Garmin Colorado 300
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We use Garmin GPS's extensively for field work and currently rely on the GPSMAP 76 CSX. The Colorado 300 is a step backwards from this model and it was a big disappointment.
The absence of multiple track display and the inability or difficulty to interface with third party software has made this unit unusable for our biological field activities.
Price Paid: $499.99
I own the Garmin 300, which requires the owner to buy Garrmin's TOPO 2008 CD (for about $90), load it into a computer and download it into the SD card used by the Colorado. I used a high speed SD card but a cheaper regular SC card will work.
Once loaded to the max (ex. Western U.S. to the Mississippi only) the Colorado 300 works the same as the 400t. It's easy to use IF you buy Cabela's instructional DVD for the entire Colorado series. This is absolutely a MUST for learning all the features. Garmin has very sketchy instructions - very sketchy.
LIKES> I really like the 3D option of viewing the route ahead. Also the Rock'N Roller wheel is easy to use to find any function group.
DISLIKES> What Garmin needs to do is make it less power hungry. They may have done this in their new touch screen Oregon GPS. Garmin needs to make the 300 so it can download ALL of the North American maps. My 4 GB SD card would have easily heald all the maps.
And, oh yeah, those sketchy instructions. Surely they could give you an instructional DVD.
Update: May 21, 2010
I'm reviewing a Colorado 300 which is an essentially identical product to the 400t — except that you must purchase the TOPO USA CD separately, load it into your computer and download the maps you want into your Colorado 300. The advantage of this is that you now have maps in your computer which you can mark trails, waypoints, etc. and download into the 300 AND print them for backup.
The Colorado series has a better, more readable-in-sunlight color screen than the Oregon series. (Maybe the touch screen feature of the Oregon series cannot be made bright enough and still handle touch screen features.) The "Rollerwheel" feature permits a quick search of the main menu. Learning how to make changes can be easy or, when not readily apparent, take much longer to locate, such as unhiding the lat./lon. location.
This brings me to THE ONE BIG CON-
Garmin has provided NO real manual for this admittedly expensive piece of gear. I had to go to Cabela's catalog and order Bennett Marine's Colorado instructional DVD. For God's sake Garmin! Give us a GOOD instructional/tutorial DVD with the product. Will it kill you??? I had to find out about this DVD from a Garmin customer care person! As you may now be aware, this is a gross omission on Garmin's part. (Later I'll tell you how I REALLY feel.)
As for being battery hungry, I always use lithiuum batteries. They are far lighter than other batteries, work well in the cold and last a long time. Put your settings to suth off the screen in a short time (say 2 m inutes) and shut it down when not in actual need. Later, after the hike you should remove the batteries when the unit is not to be used fora long time.
The Colorado 300 is loaded with many great features, most of which are user friendly, like the backtrack feature.
Price Paid: $315.
The Rock'n'Roller wheel is just another gadget that will likely break or something. The fact you can only display one route at a time is horrible in on itself especially for this price. It also eats through batteries.
This GPS seems geared towards geocachers, so if you are using it for that, enjoy.
As for hikers and the sorts I don't recommend. Unless you download the beta firmware update you cannot reposition waypoints such as the 60CSx can.
I would suggest the 60CSx for hikers. It's cheaper.
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Historic Range: $279.99-$533.32
Reviewers Paid: $499.99
7.3 oz / 206.9 g with batteries
2.4 in x 5.5 in x 1.4 in / 6.0 cm x 13.9 cm x 3.5 cm
1.53 in W x 2.55 in H / 3.8 cm x 6.3 cm, 3 in diag / 7.6 cm