you use it. I personally think that it is a mistake to buy this and try to comprehensively understand how to use it to its full from day one.
Because of this, I'm just going to discuss the essentials here & a bit about "Basecamp", the free Garmin companion software with which you can plot routes and download them to the device.
You'll have all the time in the world to learn how to use its finer functions...

It seems there are two schools of thought about GPS for outdoor pursuits... The first school states that it is almost a crime to use one either on its own or without the backup of a good map and compass... My school of thought (the second) states that although I can use a map & compass, my time off work is so sporadic that I often have to cram my walking/hiking into half or one day bat best. Navigating with maps does take more time, often necessitates pauses and is very fiddly (consulting a folded paper map in the pouring rain whilst pleasurable to many is not for everyone).
With this device I can plan & download a trip of an evening, then simply follow it on the device without missing a step or missing out on the scenery.
I do always carry a map & compass if walking in an area in which an outright device failure would put me in any danger of getting lost, but these stay firmly in my bag...
In short, if you have a busy life & walk/hike outdoors for the exercise & beauty of your surroundings, then this device will suit you more than most.

Back to the device:

DO NOT BUY THE DEVICE WITH THE PRE LOADED ORDNANCE SURVEY LANDRANGER MAPPING! Why? Because it can be legitimately purchased for as little as £22 elsewhere (you have to Google quite a lot, but it CAN be done). All you do is slide the Micro SD card into the SIM like compartment underneath the batteries. Changing to other SD maps is simply a case of changing the card. Overseas maps can also be purchased for a similar figure. I purchased he Garmin TOPO France card (entire country of quality 1:25 IGN mapping) for just £22 (Garmin direct price £279)!!! All mapping loaded into the device is visible for preparing trips on Basecamp when your device is plugged into the computer via USB. You really need no more. Please note that some SD card mapping takes up to an hour to load onto Basecamp when using it for the first time.
As a matter of interest, some reviewer worked out that to buy all of the download OS maps that you get in the Landranger mapping it would cost an equivalent of over £1000!!!
Yes, SD card mapping is certainly the way to go...

The best batteries to get IMHO are the Energiser Recharge ACCU NIMH 2300 mah. I purchased four with a fab one hour charger for £15. Without the charger they are just £5 for 4. Purported battery life is up to 20 hours, which might just be possible with these energiser cells if backlight was turned down to minimum.
The truth is that you don't really need the backlight anyway, but I haven't even bothered turning mine down, as I still honestly get over 15 hours of use with the Energiser cells as is.
The battery warning guage is a bit of a joke, though, as it shows the full full 4 bars right up to the end. Once it drops to 3 bars, then your batteries are about to go kaput. All you do is take a spare fully charged set & changing them does not even require the current track to be reset. Just pop them in & continue for another 15 hours.

Finally, what's the GPS62s like?

1) It's tough & waterproof (although it won't float).
I use a carabiner clip and para-cord to attach it to a loop on my rucksack. That way I wont lose it & it wont sink to the bottom of a deep a water feature.
2) As stated above, it's battery life isn't beatable by anything else for comparable money. This is a big plus.
3) It will always find adequate satellite reception... It even works in some buildings... Deep forest will not phase it.
4) The device itself is extremely accurate. The Landranger OS 1:50 mapping does occasionally show a slight deviance from the taken path (but not more than, say 10 metres, so it isn't confusing at all).
I am certain that this is generally the fault of the OS mapping (and not the device), as utilising the same satellites the actual path might show slightly to your left only to correct and then drift to your right as you proceed.
Most of the time, it is totally bang-on, and to expect the OS map to be consistently bang on to the nearest foot might be expecting just a little too much.
I have no doubt that the GPS is also not always on the button too, but am convinced most of the anomalies are down to the mapping.
This is just an observation, as the OS UK mapping is just incredible in its detail & really does accurately show just about EVERY right of way you could wish to take. Despite not always being pinpoint accurate, I have never had a moment to pause or doubt where I am supposed to go.
Comparable to the TOPO France mapping (which does not show absolutely all walking paths but is adequate), the OS UK mapping is unbeatable.
Another thing I really must add is the fact that it has physical buttons and not a touch screen. I cant think of a day out walking this Winter without wearing my gloves, and having scrabbled them off just to use my touch screen mobile phone really does outline the advantage of this. Just like anything else, initial navigation of the buttons take some care so as not to hit the wrong button (ive got fat fingers), although total ease of use soon becomes second nature. Having an official tight fitting Garmin cover on mine, the plastic screen window does make the keys a little harder to feel and physically activate.

I know I have said loads, but I have tried to keep it simple so that first time buyers of this type of technology can have the confidence that they can at least easily get started with this great little device. I have deliberately left all of the other technical abilities out (compass, elevation plotting, distance stat monitoring, barometer, teasmaid... only joking with that one...). as those things are easily learned after buying it if needed.

