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GPS Unit - Which one is enough?


Flash

Question

I am looking at purchasing a GPS Unit. Did some looking around and which one does a guy go with? Some many units and so many price ranges. In your opinion, which one is the most reasonable? All I want to do is be able to mark some fishing and hunting spots. They all come with the road map, I think. Is there some things to be careful about with them? What are some features you definately want to have. i.e. Waterproof, battery life, etc. Any information would be great. I'm sure this has been asked before but I could not find it.

Thanks,

Flash

"Set the Hook"

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I could go all day about the in's and outs of all the GPS units. But in my opinion for what you get for the money it is hard to beat the Lowrance units. I have the I-finder Pro and love it, They make a Waterproof version called the H20 and a unit with a digital compass and that is waterproof called the Hunt, Other then that they are pretty much the same. They also have color versions now also. If you are comparing these units to Garmin's and Magellen's of the same screen size and features you are looking at $100 more for these units with less options in my opinion. Good luck

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You'll have a hard time beating Lowrance's H20 for price & features. For a little more money, you can get the color version (H20C).

When you couple a Lowrance handheld GPS with a Lakemaster MN lakemap chip, you have a very powerful unit in your hands.

I used my H20C up on Lake Winnibigoshish for the I.C.E. Series and finding all the midlake structure was a piece of cake with the Lakemaster chip. Winni is mapped in 1' contours on chip. Simply awesome!

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I went out to Cabela's in the same boat - looking at getting a inexpensive GPS with the most bang for the buck. It was pretty clear to me that the Lowrance H2O was the best deal. I will be getting the H20C (w/ color) and the lake chip and should be set for a long time!

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If you really only want a unit for marking and returning to spots and don't want mapping capabilities, there are many, many units that will work. I have the Garmin Map76 (a mapping unit) but you could go with the Garmin 72 or Garmin 76 for better resolution. If you fish larger lakes a lot buy one with mapping capabilities, they are so much more convenient. For mapping units, the Ifinder H20 and H20C are the units to look at and accept the Lakemaster MN chip that is the bomb for the depth contours. These two units will do what you want but they also have the mapping capability which you will probably want later. The Garmin 72 and Lowrance Ifinder H2O are similarly priced. The H20C (color) in low light is awesome with the backlight on but it is very hard to read in bright, direct or indirect light (i.e. sunlight). So difficult that I'm returning mine for the H2O, the black and white, unit after doing a side-by-side comparison. One thing I don’t like about the H2O and H2OC is the size of the icons. When zoomed in all the way (at least with the Lakemaster MN chip in) and you are using the unit to fish with instead of throwing marker buoys, they get in the way. If anyone knows how to make them smaller, please let me know.

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Thanks for the info. It is great to have this site to help a guy out when he has no idea what to buy. Thanks again.

Flash

"Set the Hook"

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if all you want to do is mark a trail and navigate to some waypoints, the lowrance i-finder go or go2 at 70 tp 90 bucks at amazon will do the job. And run for a long time off a set of batteries. Or you can spend hundreds and get one that shows all the streets in the country and works like mapquest.

You have to decide the budget and what the features are worth.

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Hookmaster,

So you believe that even at equal cost, you perfer the H2O B/W over the Color model? Is there any advantage to the color model? I plan to get one or the other but would like to know if the color is a waste of $$. Thanks,

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I've attained the color model and the Ifinder model that was discontinued/replaced by the H2O and both have their ups and downs. The color model is slightly newer so I use it the most, but for no specific reason other than being newer. I have the Ifinder(non-colored unit) for sale for $70 if anyone is interested. Is so, contact me at [email protected]

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I have the H2O color one, why? Because the color one was more fun! C'mon we really don't NEED GPS's and Lakemaster chips, we want them. I really love my color H2O, it is so cool to work with and the definition is incredible. I felt is I was buying a "toy" I wanted the "funnest toy" and the color one was the best for me. If you do go with B/W at least get the chip! the lake mapping is so great, looking for a inside turn never has been easier. I understand the $$ difference debate and can respect it but the color one for me has been awesome. cannot wait to use it more!

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I have been looking at buying an H2O. I have an opportunity to by an IFinder Pro that is about a year old. I have read that the H2O is waterproof and includes some water navigation and objstruction features. Are there other difference between the H2O and the Pro? Anyone using the Pro and if so are you happy with it? I plan on buying the Lakemaster chip as well.

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One advantage of the Color over the B&W is its response to cold. The cold has no where near the impact on the TFT screens as it does the LCD.

I have heard that the Color does like the power. B&W would probably give you better battery life. If you go with the color and plan on using it with batteries a lot (rather than a 12V DC plug) litium batteries may something you want to consider.

