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. Richard Howard says:

    Rich,
    Here is what im wondering. With all the software updates to the Oregon, they have finally got the Oregon where most people want it. It has matured and most bugs/glitches seem to be worked out for the most part. As you know the biggee has been fixing the issue with the correction signal from ground stations which increases accuracy. People have been complaining about this from the beginning. Is the 62 series software similar enough to the Oregon that we will benefit from all the Oregon upgrades? Or do we have to start over and wait for years of betas and tweeks for the 62 to be a keeper? Just wondering. Thanks
    Rick

  2. Rich What about the comparison from a geocaching perspective? Which would you recommend?

    • I’m going to have to play around with the work flow some to see. A hard core cacher could probably answer that better than me, as I don’t do multi’s and things of that sort. But I will try to take a look at the basic flow.

    • Mike,

      I’ve used both and for the most part they are very similar in function, the main differences are around how you navigate through screens via touchscreen or via buttons.

      Like the 60csx if you are willing to learn the menus and shortcuts the 62/78 is very fast to get around, I think that is the primary advantage of the 62 with regard to geocaching. For example on the map page you have a “view geocache” option instead of having to tap 2-3 buttons to view geocache information like the OR. The ability to page up and down through cache descriptions (vs. scroll w/ your finger), lists, etc on the 62 makes the work flow faster for me. One other advantage of the 62 is the calendar which will tell you how many geocaches you found/DNF’ed on a given day (although this gets wiped out as soon as you reload new gpx data).

      The primary advantage of the Oregon is for data entry and the screen size/resolution. I like to name waypoints and make notes for trackables in the field which is far easier as Rich suggests.

      I’ll also mention that the 550 camera is a great feature to have geocaching. I miss that more than anything when using my 62. I take pictures of trackables, multi-cache waypoint sheets, clues, interesting hides, etc.

      -Scott

  3. I guess it also depends on how you feel about the touch screen interface on the Oregon 450 vs. the more limited hardware buttons on the 62S. In theory, I should prefer the Oregon since I would like to add lots of data (names/descriptions) to my waypoints, and that will be faster on an Oregon. But when I had a review Oregon, I wound up hating the touchscreen for making simple operations complicated; I vastly preferred the 60Cx for usability. From Rich’s 78 review, sounds like the 62s will have exactly the kind of interface I prefer.

  4. Amir Findling says:

    I’ve just gotten my 62S yesterday and played with it a bit today. YOu can see the results on my blog http://k9chp.blogspot.com/2010/07/gpsmap-62s-vs-oregon-400i.html

    I already have a good feeling about 62S’ the antenna being better than the Oregon’s. I need more time to make a valid statement about it, but even WAAS which was finally fixed on the Oregon, worked better on the 62S, I bet the antenna was what made the difference.

    I also need to see what an amplified external antenna will do to the 62S. I have one, but have not used it since I got the Oregon. Must have collected some dust somewhere…

    Amir K9CHP

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, but your Oregon advantages are soooo funny. Look at these points:

    * Better for auto use (due to touch screen)
    * Text entry (entering waypoint names, etc.) faster on touch screen
    * Easier to switch data fields
    * Touch screen – a personal preference issue

    You have made four advantages out of ONE !
    I think you could abbreviate this by the following point:

    * Easier access due to the touchscreen concept

    OR you could even write down some more PRO Oregon Facts like:

    * Better for auto use (due to touch screen)
    * Easier navigation in the system menue (due to touch screen)
    * Easier navigation in the waypoint menue (due to touch screen)
    * Easier navigation in the track archive menue (due to touch screen)
    * Easier zooming of the maps (due to touch screen)
    * Easier panning of the map (due to touch screen)
    * Faster entry of coordinates (***GUESS WHY***)
    * Text entry (entering waypoint names, etc.) faster on touch screen
    * Easier to switch data fields
    * Touch screen – a personal preference issue

    🙂

    • Well, I see your point, but I was trying to highlight specific use cases where one might make a difference for a particular user. But I do try to inject humor into my posts occasionally, so I’m glad you found it amusing!

  6. I didn’t realize the 62 series is available? I looked on Amazon and it’s only pre-order.

    Where can I purchase one of these?

    Thanks,

    RJ

  7. Rich,

    I want to buy one of these two GPSs for geocaching. I am leaning toward the 62 due to the fact that touch screens normally have a laggy feel to them during normal use and constant errors while trying to type. Are either of these aspects present in the Oregon 450 series? and when can we expect a full review of the gspmap 62?

    Thanks,

    CM

  8. Amir Findling says:

    The touch screen is BETTER for data input, unless you have really fat fingers. This is one of the drawbacks of the 60/62 series.

    I think the stronger satellite acquisition due to the better antenna (and the capability to add an external antenna) might be a selling point to someone in need of finding a 35mm film canister in 30 acres of woods.

    Amir K9CHP

  9. Great site, Rich! Thx for all the useful info!

    I’d like to use the 62s, Oregon 450, or even the older 60csx for both road biking and travel. When using it for travel, I hope to find certain points of interest (restaurants in particular). Does either the 62s or the 450 have this feature? Looking at the manuals the 60csx seems to have it. Also, how do you think these units will fare in the city jungle, with all the tall buildings, etc…

    Many thx

    • Amir Findling says:

      socfan:
      the 62S, OR450 and 60csx all do road navigation, but using a Nuvi is much more pleasant in the car, although I’ve successfully navigated on the road with handheld Garmin GPS units. One thing, points of interest need to be updated. I don’t know if they are updated with Garmin maps updates, I’d assume they are, in which case, you may want to think about lifetime updates subscription etc. Things are especially fluid with the restaurants are many close and other open quite often. I used a Blackberry, my Droid and an iPhone quite successfully for that purpose. Having web access gives you so much more and information is relatively up-to-date.

      Urban canyons:
      Have a look at my blog, http://www.k9chp.blogspot.com and search for the King-Kong entry. It is just over a year old, done with an Oregon 400i but of course older firmware, and perhaps today, results might be better, but that’s what I got in NYC while walking the sidewalks in 2009.

      I would recommend the 62S over the Oregon just because I believe the better antenna and reception might help, but then more sensitivity may also mean more multipath effect. I can’t tell as I don’t live in NYC or anywhere near it.

      Amir K9CHP

  10. If you add City Navigator maps, you’ll get all the points of interest. I expect that the newer handhelds (Oregon and 62 series) will fare at least as well as auto units in the city. Hope this helps.

  11. Thx Rich, and Amir for your replies. I actually have a Nuvi 700 series for the car. First, it had trouble locking onto satellites here in Montreal (I’m here on vacation right now). And then the battery doesn’t last longer than 2.5-3 hrs, so I was thinking of getting a handheld with 10+ hours of reported usage.

    I just ordered the 60csx from REI, since they still had them in stock and haven’t jacked up the prices. But then came to this site and read about the 62s and Oregon 450, and both compared to each other! So now I’m questioning which would be better for road biking, walking in cities like Montreal and Quebec, and for the occasional hike (we’re hoping to go to Banff next year). Sounds like all are pretty suitable (w the right maps loaded) and comparable in features, it then becomes a matter of preference.

    I do like the touch screen of the Nuvi and now with a more readable screen in the 450, I have a strong bias towards that unit. But I do want to bring my handheld into the urban jungles, where I think the 6 series may fare better with the external antennas.

    Sigh, tough choices. I may get all three and pick one from the 3.

    thx again

    • Glad it’s helping. I’d seriously consider the new units instead of the 60CSx. They have several new features, including the ability to add aerial photos and custom maps, paperless geocaching and improved track navigation.

