Well I have to right a little note here to commend Garmin on a job well done.  As a long time Garmin user for GPSs, I have been getting more and more disappointed with the offerings that Garmin has made to the hand-held recreational market.

Several years ago, I got an eTrex Legend Cx and I was hooked…completely amazed actually.  At the time I knew about GPSs, but the level of sophistication completely blew me away.  After that I got into Geocaching in a big way, and at the time the GPSMAP 60Csx was considered the gold standard so after a while I decided to trade in the trusty eTrex and go for the 60.

Well, the 60 was a very nice GPS, but I always felt that I gave up more than I got.  The eTrex was almost perfect except for the patch antenna.  The 60 however had screen that wasn’t quite as nice, the batteries didn’t last quite as long.  On top of that it had new features that I learned to hate.  A damn barometric altimeter that I can’t turn off and the compass didn’t work very well.  So as much as I liked the 60 the fancy helix antenna just wasn’t enough to endear the 60 to me.

The next release that Garmin had for the geocaching/recreational crowd was the Colorado 300 in my case.  And even though again Garmin added new features like wireless sharing,  paperless geocaching and profiles, I felt like I lost more than I gained.  You can see from the link it is already discontinued, and this is probably due to Garmin feeling like it was a product with too many faults early on to ever sell well.  I consider this too bad since the form factor I quite liked, but the software implementation absolutely sucked.  Garmin had seemed to lose sight of the buyer of this unit, taking the OS from the nuvi and re-purposing it for a recreational GPS.  The main problem being that it was high on eye candy, but low on substance.

Next my Colorado broke and so I was looking again.  This time I very seriously looked at other brands, unfortunately there is really only one competitor for the Garmin hand-helds and that is the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60.  I looked very seriously at this and believe me DeLorme makes a very serious offering here, but the one dent that showed up during research was that it did a poor job as an automotive GPS and although my Garmin isn’t an automotive model the reviewers were unanimous such that if you were going to use it in the car, get the Garmin.  So, I bit my lip and purchased a GPSMAP 62s.  I had to move back to the smaller screen of the 60 and still have that damn barometric altimeter, but the new 3 axis compass seems to work well, the screen is nice and bright, the options similar to the 60 are all back, I get profiles like the Colorado, battery life is back up and they have even added a screen off power save feature that I was always wondering why they didn’t implement before.  Holy smokes 4th times a charm, it seems that the Legend has been replaced or my memory is foggy enough that it no longer holds that special place for it.

Hopefully this will be the last GPS for a while.