Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
Not so great experience
on August 4, 2007
While this is a pretty useful device for hiking, running, sailing etc...it has several issues. One is, that the preinstalled map only shows high and freeways. If one wants more detail, Garmin will ask you to plunck down another ~$90 for US coverage. If you want Europe, it costs you again. Japan is not available at all, only a third party supplier in Japan offers a compatible map-another $90...are you reminded of razors and razor blades?? I am! Anyway, after loading maps with the crappy PC-only software (slow and cumbersome), it worked fine-for about three weeks. Then it frequently started turning itself off, and after a few more days the maps were self-deleted, and then it never came back to life. Hopefully, this is only a singulary lemon...I am currently waiting for a return authorization number-hope they read emails at Garmin.
Update: The device was successfully exchanged in about two weeks. Since it was exchanged, I needed to buy the Japanese maps again due to the new serial number-the practice of linking maps to devices is an aggravating procedure whose only purpose can be to maximize profits at these companies.
Update 2: After about 1.5 years, the on/off switch developed problems again: Now the device often crashes when turning it on, and when turning it off, it often goes into a mode where it emits a constant beep, which can only be resolved by removing the batteries...this experience suggests that there is a design problem with these devices, i.e. it may be advised to go elsewhere for an outdoor GPS...
Other shortcomings are the incredibly slow location fix (update: This is likely fixed in the new HCx models which have a better receiver)...it takes about 3 minutes if it already knows where you are approximately. If you step out of the plane, it can take up to 10 minutes until it finally gets an idea where you are. Advice: get a receiver with the sirfstar III chip set...supposedly this might alleviate this problem. More issues: no map support for macintosh, waypoints and other user generated data except tracks cannot be downloaded from the memory card. Proprietary Garmin software is needed to access these data, i.e. if you have a mac you depend on some downloadable utilities from the web. There is nothing out there to load Garmin maps to the unit using a Mac. Hence, if you are in the field, and only have a mac laptop there is no way to update your mapset.
Bottom line: Wait until the next iPhone comes out with GPS capabilities and google map integration...(=free razor blades...;-).