Customer Reviews: Garmin GPSMAP 62S Handheld GPS Navigator
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Edition: 1.7GB Compass & Altimeter|Change
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on August 11, 2010
UPDATE September 7 2010. The issues resolved below are solved by release 2.50 of the 62st firmware. I have no trouble recommending this unit at this point!

I purchased the 62st recently and took it out for a 9 mile geocaching adventure. While I like the unit very much in general, it has one major problem. Like any hiking GPS, the 62st will record your track as you hike, letting you upload it to your computer when you return home. This is very useful for keeping track of your adventures. The accuracy of the 62st's GPS, combined with its barometric altimeter, lets you accurately record your track for later use.

Sadly what I discovered is that on the 62st simply pressing buttons on the GPS interferes with the barometric altimeter. Pressing even a single button on the GPS can result in spikes in the recorded data of 30 feet or more! On my first test hike, my 62st GPS said that I had climbed more than 8000 vertical feet, while the other GPSes carried by my friends on the same hike recorded only 2000.

I did apples-to-apples comparison experiments of the Garmin 62st, Garmin 60csx and Delorme PN-40, and only the 62st exhibits this bug. Pressing buttons on the other GPSes does not interfere with the recorded track data.

I have been in contact with Garmin Support about this issue, but as of today there is no fix.

Until this issue is resolved sadly I cannot recommend the Garmin 62s or 62st. I hope for a fix soon!

UPDATE as of 8/12/2010: Today Garmin released a new set of beta firmware for the 62 series GPSes. In preliminary experiments, the new firmware seems to have significantly improved things with respect to the altimeter. I will do more testing this weekend, but the situation seems to be improving! I'll report back early next week.

UPDATE as of 8/22/2010. The beta firmware has fixed the altitude issue. Some users have reported problems in updating to the beta, so I'd still suggest holding off on a purchase until Garmin releases a new "official" firmware release. I've taken the GPS out on several hikes totalling over 20 miles, and am quite impressed with it. I upgraded my review to three stars today, and will give it another star once a new firmware release is available.

UPDATE as of 9/7/2010. Garmin has now released firmware 2.50 for the 62st. If you update your unit to the new firmware level, I have no problem recommending it. My earlier problems are fixed.
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on July 16, 2011
The 62S is my third GPS, purchased April 2011. With it, I purchased the MapSource City Navigator DVDs for NorthAmerica/Mexico (2011.1 NT) and Europe (2012.NT), a DaneElec 4 GB microSD card, and a Colorado Series Bike Mount (#11023). I purchased the 62S & mount from DigitalOasis & the card plus Software from GPScity. Both companies shipped promptly. The 62S has v2.8 software.

My previous two GPSs are the GPSmap76 (purchased 2001) and the Edge 305 bike GPS (purchased 2009). I have used the 76S successfully with Bluechart software for kayaking in the Pacific NW, and with Garmin MetroGuide 2007 for biking around WA State. I give the 76S a 4/5 rating - a great device, which has saved me many times out in the fog. The 305 I give only 3/5 rating - too expensive for what it is (essentially a fancy bike computer, without maps). Also, the 305 suffers from vibration and will turn off when my bike hits a bump.

I am an Electrical Engineer who writes control software for a living. I have been using the 62S for about 3 months - two months while biking around Seattle, and one month during a trip with my wife to Europe. It has worked OK, and has helped us drive about 1000 miles around Sweden, Norway and S. England. However, I have encountered some frustrations with it and the CN software. Overall, I rate the 62S and CN software 3.5/5 - good, but could be improved. I haven't used other manufacturer's GPSs so maybe this is as good as it gets right now. I have a number of comments about the CN software and the 62S user interface, in the hope that these may be improved in time. I am not an expert in using the 62S so perhaps some criticisms are invalid. In that case, I hope a reader can update me.

