>Also, I'm curious about the indirect references to prior Garmin high-sensitivity models. I have the 60Cx, and before that had the Legend C (and before than the original eTrex). I have found its reception to be astounding, ranging from dense forested valleys in New England backcountry skiing, to steep sheltered couloirs in western ski mountaineering…
Not sure which references to prior Garmin high-sensitivity models you mean but that certainly does not apply to the GPSMap 60 Cx. I had a chance to use a GPSMap 76Cx for a few months and had similar reception success with the unit.
As to the Legend C, I can say that it is probably a lesser receiver technology than the Venture Cx tested. As you can see from the testing, the Venture Cx is good but certainly not in the same league as the new H designation eTrex units.
Part of this is a Garmin nomenclature confusion for its high performance receivers. The following may help clarify:
eTrex Series ‘H’ (e.g. Vista HCx)
These have great high sensitivy receivers that substantially outperform their non-‘H’ predecessors like the Vista Cx. But Garmin will not disclose what receiver technology they use in the ‘H’ units.
GPS Map Series (GPSMap 60 Cx, 60 CSx, 76 Cx,76 CSx)
Many of the units picked up a high performance receiver with the ‘x’ designation. But in fact the ‘x’ designation means that they have an expandable micro SD memory slot. Rumor has it they use the the SiRFstarIII chipset but Garmin will not confirm anything more than that they have a high performance receiver. (The eTrex series also picked up the ‘x’ designation for the micro SD slot but did not pickup high performance receivers. That didn’t happen unit the ‘H’ designation. Thus the eTrex Cx models do not have high performance receivers. There has been a lot of confusion on this point.)
eTrex Series Non-‘H’ (e.g. Venture Cx)
As above an ‘x’ designation does not mean a high performance receiver. It has to have an ‘H’ in the model name to have a high performance receiver. But the receivers in the non-‘H’ eTrex models still performs quite well. The 'x' models receivers perform considerably better than their older non-‘x’ predecessors like the Legend C.
Edge 205 & 305 and Forerunner 205 & 305
These units last year were known to have a high performance SiRF chipset. These may have (or not) moved on to other receiver chip sets as the Garmin site only lists them as “high performance receivers” at this point and does not mention a particular maker. In my use (not systematic/official testing), I found the receiver performance spotty in the Forerunner 205 & 305. The Edge units did better.
In summary, Garmin is now very mum about what receivers are in what unit. Don’t expect to know the receiver technology of any Garmin unit in the future. Garmin “reserves the right to select whatever they feel is the best technology for a given GPS unit.” - Rough quote from a Garmin rep.
To date, Garmin has done an excellent job of developing handheld GPS units with first-rate performance. I would expect them to make good choices on receiver technology for their future units.