Which GPSr to buy?!?

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Posted · Report post

Hi all,

 

Just back from our awesome trip to Alaska where, unfortunately, I cracked the screen on my Oregon 200 (the glass part of the Touch Screen).

 

I had a screen protector on it and didn't drop it, but have to admit to replacing the screen with an after market one after the original screen got scratched so bad it became very hard to read. I don't want to mess around with the whole screen replacement process again (I posted a topic/video on how to do that and even though I got the job done it was a true pain in the @$$).

 

So now I'm looking for a new unit to buy and haven't the foggiest (well maybe a little) on which one to go for... what do you guys think/suggest?

 

I started out caching using the first eTrex model and later upgraded to said Oregon 200. On my eTrex the rubber 'wrapping' came loose after years of extensive use, but I did like the simplicity of it.... however I had to load all coordinates manually (aaarrrrghhhhh..... definitely don't want to go back there!).

 

I liked the Oregon a lot for it's paperless caching ability (and WherIgo tool) but sometimes became VERY frustrated with the touchscreen (or is that my clumsy fingers?) and it's limited storage capability caching wise.

 

I don't care a lot about having a map pre-installed, since it's probably going to be US only and I also use it a lot elsewhere in the world, but if it does have one so much the better.

 

I don't care for a camera feature, as I have a perfectly fine working compact camera and my VIRB.

 

Lastly, it will be my SOLE device for caching, I DO NOT own a smartphone I can use as an additional device!

 

Thanks on any advice, or tips on where to get a good bargain (I'm a REI member, so I get a 'discount' there).

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Posted · Report post

If the 5000 cache limit on a Oregon 550 ($294) is really cramping your style then you will have to go to the Oregon 600 ($399 to $499) series with basically unlimited caches and much higher price.

 

Yes the 550 has a camera but it is usually a bit cheaper than the 450 which is the same unit just no camera (Note this series is also being discontinued as we speak)

 

The Montana is also an option but is also highly priced and has a 10K or 12K cache limit.

 

My .02 worth.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks guys!

 

I forgot to add I probably don't want to spend more than $ 400.00 and preferably less.

 

A 5,000 Geocache limit is waaaay more than my current Oregon 200 can handle, so I don't expect issues there ;)

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Posted · Report post

Amazon.com has the 450T for $259 and the 550T for 294. Camera or not to camera. A camera in a GPS'r isnt always a bad thing especially for $40

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Posted · Report post

If you're "very frustrated" with the touchscreen, consider the Garmin 62S.  Old school buttons, holds 5000 caches with descriptions, logs and hints... and can be had for $199.  It doesn't have the Wherigo player, but then I don't think any of the new Garmins do.

 

I know of a couple of local cachers with over 20,000 finds that use theirs daily.  Of course, then you may be "very frustrated" punching on those buttons to enter field notes and additional coordinates!

Dhaulaghiri likes this

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Posted · Report post

If you're "very frustrated" with the touchscreen, consider the Garmin 62S.  Old school buttons, holds 5000 caches with descriptions, logs and hints... and can be had for $199.  It doesn't have the Wherigo player, but then I don't think any of the new Garmins do.

 

I know of a couple of local cachers with over 20,000 finds that use theirs daily.  Of course, then you may be "very frustrated" punching on those buttons to enter field notes and additional coordinates!

 

The touchscreen thing was only occasionally.... the way I read things with the new style they seem to have on the Oregon 500-600 series that may just well be a whole lot better. I've been looking at both 62s 64s and the different variations on those too, and might very well end up buying one of those.

 

Big bummer on the Wherigo application though, I know there aren't that many around anyways, but I liked to do them every now and then... but I'll live without them just fine  ;)

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Posted · Report post

I've ran the Wherigo on my 550, but haven't tried it on my 650.

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Posted · Report post

 

Big bummer on the Wherigo application though, I know there aren't that many around anyways, but I liked to do them every now and then... but I'll live without them just fine  ;)

 

 

 

You've still got your phone (or someone's smartphone - drag someone along).  

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Posted · Report post

The wherigo worked nicely at TX challenge on my Oregon 450 when Hans's GPS didn't want to work and .jpeg's cell app failed during our tour. 

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Posted · Report post

The 62s is the way to go if you don't want a touchscreen.

GASTX likes this

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Posted · Report post

Bought the 62s online.... can't wait for it to arrive, feel kinda naked without a GPS ;)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The 62's are the Toyota's of GPSr's.  Just sayin'...  :angel:   :2funny:

Edited by Baytown Bert

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Posted · Report post

Actually the 60 (pre-62) series is more like Toyota. Damn near indestructible and reliable. Kinda of like the Hilux of yesteryear.

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Posted · Report post

Actually the 60 (pre-62) series is more like Toyota. Damn near indestructible and reliable. Kinda of like the Hilux of yesteryear.