Things I Like: =============
1. The 62S has a more sensitive antenna than either the 305 or 76. The 62S will lock onto satellites inside a moving car (with the device on the passenger's seat or between the driver's legs), in a train (near Amsterdam), in a tram (in Prague), in an airplane (window seat), and inside my home in Seattle (within 5 ft or so of a window). Sitting in an airplane window seat en route from Iceland to Seattle, I could follow our position on the GPS map, and read the airplane's speed. Altitude was invalid, of course, as this depends on barometric pressure and the cabin was pressurized. Sitting in the passenger seat or our rental car, my Wife used the 62S successfully to navigate about 1000 miles through Norway, Sweden and S. England. When out walking, one can keep the 62S in one's pocket with the antenna facing down and it will log one's track and distance covered quite accurately.

When I bike under a thick canopy of trees (e.g. Interlaken Blvd, Seattle), the 76 loses position and stops tracking. The 305 is better but sometimes stops tracking too. The 62S keeps tracking but its speed sometimes goes off 2-5 mph (compared with my bike speedometer). Its overall distance logged seems unaffected, but sometimes its track goes off map under these circumstances- perhaps by 50- 100ft.

2. Quick to find Satellites. Once the 62S has been used in or near your current location, it takes about 45 sec from pressing the power on button until it locks onto the satellites and the blinking question mark on the position arrowhead goes away. However, the first time it is powered up in a radically different area (e.g. in a new country or city), it must be allowed several minutes (sometimes 5) to search for the satellites. By comparison the 76S and 305 take about the same time in a new location but 2-3 times longer in a known location.

3. The large white "Change of Direction Pending" arrow is large and clear. This appears when one is navigating a route and a possible turn is coming up, for example a traffic circle, or L/R turn. Usually, this arrow is absent when one is following a road without any turns. Sometimes it appears at a bend in the road which is obvious and shouldn't need the white arrow, but no matter. The device also emits a discreet but audible beeping when a turn is approaching. Useful on a long boring road when one may not be watching the GPS. (There are no spoken directions to alert one, only the beeping and a text direction message at the top of the map).

4. The USB transfer rate is fast. Using USB2.0, it takes only a second or so to upload 20 routes and 50 waypoints to/ from the device and one's PC.

5. It has a large memory. I wasn't able to fill the native RAM plus 4 GB SD card. I downloaded all the maps of Western Europe and Scandinavia, or those of WA State, and created perhaps 20 routes, 50 waypoints, and 10- 20 tracks, some lasting 4-5 hrs. I was also able to upload tracks and routes made with/ for my 305 and 76. Some were 4-6 hr long bike rides- no problem. In contrast, the 76 and 305 would often run out or memory.

6. Batteries last a long time, and are quick to change. It uses 2 x AA batteries. I use the Enerloop 2000 mAh. A pair lasts about 10- 12 hr. The battery level indicator shows full until about 2-3 hr are left, then drops off rapidly. If the batteries die, one's current data is retained. A nice feature is that the batteries fit tightly, so they don't lose contact when biking on rough roads. In contrast, the 76's two AA batteries don't fit as well, and will vibrate loose. The 305 has an internal battery which also suffers from vibration and will turn off unexpectedly.

7. The heart rate monitor works well. One needs a sensor (not supplied). I use the HRM1 chest strap sensor, which I purchased many years ago with my 305. Works reliably most of the time on my bike. Sometimes one needs to moisten the two sensor pads on either side of the battery area. I also have two Timex heart rate sensors - the TG951 and TG971, each with chest straps. The Garmin works best, followed by the 951 then the 971 (which sometimes needs frequent sensor moistening, or it loses its signal). The Garmin, however, is averaged over a longer period - perhaps 7 sec - vs. only 2-3 for the Timex units. Hence, the Garmin sometimes does not show a short-duration peak heart rate. For me, this isn't an issue.

8. The City Navigator 2012 NT Europe maps were more accurate than I expected. We used these in and around Amsterdam, in Prague, In Stockholm, for a 10 day/ 800 mile driving tour of Sweden and Norway, and for 200 miles driving around southern England. Only once did it make a grievous mistake - en route from Hamar Norway to Lillehammer it told us to enter the freeway at an exit ramp - no entry route existed at that location. Otherwise, it gave us good directions. It was excellent driving in Stockholm and around Heathrow airport, and walking in Prague. It lacks the detailed database of Points of Interest (POIs) that one finds in Google Maps, but then Gmaps is internet-based and therefore has more space available. In some places, e.g. Prague, it lacks some walking/bike routes (which is my main gripe with the City Navigator NorthAmerica 2011- see comments later on). In other places, e.g. Stockholm, it showed the walking routes from Slussen to Mosebacke, and routed me along these when requested.

