User Review: DeLorme Earthmate GPS PN-40
Price Paid: $350
If you are looking for a handheld GPS that you can also use in the car, stop reading and go look at Garmin's website or somewhere else. This is not the GPS for you. If you are someone who wants a GPS to give you the basics and is as easy to use as a "point-and-shoot" camera, this is likely not the GPS for you. If you are a hiker, hunter, mountain biker or any other kind of outdoor enthusiast that needs a powerful land navigation tool... this is the BEST GPS going.
I will start with the negatives. The biggest is that the mapping software that comes with the PN-40 takes some time to get used to. It's not bad software, it just takes some time to learn how to use many of the more advanced features. That being said, you can be up and navigating almost immediately. Also, the forums on Delorme's website are FULL of excellent people more than willing to help you with any questions or issues.
The second biggest negative is that it eats batteries pertty quickly. Get some GOOD rechargables and you will be okay.
The third is the small screen size. Honestly, there is no way to mitigate this, you just have to deal with it. Considering the overall package though, this really turns out to be a minor inconvenience.
Now, the positives. I could go on and on about this but I'll try to keep it to a minimum. The biggest advantage of this GPS over its competitors is the cost of getting additional maps. For $29 A YEAR, you have access to DeLorme's (a map company by trade) online library of maps with unlimited downloads. This includes their base maps, USGS 7.5 minute quads, Color Aerial Imagery, Black and white aerial imagery, NOAA Nautical charts and Satelitte imagery. And the unit itself can display any of those on screen as the navigation map. Yes, actually aerial imagery like you see on Google Maps can be used to navigate.
Another big advantage is the accuracy. I have never used the Garmin 60Csx (the standard in handheld GPS accuracy) but from what I have heard it is very close. Based on my usage, I can tell you that I can easily tell which side of the street I am walking on in my neighborhood. My wife had it in the car once and I could tell which side of the garage she parked on.
The third major advantage is the Topo7 software that comes with the unit. True, it's takes some effort, but it is insanely powerful and quickly becomes an indispensable tool.
Some others nice features are the fact the unit is light and rugged. The screen is easy to see in direct sunlight. It can use up to a 32GB SDHC card to hold a TON of maps or imagery. It has sunrise and sunset data, a compass and altimeter, and even hunting/fishing forecasts.
I was very hesitant to spend a lot of money on a GPS when I was looking at the Garmins and the Magellans because I could not find one I really thought was perfect. I am so glad I found the Garmin, it's a GREAT unit.