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Ralph Wiggum

Choosing a handheld GPS

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Ralph Wiggum

Alright, I am looking into buying a handheld GPS. This will be my first GPS, and I am looking for opinions/experiences to help me make my choice. I don't want any posts bashing other units, I'd just like to hear about your GPS experience.

Things I'm curious about:

1. Battery life

2. Mapping abilities

3. Durability

4. Ease of seeing the display

5. Advantages of either color or B&W

6. Quickness of locking onto satellites

7. Anything you feel your GPS has and does not need

8. Anything you wish was improved about your GPS

I've heard a lot about the Lowrance H20 and H20c, but not too much about any other models.

So, give me the lowdown, folks!

Thanks!

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eurolarva

H2O is a good option for the price about $170. Navonics chip is another 130. I have had mine for about 6 months and do not leave home without it. I get at least 10 hours on two rechargable AA batteries and have never had a problem reading the display in any condition. When hooked to the car battery at night the back light is strong enough for good visibility without having to turn lights on. There is a learning curve getting used to the different tools that this unit provides. It has a built in demo mode that will help you play with it in doors so you dont have to keep getting tracking errors every time you loose the satilite hookups. Detail has been awsome. I am fishing this weekend more to find and set up way points for ice fishing.

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caseymcq

I have a Garmin GPS Map 76 and an eTrex Legend. I like both a lot. I bought the 76 first and I loved it. I bought the eTrex because it is a smaller unit and nicer for using in the woods as a handheld.

1. Battery life - Batteries usually last long enough that I really don't notice. Each unit only uses two AA batteries so that seems pretty good.

2. Mapping abilities - They come with a decent base map of cities, major roads, lakes, some points of interest. Garmin has a lot of different mapping CD roms that can be bought to upload maps and LakeMaster has a CD Rom that is compatable with Garmin Units.

3. Durability - both are pretty durable

4. Ease of seeing the display - display is pretty easy to read.

5. Advantages of either color or B&W - B&W major advantage is definitely battery life.

6. Quickness of locking onto satellites - It seems like the GPS Map76 locks in a little quicker but both seem to do it pretty quickly when they have a decent "view" of the southern sky.

7. Anything you feel your GPS has and does not need - nope

8. Anything you wish was improved about your GPS - Biggest thing is I wish it could take the Lake Master Chip.

Garmin has some newer GPS Map 76Cx units that will take a Micro SD card. LakeMaster makes Micro SD cards for these units. These units are more expensive than Lowrance H20 (I looked on GPSCity.com and the 76Cx is $399.95 and a H20c is $214.95). I like how user friendly Garmins are. I can't say if it is worth the $185. I am sure if you use Lowrance products enough you would become proficient in operating them. I have Lowrance LCX 15mt's in my boat so I already have the LakeMaster chip for those. I would be hard for me not to buy the H2Oc when I already have the chip. If I would have been born filthy rich instead of good looking grin.gif, I would buy the Garmin and then get the Micro SD card.

My dad and brother have the H2Oc. They love it with the LakeMaster chip. Their biggest complaint is battery life.

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bigswede

I have the H2o and love it. BOught it last March and have it with at all times. My dad had gotten the Garmin Map 76 and it is a good unitalso, but has mentioned that the Lowrance seems to be more user friendly. I feel that the Garmin is a better unit, but the Lowrance is a good one 2 and eaiser to learn how to use. just my 2 cents

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hanson

Plain & simple, I think the compatibility with map chips puts the Lowrance units at the top of the heap, regardless of any other downfalls they may have. That sole feature alone makes the Lowrance products worth the money. Did I say money? H20 will not set you back very much money either.

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caseymcq

They have a LakeMaster chip for Garmin's now so that feature is no longer unique to Lowrance. The H2OC is still much cheaper.

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Big-Al

I have to agree with Casey, Garmin Map 76Cx is a great unit, although certainly not the cheapest if that is what you are after. It is rugged, it floats, and Garmin will really stand behind the product. This new model has a new antenna and receiver and is very quick to lock on and gets the WAAS satellite way more often than others if you really want accuracy.

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