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