Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Oregon 550’s getting a new screen?

Garmin Oregon 550When the Oregon 450 came out, I was surprised that the visibility was significantly better than the flagship (albeit older) 550 series. I found that odd, and it now appears that Garmin is remedying the situation, with newer Oregon 550 series production runs receiving the 450’s improved screen. At least that’s the sense I’ve been getting, the latest evidence coming in a recent Groundspeak post.

I gave Garmin the opportunity to comment, but received little more than what they told me when I asked about the improved 450 screen…

…we’re continually striving to make great products even better through continuous software and hardware improvements.

I’ll take that as a non-denial. I assume Garmin is doing this because they want to retain the 550 series as the top of the line Oregon model (for the time being anyway). But such a move creates confusion among consumers. If I buy a 550 today, which screen will it have? At least when they changed the chipset on the 60CSx, you could tell which it had by the firmware version. This could be good news if you really want the geotagging camera found on the 550 series, but good luck determining which screen you got, unless you can do a side by side comparison with a 450 or older 550 series unit.

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. This may provide a temporary shot in the arm for bricks-and-mortar stores. It would seem the best procedure would be to follow your advice with a “personal interview” at some place where you could hold a 550 and a 450 side-by-side.

  2. Excellent point!

  3. They did exactly the same thing in the middle of the Nuvi 350 production run. The screen became a little smaller, and much more reflective and readable in sunlight. No announcement or anything, and for many months it was just a random shot at which screen you would receive when you ordered one. The original Nuvi 350 is easy to tell because there is an equal amount of plastic bezel above and below the screen. On the newer ones the plastic bezel is wider at the bottom than at the top (to accommodate the smaller LCD panel).

  4. Ha! I had no idea. Thanks Jack!

  5. Do you have any idea about the design of Oregon 550 regarding the antenna?
    Why does this gps have no external antenna connection?

    Thank you.

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