Garmin Oregon Series
Garmin announced its new Oregon series of GPS devices in July, and we were able to check them out at the Outdoor Retailer show. The Oregon series combines a touchscreen interface (like those on Garmin's recent automotive units with the large display) and features of the Colorado series reviewed by BackpackingLight.com earlier this year:
On the surface, the Oregon appears to be a positive enhancement of the Colorado series: it is physically smaller than the Colorado (lacking the antenna protrusion), half an ounce lighter, and claims an additional hour of battery life. By using tapping and dragging, the touchscreen interface provides more direct and often faster entry than the Rock 'n Roller wheel on the Colorado - and we believe it will be easier to use in a soft waterproof cover. In addition, the Oregon comes with more memory and includes a new "HotFix" feature claimed to improve position calculation times.
The Garmin Oregon 400i.
Other key features of the Colorado are retained in the Oregon, including customizable profiles, wireless transfers with other Garmin units and Ant-compatible devices (e.g. cadence sensors and heart rate monitors), a good-looking shaded-relief basemap, and (of less interest for backpacking use) extensive geocaching support.
The Oregon comes in a range of versions mirroring those in the Colorado series: the 400t includes preloaded shaded topographic maps, just like the Colorado 400t (no indication whether the PC version of Topo 2008 is included, but it was not included with the Colorado). The 400i and 400c include inland and saltwater maps, respectively, and the 300 includes a shaded worldwide basemap. New with the Oregon line is a 200 model, which just includes a standard basemap. All units are expandable through internal memory and SD cards.
We've not yet had the chance to test the Oregon and can't yet say whether its initial software is stable and has feature parity with the Colorado. The Colorado's software went through rapid - and needed - evolution in both bug fixes and feature additions, so we are curious to see how the Oregon compares.
The Orgeon 400t is listed as available "3rd Quarter, 2008" and retails for US$639.99 - same as the Colorado 400t. The other units range from US$479.99 for the 200 to US$639.99.
- Dimensions, WxHxD: .3 x 4.5 x 1.4 in (5.8 x 11.4 x 3.5 cm)
- Display size, WxH: 1.53 x 2.55 in (3.8 x 6.3 cm); 3 in (7.6 cm) diagonal
- Display resolution, WxH: 240 x 400 pixels
- Weight: 6.8 oz (192.7 g) with batteries
- Battery: 2 AA batteries (not included); NiMH or lithium recommended
- Battery life: 16 hours
DeLorme Earthmate PN-40
DeLorme has announced a new GPS unit, the PN-40, that enhances its earlier PN-20 model with a thirty-two-channel high sensitivity GPS receiver, faster dual-core processor, a greatly increased total of one gigabyte of memory, a more detailed basemap, additional road data, and a barometric altimeter and three-axis compass.
The unit ships with DeLorme Topo USA 7.0 mapping software (PC only) that enables import of supplemental data, including four types of aerial imagery, USGS 1:24K quads, and NOAA nautical charts - this is a significantly wider range of mapping data than is available on the Garmin units. Maps can be stored on internal memory and on SD cards.
The PN-40 showing a hybrid aerial and vector mapping display.
The PN-40 uses a conventional button and rocker pad array below the display for input. The display appears somewhat washed out compared to the Oregon and is physically quite a bit smaller, though color depth and detail are good. Redraw times, cursor movement, and overall responsiveness are greatly improved over the PN-20.
The PN-40 is scheduled to ship in September, 2008. Retail price was not available at press time.
- Dimensions, WxHxD: 2.43 x 5.25 x 1.5 in (6.2 x 13.3 x 3.8 cm)
- Weight: 5.12 oz (145.1 g) without batteries
- Display Size: 2.2 in (5.6 cm) diagonal
- Display resolution: 176 x 220 pixels
- Battery: 2 AA batteries (not included)