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.

Garmin Oregon 550t review

Garmin Oregon 550t review

Hands on with the Garmin Oregon 550t

UPDATE: It appears that newer production runs of the 550 series models are now getting the brighter screen first introduced in the Oregon 450 series.

UPDATE 2: The Oregon series is compatible with Garmin’s new BirdsEye aerial imagery.

UPDATE 3: This model has been discontinued and replaced by the Oregon 650t.

The Garmin Oregon 550t is the top of the line unit in Garmin’s touchscreen Oregon handheld line, adding a 3.2 megapixel, 4x zoom, geotagging camera and tri-axial compass to the Oregon 400t’s feature set. It also comes with a battery charger and two AA NiMH batteries.

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