I read with interest Alan Dixon's review, as I received an X9 over the holidays and was able to try it out in Yosemite this month.
Although we had originally planned to snowshoe to Glacier Point, the rangers closed the road so equipment could clear the fallen trees and snow from recent storms. I had programmed into the X9 the planned route after calibrating a map from TOPO. Now that I have done it a few times, the calibration is not intimidating, but it would be easier if I could import the routes in from TOPO or Garmin software.
We snowshoed out of Crane Flat toward Gin Flat as a result of the route change. It was done at the last minute, so I did not have waypoints for this route in the X9. I read the first startup for the X9 could be slow, so I did this during breakfast along the way in. I then set the car position as HOME before we started out.
My partner was leading the way and he usually gets lost, even in clear areas. We were in dense forest and he was walking about 180 degree from the planned route, bushwacking thru the trees. I had set the X9 to Activity mode, 1 min updates, but in the dense trees and valleys the X9 did not always find a signal.
Ultimately, we found an area near a creek to camp and I climbed to a ridge for a bearing that localized us and gave me bearings back to the car. As I slept, I recharged the battery with a 9v I brought, but the indicator did not read low at the end of the day.
On the way out, I navigated with the X9 back to the car without difficulty.
After I returned, I downloaded the collected data and emailed the plots to my partners.
Overall, the X9 did well and I likely will continue to use it rather than my larger unit. I agree with Alan that setting waypoints in the field is slow, but using the software at home to do this is easy. At times, I found myself fumbling to find an imbedded menu item, but with practice it became easier. Sometimes, I noted I had accidentally hit a button, so I don't think they are too hard to push.
I thank Alan for a great review. I generally agree with him. My only differences would be that I did recharge the battery in the field for the weight of the 9v battery and charger unit and that I found the buttons were still soft enough to push by accident at times. I read his note on the UTM bug and printed my maps for WGS84 to avoid the issue.