      • I’m leaning towards one of the newer units. I got the 60csx as they all seemed sold out or jacked up prices on amazon.

        I’ll post back here after I select one and use it for a little while.

        cheers

        • Amir Findling says:

          When you say biking, I’d say that the 62S will be better for you as the display will be the brightest at almost any angle. The OR450 has an improved display but still, including my Droid Incredible and iPod Touch, I don’t think they are better than the 62S from display point of view.

          Amir K9CHP

          • Thx, Amir. I pulled the trigger on the 62s and an OR450. Will quickly take a look at the screens and features and will keep the one I like best. On paper, the 62s seems to be the winner. The touchscreen of the OR450 is really the only thing going for it.

            Will let you know what I choose.

  12. Re: A recent twitter comment about multiple hi-lo elevation points when doing track nav on the GPSMAP 62.
    I saw this problem on an Oregon 550 running the 3.61 beta firmware as well and reported it to Garmin, so it’s not just the GPSMAP.

    As to the subject of this post (to make it marginally relevant):
    I’m curious as to the basis of the “slightly more rugged” point for the 62. Arguably there are fewer exposed moving parts on the Oregon (although the screen is a correspondingly bigger target).

    And the Oregon’s easier to switch data fields is a double-edged sword, as there’s no way (that I know of) to lock the current configuration of buttons without locking the entire screen!

    • Amir Findling says:

      More rugged: the cover on the miniUSB and external antenna is stronger than the ones on the 60csx. No need to remove the clip to open the unit = less wear and tear on it. The battery cover seems to be more solid than the 60 and the antenna does not have the rubber extension that was used by many to tether the unit (and broke quite quickly) or got snagged by branches and tore just as well.

      Yes, giving the OR to a newbee and the screen will switch over, by mistake or not and you then need to explain how to fix things on the radio… The 60/62 are smarter but I would love to be able to lock them like I can do with a simple FRS radio and leave only the TX and volume control on. The OR also tends to switch screens while bouncing in a pocket.

      Amir K9CHP

    • Thanks stever. Glad to hear the elevation point issue isn’t confined to the 62 series. FWIW, I said “may” be more rugged. And yes, I was thinking of that big screen on the Oregon. Though I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of one being cracked. I’ll try to comment on ruggedness more in my review.

  13. @socfan – You might want go ahead and pick up a simple Garmin bike mount, as the 62 and Oregons both use the same one.

    • Thx, Rich. I was researching bike mounts this morning. Yes, they do seem to use the same bike mount. I’m away on vacation right now, but will order one when I get back home (it’ll come in 2 days from amazon).

      cheers

  14. Not the results I was expecting…

    Hi Guys,

    As mentioned above, I took delivery of the 62s, the Oregon 450, and yes, the 60csx (which I did not open based on feedback here). I took the O450 and the 62s out for a quick ‘test’ in NYC and on my commute to/from work.

    Out of the box:
    All the comments above from Rich, Amir, others, are absolutely spot on in absolute and relative terms. The 62s is heavier, and thus feels more substantial or rugged; it does have a brighter screen than the Oregon, but the O450 is fairly usable as well. Raise the backlight a bit and it’s perfectly usable (though I will evaluate that more this weekend when I go for a bike ride). As far as input method goes, the dedicated buttons of the 62s do make for quicker transitions and definitely feels more responsive than the touchscreen of the O450, but when entering long text, the O450 wins hands down.

    After getting off the train in NYC, I turned both units on. The O450 actually seemed to lock onto the satellites 2-3 seconds faster than the 62s. But I think it could have been caused by its quicker start up time. The 62s seems to go through a longer boot up phase than the O450. So maybe it was a draw, hard to tell. But both units had strong signals. The buildings around where I was weren’t the tallest, but it did have some skyscrapers.

    But here’s the unexpected part: I decided to turn on the units while on the train, a street level commuter train. I expected the 62s to lock onto the satellites faster than the O450. Both units took a few minutes to do that, but the 62s actually took about double to triple the amount of time than the O450! I was navigating and tracking my ride for a few minutes well before the 62s locked onto the satellites. I then shut off the units and did it again, this time, the 62s lagged the O450 by a minute or less. Still, I was very surprised by the results.

    I’m not a GPS aficionado like Rich or Amir, so take my results with a grain of salt. But Rich, I look forward to your full review in the near future!

    This weekend I plan on taking both units onto my usual bike ride. Tons of alternating sun and shade. I think this will be the big test of visibility and may ultimately be the deciding factor which unit I keep.

    Anyway, just wanted to post the follow up given all the good information I got from this site.

    cheers.

    • Great report! Thanks for taking the time to share it. Regarding the train issue, I expect you’re seeing a software maturity issue that will ultimately improve.

      Please let us know how the visibility testing goes. Have fun and remember to watch the road/trail!

      • sorry for the delay. Been under the weather pretty much the past week.

        So I did take the O450 out on a ride. Two in fact. One on a bright sunny day and another on an overcast, slightly drizzly day. I use Oakley transitions (vr-28 I believe) for eye wear, non-polarized.

        From what I read about the O450, I expected it to be perfectly visible on the sunny day, and it was. Even with backlight off, and in its dim mode, it was still perfectly visible. On the overcast day, I expected it to be less visible, but to my surprise, it wasn’t, again, even when it went dim.

        I haven’t taken the 62s out for a ride yet, and I may not at this point. I haven’t tested it out in more difficult lighting situations (heavily shaded roads), but I think I could turn the backlight up to 100% if needed those times. I like the larger screen, and with the higher resolution than the 62s, I do see a lot more of the overall map, which I like (but unclear if I actually need it). And the GPS seems to be just as accurate so far as the 62s, even with the quad helix antennae.

        But still looking forward to your formal review of the 62s Rich!

        • Thanks for the update. The 450 sounds like a good choice. Unfortunately it looks like my 62s review won’t be up for another week. Hopefully it won’t drag on any longer than that.

  15. firstlen says:

    Hello. Is anyone else having this problem….My GPSMAP62s will not turn on. It has new batteries and I even connected it to my computer via a USB cable for external power. Last night it was working fine….this morning its a brick.

    • It won’t even go into mass storage mode when connected to the computer?

      First, I’d take out the batteries and hold down the power switch for 30 seconds or so. Then put fresh batteries in and try it again.

      If that doesn’t work, you could try a hard reset. Hold down the Page and Enter buttons and then press the Power switch.

      • firstlen says:

        Rich, Thanks so much for your reply. I tried the two ideas you recommended but nothing happened. It wont even go into the mass storage mode when you plug in the USB cable. The screen is blank and I don’t hear any beeps. My GPSMAP62s is still a brick.

        • Unless you bought from a store where you can exchange it, I’d call (works better than emailing) Garmin support Monday morning. I’d love to know if they can resolve it by phone.

          • Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. I’ve had mine a few days, no issues thus far.

          • Hello All,
            I ended up calling Garmin and spending some time troubleshooting my GPSMAP 62s with their technical folks. Unfortunately, we could never get it to turn on. However, this process made me realize how kind, courteous and knowledgeable their technical folks are. In the end, I ended up exchanging my GPSMAP 62s for new one where I bought it originally. After getting my GPSMAP62s exchanged for a new one I call the Garmin technical folks back. They transfered all my maps and birds eye subscriptions over to the new GPSMAP 62s. I want everyone to know that even though my GPSMAP 62s failed, the Garmin folks helped me get the new one up and running with out any fuss. Units will fail…however, it’s how customer service oriented the business is to make it right…Garmin was excellent.