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I have been looking at the H2O and the explorer for gps units. Been thinking about the explorer because of the electronic compass and barometric altimeter. Does anyone find them usefull or just something else to play with? Plan on using mind for marking hot spots and lake points.

thanks

Opsirc

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I have the b&w h2o and love it.The other difference between the monochrome and the color is color is a 16 parallel receiver b&w is 12.Not sold on the color just yet,maybe next year lowrance will have the viewing in direct sunlight problem worked out.Until then my b&w will do...

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Luckey,

If I remember correctly the "advantages" of the H2OC are 1) color, 2) higher pixel count for a sharper display and 3) can track up to 16 satellites. I have had GPSs for 10 years and I think the most I've ever locked on to is 10 so the ability to track more satellites doesn't add much. The display is sharper than the H20 but if you can't see it in sunlight it doesn't make any difference. In low light when the backlight helps, the color is far superior than the black and white. I will use mine 90% in my boat during the day and the black and white will be easier to see. I did a side-by-side comparison between the H2OC and H2O in bright sunlight and the H2O was better. Before I sent the H2OC back I compared it to my Garmin Map76 (black and white LCD) in sunlight and the Map76 was better. If you'll use it mostly during the day, the H2O is the better choice.

One thing I figured out to do when using the H2O instead of a marker to get around the large icons is to use the compass page instead of the map page. This page shows the direction (arrow) and distance to get back to the waypoint. I'd like to thank Wade Kuehl at Jolly Ann Marine for the Fishing MN Xmas special and working with me to get me the unit with which I'm happy.

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Just thought I'd add a few things after using my H20C for a good month or so now.

1) Color is impossible to see in bright sun.

2) Forget about using batteries with the unit, it eats them up too fast.

3) Other than that, I love the unit!

What I've gone to now is using a flasher type battery in a handlebar bag on my snowmobile that I have the GPS wired to. This last couple days I fished for 2 days straight (9 hrs a day) and left the H20C on with the backlight on while hooked up to the flasher battery. Good to go! A guy shouldn't need any more battery life than that out of the GPS.

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I couldn't agree with Chris more. When the sun is out it blows trying to read the dang thing. Under clouds or at night...I wouldn't trade it for the world smile.gif I mounted a small 12 volt battery under the hood of my sled and hooked it up to a 12 volt receptacle. Just the ticket.

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after reading this, I think I will opt for the non color H2O. I need a new trolling motor this spring, since my boat doesn't currently have one, and my old Lowrance Global map 100 has seen better days. How much are the lakemaster chips and basically how does it work with the gps?

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Lakemaster MN chips are $99. You put it in the unit, then the batteries and turn it on. The unit should recognize the chip. Zoom in on a lake on the list and the contour lines show up. Very easy.

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if you want to get the next step up from the H2O you can get the hunter for 100 dollars more. i think that the hunter is a little better. cause you don't have to be in motion for the compass to work like the H2O. you have to be in motion for the H2O compass to work. also the hunter tells you the barametric pressure and i has more icons like little deer stands and other stuff like that. the H2O only has i think stars which is fine i guess. you can also put that lake map chip in the hunter also and it shows more detailed roads. if i were me i would go with the hunter but the H2O is also a good choice.

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Chris,Dont mean to be a smart a$$, but, you said you fished for 2 days and left it on the whole time (didn't you know where you were). grin.gif Seriously though, I plan on getting an h20, is there a benefit to leaving it on while your at your spot? Just wondering.

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not_nuf_time

It was just a little field test I was doing.

With the H20C running on (2) AA batteries, the battery life is very, very short in the cold weather. I've been running with it on the handlebars of my snowmobile. So, I wired it up to a Vex battery and just wanted to see how long it would go on that battery. I had about 18 hours of use on the Vex battery with the backlight on sitting out in the cold. For my use, that is more than I will ever use in a "normal" ice fishing situation.

Is there any benefit to leaving it on while you are fishing you ask?? Probably not. Once your GPS is locked into your spot and you shut it off, it doesn't take more than 5-10 seconds to reacquire your position when you turn it on.

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The H2Oc is alot easier to read. When you have spots plotted along a trail and waypoint and icons, after awhile they start to overlap. So what you ask. Well when everything is b&w it sucks. If you throw a nice pinck line in the mix you can navigate no problem. Then there was the talk of why the Hunt Vers. H2O. Thats easy most of us fish when you are looking for the spot on the spot, the e comp. is a huge adder. Its not like you need to get close to an area to find your truck or that tree with your stand in it. They will all do that. I say go big or stay home.

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Very informative topic!

Anyone know which GPS has a better display for daytime fishing? (resolution and visibility)... the H2O color models or the Garmin 76 color models?

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