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Old 03-20-06, 01:26 PM   #1
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Magellan or Garmin? - GPS UNITS

So, im looking at buying a GPS unit for recreational use. There are a few models i am interested in.

The Garmin etrex Legend for $183 cdn
Magellan explorist 300 for $200 cdn
magellan meridian color for $299cdn

I like the etrex legend because it is small, but unlike the etrex vista (out of my price range) it doesnt have a barometric pressure sensor. Can it still display elevation without this?

Does anyone have any experience with any of these units, and do you have any suggestions/reccomendations on what units are good.

Also, does anyone know of any places to obtain the maps/roads software for these units at a low price (free preferably )
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Old 03-20-06, 01:44 PM   #2
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Magellan was the original gps big boys, but garmin has come along since and has an equal if not greater market share.

Garmin, in general, I think has been more innovative as where Magellan has been less apt to move up to newer technology (when I was looking about a year ago, many Magellan products still communicated via uart instead of usb).

So....not that I'm saying there is anything "wrong" with Magellan, but the more I looked the more I preferred Garmin.

I ended up buying the GPSMAP 60cs
http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap60cs/

BTW...don't forget that whichever product you buy, you still need to buy the detailed maps for it. Assume another $100 give or take for the maps.
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Old 03-20-06, 01:46 PM   #3
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P.S. Check around other places for prices too. I saved about $150 or so buying through Amazon instead of from website.
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Old 03-20-06, 01:54 PM   #4
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P.S. Check around other places for prices too. I saved about $150 or so buying through Amazon instead of from website.
yep, ive tried amazon.com, but most of the things ive looked at, they wont ship to canada. I saw the etrex vista on there for $190usd which is a pretty good deal as it retails for $285usd.

Amazon.ca only seems to have books Who reads anymore?!
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Old 03-20-06, 02:01 PM   #5
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I have a friend who has an older model of Magellan. It does a great job of showing where you are, but whenever we go on a hike, it doesn't register the traveled distance accurately. This past Saturday, we went on an 11 mile hike. The distance is confirmed by the state agency. His GPS claimed we'd gone about 8 miles. A couple months ago, it said we went 9.7 miles on a hike that was 13. It does get speed in the car acurately, so it seems to be just this one feature.

Don't you love vague anecdotal accounts?
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Old 03-20-06, 02:49 PM   #6
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This would be quite a troll over at geocaching.com. Flame wars over GPS manufacturers is kind of like the old Mac vs. PC debates.

I am kind of partial to my Magellan Meridian Marine. Not because I do a lot of boating or fishing, but because I got it at a pawn shop for $100.

Whatever unit you buy, make sure it is WAAS enabled. Other than that, go into a store where they will let you get your hands on one. Play around with the controls. See if it is comfortable and also think about where you are going to carry it while hiking or biking. If it is big, like mine, you'll want a belt holster. Smaller ones can get away with a lanyard around your wrist or neck. Either way, you'll probably want a handlebar mount for biking around with it.
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Old 03-20-06, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMACH 5
This would be quite a troll over at geocaching.com. Flame wars over GPS manufacturers is kind of like the old Mac vs. PC debates..
Dont think of me as a troll, just think of me as being a complete nOOb to this kind of thing.. I actually want to start Geocaching this summer, thats one reason i want to pick one up.
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Whatever unit you buy, make sure it is WAAS enabled..
all the Garmin ones say that they are WAAS enabled on the box, i dont know about the magellan ones, but i woudl assume that they are...
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5
Other than that, go into a store where they will let you get your hands on one. Play around with the controls. See if it is comfortable and also think about where you are going to carry it while hiking or biking.
i went to canadian tire today at lunch and asked them if any of them have batteries in them and if i could try them out for a few minutes and the GM said that they cant do that, they would be used and they cannot sell used items.. i thougth that was a pretty big crock of sh1t. Went to walmart too, their service stinks and nobody was around..

I was at costco on the weekend, and the floor model meridian color had dead batteries

I was on a field trip for work last week doing a sign inventory for a scenic route nearby, and the tour guide had an etrex vista and i was playing with that, and i like the way it functions..
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Old 03-20-06, 03:09 PM   #8
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Whatever unit you buy, make sure it is WAAS enabled. Other than that, go into a store where they will let you get your hands on one.
I'll second both of those.