  16. Teach2Learn says:

    Attended a caching event this past week and went on a group Wherigo cache hunt by means of borrowed Oregon 450 units. Enjoyed the experience, but can’t say I prefer the Oregon 450 to my current 60csx (even though it can’t be used for Wherigo caches). Whoever had an Oregon 450 in hand struggled frequently to read the unit as we moved in and out of sunlight and shadow from stage to stage. My 60csx is much easier to read in those conditions. Since I also don’t prefer touchscreen, I’m hoping for a positive review of the 62s so that I can look into purchasing one after a firmware update or two.

  17. Hallo folks,

    can I please ask for an unbiased reccomendation. I am seriously contemplating to get an outdooor GPS, though I have had two negative experiences with Garmin before (E-trex Vista, Nuvi 760). However, Garmin seems to be the only global major player in this field. My friend recomends to go for the cult 60CSX, he said nothing is better than that. However, at a shop I was told by the personell that these are not ordered any longer, perhaps 62 would do the job but most people go for the Oregon series nowadays. I mean I need something that is durable and gets the signal in dense woods not like the crappy E-trex I got seven years ago. So the touchscreen is not an issue and regarding the usage I intend to use it mainly for hiking, biking, cross country skiing and mushroom picking, occasionally also for use in a car. Do you think the 60CSX is the best choice and value for the dollars spent ? Any suggestions are highly appreciated.

    Yours Sincerely

    Karel

    • Amir K9CHP says:

      Both OR450 and 62S (and 60csx too BTW) will work so much better than the old Vista eTrex (I used to have one of those)that there is no question you will be happy. Since you mention occasional use in car, I’d say the display of the OR450 and 62S are better than the 60csx (for road nav). OTOH the OR does not have a night mode, so it is really bright at night in the car. I much prefer the 62S. Reception is a matter of degree, no more a black and white thing. If you need the best, perhaps the 62S with an external antenna would be it, but I have yet to really need an external antenna with mine (I have one).
      Biking: maybe the very bright display of the 62S has an edge there as sometimes the OR can be more difficult to read, even with its improved screen. the 450 has higher resolution but the letters are smaller. Depending on your age and eyesight, the lower res can be easier to read.

      Map management is better in the 450 and 62 than in the 60csx as the newer ones allow you to have several map files, you don’t need to compile and download all at once. And the newer ones have aerial mapping (BirdEye) and CustomMaps capabilities the 60csx does not have.

      I think that looking at the OR450 and the 62S is the right direction. The difference is a matter of personal preferences, the two units being close relative but with different flavors.

      My personal preference is the 62s over my OR400i because of the brighter display (lower res, easier to read for me) and the quad-helix antenna which I believe is better than the patch antenna of the OR.

  18. The weakest point of the Oregon x50 is the TOUCHSCREEN.
    After 2 months my Oregon 450 touchscreen was cracked. I’am not the only one… Untill now i do not know how i did it. I used a protection shield and hardcover to store my GPS.
    Garmin Europe was not able to repair it and i had to buy a new one (Oregon or 62s) and received a reduction of €100 …

    My conclusion: Oregon x50 is NOT ruggedized enough for geocaching!!
    Go for 62s if you want to go geocaching.

    Greetings from Belgium,
    DanPan

  19. Amir K9CHP says:

    I’ve used GPS units in SAR since about 1994, in the US, Canada and overseas. Had many units, never broke a screen. Maybe the secret is in storing the unit with the screen towards your body. I am a K9 handler and I generally work areas that are much worse than what Geocaching has to offer, scorching summers, way below freezing in winter, driving rain and snow, in the air, on land and in waterways and all my units have survived in all of those conditions. I also tether the GPS to my radio harness, so that also prevents them from falling.

    I don’t know what may have happened to your OR450, and maybe that Garmin tried to solve visibility problems of the OR x00 series by making the touch screen thinner and more fragile. But this is conjecture, not fact.

  20. I am in need of a good GPS. I was trying to decide between a 60csx and an Oregon 450 when received a free touch screen phone with Garmin XT on it. The GPS receiver in the phone is sub-par, 25 to 30 meter accuracy at best, sometimes 100+ meter accuracy, and loses signal when driving in the mountains and trees. Garmin XT locks-up when scrolling and creating a route without addresses is a real pain. I checked the web this week and saw the new 62s. So now the decision is 62s, 60csx, or Oregon 450.

    I am outside the USA (Costa Rica) and the only available map is in Garmin format, so the unit must be a Garmin. Also being outside of the USA many GPS features are useless; WAAS, US maps, Traffic Updates, etc… There are also no addresses here, so routing by address is not possible. Typically there are no street names either. A lot of driving is through unmapped roads and/or with tree cover.

    What I am seeing between these units is:

    60csx FOR: great reception, exterior antenna, the standard
    60csx AGAINST: old and no updates, screen compared to 62s

    62S FOR: new, great reception, can use exterior antenna, screen, fast button menu access
    62S AGAINST: $$$PRICE$$$ Approximately US$400 plus getting it into the country.
    62S Question: How bad is setting a route with points (no addresses)? How is entering name for points? Is it really worth the price premium or the Oregon 450.

    450 FOR: Touch screen for in car use and naming points, PRICE US$250 plus getting it into the country.
    450 AGAINST: No exterior antennia, screen in some lighting conditions
    450 Question: How bad is setting a route with points (no addresses)? How well does this unit track when walking (Garmin XT is horrible) ?

    From what I have read the 62s would probably have the best reception, but I am leaning to the 450 simply due to the price. I have no place to try either unit.

    Any thoughts?

    • I would go with the 62s or 450. The 60CSx can’t accept custom maps or BirdsEye imagery. Either one might be useful in an area with limited maps. Map management will be easier as well. Do you really need the 62s? Would the 62 do, saving you some money?

      It’s easy enough to create a route in both the 450 and 62 series. Entering names is easier on the 450.

      • The 62 is missing a few essentials. Compass, Additional Storage (you never know when you may need it), HighSpeed USB (Garmin has no excuse for not providing this). For the price of the 62 US$300 you can get a netbook with better hardware. With handheld GPS’s we are paying a premium for the hardware just to have the software in our hand. But that’s life.

        I guess the big question now is how good is the 450’s reception vs the 62s ? And if the 62s is better, is it that much better to pay an extra US$150 ? (I would love to have both in hand to compare with a walk through the rain forest. 🙂 But that’s not possible)

  21. Can the new 62s do area calculations and mapping? For use on Rx Burns and wildfires to calculate acreage.

  22. Yes. It’s discussed on p. 19 of the manual…

    http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/GPSMAP62_OwnersManual.pdf

  23. I am thinking that I am still trying to decide between OREGON 450 and GPSMAP 62S. Never owned a handheld GPS; want to use one primarly for Hiking/Backpacking. I want to be able to plot a course of where to go and know how far it is to the destination or distance I have traveled. Better time managment during my journey. Be able to load trail/hiking maps.

    I live in central Pennsylvania and do day hiking and weekend backpacking. Once a year go to the Adirondacks up state New York for a weeklong trek. And once in awile out west to Yellowstone or Montana or maybe someday Pacific North West.

    Reception and Satellite acquisition is a priority; due to Mountains,valleys and tree cover. I do not understand why the 62S with a quad-helix antenna works “about the same” (as opposed to better than) as the Oregon 450 that does not??? Is it a gimick? Bottom Line: Which unit has the best relibility and accuracy for the compass, location positioning, and ease of navigation?

