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Old 01-08-2012, 21:52   #1
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Best Handheld GPS

Hey everyone,

Looking to get a backup GPS and want to do a handheld. There are 2 from Garmin that stick out to me as being ideal for what I'd like to do. I'll be all around the Chesapeake cruising, but I also hike, camp, mtn bike, generally anything outdoors. I was looking for a gps I could take with me anywhere but be the best for these types of activities.

Please try keep price between these 2 as a non-factor and just compare there specifications. The Garmin Montana 650 and the Garmin GPSMap 78sc.

I know the Montana doesn't float, but I've seen a case for it that will. Any thoughts? Any other units I should consider (not regarding price)? Thanks
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Old 02-08-2012, 00:27   #2
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

2 years ago I bought the Garmin Oregon and down loaded the maps I needed for USA costal and lakes for sailing and streets and trails . I used it when we bought our catamaran to sail from San Diago up the coast to the Columbia river. I do suggest you get the 12 volt power plug for the boat or car because it eats AA batteries. We have the Garmin 5208 chartplotter on our boat now but still have the hand held Garmin for a back up and glad we do.
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Old 02-08-2012, 00:58   #3
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

If you don't need the NMEA data output the Garmin 62 has a much better gps aerial than the 78. Same price and features otherwise.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:50   #4
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

I don't own one, but I've been lusting after a Garmin Montana. Looked one over closely at a local store and it seems near perfect to me as a portable that can be mounted or handheld, and will work almost anywhere.

I wonder why you are considering the 650 vs. the 600? The only difference is that the 650 has a camera built in and costs $80 more. Between my phone and my... well, my camera, I already have enough cameras on hand!
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:20   #5
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

Totally true about the 600 vs. the 650! I don't know how I didn't notice that! Appreciate it!
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:39   #6
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

Iphone/Android with Navionics software
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:56   #7
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

Love my Garmin Oregon but, like webejammin says, it eats batteries.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:53   #8
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I have been lovin my Asus Eee Pad as a backup/handheld. I got a Gumdrop case for it cuz I drop everything!

Plus it works for other things.
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Old 02-08-2012, 14:00   #9
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

You know, it just occurred to me that the Montana is waterproof, so at least with the 650, for the extra money, you are getting a waterproof camera. Maybe it is worth it after all. I'll have to think about that.
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Old 02-08-2012, 17:30   #10
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

Between the two, I would take the 78 model.

We have had two 72 models, then one 76. Next will come 78 if anything dies here. One of the 72 here has 40k miles on it and is like 10 years old - NO ISSUES EVER - good stuff.

Btw I also like the 620 series which are nearly ;-) handheld and will display AIS data too.

Many good choices from Garmin.

b.
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Old 02-08-2012, 17:40   #11
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

I have a 72 and a 72H. I'm very pleased with both except for the screen. In direct sunlight its good but many times with some shade you couldn't see it. I kept a flashlight in my pocket so I could see it. Night was no problem. The 72 H doesn't have tide capabilites.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:55   #12
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

I bought a 72H recently (I don't need charts and it plugs into my netbook with OpenCPN anyway). I am quite pleased with it. It seems to acquire pretty quickly.

I usually carry a flashlight so no worries there.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:25   #13
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

I have the 78SC and am quite happy with it. It's a pretty powerful tool with Bluechart installed, 3 axis compass, and so on. As a backup to the chartplotter I'd rate it as excellent - it's tough, waterproof, floats, takes AA batteries.

I used it as the main chartplotter for a while but I do find a fixed unit with a larger screen to be better. I found that, with the small screen on the 78, that one is constantly zooming in and out - zooming in to see detail like buoys, and zooming out to see the bigger picture.

I note that the Montana has 2.5 times the screen area so I would recommend that over the 78 for that reason alone. Shame it doesn't float.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:27   #14
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

the GPS'S I like the best are the ones that are NOT touch-screen. when you hands are wet they are hard to use, I prefer buttons on the side
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Old 03-08-2012, 13:22   #15
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Re: Best Handheld GPS

I agree with THE OFFICE Navioncs with either andoid or iPhone. If you already have a Smart Phone, one less thing to carry when your out and about.....
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