Finally, a word about basecamp:

The first time using Basecamp to plot your itineraries, you (like me) might find it a little (un) user friendly. All I can suggest is that you stick with it... There are tutorials available online from Garmin, although they are not always that helpful.
Can I suggest that you forget plotting a walk or hike with "route" (create a new route), as "route" is misleading, as it will only follow ROAD contours on mapping & not paths or trails....
To be precise, it will plot the route wherever you place it, but the minute you press "create route", your hard work goes to pot as the software modifies your plotted track to follow all of the surrounding road routes.,...
Always instead use create a new TRACK, and your route will be stored and transferred to your device exactly as you plot it...
I pulled a few follicles out sussing that one out (and in association with the other odd Basecamp foible), I now however completely love the Basecamp software, which DOES become easier to use with time...
It is actually great fun plotting your itineraries (either from walk books or by constructing a totally individual route from the hundreds of available rights of way) & downloading them ready for use to your device (which will hold loads & loads...).

Talking personally, I love walking & this device has honestly improved my walking experience far, far beyond it's actual cost...
I hope that that lot is some help to someone...

PS: It REALLY is extremely tough. Left on car roof (in Garmin cover) and drove off. Watched it bounce down the road in the rear view mirror, thinking "thats the end of that"...
Picked it up & no damage whatsoever excepting a scuff to the metal carabiner clip that the unit comes with...
I doubt many have tested it in this fashion.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Feb 2014 05:16:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Feb 2014 05:17:57 GMT
Superb review, with many really helpful pointers and tips. Thank you very much. Still trying to find cheap maps as you suggest. Perhaps a bit of a clue might help or just the name. Either that or I'll just get one second hand with maps on it already.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2014 17:53:54 GMT
Hi,
Heres a link to help (copy & paste). The seller can be trusted 100% & seems to sell pretty much all SD card mapping... Pay by Paypal & you're covered anyway. Your map SD will arrive in 2 working days....

http://www.ioffer.com/i/garmin-gb-discoverer-1-50k-full-coverage-127349741

Glad you like the review.

PS: Ive seen the GPS itself recently for as low at £170!!! It is a totally fantastic bit oif kit...

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2014 06:49:10 GMT
I found the talkytoaster site and thought you meant that. They are a tenner for very tidy Open Source maps. Now I could now get both, should I need to. The one I've just bought comes with something half decent, so I'll have a play with that and then possibly get one or both of the others.
After a huge amount of searching around, I'd found a 60csx that I was about to get. Then changed my mind and I've actually just bought a 2nd hand Oregon 450. Mainly because it was cheap(ish) but also because the 60 series is now old and unsupported. I'll see how I get on with the whole electronic map thing and to see how a multi use unit like the Oregon stands up (walk, car, cycle etc). If it works out, I'll probably upgrade to a 62s or the Oregon 600 (which seems to have fixed a lot of the 450 issues). They are heavier on the battery usage and can't take external antennae extensions, but for now, until I become more practised (and fitter), it'll get me started.
Huge thanks for your review and update information. Best wishes. dave

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2014 11:24:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2014 11:27:55 GMT
I too was concerned about the electronic mapping. It has to be said that screens are pretty small, and viewing the surroundings is obviously not as easy as with paper mapping. The only option there is to pan out on the GPS, which obviously reduces the detail.
It has however been a much happier experience than I hoped for (its so difficult to visualise how you will get on with a small electronic window after a lifetime of paper mapping)... All I can say is that it is a far more positive experience than I could have possibly hoped for.
I have to say that I consider the Landranger maps a total gift at £20 (far, far beyong that price tag in their usefulness, although at the crazy price direct fom Garmin Id probably draw the line.
I have the best (supposedly) French version (IGN) mapping for it too at 1:25k, but it really is not a patch on the OS Landranger. Transposing walk routes in France from books, many given tracks are not marked (I have yet to find a single missing right of way with the OS)...
Having said that, the French attitude to walking is "if its not marked private, feel free to walk it", and so I think a lot of French walkbooks tend to take you well off acknowledged footpaths. The UK being so heavily populated, wildernesses are much harder to come by (land is always owned by either private or public bodies), and as a bunch we tend to want to stick to official rights of way.
Having said that, rights of way across the middle of fields are unknown in France, and your liable to have farmers dogs set on you should you try! I guess UK farmers would do the same had not people simply getting from A to B (in times gone by) not set a legal precedent!
Anyway, the IGN mapping is nowhere near as good as their paper mapping, with very sparse detail of buildings & surroundings (looks completely different too). Think main footpaths & waterways, all roads, most buildings, too small placenames, extremely wide apart altitude contours & all in a browny/green. The blue series paper mapping it is supposed to emulate is so much more better looking & intuitive...
At least the OS mapping is exactlt the same as its paper equivalent...
You're right to be cautious about jumping in and buying the 62s, as there is a long way to go with the technology & todays gem is tomorrows has-been. But do get the landranger OS mapping, as you will not be disappointed at that price.
Good luck with it all the same.
Paul.
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