May 19, 2012 at 4:50 am #1290077
Derrick WhiteBPL Member
@mikuLocale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Is anyone using this GPS?
I am considering purchasing one because it pairs with the new inReach personal locator device which I am considering against the the Spot device.
The practicality of this GPS would go a long way to determining which locator device I chose.
Thanks in advance
DerrickMay 19, 2012 at 7:41 am #1879206
@oroambulantLocale: San Francisco
I'm buying an inreach soon, but I'm hoping for the iOS version. Otherwise I'll pair it with an Android without service or perhaps prepay service. I can't see having both cell and GPS on the trail.
The screens on the phones are bigger than the PN-60w which is important when looking at maps. Downside of phone is lack of true GPS elevation – it is derived from GPS Lat-Lon and a topo. Also battery life.
I may be wrong, but texts from the PN-60w require a funky character selection process even worse than the three letter per key phone method. Touch screens are SO much easier. And the price????? really outrageous at $300+.
Oh yeah, the SPOT works poorly in forests and canyons.May 19, 2012 at 8:25 am #1879217
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I carried the PN-60w and associated version of SPOT on the CDT last year, so had quite a lot of experience with it — the CDT is in general a trail where a person is more inclined to use a GPS than most. And I put a SPOT location on my trail journal twice a day.
I personally found that trying to get all of the CDT onto two separate SD cards to be a PITA using the DeLorme system; slow, geeky, problems along the way. The attempt at putting aerial imagery for along the trail — which seemed like a great advantage — was so slow and painful and turned up bugs. I never used it, sticking almost exclusively to the USGS imagery (which matched my paper maps) where I had guessed right about where the trail went when I was downloading stuff ahead of time.
This shouldn't be as big an issue for people not doing long journeys, however.
I just am not a fan, though, of the subscription model of downloading maps.
The software interface to load maps was something that I found really complicated. I used to be a software developer, so I usually don't shy away from software complexities. This was one of those cases where it feels like you have to take a bit of time to learn the specific mental mindset of the person who designed the Garmin software in order to get it to work. A lot of power at your fingertips, but too much of the associated complexity exposed in cases where you just want to do most-common tasks.
No touch controls, and yes, doing a text message is thus a little tedious, especially with the pretty limited character count per message. This was another good idea in theory that in practice I almost never used; I just really didn't have much inclination to send very short texts that took a bit of time and effort to send out. But for something important it's not that big a deal once in a great while to send one.
I can't compare battery life to other units; I used almost exclusively lithiums FWIW. I never kept it on for long at one time, with a couple "am I really on the right track?" exceptions. The SPOT device had really good battery life; I used it twice daily and didn't change batteries until well over halfway along, i.e., well over two months.
I'm not really a fan of pairing a dedicated SPOT device to this specific GPS. There will be situations where, owning a SPOT, I might like to bring it along but not bring this GPS (the GPS in my smartphone is typically plenty, the CDT was a bit of an exception). But this special version of SPOT requires the GPS to work for anything but emergency SOS signalling.
I loved the screen. I could see mine on sunny days, whereas a friend with a Garmin was always having to try to shade the screen so he could see anything.
It's a tough unit. Absolutely reliable over five months of continuous use. Very possibly saved my butt in a near white-out in southern Colorado. If not waterproof, then good enough; I did keep it in a kind of case on the shoulder strap of my pack, but not a waterproof one. The unit spent a fair bit of time being wet with no issues.
I felt that it locked on really well, have no complaints there. It can be nice to have more than one type of map to look at but again, in practice I rarely did this. In other circumstances I might.
Bottom line: if you don't mind the Garmin approach to buying map data, and you can manage to load maps onto your unit without too much tedium and frustration, I think it's a great unit.
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