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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin GPSMAP 62s or Oregon 450?

Garmin-62s-v-Oregon-450

UPDATE: Read my hands on review of the Garmin GPSMAP 62s

Well, the Garmin 62 series has started hitting online stores, and we already know a lot about it, since it’s based on the same platform as the GPSMAP 78 series. So I thought I’d go ahead and take a stab at answering what is bound to be a common question over the next few months; should you get a GPSMAP 62s or the Oregon 450? Here’s my take on the advantages of each:

Garmin GPSMAP 62s advantages

  • Brighter screen in a wider range of conditions
  • Menu items faster and easier to access
  • May be slightly more rugged
  • Longer rated battery life (20 hours vs. 16 for the Oregon 450)
  • Better for mountain bikers and others needing to easily change pages on the fly
  • Reception may be better in vertical orientation due to quad-helix antenna (untested)
  • Buttons (instead of touch screen) – a personal preference issue

Garmin Oregon 450 advantages

  • Larger screen
  • Higher resolution
  • Better for auto use (due to touch screen)
  • Text entry (entering waypoint names, etc.) faster on touch screen
  • More mature firmware
  • Better discounts available (this should change over time)
  • Significantly lighter (6.8 oz. with batteries vs. 9.2 for the 62s)
  • Easier to switch data fields
  • Touch screen – a personal preference issue

So there you have it. if you’re a mountain biker and tend to switch screens while riding, go with the 62s. Going to load up City Navigator and use it in the car too? My choice would be the Oregon 450. Tend to create a ton of waypoints in the field? The 450 wins again.

More choices

In case you’re wondering why I chose these two models instead of their closely related brethren…

Oregon 450 vs 450t

The 450t comes with pre-loaded 1:100,000 scale topo maps for the entire US, but I’d go with the 450 instead, and add some of the free 1:24,000 scale maps from GPS File Depot. Or pony up for Garmin Topo 24K, which includes City Navigator routable roads, giving you a great dual-use unit. Or you could take a chance that you’d get a newer screen on the 550 series.

GPSMAP 62 vs 62s vs 62st

The 62s will appeal to most folks. No need to go with the 62st, when (as already stated) you can get plenty of topo maps for free. If you don’t want or need the barometric altimeter and electronic compass, the base 62 model is a reasonable choice. Sure, it has no micro-SD card slot, but with 1.7 GB of memory, that’s a decent amount of room for maps and even aerial photos. But if you’re planning on downloading BirdsEye imagery for entire states, better bump on up to the 62s or 62st.

Travel the country?

While I’ve advised against the ‘t” models with pre-loaded topos for the US, this can be a good choice if you travel the country and want to always have maps ready to roll, even if they are only 1:100,000 scale.

Your turn

What have I left out comparing these two product lines? Chime in with your thoughts below.

Related posts:

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Here are several sources for free maps:
    http://downloads.cloudmade.com/
    http://garmin.na1400.info/routable.php
    http://mapcenter.cgpsmapper.com/

    Also, you should search Google for Garmin maps + country name, perhaps throwing .img into the mix.

    You may find good Tibetan coverage with Garmin City Navigator NT China…

    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=253&pID=30217

  2. Thanks a lot Rich for your advice. I will go through the sites you suggested and let´s see if I find the maps that I am looking for. I am still hesitating between the Oregon and 62st but as I can see in this blog I am not the only one :) Really thanks and greetings from Spain.

  3. desmo1200 says:

    Hi all

    I’m just try both (62 and oregon) but our local dealer (not a specialist) can’t tell me a big (for me) question.
    After I create some trip with many waypoint on my laptop, I put this trip on the GPS. When I follow the GPS can I delete in any time some waypoint ? in automotive mode ? and walking mode ?

    In automotive mode when I don’t follow the guidance, how many time the GPS need to re-calculate ?

    Regards

    • If I understand you correctly…

      Yes, you can delete waypoints in any mode.

      The unit will recalculate as often as needed to get you back on the route, or until the way you are going becomes the best route according to your settings (fastest, shortest, etc.).

