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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do they make something so good, so tiny?!?!
Let's start with the downsides:-
1. Battery life is about 6 hours, so make sure you bring a few spares on long hauls.
2. Doesn't float. Not a nig negative for me, but may be for you.
3. That's it. Yes, it has no maps, but it doesn't need them - this ain't aimed at those users. You may as well say it has no marine or flight addons.....same thing - it's...
Published on May 25, 2003 by Mr. P. R. Allen

versus
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice for back packers, but may have a fatal flaw
At first glance, the Gecko 201 seems to be an excellent choice for a back packer's navigation system. The super compact size and light weight were among the primary reasons I chose it. It's very easy to use and it seems to be a good value based on price and features.
It should be noted that it's low cost comes at the expense of even the most rudimentary accessory...
Published on April 2, 2003 by Bill's reviews


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do they make something so good, so tiny?!?!, May 25, 2003
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
Let's start with the downsides:-
1. Battery life is about 6 hours, so make sure you bring a few spares on long hauls.
2. Doesn't float. Not a nig negative for me, but may be for you.
3. That's it. Yes, it has no maps, but it doesn't need them - this ain't aimed at those users. You may as well say it has no marine or flight addons.....same thing - it's aimed at hikers/runners/cyclists/hobbyists.
Upsides? Lots!
1. Size - It is TINY. It's smaller and lighter than my mobile phone.
2. Waterproof. Tested it, true, it is. Water got into the batter compartment, and it didn't affect operation. Weird.
3. Trackpoints - 10000. Yes, Ten thousand.
4. Although its a budget model, it doesn't scrimp on other basic features - 20 route or 125 legs, 10 saved tracks, 500 waypoints, its plenty for anyone.
5. WAAS. Not used in the UK yet, but next year.
6. PC Connectivity - allows me to use my Ozi Explorer to upload/download pretty much everything.
7. Ease of use.... I was up and running in literally no time.
8. Speed - acquired satellites pretty damned quickly.
9. Feel - Feels damned good in the hand - buttons/screen well placed, feel good. Some have mentioned an on button problem, I don't see it myself.
10. Trip Computer - nice for runners/cyclists. Lots of configuration available to the user too.
11. Colour - you ain't gonna lose this gadget in a hurry....
12. Price - At £120 including VAT (UK) it's pretty amazing value.
Summary - for a hiker etc, it does the job extremely well, especially if you use it with a PC. As far as I'm concerned, there are no decent competitors on the market - all others fall short in some way.
10/10. Easily.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a Toy? No way!, March 19, 2003
By 
"digitalgrove" (Madison, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
Intrigued by Garmin's Geko 201 Personal Navigator®? It's smaller than an eTrex and dwarfed by many standard GPS units. But is the Geko a real GPS or just a toy?
First, the Geko 201 is a serious GPS receiver. It features WAAS differential correction; memory for 500 waypoints, twenty routes, a whopping 10,000 track points and ten saved tracks; and it connects to external power or to your PC for data transfer with an optional cable. It floats. The array of five buttons is easy to use. The screen is tiny, but it's not that hard to read. Menu choices allow configuration of the data screens to your liking. The back is rubberized, so you can lay it on your dashboard (where it works quite well) and not have it slide around. Using only two AAA batteries, the unit is light as well as small enough to fit in a shirt pocket (but the limited power supply may be an issue for some as explained below). The Geko also has four built-in arcade games, a novelty to emphasize that GPS can be fun.
The Geko doesn't show base maps but is adept at recording points and lines (keeping track of where you've been, locations you want to remember and where you'd like to go). If you want a GPS unit to use primarily for hiking or recording locations, the absence of base maps isn't that significant. Fact is that the base maps in many GPS units don't provide enough detail to be of much use at a close-in scale unless you can download more features from a CD. If you need map detail, a Geko easily connects to a PDA or laptop computer to display your location in navigation programs or even projected on aerial photos.
The Geko utilizes a built-in "patch" antenna (a square plate inside the unit, located under the lizard logo). I found the antenna remarkably sensitive when the unit is held correctly. It works best in a horizontal orientation, the top edge of the unit pointed to the horizon. That way the antenna can look up to the sky. Hang it around your neck on a lanyard, though, and the reception will drop. (Note: Unlike receivers with a patch antenna, GPS units like the Garmin 72 and 76 series using a quadrifilar helix antenna should be operated with the top edge pointed skyward.)