9. One can install the City Navigator NorthAmerica software on at least 2 PCs. I have done this on my laptop (W7) and on my desktop (WXP). Of course, both copies are tied to the same GPS.

Things which could be Improved: =============
1. City Navigator North America 2011 (CNNA) lacks many important Walking/Bike trails. For example, it lacks the Burke-Gilman trail (BGT) in Seattle, perhaps the most used and well known of all bike/walk trails in the city. It also, for example, lacks the lesser known Chief Sealth trail in S. Seattle. This makes it hard to plot a bike route between two waypoints. For example, say one wants to bike from Gasworks Park Seattle to Marymoor Park, Redmond. The BGT and Sammamish River Trail will take one the whole way there, about 25 miles, without the need to ride on a regular road. If one asks the CNNA software to plot a route between these two points for a bike, the map will route one on the regular roads used by cars. Some of these (e.g. Lake City Way) are dangerous for bikers. Google Maps (GMaps), on the other hand, is quite good about bike trails and will offer one several options, including such trails if these exist. (It proposes the correct bike route, using the BGT / SRT, for the example above).

How, then does one create a bike route using CNNA? I haven't found an easy way to do this. It would be great if one could export a Gmaps route to the Garmin. I have been able to export a single waypoint from Gmaps to the 62S, but not the entire route. Can one do this? Otherwise, I find myself plotting the route in Gmaps, and then laboriously recreating this, point by point in CNNA, using the create route tool. Of course, if one has a track logged previously, with a Garmin GPS, one can use this to create a route, or simply follow the track.

2. Lack of Contrast of Map Display. The map background appears as a dull green. White would be much clearer. (This is used on the 76). Under setup/ display, the background color setting has no effect on the green map background.

3. Waypoints and Routes sent to the 62S are duplicated if these already exist in the device. For example, assume one has created a route or two with waypoints and has sent these, plus the maps, to the GPS. Then one adds another route to the CN map on the PC, saves this and exports it and its waypoints to the 62S. The new route and waypoints will be sent, plus all the original ones, which will now appear as duplicate entries on the 62S. The only way I have found to avoid this is to deleted all existing routes and waypoints in the 62S, connect it back up to the PC, and then re-export the whole set. This can become tedious on an extended trip, when one is adding new routes and waypoints on daily basis. If one doesn't do this, one can end up with many duplicates of each waypoint and route, which gets messy quickly. (The routes still work, however).

4. Importing Data from the 62S to the CN software is clumsy. It seems one cannot import waypoints or routes created manually on the GPS. Neither can one import saved tracks (only the current (unsaved) track). If one tries this using the CN software, it responds that none were found. However, one can copy saved tracks using Windows Explorer. The 62S appears in the Explorer tree as "GARMIN". Look under the folder \Garmin\GPX, and copy the desired .gpx files to a location on the PC. These can then be opened using CN. Not sure if one can import waypoints and routes this way. Waypoint import would be useful - e.g. if one exports from Google maps directly to the 62S, then wishes to import these back into CN.

5. Route Preferences are global in scope, instead of applying to each route, and are not copied from the CN software to the 62S. For example, assume one wishes to create a walking route. In CN, one goes to Edit\Preferences\Routing and selects "Bicycle" and "Use Direct Routes" under the Routing options. One also sets other options if desired. One then creates and saves the route. Assume one then creates and saves another route, this time for a car. First one must go in and change the preferences to "Car" and "Use Auto Routing". The route will now follow known roads. This change in preferences wont affect the first (bike) route provided one doesn't recalculate the route. So far so good. Assume one then sends these routes to the GPS, which has its route preferences set for "Car" and Lock on Road= True. (The CN settings are not sent to the 62S). If one then tries to navigate the first (bike) route, it will be different from the CN original - the 62S will look for and follow the nearest roads. One must go into Main Menu/ Setup/Routing and change over to "Bicycle" and "Lock on Road" = No. Assume one does this, and the navigates the route. If one then wishes to navigate the second (car ) route, one must go back into Setup and change the options to suit. This can get tedious, especially if some routes have "Avoid Tolls" or "On Road for Time" instead of "On Road for Distance". Route settings should be unique for each route.