    Any advice and comments are appreciated. Thank You

    • I don’t know if there’s going to be that much difference between them. Theoretically, reception would be improved by holding the 62s vertically due to its quad helix antenna. Chipset is going to matter more, and it’s the same for both. I think they are both pretty good for ease of navigation. You can expect a bit of a learning curve since it’s your first GPS. This series of posts might help… http://gpstracklog.com/handheld-sport-gps/handheld-gps-101

      For backpacking, I’d focus on weight, which would point you towards the Oregon, or even the Dakota 20. I don’t recall battery life specs for each (available on the Garmin product pages), but I’d check that too.

  24. Both units are quite close, yet have different flavors, as it appears reading this thread. I have both the OR400i and 62S, using them for SAR. I have never had a reception problem with either unit, but the 62s is a wee bit better, IMO. Not a matter of day and night, mind you, just a question of degree. The one advantage is that you can attach an external antenna to the 62s and then the results are awesome, but then an external antenna will even bring reception up in an older 60CS (used for APRS) or a Garmin III and II (kept as relics).

    Both OR450 and 62s have a tri-axial compass. This is great as you no longer have to worry about holding the GPS horizontal. The 62S might have a better shape for aiming the GPS at your target.

    The display of the 62s may be easier to see under some conditions, but is is smaller and the resolution of the 450 is higher. Note I did not say better as with my vision, the lower resolution is better for my eyes.

    Go to a store where they sell both models and play with them a bit, see which interface suits your needs best. If you are entering a lot of data in the field, the 450 is the one to consider. If you use your GPS by Braille, the 62s with its buttons is better.

    I really don’t think that you’ll get a definitive answer there as it mostly is personal preferences and not functionality of the units that make the difference.

  25. Thanks for such a quick response from Rich and Amir. I was at a store yesterday working both of them.

    1) The first real difference is the obvious operation of the touch screen vs. buttons. My Conclusion is a draw; I can manipulate both to my satisfaction and the slight difference in speed is not an issue for me because I do not see myself with the need to be changing screens and information display rapidly; the few seconds difference is not a concern. My concern is the reliability of a touch screen going bad vs. buttons?

    2) To my surprise the screen was noticeably larger on the OR 450. You can see more of the map, BUT some of the words and icons on the 62S apeared slightly larger. For my eyes I like the larger print. I do not think there is a setting on either unit to change size of displayed information. As with the other posts the 62S screen is slightly more visible under various lighting conditions. There are adjustments on both units that can improve display visibility such as back lighting.

    3) Backpacking use: the OR 450 weighs less (few oz.)and sleeker (smaller over all demensions) design which is nice for attatching to backpack, but the 62S has longer battery life and the quad-helix antenna sticks up could be an issue, but if it does not significantly improve reception then why have it? I agree the external would be the way to go if you want the best reception possible.

    4) Conclusion: As Amir said it looks like it is just a personal preference. Therfore, I will purchase thru a store with a good return/exchange policy. Test Drive is the only way to make the proper choice. At this time the only significant difference or factor is the Price. There are better sales/prices on the OR 450. I would rather pay less and “wish” I had a feature that was on the more expensive unit, then pay more and not have a feature that was on the cheaper model.

    Thanks for the comments.

  26. Ok, it is long past time to upgrade from Magellan 315. It has served its usefullness well but the new units ability to “see” through the dense forests that I often travel in has made my decision. My uses are hunting/hiking, road biking, close to shore marine, and general travel. I want one unit to do it all, Topo maps are vital. I really do not care about compass and altimiter as I carry a real compass as well as having an electronic one on my Pathfider watch. I have several hundred WPs that I will want to transfer into the new unit which I assume I will have to type in on the computer. After looking through the reviews it looks like a 62 or and OR but what about a Triton. I really do not know where to continue my search. Just looking for some good advice.

    Thank you.

    • If you can export the waypoints as a .gpx file, you can move the to another model. GPS Babel (http://gpsbabel.org) may be able to convert them.

      The Triton line was horrible when it came out. It’s been improved, but I still see people complain about them. With the new Magellan eXplorist x10 line just hitting store shelves, I expect the Tritons will soon be discontinued.

      Ask away if you come up with more questions. I think you’ll like the newer receivers.

    • Thanks for the quick reply. Here are my questions then based on my last message. I have an add for a 60CSX that comes with Topo 2008 and and cable. It appears to be very similar to the 62ST with some minor exceptions, is loading my own maps vs having them preloaded that big a deal. With the preloaded units what am I acutually getting. The 60CSX does not accept custom maps while the 62ST does, what does that mean. I don’t want to spend the money on a OR550T but the OR450T looks like a good alternative. They both come preloaded with the TOPO map does that mean TOPO only and not a typical highway type map? Are the maps for the OR and 60/62 different. The OR450T screen looks as if you are looking at the scenery rather than a topo map. Is that just a cool feature or is it truly useful. I realize that this is a lot to throw at you but I do want to make a decision in the next week or so. I just found your site today and this is by far the best place that I have found to compare units and get information.
      Thank you.

      • Yes, the preloaded maps are topo only and they are 1:100,000 scale. I prefer the units without preloaded maps, since there are great 1:24,000 scale (more detailed) topo maps for free at http://gpsfiledepot.com. Alternatively, you could buy Garmin’s 24K maps and add them, since they also include detailed highway maps and can be used for routing in the car.

        With Garmin custom maps, you can create a map from an image — a park PDF, an aerial photo, a USGS topo, etc. Some of these posts may help you understand this better… http://gpstracklog.com/tag/garmin-custom-maps

        The Oregon and 62 series have shaded relief, which may be the “scenery” you are seeing. This can be disabled if you like.

        I would suggest the Oregon 450 or the 62s over the 60CSx, unless cost is a big issue.

        • Can anyone comment on the Garmin 1:24,000 maps? Are they up to date, accurate and include trails? Any other 1:24,000 scale maps I should be considering other than the Garmin products and the free ones at gpsfilepot? I am looking for maps that have trails marked for Pennsylvania and New York. Is this the correct area to post comments about GPS maps, or is there a more appropriate place? Thanks

          GPS Unit: Garmin OREGON 450t

  27. Just an FYI: The OREGON 450t at Cabela’s Website for $329.99. The OREGON 450 is $349.99 (Go figure)shipping is $5.00 any order over $99. You can go to a Cabela’s store with the print out of the Website price and they will honor it. Thats what I did. Plus they were running a special discounts for customers who use thier Cabela’s visa card; additional $70 (spend $300-$399 for $70 off) off the price. So I got the OREGON 450T for $260 plus tax. BTH… my intention was to buy the GPSMAP 62s the cost was $400 discount $85 (spend $400-$499 for $95 off)ended up being a total of $315; and no preloaded map. I echo BA Smith that this is the best site for GPS information. Thanks.

  28. Great website with good information. My question to you is, besides the fact that Gpsmap 78 series float and the physical shape is diffrent from the 62 series, are there any diffrences in the operating system? I am looking to purchase the US Inland Lakes card. Could I purchase either one (78s or 62s), pop in the US Inland Lake card and expect that the menus/functionality and screen displays will be the same? Thank you, Dan

  29. I initially purchased an Oregon 550 predominantly for Geocaching and purchased a 62S not long after for my family members as I seemed to hog the Oregon.