As an experiment, I took both a big Garmin GPSMAP 76S and the Geko 201 on a hike through a forest area. I wanted to see if the Geko could perform as well and hold a track in a wooded situation. After the hike I downloaded the data with a freeware mapping program (USAPhotoMaps) to overlay the GPS tracks on a TerraServer aerial photo. That's the best way to visualize where you've been. To my surprise the tracks and waypoints recorded by the two units were nearly identical. The Geko had no problem holding a signal in the test, even while I walked through a crowded pine plantation.
On the downside, Geko's rather feeble power supply - two AAA batteries - disappoints me. Garmin claims that two AAA alkaline batteries can last up to twelve hours (on battery saver mode). For economy, however, I use NiMH rechargeable batteries. I know that NiMH power cells don't last as long as alkaline, but the duration was far shorter than I expected - only 40 minutes set on standard mode in 32° F March weather. At 60° F (~16° C) the Geko ran just two hours on fresh NiMH batteries. It operated five and a half hours in battery saver mode with NiMH batteries on the warm dashboard of my car. It's also peculiar that the Geko manual extols lithium batteries for cold weather use and long life when nobody manufactures AAA lithium batteries. Only AA-cell batteries from Energizer are available in a lithium formulation. They can operate to -40°F and last four times longer than alkaline batteries, but sadly do not fit a Geko.
Although you may rely on a more complex GPS for serious tasks, having a miniature Geko tucked in your pocket or bag could be handy. If you toss the Geko to your kids in the back seat to play arcade games en route to your destination, however, the batteries could be dead by the time you arrive. You might prefer a recreational GPS unit using AA batteries for extended outdoor activities, but a Geko is a good buy for educational, casual or backup use.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent (and tiny) GPS, April 13, 2003
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
This little GPS, while not having any removeable memory nor a large bank of memory, does VERY well with what it does have. It easily stored a 6 hour hike in it's memory, with less than half the memory used. For street mapping, it has a connection for a computer -- And coupled with Delorme Street Atlas USA, is a high-end solution for in car navigation. (Requires the cables and a serial/USB converter, which are reasonably priced and excellently assembled at the pfranc project.) The eTrex cable/converter is the same for this Geko.
The battery life isn't really a negative -- ten to twelve hours of operation is just fine, and you can replace low batteries without losing information, so nothing is hurting there. Overall, the price for this unit makes this unit an excellent purchase. Only complaint is that the color is a bit ugly -- And the stretch holster offered by Garmin doesn't do anything for its appearance either.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything a trekker, climber or mountain biker needs, June 23, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
This is an excellent, economical piece of gear for trekkers, climbers and mountain bikers. Competent wilderness travelers will already have a paper topographic map and compass, and this little GPS is a great navigational supplement. I have found that the Geko 201 works well even under tree cover on the side of a large mountain. I've used the Geko 201 to pinpoint my position (in conjunction with a USGS topo map) while hiking cross-country, and I've used the route feature with pre-programmed waypoints to navigate cross-country solely by GPS. My experience indicates that you will run the batteries down quickly if you navigate solely with the Geko 201, but the unit supplements traditional navigation very well. I think the Geko 201 has everything that a wilderness traveler needs, assuming previous experience in traditional map/compass navigation. Besides, more expensive GPS units with the capability to upload software packages are for specialist professions or those who need a toy to fiddle with, not for serious wilderness travelers. Go with the lightweight Geko 201 and save room in your pack for stuff you really need, like food!!! By the way, after reading other reviews of the Geko 201 I was concerned the unit might turn itself on and off in my pocket or pack (on-off button is not protected), but it hasn't happened.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What it does, it does very well and it's fun, September 6, 2005
By 
Aaron D. Chacon "goes_m" (San Jose, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
Here's my recommendation in case you don't want to read the whole review: If you don't want or need extra functions, this is a capable basic GPS unit. And it is small enough there is no excuse to not bring it. Just remember to store you car's location *before* you start your hike...