  4. Just have been researching both units, and have more questions as pertaining to my previous posts. When an external antenna is used will the unit become more accurate or just have better reception under poor conditions(dense cover). Also, mentioned on a previous response the 62s with firmware update has better low speed accuracy, has or will the 450 get a firm ware update to fix this? Lastly I am having trouble finding info on the altimeter info, sound like 62s and 450 will show high and low altitude points along track but only the 62s will show altitude anywhere along a track, is this correct? Thanks for any info

    • I’d be surprised to see much if any accuracy improvement, just improved reception in difficult environments. As far as what Garmin giveth and taketh away with firmare updates, who knows?

      From the track manager, you can view elevation points along a track on the 450. Is this what you’re asking?

  5. The elevation viewing I am wondering about was in the review of 62s at gpsinformation.info, where they state that a point on the map can be chosen and elevation can be shown, is this also on the 450, also they have mentioned that a point on the map can be picked on the 62 and it will show distance to that point, which is stated as not on the OR. series.

    • Yes, on the 450 you can tap a point on the map and an information bubble appears that wil give you coordinates, distance and cardinal direction to the point. Tap the info balloon to get elevation, mark it as a waypoint and/or navigate to it.

  6. Compass improvement: I have 60cs, and an Oregon 400 (which I just broke). I primarily use them for mountain biking and slot canyon entry/exit points and some geo-caching. The problem with both is the compass sucks. I think because of this, the other problem is when you are navigating to a waypoint or geo-cache the arrow will often “flip”, and suddenly you are heading off course.

    I went to a local outdoor store and directly compared the 62s and 450 with a magnetic compass. Through several direction changes they were all in agreement. I also walked as far as the store owner would let me while changing directions numerous times and tracks on both GPS’s were in agreement. I finally ended up ordering the 62s – it should be here in a few days and I can really test it then.

  7. Oh man, how I miss my canyoneering days. Why did I move back east?!

    The 62s has been reported to have a “sticky compass” issue that vexes geocachers, so you may have an issue with that model too. Have you tried disabling the electronic compass?

  8. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Rich,

    I have a 62st where the issue of a “sticky compass” arose. The sticky compass issue was random in nature. Garmin says that the electronic compass may be failing. The map screen would shift 3 to 5 times before settling down to the proper Track Up position and take 5 to 10 seconds to settle down.

    Garmin gave 2 reasons for this behavior.
    #1 Files in the hand held unit have been corrupted. Do a “reset” and reload web updater. Then disable all loaded maps except for the map set that you want to use.

    #2 Electronic compass is breaking or is broke? Get an RMA# from Garmin and they will fix it within 7 to 10 days.

    I tried the various fixes — the “reset” did improve the problem but did not cure it. Disabling all the loaded maps except the 24k map helped but did not cure the problem. To verify the failing compass theory, I turned off the compass. The sticky compass or jumping screen was eliminated. Although when standing still, the unit lost direction as you would expect.

    Solution… I got my RMA# and should be receiving my repaired/new unit in about a week.

    • Thanks Dave. Please keep us posted on how the new unit does.

      • Dave Tobiasz says:

        Sticky compass redux…

        Sorry folks, I can not sing the praises of Garmin. I have sent back two (2) 62st’s back because they just did not want to work. Now Garmin Support wants to know the voltage of the rechargeable AA batteries are?????????????

        It is an industry standard of 1.2 volts. I guess they are trying to blame the batteries instead of their product.

        Beware of what you say to Garmin support. They are trying to shift the blame.

        Oh the support tech did not know that Garmin sends refurbished units as replacements if you send yours back due to a warranty problem. I spent $549.00 for a 62st and I would think that Garmin would have the honor to replace the unit with a brand new unit. GO FIGURE!

  9. Thank you so much Rich!
    I was looking for a GPS to buy for my next trip and was hesitating between these two models…
    Thanks to your info, you really made my choice easier and I finally bought the 450!
    Good day!!

  10. Dave Larson says:

    Does anyone have any experience using the 450 or 550 in cold weather? I’m considering one, but would like to use for ice fishing. I’m guessing that the touch screen doesn’t work to well at -20F???