6. The Next Page ("Page") and Prev Page ("Quit") buttons should be located opposite each other, as are the In and Out buttons. The Quit button is at the bottom left, while the Page button is near the top right. Hence one often hits the wrong button when navigating pages. (The "Find" button is opposite the "Page button - one often presses this by mistake if navigating pages with one hand). Also, why use Page and Quit? Not very intuitive. What about "Next" and "Prev"?

7. The altimeter is not very accurate. If I go to the ocean and calibrate this, then go on a bike ride for 3 hours and return to the ocean, it may show -30 ft. This is on a clear day (no change in weather pattern). On successive days the error may be as much as 50-75 ft. The 305 also has a barometric altimeter (without a calibrate feature), but seems to exhibit less variation. Sometimes the 62S and 305 will differ by 100 ft at the same point. Interestingly, the 62S altimeter seems quite repeatable over a short time period of say 30 min. I performed the following test in Prague. There are about 180 steps leading from Sinkulova Street up to Vysehrad castle (great views!). One morning, I went up and down 5 times in about 30 minutes, measuring the total ascent and descent each time. Average was 106 ft ascent/ 104 ft descent, with a scatter of +/- 2 ft, which is very good.

8. Turn instructions are sometimes wrong. E.g. sometimes it says "Go North" when it means "Go South". The white direction indicator was always correct, however.

9. One cant display Total Elevation Gain on the Trip Computer or Map display. To see this, one must change to the Elevation Plot. In contrast, on can display this on the 305's trip computer.

10. The bike mount (#1102 Colorado Series - $10) is unreliable, and one can lose the GPS unless one has a safety strap attached between its rear attachment point and one's bike. The problem is the plastic clip which snaps into a recess at the bottom rear of the 62S. This clip doesn't always seat properly, which allows the 62S to slide forward and out. In contrast, the bike mount for the 76 is more robust and has a sliding lock.

11. The Elevation Plot scale is inaccurate, so the absolute value of the graph is not useful.
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on October 2, 2010
I can't get over how well the 62s gets a satellite signal...even indoors! I'm in my home office with a couple of small windows and just turned on the unit, after having it turned off for a couple of weeks: It booted and acquired the first satellite in less than 60 seconds and can navigate in less than 90 seconds, with four out of 5 bars on my signal strength meter. When I turned it off and then on again, I was able to navigate as soon as it 20 seconds. It seems to "remember" what satellites are overhead and spends less time searching for signals if it has recently acquired a signal.

I used the 62s while hunting and found that I could always get a solid signal regardless of how dense the forest was. The 62s is so much better than the eTrex Vista I had been using since 2002...the 62s is in a different league.

The user interface took a little getting used to, when compared to the eTrex Visa, but the 62s has a lot more features. The technology has come a long way in 8 years.

By the way, Garmin's web site only specifies that the 62s accepts up to 4GB Micro SD cards. However, 4GB Micro SD cards hard to find, but the 4GB Micro SDHC cards are readily available. I contacted Garmin Tech Support to confirm that the 62s supports both Micro SD and Micro SDHC cards up to 4GB max.

The power saver feature worked great, and I love the fact that the user interface can be customized.

I purchased a ZAGG screen protector for my 62s. ZAGG didn't have one for the 62s yet (the 62s was too new when I purchased it) but the one that fits a GPSmap 60 can be trimmed and works fine.

I have absolutely no regrets at having purchased this product, and I'm a real picky consumer. Garmin scored another home run with this one!
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on October 17, 2010
I absolutely love this GPS. I've used a Garmin Oregon 300, Garmin Etrex and vista, Garmin gpsmap 60Csx and a Garmin Rino 530 and this GPS is better than all of them. The accuracy is great on this, usually around 9 ft regardless of whether or not I'm under tree cover or near large metal objects. The unit is also incredibly sensitive and does a good job measuring speed whether walking (slow pace to fast pace), biking, or driving in the car. The screen is very easy to see in direct, bright sunlight or at night. The paperless geocaching is amazing. So far, I have mostly used it for geocaching and it generally takes me directly to the cache. There is a menu bar that allows you to add shortcuts you easily jump to by using the quit and page keys, which makes switching from map to compass, to geocaches to elevation plot extremely easy, especially while riding a bicycle. I had trouble navigating the touch-screen oregon on my bike, and this gpsmap 62s is a breeze.

