Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin GPSMAP 78s review


Hands on with the Garmin GPSMAP 78s

The Garmin GPSMAP 78s brings the first major update to the GPSMAP handheld line in over four years. The reason for it taking so long is that Garmin had a huge hit with the 60/76 series, and instead of messing with a winner, they turned their attention to new interfaces, which were introduced on the Colorado series, followed by the touch screen Oregon line. These new units brought the ability to add custom maps and aerial imagery, paperless geocaching, and high-resolution screens, but the latter made them less than bright (although the latest model, the Oregon 450, has largely solved this problem).

But patience has its rewards and Garmin did well not to rush things. With the 78 (and the forthcoming 62 series, which shares the same interface), Garmin has married the best features of the 60/76 models, with many of the advantages of the Oregon line. Before we get into the details, lets look at some closely…

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Hands on with the Garmin GPSMAP 78s

Garmin 78s screens

UPDATE 2: I’ve now posted my hands on review of the Garmin GPSMAP 78s. I also have a review/resource page up for the GPSMAP 78.

UPDATE: GPS City now has the 78s and 78sc in stock.

I’ve had my grubby little hands on the Garmin GPSMAP 78s for a few hours now and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at what you can expect from Garmin’s newest handheld platform, which seems to be a hybrid — taking the best features of the Oregon line and marrying them with the oh so popular 60/76C(S)x series. Before I go any farther, let me say that handheld units are complex beasts and can be very challenging to review. So I have a request; add your comments below and let me know what you want covered in my full review. Some things I’ll be able to answer right away in the comments here; other things might just be beyond my experience to be able to answer at all. But hey, please do chime in.

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Garmin GPSMAP 78, 78s and 78sc marine handhelds


UPDATE 2: I’ve now posted my hands on review of the Garmin GPSMAP 78s. I’ve also got a resource/review page up for the GPSMAP 78.

UPDATE I’m now doing hands on testing of the GPSMAP 78 series, which seems to be the same platform as the forthcoming 62 series.

Garmin has announced three new color marine handhelds this morning, the GPSMAP 78, 78s and 78sc. Updating the 76 series, these units support Garmin custom maps and BirdsEye imagery. The “s” models include user profiles, a tri-axial compass and wireless exchange of data between units. The flagship 78sc includes pre-loaded cartography for the coastal US. And like the 76 series, they float!

There have been rumors of an updated 60 series, but I had doubts due to the supposed 62 series numbering. That is certainly making more sense after today’s announcement. We should know soon.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the GPSMAP 78 series is $299.99, $399.99 and $499.99, with all three units expected to be available in May, 2010.


The Garmin product pages are showing prices $50 less more (oops!) than stated above and in the news release. Somebody goofed one place or the other. They also confirm paperless geocaching capability. Here are the links:

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