  11. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Dave,

    I’ve had the Oregon 450 during the winter, But the temp only got down to single digits. The touch screen was not affected by the cold. Battery life is affected by the low temps.

  12. The Oregon 450 is rated down to -4 degrees F. Interestingly enough, the 62s is only rated down to +5. LCD screens get pretty sluggish with low temperatures.

  13. Simple way around that. Put the GPS in a fleece pouch with a charcoal activated 8-10 hours hand warmer. The GPS will remain warm and very functional, including the batteries.

    Amir K9CHP

  14. Hey, Rich.
    Just stumbled across this site and love it. I’m still vexed as to whether I should go with Oregon450s or the 62s. I was hoping maybe you could point me in the right direction.
    What I will ultimately be doing with the GPS is multi-use- hiking and dual-sport motorcycling. For the hiking, the area i live in has quite a few trails but no real good maps. I would like to start a map database of the these trails that I can post for others to use. I am thinking accuracy and PC-connectivity for Google Earth would top priority.
    For the dual-sport, there are quite a few off-road trails, fire roads etc, that I would like to map. In this case, ease of use while on the back of a motorcycle would be my main concern.
    Which of these two models would serve my purpose best or is there a different unit you would recommend (eg- should I hold off for the Garmin Montana?).
    Thanks in advance for any info you can give me.

  15. Hey, I see you didn’t mention the ability to use 3D-view with oregon 450 as an advantage.. Do you think it’s a function that would end up being rarely used, or is the feature useful enough to be a selling point for some users? I was just thinking that my maps are going to end up costing more than the product itself, so I’d want my GPS to take full advantage of all their features.. but I’m still divided between the two. If the 450 had 2 zoom-buttons I wouldn’t think twice..

  16. Again, thanks for maintaining this site, it is amazing.

    I currently have a 62s which has been great for hiking and biking. No problems at all. I did install City Navigator which was very hard to use on the 62s. I am considering swapping for a 450. I have a couple of questions. Has anyone actually tested and compared the advantage of the large antenna on the 62s? Does the 62s get a better signal under different conditions? Rich, could you elaborate on the interface of the 450, particularly, you said “if you’re a mountain biker and tend to switch screens while riding, go with the 62s”. I do use mine on my bike and do switch screens. How is the interface different on the 450?

    • I haven’t noticed differences due to the antenna. The Oregon 450 may perform a bit better due to more mature firmware, but I’m just going on a gut feeling there.

      On the 62s, as you know, you can set up the screen order, and use the Page and Quit buttons to move forward and backward through screens. It is easy to toggle between the map screen and another screen of your choice this way. And since you can feel the buttons, you can do it without looking at the device. Hope that’s clear enough. On the Oregon, you pretty much have to look at the device to switch screens, and there are more steps involved.

  17. David Tobiasz says:

    Max,

    I owned the Oregon 450 before getting the 62st. Both get a reliable signal. I use City Navigator plus the 24K topos and have found no problem with either unit. Navigating the two units is similar except the touch screen. It is difficult to use with gloves. you have to do the same steps with the 450 as with the 62st.

    I went to the 62st because of the growing pains that the 450 had that the 62st didn’t.

    • David,

      Could you elaborate on your dislikes of the 450? I am drawn to switch based on shape/size and functionality of the touch screen. Rich, thanks for the explanation its great. I am seeing that they are both really solid devices it mostly just comes down to personal preference.

      • David Tobiasz says:

        Max,

        I use a gps maybe 3 times a week for land navigation (hiking). I originally had a 60csx (the best, so being able to compare performances of both units was really easy). I had purchased the 450 a couple of months after it came out — maybe I should have waited longer.

        The 450 had many early problems — most notably the inability to record accurately what Garmin called “low velocity” hiking or anything slower then a 20 minute mile (3mph). Great for sidewalks and city parks. Just try that with a 40 pound pack on or off trail hiking or going up a mountain. The 450 would be off on the speed, moving time, stopped time, distance and other details of your hike. But the faster you moved the more accurate the unit would be.