The only issue I have had with this GPS was when I updated to the 2.70 software. It was loaded on, booted up then turned off after about 30 seconds to a minute. I reset the gps (by using the appropriate button combination, I don't remember what it is at the moment) and since I reset it, everything has worked perfectly. I took this unit hiking yesterday and it tracked my route/elevation very accurately.

A lot of people have complained about this unit "squeaking". Yes, mine squeaks too. Only near the power button, and only on the side the power button is on. I guess this would be a personal preference, but the squeaking doesn't bother me at all. The gps still feels very rugged and tough. I took this out in the pouring rain and since the unit isn't broken, I'm assuming the waterproofing isn't comprised by the squeak. Also, I feel that the whole squeaking thing has been way over dramatized. To me it's not a big deal at all.

I've only used the 60 csx once, but from what I've read about it, it seems that this gps is just as accurate (if not more so) than the 60 csx. If you're into geocaching, I would highly recommend this unit because you can utilize the paperless geocaching, which is incredibly convenient. Previously I had used my phone to view logs/hints, but there is no way I would have been geocaching in the rain if I had to lug my cell phone with me. All around amazing gps unit, especially if a little squeak doesn't bother you.
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on October 1, 2013
We bought 8 GPSMap 62S for our fire engines. We loaded Topo 24k on six of them successfully. Two of the units produced an error code when plugging into Base Camp. Well we worked for about 2 hours with tech support to try to figure this out. We ended up with software support reloading the operating system to no effect. So they give me the instructions for returning the two defective devices. When I email customer support, they DO NOT give me an RMA, they want to start troubleshooting all over again. Like literally from the start after I already have two hours in trying new cables, computers, programs, etc.

I now have about 3 hours into these two defective devices and am on hold as I write this. Its still not clear I am going to get an RMA from Garmin.

Alright, its been a week. Got an email from Garmin last night that the RMA were processed. But, not shipping labels were actually ever sent. I replied to the emails and called again. Still no labels...still waiting for Garmin.
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on May 18, 2012
I bought the 62s after owning the 60CSx for years. I was very happy with my 60CSx. I thought when they improve this device what a GPS it will be. Faster, more powerful, better mapping screens, can't wait. Well my 60 finally died so I went and bought a 62s with great anticipation. While the mapping screen is better by far, and also gives you more choices like satelite imagery, I sure can't say anything good about the rest of this unit. The pointing compass continuosly swings upto 120 degrees in the wrong direction, or the map, depending on which screen your using for navigation to your waypoint. Then on the opposite side of things, the unit will hang sometimes and not update at all for 5-15 seconds. (yes I updated to the latest software)

Now while I appreciate the better user interface, better mapping screen, better push buttons, and quicker satelite lock on, I really don't care an awful lot about any of these features. I need a GPS FIRST AND FORMOST TO BE ACCURATE! I don't want wondering direction pointers or stuck direction pointers. I want fast reliable position pointers as I'm moving. I don't want to be wondering if I'm traveling in the right direction, even if the screen I'm looking at is as pretty as can be. C'mon Garmin, you had a chance to build a great device on the success of the 60, with faster processors and more experience under your belt, and I paid a much higher price for this new device. This GPS is unacceptable. I returned it and am now waiting on a different brand.

To top things off I bought the Satelite mapping software and Garmin ties it to the serial number of the device. So It's money down the drain even if I bought another Garmin. Fool me once?
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on August 17, 2011
I bought this GPS for using when I'm hiking and backpacking. I chose the GPSMAP 62s because of its reputation for having the best GPS signal reception. Battery life is so-so, but I carry Sanyo Eneloop AA's (rechargeable Ni-MH) with me whenever I bring it on multiday trips. One you get the hang of the menus, it's a very nice GPS. I'm happy with my purchase. I'm also very happy that Garmin produces good Mac software. I don't have Windows and therefore I can't purchase a number of GPS's out there. The screen is easy to read.

