I’ve had my grubby little hands on the Garmin GPSMAP 78s for a few hours now and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at what you can expect from Garmin’s newest handheld platform, which seems to be a hybrid — taking the best features of the Oregon line and marrying them with the oh so popular 60/76C(S)x series. Before I go any farther, let me say that handheld units are complex beasts and can be very challenging to review. So I have a request; add your comments below and let me know what you want covered in my full review. Some things I’ll be able to answer right away in the comments here; other things might just be beyond my experience to be able to answer at all. But hey, please do chime in.
For today though, I’m going to give you tons of screenshots, a few photos and some first impressions. Bear in mind that this is likely the same platform and menu layout for the forthcoming (but as yet unannounced) 62 series.
I was sitting inside when I noticed a reported accuracy of 13’. At that, I jumped up, grabbed my 60CSx and Oregon 400t and headed outside for a test. The results of this less than scientific test — the 78s (9’), 60CSx (20’) and Oregon 400t (10’). The 78s seemed to settle much more quickly than the Oregon, but I’ll need to do more testing to verify that.
Screenshot capability is built-in, but they don’t seem to render in true color. When you press the Page button, a slider menu comes up on the screen (see the left image at the top of this post). The menu item that appears is the next screen in the sequence. After a second or two that screen will automatically open. Or you can press Enter to go there right away, or continue pressing Page to advance to other pages in the sequence; stop on one and it will open. The slider menu items and their order can be customized. I think I like it.
Here is the main menu:
The compass screen and compass menu:
The left shot above is in night mode. You can change background and highlight color for day and night modes. Dashboards (and profiles) are present, just like on the Oregon and Dakota series. The screenshot at right below shows text entry.
Geocaching options appear nearly identical to the Oregon and Dakota series (notice the dashboard in the screenshot at left, below). Unfortunately there is no way to filter geocaches, as we’ve seen in the Lowrance Endura series and more recently in the Magellan eXplorist GC. I was very glad to see the newest track navigation features included, as can be seen in the screenshot below at left. To the right is a track detail page.
Odds and ends
I’ll close for now after a few other notes. I haven’t tested this in a full range of conditions yet, but daylight visibility seems to be pretty close to my 60CSx. The software version is 2.10; there is no indication of chipset firmware. A wrist strap is included, which is threaded through just below the screen. When received, the unit showed 1.72 GB of 1.80 GB of memory available. You can tap the power button to show the date, time, battery level, GPS status and backlight adjustment. For more details (and in case you missed my tweet yesterday), the Garmin GPSMAP 78 series owners manual has been posted online. My initial impression is very positive. I can’t wait to give it the full testing treatment.
Check out the photos below and then fire away in the comments.