        With that said, Garmin kept coming out with unit software updates, sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. After about 4 months of frustration, I picked up the 62st when it came out. I never looked back. The 62st didn’t have the same type of growing pains as the 450!

        From what I understand, the 450 has been fixed and probably is a good unit. My friend has one and it appears to work as a top of the line unit should.

        Navigating the screens in both units are very similar and can be set up as you prefer. Besides the touch screen, the 62st displays the topo maps somewhat differently, the color of the maps and the scales. Even though the 450 screen is larger the 62st shows more detail when both units are set to the same scale. The scale bar is a different size on the 62st. For example both the 60csx and the 450 show the same map at the same scale – so the screens are identical.

        so it comes down to personal preference — touch screen vs buttons — your choice…

  18. Let me clarify. On the Oregon, you have to close the map screen with the “X” button, and tap an icon from the main menu to open another screen. Two steps instead of one.

  19. The Montana might be worth a look. It is much more customizable than the Oregon, and the shortcuts feature if very powerful. Shortcuts are macro’s that can automate complex tasks that would require digging through levels of menu’s on the Oregon.

    In Rich’s example, with the Montana you could use the Favorites dashboard on the map screen. That would give you access to three buttons which could each be shortcuts. So one screen tap from the map screen to accomplish many tasks that would take a lot of button pushing on the 62 series.

    Another nice trick on the Montana is that tapping the power button takes you to a screen on which you can also use the Favorites dashboard. This gives you the equivalent of a hardware menu button where you can access the same advanced features using shortcuts. The cool thing about this is that you can interrupt any other function your in the middle of by tapping the power button. You can then execute shortcuts and return to what you were previously doing. I use this trick to do things like switch from north-up to track-up or day to night mode whenever I like.

  20. Hey everyone, I just picked up a 450 and took it on a test drive against my 62s. I can’t say much because my 450 never picked up a signal. I find this pretty odd. I am in New York City and my 62s finds a signal in about one minute. I took them both on the roof of my 6 story building and finally was able to get a signal on my 450. The other odd thing is the elevation. The 450 reads that I am always 40ft shy of the elevation on the 62s (however looking at a topo map now I question the accuracy of both). I made sure to have the latest firmware on each. I am going to be returning it, the question now is do I give it a second chance. I like the interface a lot more on the 450 so I think I will try again. Do you guys think that the 450 I have is a bad unit?

  21. When you powered up the Oregon for the first time it would have helped to place it in a spot with a good sky view and let it sit for awhile (30-60 minutes). After that, I don’t think you would have seen the issue while driving around.

    Regarding the accuracy of the elevation reading, this is what Garmin says. It also matches my experience on a number of different units. Errors in the hundreds of feet are not unusual. My home is about 50′ above sea level and it frequently reports that I am 100′ or so BELOW sea level. :)
    ______________________________________________________

    Support
    Frequently Asked Questions

    How accurate is the GPS elevation reading?

    02/02/2011

    GPS heights are based on an ellipsoid (a mathematical representation of the earth’s shape), while USGS map elevations are based on a vertical datum tied to the geoid (or what is commonly called mean sea level). Basically, they are two different systems, although they have a relationship that has been modeled.

    The main source of error has to do with the arrangement of the satellite configurations during fix determinations. The earth blocks out satellites needed to get a good quality vertical measurement. Once the vertical datum is taken into account, the accuracy permitted by geometry considerations remains less than that of horizontal positions. It is not uncommon for satellite heights to be off from map elevations by +/- 400 ft. Use these values with caution when navigating.

  22. HeinzWanderer says:

    I just found this site and it looks like excellent discussions and advice. In addition to the two Garmin GPS models that have been discussed, how would the Magellan eXplorist 610 and the DeLOrme Earthmate PN-60 compare for hiking use. My main interests would be reception, accuracy, entering waypoints and using them the retrace way, cost (especially additional cost for maps), customer service.

    Also, does anyone have any experience with the use of a Spot Connect Satellite Communicator with any of the units, is there any advantage in having a GPS unit and a Spot unit communicate.
    Thanks much.

    • Of the four, my choice would be the 62s. I’ve got reviews posted of all the units except the eXplorist, though I have reviewed the 710 in that series, so check them out.

