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Which Garmin? Vista HCX, Colorado 300, GPSMAP 60CSX

 
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themib
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Joined: Jul 13, 2008
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Which Garmin? Vista HCX, Colorado 300, GPSMAP 60CSX Reply with quote

I have an etrex vist for cycling and running.
I need (so my heart says) a new one.
Two main reasons are battery life is pathetic initially the HCX looks like a big leap forward here, and my laptop does not have a serial, so going USB.
Sometimes use 'Tracklogs' for off road trips.

Garmin Mapsource may be worth getting for offroad cycling trips?
Vista HCX initiallt ticks boxes, USB, battery life and is the cheapest and lightest

Does the 60CSX offer anything extra?
Is the colorado a leap forward.
I really need to plot offroad excursions on footpaths and bridleways and also download many recorded routes.
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philpugh
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Joined: Dec 28, 2005
Posts: 2003
Location: Antrobus, Cheshire

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As no one else is replying...

I know what you mean about your heart wanting a new one!!

I bought a Colorado 300 virtually the day they arrived in the UK. I haven't regretted it. The screen resolution is wonderful and it does just what I wanted. BUT it is my first mapping GPS - I have several other units including two GARMIN handhelds (GPS II+ and GPS60).

Battery life on the C300 is nothing special, but it is manageable. I use 2800mAH NiMH re-chargeable AA batteries and I am now getting 10-12 hours off each set. The unit takes two so a spare couple will keep you going for the day! Employing tricks like backlight off - in most daylight conditions the screen is readable; map set to north up - having direction up is the main source of battery drain. I leave the unit in it odometer mode and switch to the map as I need.

I love the way you just 'throw' .GPX files at it and it works. This is very useful if you use s/w like MemoryMap etc for route planning. If you do GeoCaching - it is the unit to use as you can do paperless geocaching.

I would recommend you have a good play with one - the "rock n roll" wheel can take some getting used to - I, personally, don't have any problems with it. It's been up on the fells in rain, on board a yacht in a Force 7 and hasn't been a problem.
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uffe73
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Joined: Jul 23, 2004
Posts: 521
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Garmin? Vista HCX, Colorado 300, GPSMAP 60CSX Reply with quote

If I were you I would either go for a Colorado or a 60Csx. Both of these devices should fulfil your needs. I went though dozens of reviews of both of them before finally deciding to go for the 60Csx. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and find it brilliant. The only downside I've seen is that it's very inconveniant to enter text directly on the device, but if you do your major route planning in MapSource on your PC this isn't a big problem. Even though the Colorado has a different user interface I suspect that the same issue would be noted there.

Have a look here for a comparison of the two devices above.

The newly presented Garmin Oregon could be an option too if it fits your budget, but I would wait a while before buying it if I were you. History has shown that brand new products very often have childhood deceases that take some time to get rid of. The 60Csx certainly has gone beyond that point and is a well proven product.
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TomTom GO720T: App ver 8.351(9982/090518), OS:315187, GPS v1.20, Boot 5.5120
TT RDS-TMC: 4V00.013
Maps: Scandinavia v840.2562, Western_Europe v715.1703
Garmin GPSMap 60CSx (SW ver. 3.70)


Last edited by uffe73 on Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Facade
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Joined: Apr 05, 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Vista HCX and apart from the map screen being difficult to read it is perfect for the 'bike and geocaching: (you really need to plan your route and send it to the vista, trying to find your way to something using the screen is very difficult, if you scale to see where you are going, you get no detail, if you zoom in you can't tell where you are going and the paths look like contour lines to me!)

The Colorado has a very nice screen with much better map detail: but mine takes 2 years to redraw the map if I scroll it or change scale- I'm sure I could trace an OS map quicker, including a Visit to a library to look at the map! The compass is very erratic when walking, I suspect due to position glitches being interpreted as movement in a random direction

Data entry on the Colorado is excruciatingly slow with the thumb wheel.
There is no wrist strap on the Colorado: bad if you are a total butterfingers like me.

I looked at the 60CSX, and felt it was a bit large to attach to my handlebars compared to the more compact Vista.

Try handling the Vista and the 60CSX and see which feels best. I wouldn't get a Colorado, unless you can return it after a weeks trial- likely you will want to.
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missing_user



Joined: Aug 30, 2008
Posts: -7

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wrist strap is not a problem and the re-draw is no problem at all [better than a 60csx].
Slow re-draw can be caused by the mapping software you use and perhaps the type of SD card!
I use TOPO and CityNavigator Europe 2008 Non NT. There have been problems with the NT version!




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philpugh
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Joined: Dec 28, 2005
Posts: 2003
Location: Antrobus, Cheshire

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Facade wrote:

The Colorado has a very nice screen with much better map detail: but mine takes 2 years to redraw the map if I scroll it or change scale- I'm sure I could trace an OS map quicker, including a Visit to a library to look at the map! The compass is very erratic when walking, I suspect due to position glitches being interpreted as movement in a random direction

Data entry on the Colorado is excruciatingly slow with the thumb wheel.
There is no wrist strap on the Colorado: bad if you are a total butterfingers like me.



Make sure you have the up-to-date firmware - the early firmware was slow on map re-draw - but in normal use I don't think it's much of a problem. I use Topo GB V2 predominately.

You do mean the electronic compass don't you and not the GPS pointer icon? The pointer icon will be inconsistent (esp at low speed) due to succsesive positional errors. The electronic compass should be more consistent as it is independent of the GPS function. You MUST hold it horizontal (not parallel to the ground you are walking on!). I have one built in to my Suunto Vector watch - it has a little spirit level to ensure you are holding it horizontal. It's suprisingly accurate. I haven't used either much though, preferring to use my trusty 25 year old Silva compass as it doesn't drain the batteries.

Yep - the thumbwheel takes a bit of getting used to - but I don't expect to be writing war and peace when out and about - I've used it to create the odd waypoint without any real issues. I find it works one-handed very well.

The lanyard supplied with the unit is more than adequate for wrist holding - but I would recommend the GARMIN case (as illustrated by strumble) to give the unit more protection from bumps.
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themib
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Joined: Jul 13, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a program called 'tracklogs' to plan a route on a PC that plots points on 1:25000 or 1:50000 OS maps and sends them to the etrex as tracks or routes?. I can also download where I actually went and compare.
I really use the pointer to follow my route as the installed 'map' on the etrex is very basic.
So some of what you are talking about makes sense to me, but more advanced than im used to. As I dont use my handheld to guide me in a car.
Ideally I would see both a genuine OS map and my route on the display but know thats not possible.

So for Mr simple user, a pc based map planner and journey reviewer a screen that can be read, hopefully more detail, (offroad) footpaths? would be good.
Good battery life.
Can store more than 2 planned routes. The etrex seems only have enough room for two to three planned 'day out' cycle routes and have some room to track the day back. Ideally I would like 7+ planned and ability to track 7 days, total 14+.
Like I said, battery time and lack of serial connection is prompting me to change. The connection is the major problem.

Also, is it worth trying other mapping software?
Actual OS map for offroad has been easy for me to use as I generally have the hardcopy or A4 printout for the day.

People mention installing the maps onto the GPS, is there any advantage for offroad or only road trip planning?
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