    Having had both for some time, both loaded with the same UK Maps as well as CustomMaps [KMZ] for the various Geocaching areas [Mobile Atlas @ zoom 17] my personal observations are as follows:

    Unit Size:

    Whilst the Oregon is smaller both units fit nicely in my hand, but Oregon more snugly though. If there is a need to be stealthy for urban caching, the Oregon is my main pick and it can double up to look as a mobile / PDA if so required; the 62s could have gotten away with this till about 5 years ago, when mobiles still had an antenna sticking out…
    I have a hand-strap on the Oregon (besides a lanyard connector) and it normally doesn’t leave my hand when urban caching.

    Operating the Unit: Touch screen vs buttons

    It has taken longer for me to get used to the navigation of the 62s; in fact, I still make the odd mistake, whereas operating the Oregon sort of came natural. I am not sure if it’s because of the way the menus are laid out, but it seems to make more sense.
    On the 62S, I don’t like the Page Ribbon display. It may be a nice visual aid, but it introduces at least a second delay before it moves to the relevant page, whereas the page button (and quit button) allows you quickly to navigate up/down through the various pages without delays.

    If i need to navigate to a spot on the map off screen, I find that I am able to move faster with the touch screen (Oregon) versus the directional rocker (62S). The map refresh rate is similar, so there’s no issue there. But the final fine-tuning on the map allows me to do faster on the Oregon rather than the left/right up/down buttons.

    Zooming in and out is more convenient on the 62s. Somehow hitting a button appears quicker than touching the zoom in/out on the Oregon. There’s no response difference that I noticed.

    There are some screens on the 62S, that require a user response (trouble find a sat. continue yes/no). The boxes around these options on screen are quite large and look like buttons you can touch, and having the Oregon, sometimes makes me touch the 62S screen… someone without a GPSr touch screen may not have this problem…

    Data entry is faster on the Oregon for obvious reasons. Having used both units in the car to navigate to a parking waypoint relating to a cache – both using the same Garmin auto kit – the 62s is more convenient due to the buttons.
    Although I have not used either unit on a bike, I can image that the 62s is more convenient because of the buttons.

    With the cold weather having started in the UK, I am able to operate the 62S with some thin gloves, something the Oregon won’t allow me to do.

    Screen:

    The Oregon has a vastly superior screen. Whilst this may be due to it being higher resolution, the visual experience is better albeit different. Sort of old fashioned CRT tv vs rear screen projection tv.

    Some people have commented (also on youtube) on the visibility in direct sunlight. In direct sunlight, both units are not readable, and require some movement or be put out in one’s own shade. Having said that, the screen of the 62S is brighter in most other conditions. But brighter does not mean greater detail, and this is why I find the oregon screen superior. The same google satellite CustomMap shows much more detail on the Oregon. The 62S screen seems more contrasty besides having less resolution which negatively affects the readability of the CustomMap. Areas of wood/forest turn into mush compared to the Oregon which continues to display detail. The same is the case for houses, roads, etc. When trying to zoom into a cache location, the Oregon is much better. 62s users may have a different opinion, but comparing them side by side quickly shows the difference.

    There are numerous suggestions out there on changing various parameters to improve map visibility on the 62s the but the Oregon remains superior.

    The difference remains also when using other maps. The 62S displays in greater contrast. Changing each of the images manually and adjusting the gamma may be an option, but would be too much trouble for me.

    I did notice another screen difference between both units. The Oregon screen is set in below the contours of the unit, whereas the 62s screen protrudes above the outer contours of the unit.

    Menus

    Navigating the various menus seems quicker on the 62s compared to the Oregon. The main reason for this is the distinct lack of buttons on the Oregon!! Scrolling down a page on the Oregon can be done using arrows on the bottom of the screen or in the ‘iphone way’ moving your finger over the screen; however, an iPhone screen scrolls much smoother than the Oregon which can sometimes be hit or miss.

    Some menus on the Oregon are a bit more intuitive compared to the 62s – showing more information / options on-screen, whereas on the 62s you may have to hit the menu button to go to a sub-menu. Depending on where you want to get to, doing so on the 62s may take less button pushes than with the Oregon, whilst in other cases, it may take the Oregon less screen touches to get there compared to the 62s.

    Accuracy
    Whilst this write-up is a non-scientific view of my experiences, it appears that the readouts on the Oregon are less jumpy. When using the compass screen to get to GZ, the ‘needle’ of the 62s may move about a bit more than the Oregon. I have not found any advantage re accuracy on either unit be it in the open or under cover.

    Overall

    There is something mysterious about the 62s, something that I cannot describe, but has a certain pull. It may be the form factor or the antenna or the orangy-brown accent on the 62s; the 60 series has that same form factor and that may be – besides being very good – a reason why it was so successful.

    But, which one would I pick if I were told I could only keep one of the units.

    It would be tough, but i would pick the Oregon for the following reasons:
    1/ The unit seems a generation ahead of the 62s
    2/ The screen is superior in terms of displaying map detail (which therefore may influence my perception of point 1.
    3/ Form factor is great for urban caching
    4/ Although I do prefer the buttons, I could live with a touch screen.

  30. Dave Swezey says:

    My long trusted, faithful and bulletproof Garmin GPS-5 finally bit it and I struggled with which one to replace it with.
    I love to geocache so the Garmin 62S or the Oregon 450 were my choices. Luckily my wife made it easy when she came home with the Oregon 450 as an anniversary gift for me.

    Compared to my old GPS-5 the un-backlit contrast for the base map is HORRIBLE and the glare is mindboggling. Can anyone use this thing without it being backlit?
    Considering the maximum backlight option is 2 minutes or always on, I could never use this on a bike mount and even for geocaching without the backlight always on or having to tap the screen every so often to see anything.

    I tried the settings to adjust contrast and there isn’t one. I looked all over the web for postings on this topic and found nothing. I just can’t believe it should be this washed out without the backlighting. There should be a feature to turn off the colors and just use black and white. Maybe I’m old school but this would save batteries and probably be much more visible at quick glance in all lighting conditions. (Maybe there is a way and I just can’t figure it out?)
    Suggestions, or do I return this thing and try something else?

    • All hi-res screens have this issue. The 450 is better than most. More info here…

      http://gpstracklog.com/2008/01/screen-visibili.html

      You can improve it by this method…

      Set Shaded Relief to Do Not Show to enhance visibility in bright light. If you’re in an area with lots of national parks and forest, you can also improve visibility by getting rid of the green background. Go to Setup > Map > Advanced Map Setup > Zoom Levels > Land Cover and set it to Off.

      Most people find that they intuitively tilt it for the best view when in their hand. For bike / fixed mount use, I prefer the 62s, but more for the buttons than visibility.

      To be honest, you may be happier with the lower-resolution (and therefore brighter) screen of the 62s.

  31. Whew, that’s many screen-ful’s of information! So, I’m still mixed between the two. If they had the best of both words combined, it’d be gold.

    I just wanted to comment on what I thought of the two units as I tried it out yesterday.

    Size:
    I’ve never had a 60csx but I have a Vista Cx. So I have got to say, the 62s is BIG. It’s a whole lot bigger than the 450 (which is only slightly bigger than the Vista). That is really a turn off… these days, the more portable, the better. The big antenna has a “coolness” factor, but based on on the reviews, still not sure it’s as functional as it looks.

    Weight:
    Yes, the 62 really is heavier and feels substantial in hand. I think the weight comes from the heavy glass/plastic that is covering the screen area. The big antenna probably doesn’t help either.

    Screen:
    I was testing indoors at night, so there wasn’t really any “bright” light source… but one thing I did notice was that, even in that condition, the 62s is VERY readable without any backlight. The contrast is good, and it just looked “brighter” than the 450 even with backlight off. The colors and text were sharp, etc.

