I was looking for a handheld GPS navigation system for quite some time now and the ones I was coming across had some serious shortcomings. Either they were highly-priced and the included features did not justify the price or they were low on performance. The bottom line was that none of them impressed me. I really gave up all the hopes of finding a GPS navigation unit that would suit my style and requirements. But just when I was about to retreat from the market, I heard a confident voice that surely called for my attention and yes, it was the Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS. It was one of the greatest technological leaps from Garmin to enter the paradigm of the handheld GPS navigation units segment. Well, I was impressed and here is what I found:
Design and Look:
Wow… out of the box and smaller than what I thought! It easily fitted in my palm. Well, if you have a big palm, you may think of it as a bug! Jokes apart, the Garmin Oregon 700 was also a bit heavier than what I thought it to be. I found a clip at the back of the GPS device which is used for attaching the carabiner included in the box and the same clip also helps in accessing the battery slot. Well, the clip positioning may be the area of concern for many when it comes to water leakage but the Garmin Oregon 700 GPS tracker did an excellent job. It is waterproof. Just at the bottom is a rubber gasket and it is responsible for hiding the USB port. A small loop at the bottom is used for attaching the lanyard, but the hole is tiny made my life difficult when I was trying to push in a cord through it.
The touchscreen interface is quick and utilizing it with dainty trekking gloves won’t be an issue.
- Touchscreen – 3-inch daylight meaningful touchscreen show with Dual direction (scene or representation see)
- Abc sensors – 3-pivot tilt-repaid electronic Compass with accelerometer and Barometric altimeter sensors. Show size – 1.5 W x 2.5 H (3.8 x 6.3 cm). 3 inch diag (7.6 cm). Battery life – as long as 16 hours
- Ruggedized for the outside – ergonomic, tough plan that Stands solid against residue, earth and dampness – and it is water-appraised to Ipx7
- Action profiles – improved multi movement menu interface – including climb, climb, chase, bicycle, geocache, fish and the sky is the limit from there
- Associate IQ – interface IQ viable to alter the Device with information fields, gadgets, and applications; find what you like or construct your own.Display goal, WxH:240 x 400 pixels
The screen of the Garmin Oregon 700 has surely attracted some praise and some criticism from me. There are water and mud on the screen? Wipe them out and stop worrying. There is no problem at all. Do you have fat fingers? Well, the screen understands and responds. So, your life is made easy. All functions can be used in a breeze but the concern comes when I tried map panning. I really had to press hard before I managed to get what I wanted. Another problem is the readability and the screen is almost unreadable in different light conditions. Out in the sun and you are in trouble with the view.
Well, the Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS did an impressive task with the maps and the unit has US topographic maps which are based on 1:100k resolution data. With fast screen redraws, the maps looked spectacular especially under low light conditions with the backlight on! There are numerous POIs and the only concern here was that the maps were pre-loaded and cannot be used with a computer. You can also use the 3D display of the maps if you don’t really like the 2D format. Well, use the Garmin Handheld GPS and learn the terrain from a ground perspective.
For navigation, you also have an electronic compass that can help in direction determination. A barometric altimeter is just an additional treat for users like me who desire a lot.
Interesting Garmin Oregon Facts:
There are different settings that I prefer for different outdoor activities. Unlike other GPS units (which require a lot of reconfiguration to get what I need), the Garmin Oregon 700 GPS allows me to choose different profiles like map views, route-instructions view, etc. Their pre-configured profiles are recreational, geocaching, marine, automotive, and fitness. I just need to select the profile and I am ready for enjoying the outdoors.
Chipset and Speed:
The signal acquisition was on a bit lower end especially when it is turned off for a couple of days or when the battery is replaced. This may be because the almanac/ephemeris data was wiped out in both the events! I really hate this…Garmin, you need to fix this. The tracklog view certainly exposed some serious shortcomings and there were a couple of blips in the tracklog. Wow… it showed us moving at a speed of 30,000 mph and we moved 30-40 miles in a matter of few seconds! Ah, I felt like a supersonic hero! Now Garmin here is another thing that you need to fix- the chip set accuracy.
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
Now, difficulties are there and despite the few shortcomings, the Garmin Oregon 700 is a great handheld GPS unit at a reasonable price. No doubt, Garmin will come up with something better but till then, Garmin Oregon 700 GPS remains my companion! You may have a different choice though!