I have 2 60csx that I wont part with. Best of the bunch for accuracy and dependability.

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Posted · Report post

Just saw the 64s in my REI catalog. Anybody know anything? What's new?

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Posted · Report post

Just saw the 64s in my REI catalog. Anybody know anything? What's new?

I went to Garmin.com and selected both units and did a side-by-side comparison.... Very useful feature on the Garmin site.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I saw the 64 in the store the other day and was also curious...

 

                                                  64s                         62s

Built-in memory:                               4GB                       1.7 GB    

Waypoints/favorites/locations:        5000                      2000

Additional Feature                              Smart Notifications                n/a

 

So....  more memory which means more caches can be stored and something called "smart notifications" which right now seems to be limited to their fitness tracking app.  However, and this is pure conjecture... I believe it talks to the app via bluetooth.  Which means the big feature of the 64 is bluetooth but they haven't released apps to do anything (useful) with it yet.

I recall seeing reference to bluetooth on the Oregon 600 as well and couldn't find much useful info on it.

 

But... if this means the ability to transfer geocaches from a smartphone to the GPS via bluetooth could be coming, I think its pretty exciting.  If the BT radio is in the 64s and 600 hardware, they can enable the features with bios updates after it ships.   It remains to be seen if they try to handicap it by only supporting opencaching.org.   This could be a very interesting turning point for Garmin and the geocaching community.

 

So, if you can tether your phone's data connection, it would be pretty simple to allow the GPS to have live data updates.... truely the best of both worlds with the rugged and waterproof Garmin in your hand and your smart and connected phone safe and secure in a pelican box in your day pack.   Yea, that sound like something Garmin will tie to their crappy gc.com wannabe site.  What a great way to sink a good feature.

Edited by TravelingGeek

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Posted · Report post

I saw the 64 in the store the other day and was also curious...

 

                                                  64s                         62s

Built-in memory:                               4GB                       1.7 GB    

Waypoints/favorites/locations:        5000                      2000

Additional Feature                              Smart Notifications                n/a

 

So....  more memory which means more caches can be stored and something called "smart notifications" which right now seems to be limited to their fitness tracking app.  However, and this is pure conjecture... I believe it talks to the app via bluetooth.  Which means the big feature of the 64 is bluetooth but they haven't released apps to do anything (useful) with it yet.

I recall seeing reference to bluetooth on the Oregon 600 as well and couldn't find much useful info on it.

 

But... if this means the ability to transfer geocaches from a smartphone to the GPS via bluetooth could be coming, I think its pretty exciting.  If the BT radio is in the 64s and 600 hardware, they can enable the features with bios updates after it ships.   It remains to be seen if they try to handicap it by only supporting opencaching.org.   This could be a very interesting turning point for Garmin and the geocaching community.

 

So, if you can tether your phone's data connection, it would be pretty simple to allow the GPS to have live data updates.... truely the best of both worlds with the rugged and waterproof Garmin in your hand and your smart and connected phone safe and secure in a pelican box in your day pack.   Yea, that sound like something Garmin will tie to their crappy gc.com wannabe site.  What a great way to sink a good feature.

 

Don't forget the GLONASS capability of the 64 (which may or may not be helpful).

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Posted · Report post

I haven't seen them pimp opencaching very much lately. But Garmin is in favor of closed systems. I have their Forerunner running watch with HeartRate monitor and currently the HRM will only work with their watch and won't sync with other devices/apps/websites. But the watch does support BT and streams live to their app on my iPhone. So that portends well for that function to perhaps show up in a new handheld.

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GARMIN 64s /64st subjective and meandering review. Bottom-line: The GPSMAP 64s smokes the GPSMAP 62s hands down if you like to have lots of capacity for geocaches and you use GSAK or other popular geocache management solutions. How many? Well theoretically 6 million, but it's not about the numbers ;)

 

FWIW: the 64s (4GB) and the 64st (8GB) both have been through several iterations and seem to be stabilizing nicely. The firmware out of the box was 2.40 and the system was not behaving well on first power on. Part of the problem is that they don't tell you that you need to be VERY PATIENT while it reads preloaded stuff (more about this later). So don't get antsy! It's working, you just need to wait for it! After boot up, and connection to Bootcamp, the system will update to 3.10 as of 9/2014. 

 

The blue tooth doesn't really do anything useful yet, but I suspect it's just a matter of time. There is a fairly immature iphone app version of basecamp mobile that may be where they're gonna go. The Android version is coming, or may already be in Beta testing.

 

The interesting thing about the Garmin 64s and 64st are that both support the GGZ file format in addition to the GPX format. I believe that people trying to geocache with both simultaneously seem to have problems. Out of the box, the 64s and 64st come preloaded with 250,000 Geocaching.com geocaches. That's not a typo. So, they're clearly NOT pimping OC.com too much anymore. I find it interesting that Ground Speak consented to such an enormous preload. Anyway, the unit I played with had a single 364MB GGZ file containing the 250K+ geocaches called PRELOAD and dated earlier this year 2014, March I think. 