    The screen sizes on the units look deceivingly similar in-person. It feels like the black border around the 62s’ non-touchscreen makes it ‘appear’ similarly sized(2.6″ vs 3.0″).

    Usability:
    I haven’t read either manual, but being a general computer “power user” and having come from the Vista and several Nuvi’s, one would think I could manage the new units. Well, no. The plethora of buttons and everything the 62s does is everything short of intuitive (once again, I never had the 60csx). I simply wanted to mark a selected waypoint on the map. With the vista it’s move, press, hold. In the vista, I could get to the menu with the menu key and flip pages with the page key. On the 62, the page key gave a ribbon. If I hit the quit key it went left on the ribbon…

    The 450 wasn’t much easier either. Once again, coming from the Vista, I expected to be able to configure options by hitting the “menu” key at any time. If I was looking at routes and wanted to configure route options, where’s the menu key? I was looking at a menu and wanted to search by name or distance… where’s the menu key? I found myself jumping between a bunch of submenus looking for the feature I wanted to change..

    Lag:
    The 450’s touch screen is about as sensitive as… well, a Nuvi. It lags a slight bit when moving the menus around. It’s great that I don’t *have* to use the arrows to go around the menus, but the “finger page slide” is really a hit-miss. In general, there’s a very slight and consistent lag across the interface. Search for a POI and start “thumb scrolling” through the list… that’s the lag I’m talking about.

    The 62 has significantly horrible lag when it comes to scrolling though a long menu. I’m talking about the same scenario. Search though a POI list. Scroll up and down really fast. Go down 10, go up 10… you’ll see that when all the keypresses are done, the 62s is still going down… then going back up. The lag was a disappointment. I mean, my Vista lagged, but it’s an old and slow unit. General response was ok, but searching through POIs is something that should be quick and responsive!

    Battery Retention System:
    Although both the 62s and the 450 use the same blackplate accessories, their battery-door-retention system is different. The 62s uses a twist-and-lock system and the 450 uses a tension-clip. They both look heavy duty, but I like the 450 better. The tension pull down clip is more flush with the unit and appears to clamp it down better (which should help the waterproofing). The 62s just feels sort of flimsy. My vista’s twist-and-lock had more substance to it!

    Lanyard Hole:
    Another topic of little mention, between the 62s’ wide lanyard hole at the bottom and the puny little hole (probably an afterthought) on the 450, the 62s wins hands down. You could fit something pretty big into the hole at the bottom of the 62s… in case you’re like me and don’t typically like to just tread a tiny little string. While on the topic of threading, because the hole is so freggin small on the 450, it’s probably something you’d want to just thread once and leave it. The 62s is more suitable if you wanted to change your string, string another thing to it, etc.

    All in all, I’m not sure what to get. May have to read the manual and THEN test the units again to figure out which one would be the most usable. The size is really a big turn off, but the screen is REALLY much better on the non-touchscreen 62s. Battery life being better on the 62s is another plus, but the difference between 16hrs rated(450) and 20hrs(62s) might not be that significant if all I need to do is to carry another set of NiMH’s

    Anyway, we’d all be golden if we got a unit that was very readable, contrasty, touch screen, small, long batter life, no lag..

    Post followup when I test the units again. This would be an easy decision if they had a big price gap … or if the units were cheap enough to get both!

    /sylikc

    • Great analysis! My only comments are on usability…There’s a Classic Menu option on the 62 series, to get rid of the Page Ribbon. And yes, the 450 is awkward. The Settings menu is separate.

      • So, I did more analysis at round #2 at REI. This time, I grabbed paddling gloves and snowboarding gloves. I also grabbed a few bags to size on….

        Honestly, I thought that the 450 would be unusable… but in reality, it still works “quite well” with gloves on. I say “quite” because it is a hit and miss to begin with..

        There _was_ a difference between the snowboarding gloves and the paddling gloves, though. The paddling gloves I have are more “fabricy”… that’s really the best description I can give. It’s a felt-like material, and the 450 really doesn’t do well without total contact. The snowboarding gloves make complete contact and fair’d quite a bit better on the 450. Both were usable on the 62s, though I did find it easier to use on the 450. The location of the 62s’ buttons on the bottom center made it difficult to position the thumb with thick gloves on (you really have to use a lot of pressure to move your thumb around into position).

        Also, a note on the “flex” and “creakiness” of the unit. The 62s makes sounds if you squeeze it really hard. I read claims where people were about to change the barometric pressure (elevation) by squeezing the unit really really hard. I tried and tried with all my might, but was unable to move the pressure. So, I’m going to consider it a myth.. Also, to be fair, when i squeezed the 450 really hard, it also made creaking and cracking sounds..

        One concern I sort of have with the 62s is really about how the buttons hold up to snow and dirt. Can someone provide insight? I mean, the 450 is great in the sense that I don’t really see any place for dirt, grit, sand, or snow to get into and get stuck. The gap between button and face on the 62s are pretty wide… seems like if I got sand in there, it’d never come out!

        /sylikc

        • Amir Findling says:

          I remember one search when it rained dogs and cats and I had to use both hands and knees to keep advancing. Well, my gloves and hands got dirty, muddy and the grime got on the Oregon 400’s screen, as I had to touch it to make it work. It got to be messy. My Zagg screen protector did its job, no permanent harm done to the screen or even the screen protector, but using that GPS was made more difficult. With its shape, and under heavy rain, it filled with water and I could sorta clean it up. Not great but it was better than before. My partner with her 60csx faired better as her fingers did not have to be on the screen.

          I’ve also noticed on water searches, it is easier to use my 62s as the water just washes off the screen and does not accumulate there.

          Amir K9CHP

  32. Well..maybe we’re beating a dead horse here, but all this info is very valuable to me, as given my earning bracket, this purchase will count as one of the major ones for the year, so I hope to get it right!

    Like many, I’ve been torn between the 450 and 62s. Finally had a look at both at REI last night. I’d actually been leaning toward he 450 but the store guy was quite adamant about the fact that the antenna provided noticeably better accuracy..to within about 5 feet for the 62s as opposed to about 15 feet for the 450, he claimed. I’m not sure if he’s simply trying to sell me the pricier unit or whether there’s some empirical grounds for the claim. I would think this sort of comparison, under very exacting conditions, had been carried out by someone. Anyone have any further info?

    If the 62 really boasts better accuracy, that could tip the scales, especially for locating tricky routes. Further info about my intended uses: wilderness hiking, mountain and rock climbing, probably overseas at some point as well as US. Not really into geocaching. Thanks!

    • Haven’t done a recent head to head. My opinion is that it changes sometimes with firmware updates to the 62 series. I would probably give the Oregon 450 a slight edge at this point, but the quad helix antenna could make the 62 series a better bet in the long run. Probably doesn’t help much, huh?

      There is a big price difference though, and the Oregon 450 is $269.99 at Amazon right now.

      • Rich,

        The price gap right now is insane… with the price for the 450 at $270 and the 62s at $390 on Amazon, it’s hard not to buy the Oregon. I wonder if this is because Garmin is lowering the prices before introducing some killer new model at CES? The Oregon line seems to get a refresh every year..

        /sylikc

        • I think it’s mainly because the Oregon is a bit older, but they could indeed have a new model right around the corner.

          • I see Cabela’s has the 450 listed in the Bargain Cave which might also be another sign of a newer model coming. The price is not bargain price though.

