Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oregon 450 geocaching review

This is overall a nice little unit.  It is very compact and easily fits in your hand and I really like the ergonomics of it.  As has been reported many times over the screen clarity in full sun is not the best, but it is tolerable.  This just appears to be something you must accept with the new touch screen technologies moving into the GPS receiver market.  One slight negative of note is that I found that the touch screen is not always as responsive as you would wish it to be.  It’s noticeably less sensitive than the iPhone or Android phone for instance.  The menu options take a bit of getting use to if, like me you are use to a 60CS.  Still, after a little orientation it’s not hard to find your way around.  This unit allows for establishing profiles so you can customize this view fairly easily.  When geocaching with the Oregon 450, the unit supports full paperless geocaching and everything you need to hit the trails or urban caches is right there in your hands.  I have noticed however that if the geocacher put pictures in the description you are out of luck, they do not transfer over.  So that means if there is a specific puzzle or clue in an image, you'll need to grab that at home.  The touch screen allows you to scroll down and read the entire description and the recent logs.  Terrain and difficulty are also included of course.  When using the map, geocaches are displayed with their actual icons indicating what type it is.  This is an improvement over my 60CSx where everything was just the same treasure chest.  The unit comes with a base map which does not provide much detail for anywhere you go.  There is a microSD slot available to provide whatever map you choose.  I prefer the topo map for this unit since the screen brightness does not lend itself much to using it for turn by turn directions although with the City Navigator microSD card it can certainly do so.  I still find myself using the 60CSx to get turn by turn to the geocache location and then pulling out the Oregon 450 when I search.  You can download more detailed topographic maps as well and even overhead satellite views, but the easiest method is still buying a card and having the topo map accessible for the larger area.  Accuracy with the Oregon is a bit difficult to quantify, but in my side by side with a 60CSx the ability to find the GZ for a geocache is the same.  Although the Oregon sometimes shows a much lower accuracy of over 20 feet as opposed to the 60CSx showing 10-15 feet, there was not difference in track and both easily put me within 10 feet of the geocache.  With its light weight & compact form, excellent customization, and paperless geocaching, this is a great little unit to take out on the trails when your looking for that container in the woods!

Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Consensus: Highly Recommended

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