User Review: DeLorme Earthmate PN-60
Price Paid: $292.97
I'm a long-time hiker; more recently a serious backpacker, and I hike (on non-trip weeks) about 15-20 miles/week. This is my first GPSr and I love it.
You'll probably read a lot of reviews that complain about the learning curve and I agree that it's not just a power up and go device, but the functionality and ability to customize almost every aspect of the PN-60 make it worth taking the time to learn it well. I spent HOURS (possibly days) researching different devices. It came down to the "gold standard" Garmin 60CSx or the PN60.
What really sold me was the MapPack. I have nothing against the Garmin devices (many friends and fellow hikers love them), but the map pricing is a bit ridiculous. For $30/year (which has become a great Christmas gift from family) you get access to EVERYTHING Topo North America's Netlink has to offer (1:24k maps of the whole US, color aerial imagery, Hi-Res imagery in and around major US cities, etc.).
If you price buying those without the subscription (or trying to get the same things through Garmin) there's really no comparison. If I know I'm going to a new park or out of state I just download topo and aerial maps for local parks and go off-trail without fear of ever getting lost (don't worry, diehards - always carry a park map and small compass with me just in case).
Garmin's "Connect" website really is fantastic though, but Delorme users don't have to miss out. You can manually upload .gpx files so just set up a free account, record your tracks, and stick them on website so you can set and monitor goals, get reports on your activities, etc.
Also, a note regarding DeLorme's customer service: I've seen a few reviews complaining about these folks, but I've never had anything except excellent service from them. The two times I've contacted them (once with a setup question and another time regarding a firmware update) they've been excellent and responded quickly to my questions.
Sorry this is so long, but hopefully someone can benefit from my research and this review. The 4.5 stars (as opposed to 5) is simply because there is a "little" room for improvement in regards to the USB connection and Topo9 interface.
But make no mistake, this GPSr is bulletproof, never has water issues, can easily be seen in full sunlight, and won't tear through batteries (I use lithium ions and will be purchasing the rechargeable pack from DeLorme).
Overall, fantastic device!