 

The rub is that you aren't able to freshen those caches, at least not that I was able to find in the short time I had to fondle the unit. However, the GGZ format is now fully supported by GSAK on these new units! Very cool, since you can now export any number of geocaches to your 64, or any newer Garmin GPSr unit supporting the GGZ format. Exporting 25,000-30,000 caches is much quicker than you think too. 250,000 takes about twenty minutes in case you're interested ;) I didn't measure, but I believe the 64s/64st have upgraded USB to 3.0 and the mSD has been upgraded to handle higher speed and capacity too. Because you cannot update GGZ files, at least not now, it's no big deal to just nuke the previous file and replace it with a new one just like we do with GPX files. If you really want a worldwide database of 250,000+ geocaches, by all means copy it off and archive it. 

 

GPX based caches on the 64s and 64st are still limited to 5000, I believe, but I couldn't test that to see if the number was bumped. Like with GPX's the GGZ format requires a hefty wait time for the 64s/64st to boot load the first time after a refresh, but thereafter it boots up fairly quickly. 250,000 caches definitely takes about 20 -25 minutes for the 64s/64st to boot up the first time. But, you've got a QUARTER MILLION GEOCACHES in the palm of your hand! That's even enough for Kirbydox cross country trips! Or Nov64's epic adventures globe hopping ;)

 

I know of no way to get PQ's in the new GGZ format directly from GC.com...yet. But, maybe it's coming since it's so much more efficient that GPX format for storage of geocaches. Why is GGZ better than GPX? Well think of a GGZ file as a compressed zip of many geocaches. Esentially that's what it is generally speaking. And the new Garmin units, at least the higher end ones, seem to be supporting the format efficiently. GPX files are effectively uncompressed XML text data files. They aren't very efficient, and they take up a lot of space. For now, GSAK, or one of the other emerging geocache manager programs out there, will have to do.

 

In other respects, I will subjectively say that the 64s and 64st were snappier in performance overall vs the 62s/62st, moving through the menus, which seemed largely the same on 62 and 64 families. The GLONASS addition seemed to make a difference in locking onto the satellites quickly, and the units performed very well. The 64s/64st held to compass COG waypoints noticeably better than the 62s, with nowhere near as much indecision, or bouncing, after both units were calibrated.

 

I'm really big on the tracks functionality too, and I will say that if you too like to keep a recording of your trails and such, the 64 is markedly more accurate than the already impressive 62s recording tracks.

 

Both units are IPX7 waterproof, which means it can handle 1 meter dunking briefly and still work afterwards.

 

All accessories are identical so you won't need to change any mounts or stuff like that. Booyah! The 64s and 64st are physically identical in dimensions and weight to the 62s and 62st. There is no camera version of the 64 that I know of. It does have the ability to share photos with a Garmin Virb action camera wirelessly, Bluetooth I presume.

 

The bluetooth sync'd very quickly and easily with my iPhone, but again I am unsure what use that is presently. It would be really nice to be able to freshen caches sometime really soon!

You can still share geocaches and waypoints with other garmin units that support wireless sharing. This feature has come in handy multiple times amongst 62s users I've cached with.

 

Battery life isn't quite as good as the 62s (20-30hrs) on 2-AA NiMH eneloop battery's. They say the 64s /64st will get 16hrs on the same batteries. I'm guessing the lower operating time is due to considerably more built-in memory, faster communications, Bluetooth, and a faster processor. There is an option for some kind of special rechargeable battery, but I know nothing about that.

 

If like me, you like having the external antenna jack, you'll be glad to know it's still there on the 64s/64st.

 

Honestly the screen seemed the same to me, not great but always good enough for me in the daylight.

Buttons are the same. Good buttons. I like buttons. I can manipulate my GPSr by feel, something I haven't mastered with touch screens ;) Plus I always fat finger touch screens somehow...the things confound me. I use my phone to log anyway and I like to dictate them as I go. The GPSr just notes found or dnf and a time/date confirmation in case my phone dies or something. It's pretty easy to hit FOUND IT after all.

 

My advice is to pick either the gpx format or the GGZ format, but don't mix the two or things get wonky. 

 

I hope anyone finds this useful.

 

More if I think of anything else. In the mean time, 64s/64st get two thumbs up from me.

Edited by KeyResults
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Posted · Report post

How is the build quality? One of the biggest disappointments of the 62 for me at least was that it's cheaply built. It creaks in your hand. Doesn't fill solid at all.

The older 60 series were rocks in the hand.

 

..oh much thanks for the write up. Excellent review.

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