      I’ve also reviuewed the DeLorme PN-60W + SPOT, as well as the SPOT Connect.

  23. Curtis Moore says:

    I have the OREGON. There is a setting in the system set up menu to choose for GPS operation. The choices are Normal or WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System). Some basic research says that WAAS has greater accuracy, however there must be some draw backs if there is a choice. What are the Pro’s and Con’s and which way should I select for the settings? Thanks

  24. Hey,

    Stumbled across this site while looking for a very hard to find device. I was looking for something with a big screen which led me to read about the Oregon 450. But I would prefer buttons over touchscreen so I started reading about the 62S.

    The primary use would be mounted on the handlebars on an ATV. I noticed that the review of the 62S mentioned some problems with speed under canopy which would be awful because I would be either sitting, or traveling anywhere between 12-30 MPH.

    I would also like a unit that can be powered from a DC outlet so I can use it on all the time.

    Perhaps you know of another GPS that’s neither the 450 or the 62S that would work better for me?

    Thanks.

  25. David Tobiasz says:

    Jeremy,

    I have been using the 62st for some time now. I hike a lot in eastern hardwood forests. I have not encountered any reception problems under tree cover. As far as recording data at low speed, that was more of a problem with the Oregon line early on and has not manifested itself in the 62s line. Since I am a hiker, I travel at 2 to 3 mph and have not had a problem.

    I have also have a Garmin 60csx which has long been considered the “gold standard”. I have did a side by side comparisons of the 60csx with my 62st and the margin of error is really negligible.

    Dave

  26. I just bought the GPSmap 62s for hunting and hiking and so far I really like it. It’s my first handheld. A question on battery life while plugged into the USB while playing with Basecamp….will it drain the batteries? Unit doesn’t seem to be on except powered up by the USB cable which would be good. Do I really have to reset everything when I change the batteries? I won’t remember what I had on and when. I had it so the beeps were off when I was in the woods hunting, then changed the batteries and realized the beeps were back on. Thanks, you have a great site with lots of info.

  27. I don’t know if this is the right spot to ask about the 62S solely, but when I start up Basecamp it says it “An error occurred while reading the following file(s)” .kmz files I just created through Google Earth. Anyone know any reasons why? I followed the directions to create them from Garmins tutorial. I created a custom map by saving a .pdf as a .jpeg, then did an overlay and located in Google Earth. I then right-clicked and saved as .kmz. Some work and some don’t.

  28. I just picked up an Oregon 450t and it seems to be what I was looking for, It’s an upgrade from my Map 60. The only problem I have found is that I am not able to send waypoints from the unit to a map. (base map, Google earth, or MapSource) Does anyone have any ideas. I tried all the interface types.

    Great info on these products.

  29. Hi, i really like your sight, its full of goodies and insights. Let me ask you this, does tha gpsmap 62s accept micro sdhc? Do you know?

  30. Hey Rich,
    Thanks again for your great reviews.
    I’m looking at doing some adventure touring on a motorcycle when I get back to the states in a few months so I need a unit that can do on road and offroad.
    I’m having some trouble deciding between a 62S and Oregon 450.
    Does either unit come with a built in POI database like car units do? Is it built into City Navigator?
    Can both units do MGRS? Plan to carry MGRS maps and a compass as a backup.
    Any additional thoughts?

    • No, you’ll need to get City Navigator or add your own POIs.

      Both units can do MGRS.

      I prefer the 62s for mountain biking because it’s easier to switch screens on the fly.

  31. Which one of these models would be better for using on a waverunner/jet ski, that is visibility on the water?

  32. Hi I am busting a gut to buy a good gps for hiking and wilderness activeness on foot a bit of mountain climbing etc. I have been reading up and looking at reviews on map60csx and all are good,however i would like the newer 62s .The problem is very mixed reviews of 62s compass and what seems to be software problems,can any one tell me are these sorted its January 2013 . I really do not want to buy an old model 60 but what use if you can not trust and depend upon the new one.I could used some help guys .

