Handheld GPS reviews

Finding your way in the world can cost the earth with some of these handheld GPS.
 
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  • Updated:6 Apr 2009
 

02.Results

The following models scored the best results in our test:

What to buy
Brand Price
Garmin Oregon 400c $750
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx $450
 

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Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Ease of use score (%) Acquistion score (%) Battery life score (%)* Accuracy score (%) Waterproofing score (%) Average battery life (hh:mm) * PC
software
Connectivity
Garmin Oregon 400c
www.garmin.com.au
82 89 73 75 70 100 17:30 WebUpdater 2.4.1 (download) Mini-B USB/USB 2.0 Type A
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
www.garmin.com.au
78 81 63 85 75 100 26:30 Mapsource 6.15.3, WebUpdater 2.4.1 Mini-B USB/USB 2.0 Type A
Garmin Colorado 300
www.garmin.com.au
69 77 63 70 70 50 12:00 Mapsource 6.15.3, WebUpdater 2.4.1 Mini-B USB/USB 2.0 Type A
Garmin eTrex H
www.garmin.com.au
68 68 70 75 75 50 18:20 None Proprietary/RS 232 (A)
Garmin GPSMAP 60
www.garmin.com.au
68 78 33 80 70 100 22:00 Mapsource 6.15.3, WebUpdater 2.4.1 Mini-B USB/USB 2.0 Type A and Proprietary/RS 232 (A)
Magellan Triton 500
www.magellan.com.au
51 46 60 70 75 0 15:20 VantagePoint 1.52 (54MB download) Proprietary/USB 2.0 Type A
Magellan Triton 300
www.magellan.com.au
50 46 53 70 75 0 15:20 VantagePoint 1.52 (54MB download) Proprietary/USB 2.0 Type A
Magellan Triton 400
www.magellan.com.au
48 48 50 60 75 0 11:30 VantagePoint 1.52 (54MB download) Proprietary/USB 2.0 Type A
 


 
SPECIFICATIONS
Brand / model (in rank order) Number and
type of batteries
Display
type
Display size
(mm, W x H)
Display resolution
(pixels, W x H)
Weight
(g, with batteries)
Dimensions
(mm, H x W x D)
Price
($)
Garmin Oregon 400c
www.garmin.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 39 x 64 240 x 400 200 113 x 59 x 35 750
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
www.garmin.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 34 x 43 176 x 220 168 106 x 58 x 31 450
Garmin Colorado 300
www.garmin.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 39 x 64 240 x 400 213 140 x 61 x 34 600
Garmin eTrex H
www.garmin.com.au
2xAA Mono LCD 22 x 53 64 x 128 152 113 x 57 x 30 150
Garmin GPSMAP 60
www.garmin.com.au
2xAA Mono LCD 34 x 52 160 x 240 205 159 x 58 x 42 350
Magellan Triton 500
www.magellan.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 33 x 45 240 x 320 189 118 x 56 x 31 650
Magellan Triton 300
www.magellan.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 33 x 45 240 x 320 181 118 x 56 x 31 400
Magellan Triton 400
www.magellan.com.au
2xAA Colour LCD 33 x 45 240 x 320 183 118 x 56 x 31 600
 

Table notes

  • * When tracking tracking satellites only.
  • (A) Optional accessory.

How we test

Ease of use testing is conducted in two stages. Members of the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad examine each unit, plot a simple route and follow the track log to gauge its accuracy. This is followed by an assessment conducted by CHOICE, which includes starting the unit, logging a waypoint or route, button accessibility and screen readability.

Acquisition Our testers measure how long each unit takes to acquire a satellite fix under a clear sky and then under dense foliage. Three runs of each test are carried out on different days and at different times to provide a variety of satellite constellations.

Battery life Each unit is set up to constantly fix its position, then checked every hour until its batteries run out or the unit shuts down with a low battery indication.

Accuracy is assessed by testing the devices at four survey points and a variety of altitudes. The test is repeated twice at different times of day, when a different constellation of satellites would be within range. No handheld GPS tested had more than 6m average location error, and none had more than 7m average height error.

Waterproofing All models claim to be waterproof to IPX7 Standards; they are submerged to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes. The units are then dried and turned on to obtain a fix.

For CHOICE’s recommendations / overall score:
Models are ranked from best to worst by overall score. Five factors are included in the overall score, weighted as follows:

  • Ease of use: 40%
  • Acquisition: 25%.
  • Battery: 15%.
  • Accuracy: 10%.
  • Waterproofing: 10%