A previous post took a look at in-car navigation devices that are sure to be on holiday wish lists. With this post, I take a look at some of the top-of-the-line handheld GPS receivers for recreational and personal navigation use.
Magellan â€“ The new Triton 2000 ($499) is a well-designed unit that packs a number of thoughtful features. In addition to being a GPS receiver, this unit has an LED flashlight, a MP3 player, a voice recorder, digital compass and barometer, a 2-megapixel digital camera and photo viewer. It has a large 2.7-inch screen with touchscreen interface, and SD-card expandable memory. A partnership with National Geographic makes it the only handheld that can download National Geographic TOPO! maps direct to the device.
Bushnell â€“ The Onix 400 Weather Tracker ($499) combines GPS with an XM Radio receiver (subscription required) to delivery current weather and forecasts specific to your location, and can track weather events relevant to your route or destination. The XM radio delivers many news, sports and music stations, and feeds a sports scoreboard application that presents statistics and scores. It has a 3.5 inch color screen.
Garmin â€“ The 60CSx ($449) has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that performs well in heavy tree cover or deep canyons. It has an electronic compass and altimeter, and comes in a waterproof protective case. It has a 2.7-inch screen and expandable SD-card memory. It has an outdoor calendar with ideal hunting and fishing times and moon rise/set/location information. There’s also a dedicated geocaching mode and indoor/outdoor GPS games.
DeLorme â€“ The DeLorme PN20 Earthmate ($399) is a content-rich offering from one of the premier North American mapmaking companies. The device includes complete U.S. topographic and street maps, a $100 allowance for aerial photo downloads and a 1GB SD card. The rugged and waterproof case has a 2.2-inch screen.
Overall, I was very impressed by the handheld GPS receiver options in the market right now. I’d be happy to own any one of these consumer-grade devices. Each has a distinct product differentiator that sets it apart. I like the Magellan best for design and feature integration. I also like the Bushnell unit, but am a bit dubious about signing up for one more monthly subscription to take advantage of the XM satellite radio features. The DeLorme unit has tons of great data at the cheapest price. The Garmin is a workhorse from the leading manufacturer.