    • Dave Tobiasz says:

      Gordon,

      I’ve had the 60csx since it hit the market. Then I bought the 62st. The reliability of the 60csx is great. If you keep your 62st firmware up to date, it will be as good as the 60csx. Besides there are things that the 62st does quite well… rendering 3-D of the topos. saving all data of tracks vs only 500 points of the 60csx. I have used the 62st along side of the 60csx on hikes and there is virtually no difference. The only thing that may be of concern is the accuracy of the 62st aggregate of elevation on the hand held device. But when you upload to the pc the numbers come out good.

      Otherwise – if you can afford it — get the 62st.

  33. I would say get the 62s or any other model but the basic 62 or any of the t-models. The basic 62 is lacking important features and the maps included in the t-models are 100k topos, not the ones you really want, and you can get better ones, 24k topos, free at the gpsfiledepot.com

  34. John Woods says:

    Had an old Eagle GPS from years ago that worked OK for the time period. Got a good deal on the Oregon 450T – which I liked for the features, capability of downloading 3rd party software, the micro-SD slot, and the 3-axis compass. I bought it primarily for use in the mountains – especially wilderness areas in trying to find my way out of the jungle. However I have not got there in 2-3 years so the GPS unit was put away.

    I fired it up with fresh batteries and it came up fine – even found about 3-4 satellites when I was sitting in a steel pole shed.

    Here’s my problems – 1) I can not get rid of where it thinks my home point is (where I used to live 4 miles away) back when I fired it when I got home from the store. I want the new home base to be the pernament starting point – again when I go to the MAP icon there still is my old home showing. Does Garmin have a small BIOs type battery in it (besides the slots for the AA) for keeping basic info – just like the circular batteries on computer motherboards?
    I find this problem very iritating. I know I can delete waypoints other then the original on the unit but ….. 2) Base Camp software sucks (maybe needs a newer version or something). First I had the 450T plugged into the desktop but when Base Camp fired up it could not find it (I went into the computers Control panel and found the GPS unit listed with it’s submenus. Hmm!
    So there is a connectivity problem. Even though I knew there was info saved in the unit I could not find it when I search by the desktop (Exploerer XP) nor by a thrid-party untility. So where the heck is the files supposedly saved on the GPS unit? Also the Base camp software wasn’t very friendly as it showed old waypoints on the topo map (another issue – it can’t run 3-D unless an Open??file was down loaded and Base Camp has no feature to download (I am hestitant to download from the Internet to the device – whther stored or run on the 450T) as it may screw the GPS unit and their is no factory reset “keyhole” to put a paperclip in to reset to factory defaults (again if there is an internal circular battery I can pull (BIOS). Again Base Camp has an icon to delete waypoints – never worked. (also selecting an option I got a fat star placed on map at a location where I did not want and I can not get rid of it.).

    So with Garmin’s Base Camp – pretty much useless. I went into my regular ATLAS USA and though I like the options feature it too is somewhat un-friendly – but I can do and see more. Here it found the 450T under the WAAS selection. I did not get far before for whatever reason my computer locked up so badly – had and control-alt-delete to an hour to get the system closed (still had to pull power plug). Had to restore the computer to a previous point. What ever happened when I went to do something in Atlas really did it.

    I bought the 450T again about 2 an1/2 years ago – not sure if Garmin updated drivers (and I haven’t asked them either anything because they are probably like many other support people – don’t care or give a damn).

    Any suggestions are helpful. I have the 24 Topo software I ppurchased on CD separately but have not tried yet to install. Like I said I don’t use the GPS hardly around home but I expect it to get me out of the bushes on the maps on it and my one outside purchase. I do not want to spend anymore money on it like third-party software like ExpertMaps (and it may be good). I don’t need POI’s. If anything 3-D capabilities and street views. Oh – since the 450T does not have a camera (just fine) can I download to the unit or put on the microSD card Jpegs?

  35. If you don’t like Basecamp search Garmin for Map Source. It is their original software. Then update the drivers.

    Make sure you have updated your firmware at Garmin’s MyGarmin. Oregon’s had some firmware problems early on. The update should help.

    If all else fails, contact Garmin on how to reset your unit.

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