Here's what it can do:

It gets positions quickly and in moderate tree cover. I can get a lock easily through a wood & asphalt composite roof, even WAAS information most of the time. Naturally, in trees where you cannot see landmarks is where you want a GPS unit to work, so I give this some weight. I have an older GPS that only works in situations where I don't really need it. The Gecko gets better reception that my Garmin Vista.

You can store and use waypoints, and tracks. I can easily tell one side of a 2 lane street from the other when looking at a track. The user interface for looking for waypoints (and the interface in general) seems pretty easy to use. Although the names of the way points have to be short.

It is small enough, fast enough, and accurate enough that I have considered (but not yet tried) to use it to store my car's location when at a shopping mall. My typical hiking use is to store my car's location when I start my hike. Then I use the unit to get distances and bearings from the car for navigation, since most paper park maps I get have the parking lot marked on them prominately. (Use the "goto" funtion to get the info.)

Battery life seems to be most of a day with non-rechargable batteries (2 AAA's). Carrying spares while hiking is light enough that I would do it just so I don't have to throw out partially good batteries to have a fresh set when I start. And I can change batteries during a hike since the memory is maintained during a battery change. Re-acquiring a lock is fast enough that it is fesible to leave the unit off when you're not using it.

I have a computer with a serial port and have been using the Garmin mapping software with it. Although you cannot load maps to it, you can load routes (of the point to point type, no road following here) and way points. It can be moderately useful in driving if used to remind you where, and in what direction to turn. But with no map it cannot help if you get lost other then to tell you where you need to be. You can also download waypoints and tracks to the computer to store them. But the software to do this costs about as much as the Gecko, so I give this little weight in my review.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice for back packers, but may have a fatal flaw, April 2, 2003
By 
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
At first glance, the Gecko 201 seems to be an excellent choice for a back packer's navigation system. The super compact size and light weight were among the primary reasons I chose it. It's very easy to use and it seems to be a good value based on price and features.
It should be noted that it's low cost comes at the expense of even the most rudimentary accessory. It has nary a belt clip and the manuals are the only accessories it comes with.
As much as I like the unit however, it may have a fatal flaw. The power on button is not protected and is very easily activated. Someone tossing it in a day pack or back pack pocket may find the batteries drained when they next get it out.
If I were Garmin, I would design a mechanism to disable accidental powering on of the unit. Absent this oversite, I would have rated it 5 stars as a back packer's GPS in this price range.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, June 23, 2004
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
I bought the Geko 201 as a replacement for my very old Magellen Blazer 12. The difference is night and day.
Although both had parallel processing, the Geko picks up signals much faster. From a cold, fresh-out-of-the-box start, it took the Geko less than a minute to figure out where it was. The Blazer 12 took about 10 minutes even when given hints.
The screens are simple and extremely useful. Even with my very bad eyesight, the display was very readable. The buttons make sense, no manual necessary.
A few people have mentioned a "flaw" with the power button. I have carried this Geko around for almost two months, keeping it in my pocket almost every day. The unit has NEVER come on by accident. The power button is recessed and takes a good push to get it going.
As a hiker and backpacker, my power usage might be less demanding than others. I find that the battery lasts about 8-9 hours on battery save mode. This mode even works well in forests. The only time the Geko is kept powered on is if I'm mapping a trail. Otherwise, it is used for waypoints and position checks only.
The lack of displayed maps is irrelevent as I have yet to see a GPS with enough detail to be worth it. I have linked the Geko to DeLorme's Topo 5 with excellent results. Routes, tracks, waypoints can all be moved freely back and forth. This is great for mapping new trails or discovering hard-to-find trailheads. The memory is more than enough, I've never gotten past 12% full after a weekend jaunt.
Of course, the size is amazing. The color is also nice as I can actually find it! This is an excellent buy and a great choice for those who want GPS served up straight, stripped of all the annoying "features" of other units. I just purchased a second 201 for my hiking friend, she loves hers as much as I do!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Garmin's take anywhere Geko......, March 5, 2003
By 
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
This is my second GPS unit, as I also own a Magellan Meridian. The size of this unit is superb. It dwarfs the Magellan, and makes it seem like a brick. It will be very easy to toss this in a pack and take it along. Unfortunately, however, its dimunativeness extends to the screen, making it a challenge to read from more than a few inches away for my aging eyes. I have found the accuracy to be in line with the Magellan, though it takes the Geko much longer to acquire satellites, and it doesn't work as well under cover of trees and such. The one other area in which the Geko excells is in ease of use. It manages to accomplish the same tasks with five buttons as opposed to the Magellan's nine. Waypoints can be entered with a single button. The Geko's internal memory is very small and it has no expandability, making it a poor choice for use as a multi-city navigational aid. The Geko is more suited to hiking. Its ease of use makes it a great starter unit or for someone looking for an inexpensive GPS to back up their traditional map and compass. It is also a great unit for geocaching. My one question is why in the world did Garmin clothe this unit in such a hideous color and feel the need to include "geogames"? Must every electronic device these days come with entertainment? Small, light and simple, the Geko is worth consideration.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to GPS but be careful ordering accessories, November 14, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
This is my first GPS unit to own. I bought it for one specific task (to measure distances on my jogging routes) and for the general purpose of learning and using a GPS. It's simple to use, easy to carry running, and I'm completely satisfied with the unit. I also want to connect it to my laptop (that's why I got a 201 instead of a 101). So I also got the PC acessory cable that the amazon website suggests, but it is made for a different model series and does not connect to the geko 201.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WAAS overhyped, September 30, 2004
By 
Leymus (Stockton CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Geko 201 Waterproof Hiking GPS (Yellow) (Electronics)
I have been using my 201 for several months. Compared to the only other GPS I have used, a $10k Trimble, it is a bargain.

On its Website Garmin claims, "A WAAS-capable receiver can give you a position accuracy of better than three meters 95 percent of the time." I have yet to see that accuracy. I get 5-6m accuracy 95% of the time. New buyers should be aware that you must use the menu system to put the 201 into WAAS mode for the first time.

In my work, the lack of pan capability in waypoints is a serious limitation.

A reviewer complained about short names for waypoints. Be aware that you enter names by scrolling through the alphabet for each letter: I make do with short names.

I have had no problems with the on/off switch.
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