  33. Oregon 450 it is! Ordered from Amazon.

    …should have it by this weekend..just in time for some explorations in the Superstition Wilderness, here in this bastion of sophistication and progressive thought: ARIZONA.

    I’ll post something regarding my first encounter with the device.

    (Assuming I succeed in finding my way home!)

    • Cool! Looking forward to hearing about it. Do you know about the free topos at http://gpsfiledepot.com?

      Jealous of the trip to Superstition, BTW. Looking at snow here right now.

    • Congrats, Rich! I went thru the same agony as you not too long ago. I chose the 450 as well. I’m a cycler, and while the 450 isn’t as contrasty as the 62s, I found I could use it for navigating while cycling in car mode. I found the 450 to be just as accurate as the 62s in the urban jungle, and it seemed to pick up satellite lock a bit faster as well!

      I haven’t used it on a vacation yet, but I’m sure the touchscreen will be blessing while typing in a restaurant or other POI name.

      Have fun with the 450. I love mine!

  34. GPS nightmare/product review

    I’d been reading a popular book on cosmology before bedtime, (specifically, a chapter on so-called “timelike loops”) and was also somewhat apprehensive about the Oregon 450 GPS I’d purchased from Amazon. These disparate elements apparently fused during my sleep cycle, forming the raw material of a very disconcerting dream I had, the night before the Garmin arrived.

    I dreamt that I got the Garmin and I was setting it up by programming a trail I wanted to hike. Everything looked good but as I began the actual hike, I started to realize that the waypoints I’d marked along the trail turned out to be not just points in space but also points in TIME. At certain moments I was hiking to regions of my own past and then in other places, I couldn’t reach particular marked waypoints on the trail because they “hadn’t happened yet.”

    There was an odd correspondence between the terrain characteristics and this jumbled-up temporal environment I found myself in. For example, I tried to stay well clear of boulder strewn areas, which seemed to often lead to inaccessible points in the future, though there was no hard and fast rule about this. Also, reaching these points along the trail which “hadn’t happened yet” sometimes appeared a violation of physical law, while at other times it seemed I could in theory reach those points, but to do so would be extremely treacherous, like climbing out onto a dangerously exposed ledge.

    All this was deeply frustrating and necessitated a good deal of arduous backtracking. I remember thinking ‘I’m sending this unit back to the manufacturer with a nasty note, telling them the time is all messed up on it.’ I was even considering the precise wording of my nasty note, while I was hiking to another place on the trail (another earlier point in my life). Then I calmed down a little and realized that the Garmin folks could hardly be held accountable if the user was too dumb to take stock of well-known relativistic effects, and calibrate the device accordingly. I woke up around 4 am, drenched in shame.

    Fortunately, my actual experience with the Oregon 450 bore little resemblance to these nocturnal hallucinations. I can only say I was tremendously pleased with it. As I’m not an avid GPS user and unfamiliar with the last 20 GPS devices and their use, I can’t say much about how the Oregon shapes up relative to other handhelds. I can only say the thing was an absolute life-saver this weekend.

    After some frustrations getting up to par on just how to use the Oregon, I was at last able to download a GPS track for the hike I was interested in (from the superb site ‘hikearizona’), a strenuous outing that required fairly precise routing. In this terrain, one can easily get into the wrong canyon, dry wash or chute and at best, have to go through a serpentine realignment and at worst, get yourself into some pretty dangerous and unnerving spots, with vertical drop-offs surrounding you and difficulty climbing up or down. The Oregon performed magnificently, keeping me right on the preferred course.

    I know that people have often complained about screen readability in bright sunlight. The sun here is about as bright as it gets. Most days, it’s like holding a phosphorus sparkler directly against one’s eyeball. On top of which, my eyes aren’t all that keen anymore. Nevertheless, I had no difficulty whatsoever reading the Oregon 450 in direct sunlight.

    Battery wise, getting a good 20 hours with just one spare set of AAs is pretty cool with me. I managed to get the Garmin a little dinged up on all the rocks, as I had it carabinered to my belt loop. I might rethink that placement.

    Final analysis…a great item and a Godsend for the directionally challenged, like me. I feel really charged up about heading further into the wild without the usual lingering nausea of getting hopelessly lost and dying of exposure or starvation.

    Five stars.

  35. Here’s my take on the 450 vs 62s conundrum. I had an oregon 300 but when the 62 came out I had to get one. To justify my purchase to the wife I told her I’d sell the 300 to a friend. So, after using just the 62 for the past 6 or so months I have to say that I get a bit envious when I look at the screen on the 300/450/550. Why? It’s the resolution and color rendition that blows me away on the Oregons. The 62 is more reflective and easier to see in more varying conditions sure, but after looking at the 62 screen for a while my eye’s long for the clarity and brightness (indoors with backlight) of the Oregons. I use Birdseye alot and the aerials are much better looking on the Oregon.

    Not only that but the touchscreen is sooo nice.

    The 62 has it’s benefits in the feature set. There are just more “tools” like night mode, measuring distances from two points foreign from your current location, log calendar, scrolling THROUGH menu lists instead of hitting a wall at one end, etc. Alot ot little things that make it a great GPS.

    Well, I’ve ordered a 450. I plan on keeping my 62 however and it will be interesting in the coming months to see which I’ll be carrying the most. Me thinks the 450.

    • Good insights. Let us know how it works out. I’m carrying the 62s more, but that may be because its (a) the newer model and (b) nostalgia for the 60 series form factor/interface.

  36. I,ve been looking at both the 450 and 62s, this site and all your comments are Greatly appreciated,many thanks folks.

  37. I am considering one of the two units but have different concerns than touch vs buttons. Here is what I am using it for in order: fishing(trolling speed and mapping structure), hunting(sat. imagery and topo for finding good locations), quading(mapping trails), hiking, city navigation( map, dont need turn by turn). I most importantly want to watch/adjust trolling speed( .5-3.5mph) can these units accuratly do this? also mapping lake structure should be very precise. Here is my limited view why i may choose one over the other, 62s has option for remote antenna(sounds like both have similar reception) for better accuracy, 450 has bigger sceen and is more all round versatile. Which would be better?

    • A lot of handheld GPS receivers struggle with accurately reporting speed under 2 or 3 MPH, so this concerns me. The 450 may perform better, just because the firmware is more mature. I’ve asked a reader who has paid close attention to the low velocity issue to chime in here. I’m hoping he will.

  38. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Rich,

    I currently have the 62st. The software version is 2.80. Recording accurate data on the trip computer is as good as on the venerable 60CSX even at what Garmin calls “low velocity” (under 3.0 mph or about 5 kmh)

    Background info — I had the Oregon for about 6 months and worked closely with Garmin, on the phone and e-mailing track data from both units, plus set up details, etc. after 6 months, I got the 62st and have been very happy with it. Disclaimer — I would hope that Garmin has solved the problem with the Oregon. I have not pursued the topic since then.

    I did own the Oregon 450 and it had major problems with low velocity. When I used my 60csx in a side by side comparison with the Oregon and later the 62st, I found that the Oregon differed by as much as 20% vs the 60csx when hiking under 3.0 mph. The slower you hiked the more the two units varied. Note — the closer you hiked to 3.0 mph and faster, the Oregon performed as well as the 60csx. While with the 62st (software v2.80) was identical to the 60csx at all speeds.

    Also note that the low velocity does not effect track recording or locating yourself in the world, but only with the data on the trip computer screen. When you compare the track data from the Oregon and the 60csx they are just about identical as viewed in Mapsource or Base Camp.