My only complaints are:

* The screen scratches easily. A $15 ZAGG screen protector can prevent this. The ZAGG is one of the best and it has "absorbed" a number of scratches. Garmin should include a screen protector.

* The case squeaks when you press the power button. This makes the GPS feel cheap.

* The battery meter takes up too much space. I fills an item square when it shouldn't have to. I'd like a tiny one that is on all screens, kind of like an iPhone battery meter.

* Topo maps should be included and if not, should not be so expensive. Cost of entry for handheld GPS's is still high. I don't know anyone that would buy this GPS and not want the 1:24k topos. The 62st model is lame because you buy the maps but they are 1:100k and locked to your device. Buy the 1:24k DVD topos. Then when you get a new GPS in the future you can use the maps on the new GPS.
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on October 28, 2010
Wow, I really LOVE my new Garmin GPSMap 62s. I bought this unit to replace a Rhino 110 that I had been using for Geocaching. I decided it was time to upgrade when the joystick on the Rhino started going out. I spent a lot of time researching various manufacturers and models, finally deciding on the Garmin GPSMap 62s, and boy am I glad I did! This unit is amazing!

1) The satellite reception is incredible. It picks up multiple satellites from inside my house, even on "Normal" GPS mode. Way cool! The Rhino needs line of site with the sky to get reception, so it can't pick up any signal in the house and using it in the car can be a challenge. But this problem is non-existent with the 62s. It works from anywhere inside the car or the house. Overhead obstructions (trees, overhangs, heavy overcast skies, etc...) don't seem to pose any problems for the 62s. It always has a strong signal.

2) The 1.7G onboard memory is great, I've downloaded high resolution topo maps of both Arizona and New Mexico and haven't made much of a dent in using up the storage space.

3) One of the prime selling points for me was the paperless geocaching feature. It used to take me hours to enter the geocache coordinates by hand into the Rhino, but with the 62s I download them directly into the unit in seconds. And not only the coordinates but the cache information, log records, and hints too. The unit manages the found caches in a separate space for ease in recording the finds on the geocaching website later. The accuracy of the unit in getting me to the cache sites is quite stellar. With the GPS mode set to Normal it's getting me within 10 ft of the cache. With WAAS enabled it gets me within about 5ft. Amazing, considering the Rhino was only getting me within 20ft. Finding caches now is almost too easy!

4) The control buttons are easy to use and intuitive. The screen is large enough and bright enough that I have no problem seeing the maps and information, even when I have the unit mounted on my bike.

1) I've noticed that when I'm near very large metal objects (bridges, rail cars, etc...) the signal starts to bounce and I can't get a good read, even with WAAS enabled. This is only a minor irritation though cuz I'm usually close enough by then to find what I'm looking for.

2) While it's awesome that the unit has multiple pre-loaded profiles and allows customization of screens and views, I've struggled with getting just the right view and data sets to suite my needs. Part of this is because there are SO many view options I have a hard time deciding what I really want. But creating a custom view is no slam dunk, it take guess work because the owners manual offers no help.

3) Removing caches from the unit is cumbersome because it can't be done within the unit itself, you have to plug the unit into a computer and delete the files using the computer. The manual doesn't provide guidance on this, the user has to figure it out themselves and be somewhat computer savvy to find the files to get rid of them.

Despite these issues, I highly recommend the Garmin GPSMap 62s for the trail and geocaching. I am really enjoying using the unit and am very, very happy with my purchase.
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on March 29, 2013
If you decide to get this unit, update the firmware immediately. It solves a lot of issues the unit would have out of the box.

The Garmin GPSMAP 62stc is a very good and very sensitive GPS receiver. I bought this to replace a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx that was lost deep in the Arizona Desert (ironic!) It is very quick to capture overhead satellites and find its position will little fuss, even in doors or thick overhead foliage. It feels very sturdy and looks like it can take a beating, which is an imperative when traveling with me.

