User Review: Garmin Oregon 450t
Price Paid: $499
The Garmin 450T (T="Trail") was released to the public in late January, 2010. Because it is so new, the price is identical, everywhere: $499. However, if you are an REI member (And who isn't?), your 10% off translates into a $50 savings at the end of the year. That's reason enough to buy this from them.
The 450T feels comfortable in your hand. It's about the same size and weight as an Apple iPhone. There is only a power/lock/brightness button, all other commands are all done using the touch screen.
Power is supplied by 2 AA batteries (not included) but I'd recommend Li/Mh, as they do last longer. There is a battery menu you need to change depending on the battery type you put in the unit. I averaged less than 8 hours of battery life off a set of new Energizer batteries, which is why I recommend the Ni/Mh.
The microSD memory card (Also not included) has one disclaimer: The largest card the manual claims the unit will support is 4 gb. It fits into a slot beneath the battery, which in turn is covered by a waterproof hatch. Maps, geocaches, etc. can be loaded either directly into the 450T (A mini USB cable is included, nice touch), or into the microSD, which is useful. If you purchase the optional streetmap software (To turn the 450T into a car navigation GPS), be warned: You'll need a microSD card ($14 at WalMart) to perform the download, it won't fit in the base unit's memory, and Garmin neglected to tell that to us....
Another thing Garmin neglected was to write a decent manual. When you spend $500 on a new electronic device, it seems obvious that the company would create a new manual for it. Garmin, sadly, doesn't think that way. The manuals you do get are a quick start guide, which is basically how to install the batteries and power on the unit, and the "user guide" which covers almost *all* the Colorado line. Reading about features not included in this model is rather annoying. But, after all the 450T is nothing more than the Colorado 550T, minus the digital camera. Still I urge everyone to visit the Garmin support website and download a copy of the manual for yourself.
If you've never used a GPS before, a manual this sparse may frustrate you. If, however, you're familiar with basic GPS operation, then you probably won't need/use the manual anyway, except for reference.
Performance out of the box was decent, and the unit picked up 9 satellites in less than 15 minutes. I was also able to get a satellite lock from inside my house, which never happened with my older Garmin models. Once a position is set, the unit continues to track satellites for 3 days, even when powered off. That's great for saving battery power on the trail. I also liked the fact that the battery saver blanks the display screen. That's much nicer than my previous Garmin. My average position outdoors was fixed to within 11 feet. That's not as good as some other Garmin models, but this one has no external antenna, so I'm not complaining.
Size, weight, intuitive customizable menu system, "paperless" geocaching, WhereIgo enabled, great 3-axis compass, WAAS enabled, sharp color display, mini-USB cable included, very fast data transfer, including wireless transfer to similar units, displays JPG photos, which can may be stored on the microSD card, 800mb of internal memory. North American topo and basemaps are included. Supports Garmin Connect.
Dislikes (All minor):
Sparse manual, touch screen may scratch, no storage case provided (Garmin sells that as an option), slightly difficult to see in full sun, Garmin map updates are expensive. Optional topo map upgrade ($100) shows more detail,24k, than the supplied 100k version. Considering the price of the 450T, they could have tossed that in for free.
Bottom line: Pretty much state-of-the art.
Where to Buy
The Garmin Oregon 450t is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may want to check pricing and availability directly at these Garmin retailers:
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
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