    The Oregon would have correct distance if you save the track and then recalled the track. The trip computer screen with speed, distance, moving time, stopped time, etc would be out of sync with the 60csx.

    I hope this helps.

    • Thanks Dave. I appreciate you taking the time to share this. One more question… Do you think the low velocity issue on the Oregon only affects the odometer readings, or does it also inaccurately display current speed?

  39. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Rich,

    My recollection is that any data or data fields that is captured on the trip odometer screen is questionable at low velocity. At 3mph or higher, the data is accurate.

    When you look at the saved raw track data in Mapsource or Base Camp, you will see your actual speeds. Weird isn’t it. Other than the map screen, the trip odometer screen is very important to me.

    I hope this helps.

  40. Thanks for the info, do you think the aux. external antenna actually helps on the 62s for low speed and accuracy, or is it more just chip/software?

  41. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Russell,

    There is no problem with low velocity accuracy on the 62s with v2.80 update.

  42. And as the update solving it points out, this was a firmware issue.

  43. Any of you have try the gps car guidance with the 62s ? Is he good or not ? (with City Navigator map of course).

    thanks

  44. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Desmo,

    There is no problem in using the 62s and City Navigator in your car. The turn by turn directions are as good as anything else, but their display is a bit on the small size (font size and style)is not the best as compared to the 60csx. The Oregon is even less then the 62s in my opinion.

    • Amir Findling says:

      Make sure to switch profiles to automotive as then you’ll get a better display. I used the Oregon 400i for quite some time before giving the Nuvi a trial. I have not even tried road navigation on my 62s, as it could not equal a Nuvi. But the 400i worked quite well and will get you to your destination, unless you do dumb things like trusting it blind. Always check your destination and the route it will select for you, remember, the human has brains, the GPS ROM and RAM only!

      Amir K9CHP

      • It seems like the Oregon series would be better suited, thanks to its larger screen and touch interface.

      • Thanks for your answer.

        No problem, I never trust a GPS, in fact I hate the car guidance, but when I travel in some country (I live in France) I don’t known, don’t have a map the GPS is very useful. I hate “classic” car GPS because it make me feel like some stupid animal follow a machine. Specialy when the GPS “talk”.
        But I like to have a track log of my vacation/travel, that’s why I look upon 62s or the Oregon.

        Last question : When garmin say “Track log: 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks” what’s that mean ? What’s a “track”, for example at the morning I turn on the garmin and I going to walk all day, how many track ? one ? or it’s take one point each minutes and that’s mean 1000 minutes ?

        Thanks again

  45. Hi there,

    Thanks for a fantastic website, there’s loads of really useful information here. I’m about to invest in my first ever GPS, so I’m doing all I can to make sure I pick the right one!

    I want it mainly for use on multi-day hikes in the UK – a typical one might be around 12 days (the Coast to Coast or Offa’s Dyke, for example). I imagine that I’ll be planning the route in advance on my PC then transferring it to the device, then when I get back I’ll be using the recorded trails to geotag my photos. I think I’m right in that either model will easily be able to cope with these limited demands – it seems as if the functionality of the two models is virtually identical, with the main differences being the hardware & interface.

    The main things I’m looking for are:
    1) Clear screen – both in terms of viewing under various light conditions, and in terms of the clarity of the map display
    2) Long battery life
    3) Tough & rugged, as it’ll almost certainly get wet, muddy & dropped!
    4) Usable when wearing gloves
    5) Reasonably compact & lightweight
    6) Easy to navigate from screen to screen and around menus
    7) Accurate in terms of telling me where I am & where I need to go

    From what I’ve read so far, the two models have their pros and cons in terms of the screens – the 62s might edge it as it seems to be easier to read in different conditions, whereas the Oregon 450 has the bigger screen showing more map detail.

    It seems like the 62s edges it on points 2-4, while the Oregon wins hands down on being smaller & lighter. It looks like the navigation of the menus etc is a matter of personal preference, and according to what I’ve read here there’s nothing to choose between them in terms of their accuracy.

    I’ve had a play with both models in a local shop, and still can’t choose between them. If Garmin made the 62s in a package the size & weight of the Oregon then my choice would be a lot simpler!

    If anyone has any advice to offer it’d be very gratefully received, as I keep chopping & changing my mind!

    Many thanks in advance, and thanks again for all the info posted so far.
    Cheers,
    Andrew

  46. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Andrew,

    I had the Oregon for about 5 months and now have and prefer the 62st. The size and weight is not a factor. The 62st gets much better battery life then the Oregon, but not as good as the older but still venerable 60csx. I can wear gloves and operate the 62st much easier then the Oregon. The screen size is not that important. The 62st has a different scale to the screen. If you have the same scale on both units, I think that you may prefer how the 62st looks.

    For a 12 day trip, you are going to have to carry a boat load of batteries. The 60csx with lithium batteries and the compass off would get 25+ hours. The Oregon with 27mah rechargeables would barely get 15 hours worth. The 62st with the same rechargeables can get about 18-20 hours. Note that alkaline batteries are of little value for the Oregon and 62 series. Also note that on the Oregon and 62st the battery life indicator is worthless. When the unit beeps that the batteries are low, you have about 5 minutes left. Compare that to the 60csx you can have about 1 hour of life left.

    Get a lanyard for the unit plus a caribiner and fasten it to your pack strap. That way if you drop a unit it won’t hit the ground. And better yet you won’t lose it. The units are very durable when you drop them. I bought the Zagg screen protector and that has kept the screen from getting scratched and dinged.

    Navigating the screens are the same, you can set the page sequence on both units.

    I hope this helps somewhat…

    • Thank you very much Dave, that’s some really useful feedback.

      I should have mentioned that my 12 day hikes are somewhat more comfortable than I might have unintentionally implied: I’ll be staying at B&Bs each night, so will be able to recharge batteries daily. However, I won’t have access to a computer so will need my GPS to store the entire trip’s routes & tracks until I get home (which I believe is within the capabilities of both models).

      I was leaning more towards the 62s, and you’ve confirmed that it would better suit my needs. The only concern I have is about the size & weight, but looking at the specs the difference is pretty minimal (approx 70g / 3oz).

      Thanks again for your thoughts, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

  47. Hi Dave,

    Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve now invested in the 62s! I’ve not used it in anger yet, but have spent a little time figuring it out and I’m very pleased with my choice.

    Thanks to you and to everyone else who contributes to this excellent site for your advice!

  48. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Andrew,

    Thanks for your comments. If you have questions, please make use of this column, Rich is quite good, the folks at Garmin on the whole are pretty good. I am just a long time (2004) user of the Garmin units. But I do use my 62st two to three times a week for land navigation – hiking on and off trails and in the car.

  49. Hi Guys, Thank you all for this great web ! I am going to Nepal, Tibet, India, but mostly I will be staying in Himalaya. I am thinking of getting the 62st. It has a better battery life then the Oregon which is quite crucial if you stay a couple of days out of civilization. Otherwise I would go for the Oregon because I also need a good car mode and don´t feel like travelling with two GPS units. Any idea if there are some good maps of Nepal and Tibet? Maybe I should buy everything there in Asia with local maps? It is just that I would like to have it already (living in Spain exploring Pyrenees every weekend, also sailing) and then once I move to different part of the world I would buy local maps, or get it somewhere online. Well, Thanks in advance for any advice. Zdenek

  50. Dave Tobiasz says:

    Zdenek,

    I had the Oregon and now have the 62st. The car mode is just about the same. You set the profiles in set up in each model, they work the same.

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