Where it all falls down is with the interface which is a huge step backwards from the 60CSx. With the 60CSx, paging though the navigation screens was quick and effective. With the 62stc it feels like its a chore to find the navigation data quickly. With the 60CSx you simply called up the needed information by paging through the various screens using the in and out buttons. With the 62stc, you have to call up the menu, chase down the screen you want, then call it up.

The 62stc has a lot of bells and whistles, such as a 5mp camera, wireless sharing, geocaching, compass and barometer. The compass works okay, but the barometer is mostly useless. Barometric pressure varies with air density which is in turn based on humidity, air temperature and other weather conditions. This can cause your altitude reading to easily vary by as much as 500 feet on a bad day.

Using the Basecamp software I had from the old 60CSx, The updated software, at least on my Mac, worked out fine. I was able to load geocaches from with little issue. Basecamp also had all my saved point in memory, so a lot of info was saved. Highly recommend Basecamp for use with this unit.

For the interface issues I drop the rating by one star.

The second star was lost due to having very little in the way of instructions. Combine the lack of a meaningful manual with the less than average interface and you will be hunting and pecking around to accomplish what should be the simplest of actions.

It is going to take time to get used to the interface on this unit, but it work out well enough. Three stars is not being picky or generous, it is about where this unit is at.

I reiterate;

1. Update the firmware! Don't wait; just do it!
2. Basecamp is excellent software for use with the 62stc.
3. Spend some time with this unit, it is going to take a while to get used to.
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on January 1, 2014
I received the 1.7GB 62S with compass and altimeter, and only the "basemap" installed for Christmas.
Aside from that initial shock of "That's a map?!" this looks like a good product. Fortunately, the "work around" also looks pretty good so far.

The hardware seems pretty solid - fast pickup on satellites, water-resistant, decent battery life (though it tells me batteries are getting low literally less than two seconds before shutting off, using rechargeable NiMH), seems pretty accurate. Menus are a little odd, but I'm getting used to them. No real paper manual included, and the PDF manual for it is VERY marginal. (It also has 28 PDF manuals in memory for different languages - you can free up about 20 MB of space for maps by deleting the extras when you look through it when it's connected via USB to your computer). You can change the opening "splash screen a bit by editing the STARTUP text file in the Garmin folder to say something like "if found, please call ABC at 555-1212." Screen is small, but usable enough. Found some good beginners tutorials at GPSTracklog (this is my first hand-held GPS).

Biggest surprise: I was shocked to discover this model comes with basically no maps. A handheld (field) GPS with essentially NOTHING in terms of topographical maps! A few scattered "demo-map" locations, some major roads and lakes/rivers, nothing more. The "basemap" is a joke from what I've seen of it. The nearest ANYTHING it shows to my house is 1.52 miles away, and there are 3 schools, more than a thousand houses, lakes, creeks, hills, and two dozen stores closer than that. And Garmin wants about a hundred bucks a pop for regional maps?! Looking just at where I'm likely to be in the next three years would cost about $850 in maps. No, I thought, there has to be something better, considering all the USGS data that is public domain. Sure enough - searching around I found sites that have free downloadable GPS-compatible topo data, such as GPSFileDepot (which have good installers), OpenStreetMap, and Switchbacks (I'm sure there are more, too); still finding out what's best for what I need. These free maps look good, but I can't honestly compare them to the purchased maps. To use them, Download BaseCamp from Garmin (their free software). Download and run the installer for the maps from GPSFileDepot. Hook up your GPS. Launch BaseCamp, tell it to send maps to your GPS. Poof, there they are! Our tax dollars already paid for the USGS data, may as well use it. Still playing with the others, need to get a memory card for it to store them all.

UPDATE: I thought my days of dealing with FAT32 were over. I guess not. I bought a MicroSD card to store extra maps on - there are many GB of free maps out there to use. I bought a 64GB MicroSD on sale and installed it. My computer saw it. BaseCamp saw it. I installed maps to it. The 62s did NOT show the new maps. Urk? Normally SD cards ship formatted with exFAT, but it turns out that Garmin only recognizes the FAT32 file system. D'oh! Win7 didn't want to format the 64GB card with FAT32, so I had to use a free-ware utility FAT32 Formatter (Ridgecrop) to make it work. Reinstalled the maps, appears to work fine now. Of course, such details are not mentioned in the manual.
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