Posted by: geonarcissa | July 28, 2009

Garmin Dakota Review at GPSFix

Here’s a detailed description and review of the Dakota, complete with screenshots and pictures of the device taken apart so you can get an idea of how it’s built.

The Dakota 20 is at the top of the list of GPSrs I’m seriously considering when I replace the eXplorist 500. I’m also interested in Oregons and Magellan Tritons. I’m not geting a 60CX or 60CSX – they seem like pretty old tech, at this point.

The major drawback of the Dakota 20, to me, is that it doesn’t support Wherigo, but I need to decide if that actually matters or not. There aren’t many Wherigo caches around here, and my caching buddy Taoiseach just got an Oregon so I can always do the occasional Wherigo with him. I think that, ultimately, I’d be willing to trade the Wherigo capability for the smaller size of the Dakota.

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Responses

  1. The 60csx is old tech, yes, but it’s cheap for what you get — $300 for a color unit with fast screen redraws, mapping, street navigation capable, fast acquire times and excellent reception. It’s also reliable, which is what I would be most concerned about. We’ve seen lots of people complaining about various shortcomings of the newer units — Nikon Guy was pretty upset that his new unit wouldn’t do waypoint averaging, for example — and ended up borrowing my 60csx for that purpose.

    In my mind the newer models are still gimmicky, and I’m holding a wait-and-see pattern. If my GPS were to break tomorrow, I’d run out and buy a 60cx. (Note: not the 60csx — the compass and altimeter were useless functions and I wouldn’t bother paying for those again). The one big knock against the 60-series is the 1,000 waypoint limitation (regardless of memory card size), which may seem plenty to a hunter, boater or hiker but would be filled up rapidly by a geocacher. There are ways around this (POI loading, for instance).

    As for Wherigo, I think it’s an interesting concept but seems to me like just a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to upgrade your unit to something that’s “Wherigo compatible”. It basically appeals to the gadget-geek and those who really want a shiny new icon in their profile. Not a high priority for me.

  2. I think $300 is a lot to be charging for a unit that’s been on the market so long. I know they’re very popular, but there are many decent, reliable units at substantially lower price points that it kind of irks me when the 60CX is touted as the one and only GPS worth getting.

    I did a Wherigo at the Spring Fling in Barrie, and it was neat, but it’s certainly not a make-or-break feature for me.

    One thing I really like about these new Garmin devices is the ability to wirelessly send and receive waypoints. I often cache with friends, and I could see this being really handy.

    Another thing I think is great about these new units is the paperless caching built right in. I’m surprised it’s taken so long for Garmin to implement something like this. My lowly Magellan eXplorist 500 treats geocaches separately from other types of waypoints and displays quite a bit of cache information (difficulty, terrain, cache type, hint, date last found). That’s a big reason why I have always felt that, despite its many great features, the 60CX would feel like a step down for me.

  3. Hey, I remember that Wherigo. As I recall, we got distracted by the lure of several other nearby caches along the way, and got lost for a while…

    Keep in mind that the 60 “x” series was priced at double their current price when they were first released. I bought my 60csx in spring 2006 and I paid $549. So, while the price has stabilized around $300 lately, that’s half what it was three years ago. Compare with the venerable eTrex Legend — it was $199 when I bought one back in 2004, and I think it still sells for $149 today.

    I agree that Garmin could do a lot more with geocaching-specific information on these models (Magellan seems to have got that right). It’s in their best interests, too — the more their units can promote and support geocaching, the better their product sales.


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