As for the store, good luck. I found that there weren't much in the stores...they don't keep a big stock. The only store I found that had more than one model was a local sporting goods store (The Sports Authority). However, they only had about 3 (of the el-cheapo) models and the store clerks tried to sound knowledgeable, but truly new nothing about them.
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Old 03-20-06, 04:14 PM   #9
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I don't think you have to worry about anyone here calling you a troll for this question. I've just seen the arguments go back and forth over there.

I don't know if you have REI or Fry's Electronics north of the border, but I've had fairly good service there and they seem to keep the demos powered up.
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Old 03-20-06, 04:42 PM   #10
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Magellan 315

Has worked wonders for me, bought it on eBay for about 80.00 NEW in BOX.

You can find a deal, just search for it.
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Old 03-20-06, 07:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTermite
Magellan was the original gps big boys, but garmin has come along since and has an equal if not greater market share.

Garmin, in general, I think has been more innovative as where Magellan has been less apt to move up to newer technology (when I was looking about a year ago, many Magellan products still communicated via uart instead of usb).

So....not that I'm saying there is anything "wrong" with Magellan, but the more I looked the more I preferred Garmin.

I ended up buying the GPSMAP 60cs
http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap60cs/

BTW...don't forget that whichever product you buy, you still need to buy the detailed maps for it. Assume another $100 give or take for the maps.
Read all the specs on your unit, looks great - how do you like it in use
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Old 03-20-06, 08:13 PM   #12
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I bought the Garmin Legend at Dick's sporting goods, it came with the USA topo cd, and a $30.00 rebate, paid 239.00 US, I know there are Garmin CD's available for Canada, I picked up a used one on E-Bay, I like the Legend, its pretty easy to use, the bike mount isn't the best though, RAM makes a nice solid mount that the whole unit clips into, and can be mounted on the stem, thus not using up handlebar space, there are plenty of Legends for sale on E-Bay too...... the legend isn't too bulky, some of the others are a lot bigger, hope this helps.
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Old 03-20-06, 08:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seawhip
Read all the specs on your unit, looks great - how do you like it in use
I do not have a single complaint yet....but I'll be honest, I really have not "run it through the wash" either. I haven't used it as much as I anticipated I would (yet).

At the time I bought it, I was expecting to move out West soon after and thought I'd use it hiking as I planned to get into hiking. However, the move hasn't happened, so all I've really done is used it a few times to try to geocache, once or twice in car to locate nearby restaurant/gas station, etc....

I do "want" to use it more...but haven't had time to get more into as I'd hoped.
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Old 03-21-06, 06:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by free_pizza
I like the etrex legend because it is small, but unlike the etrex vista (out of my price range) it doesnt have a barometric pressure sensor. Can it still display elevation without this?
Yes, all GPS units can display elevation using the satellite triangulation method instead of a barometer. However, the error range is higher - on the order of plus/minus 100 meters.

The other thing you miss in the Legend is the electronic compass (which can show the direction you're facing without moving).


Quote:
Does anyone have any experience with any of these units, and do you have any suggestions/reccomendations on what units are good.
My first GPS unit was a Magellan back in 1991 and have since owned multiple Garmin units from the 12XL, eTrex Vista, and the GPSMAP 60CS. My current unit is the GPSMAP 60CSx, which has the same footprint/case as the 60CS but can take microSD memory cards and has an upgraded SIRF satellite receiver. It's an incredible unit - I can store the entire Mapsource map database on a single microSD card, and the SIRF receiver gets cold satellite lock in 5 seconds and can even receive signal inside a building consistently.


Quote:
Also, does anyone know of any places to obtain the maps/roads software for these units at a low price (free preferably )
Check out gpscity.com and onlinemarine.com. Also, if you have a West Marine store nearby, they will match any price, including prices you find on the Internet. Just show them a printout.
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Old 03-23-06, 09:56 AM   #15
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I like the etrex legend because it is small, but unlike the etrex vista (out of my price range) it doesnt have a barometric pressure sensor. Can it still display elevation without this?

Yes it can. Its not as accurate as Barometric though. On the map display you set one of the data fields to "ELEVATION".

I have a Legend C.
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Old 03-23-06, 10:03 AM   #16
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thanks for the replies everyone. I think im going to try pick up the etrex vista from Amazon.com. They have it for $190 there, and ill get it shipped to my dads friend in seattle, and then she will hopefully ship it to me.

Unless there is someone from north dakota out there that i can drive down and visit for the day
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