De-Lorme PN-60w GPS Pros\Cons (with InReach)
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Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
De-Lorme PN-60w GPS Pros\Cons (with InReach) on 05/19/2012 05:50:11 MDT Print View

Is anyone using this GPS?

I am considering purchasing one because it pairs with the new inReach personal locator device which I am considering against the the Spot device.

inReach - http://www.inreachcanada.com/inreach-overview/
Spot - http://www.findmespot.ca/en/

The practicality of this GPS would go a long way to determining which locator device I chose.

Thanks in advance

Derrick

Nathan Hays
(oroambulant)

Locale: San Francisco
Re: De-Lorme PN-60w GPS Pros\Cons (with InReach) on 05/19/2012 08:41:03 MDT Print View

I'm buying an inreach soon, but I'm hoping for the iOS version. Otherwise I'll pair it with an Android without service or perhaps prepay service. I can't see having both cell and GPS on the trail.

The screens on the phones are bigger than the PN-60w which is important when looking at maps. Downside of phone is lack of true GPS elevation - it is derived from GPS Lat-Lon and a topo. Also battery life.

I may be wrong, but texts from the PN-60w require a funky character selection process even worse than the three letter per key phone method. Touch screens are SO much easier. And the price????? really outrageous at $300+.

Oh yeah, the SPOT works poorly in forests and canyons.

Edited by oroambulant on 05/19/2012 08:43:04 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
pros and cons of PN-60w on 05/19/2012 09:25:29 MDT Print View

I carried the PN-60w and associated version of SPOT on the CDT last year, so had quite a lot of experience with it --- the CDT is in general a trail where a person is more inclined to use a GPS than most. And I put a SPOT location on my trail journal twice a day.

Downsides:

I personally found that trying to get all of the CDT onto two separate SD cards to be a PITA using the DeLorme system; slow, geeky, problems along the way. The attempt at putting aerial imagery for along the trail --- which seemed like a great advantage --- was so slow and painful and turned up bugs. I never used it, sticking almost exclusively to the USGS imagery (which matched my paper maps) where I had guessed right about where the trail went when I was downloading stuff ahead of time.
This shouldn't be as big an issue for people not doing long journeys, however.
I just am not a fan, though, of the subscription model of downloading maps.

The software interface to load maps was something that I found really complicated. I used to be a software developer, so I usually don't shy away from software complexities. This was one of those cases where it feels like you have to take a bit of time to learn the specific mental mindset of the person who designed the Garmin software in order to get it to work. A lot of power at your fingertips, but too much of the associated complexity exposed in cases where you just want to do most-common tasks.

No touch controls, and yes, doing a text message is thus a little tedious, especially with the pretty limited character count per message. This was another good idea in theory that in practice I almost never used; I just really didn't have much inclination to send very short texts that took a bit of time and effort to send out. But for something important it's not that big a deal once in a great while to send one.

I can't compare battery life to other units; I used almost exclusively lithiums FWIW. I never kept it on for long at one time, with a couple "am I really on the right track?" exceptions. The SPOT device had really good battery life; I used it twice daily and didn't change batteries until well over halfway along, i.e., well over two months.

I'm not really a fan of pairing a dedicated SPOT device to this specific GPS. There will be situations where, owning a SPOT, I might like to bring it along but not bring this GPS (the GPS in my smartphone is typically plenty, the CDT was a bit of an exception). But this special version of SPOT requires the GPS to work for anything but emergency SOS signalling.

Upsides:

I loved the screen. I could see mine on sunny days, whereas a friend with a Garmin was always having to try to shade the screen so he could see anything.

It's a tough unit. Absolutely reliable over five months of continuous use. Very possibly saved my butt in a near white-out in southern Colorado. If not waterproof, then good enough; I did keep it in a kind of case on the shoulder strap of my pack, but not a waterproof one. The unit spent a fair bit of time being wet with no issues.

I felt that it locked on really well, have no complaints there. It can be nice to have more than one type of map to look at but again, in practice I rarely did this. In other circumstances I might.


Bottom line: if you don't mind the Garmin approach to buying map data, and you can manage to load maps onto your unit without too much tedium and frustration, I think it's a great unit.