Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin Colorado 400c review


UPDATE: I’m recommending the new touch-screen Garmin Oregon series instead of the Colorado. It has a superior interface, along with almost all the other good things found on the Colorado. Read my hands-on review of the Oregon 400t for more information.

UPDATE 2: This model has been discontinued. For more current recommendations, please refer to our handheld GPS buyers guide or our Garmin handheld GPS comparison chart.

The Garmin Colorado 400c is the marine version of Garmin’s newest handheld GPS series. As such, it includes BlueChart® g2 coastal charts and a worldwide basemap with aerial imagery. The map detail includes includes shorelines, depth contours, navaids, harbors, marinas, port plans and coastal roads for the U.S. and Bahamas.

Before we get into details, let’s compare the major differences between the four Colorado models:

  • 300 – Worldwide basemap with shaded relief, no pre-loaded detail maps
  • 400c – Worldwide basemap with satellite imagery (seen at right), U.S. coastal waters and Bahamas charts pre-loaded
  • 400i – Worldwide basemap with satellite imagery, U.S. inland lakes and navigable rivers charts pre-loaded
  • 400t – Worldwide basemap with shaded relief, U.S. topo maps pre-loaded

To see how the Colorado 400c stands up against other Garmin models, check out my Garmin handheld GPS comparison chart.

I covered the Colorado interface and hardware pretty thoroughly in my hands-on Garmin Colorado 300 review, so I won’t repeat all those details and screen shots here. I highly recommend checking it out for a thorough look at the unit’s pros and cons.

Compare prices on the Garmin Colorado 400c

Several Garmin Colorado 400c reviews have been posted at GPS Now. Follow that link to read them all, but here is an excerpt from a kayaker:

“I almost bought a 76Cx after getting lost kayaking in the Florida Keys a couple of times last year, but just before entering my order, I looked at the 400c. I’m glad I did. It has been a joy to use, and adds another dimension to kayaking backwater areas. I found the display easy to see in sunlight, as ambient light makes it more visible without battery sucking backlighting. I can usually get at least two 5 hour trips on a set of batteries with some to spare. I leave it turned on the entire trip in order to record my track. The track often helps redraw my charts when the GPS and other charts do not match the terrain, which can often happen in the sketchy areas back in the mangroves…

…I had discounted the tide function, but then found it to be almost as helpful as the navigation, as tides can vary almost 180 degrees between the bay side and the ocean side of the Keys. When the water is often only a few inches deep or gone completely at low tide, this is often a determining factor for the areas I frequent. The 400c quickly gives a tide readout for several tide stations in the vicinity of a planned route. However, I can’t seem to get predictions for other than the current day…”

More Garmin Colorado 400c reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Garmin Colorado 400c resources

Compare prices on the Garmin Colorado 400c at these merchants:

About Rich Owings

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


  1. There are a few things I’d like to know for the Colorado FAQ that I haven’t been able get from the community or Garmin yet. Rich if you or anyone reading this has a 400c I’d love to know the following:
    – Size of the 400c’s internal memory
    – Size of the 400c’s map (gmapprom.img file)
    – Free space on the 400c internal memory
    – Types of maps used on the 400c (are they Bluecharts v9, g2 or g2 Vision)
    – Does the 400c support Bluechart CD-ROM based maps (v9) in addition to the built in maps. There is a FAQ on Garmin’s site that indicates it does not. I’d love to know why.

  2. Wish I could say more definitively, but this is one of my compilations of reviews from around the Web, rather than a hands-on review. If you go to Garmin’s Colorado 400c page and click on the “Maps” tab, you’ll see quite a few BlueChart products listed. The “Features” tab says it is preloaded with Bluechart g2 and there is a g2 Vision graphic at the bottom of the page. In their cartography section (, they list the entire Colorado series as g2 Vision compatible with limitations, though I don’t see it stated anywhere what those limitations are.

  3. Good site for review info

  4. Thanks cowie!

    Limited Compatibility
    Some Garmin units may only access limited features when used with certain MapSource products. In these cases, an asterisk has been placed by that product.
    “Limited capability” may mean that a unit may be able to draw all the map features from the MapSource software, such as roads, lakes, nav-aids, depth contours, wrecks, etc., but the interactive capability of the maps may be limited. For example, you may not be able to “find nearest marinas” or look up additional text about a specific mapping feature.
    We encourage you to e-mail [email protected] if you have any questions about the compatibility of certain units and MapSource products.

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