GPS, Which has the best performance/value for money?

Submitted: Friday, Jun 15, 2001 at 00:00
ThreadID: 280 Views:7977 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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I am about to buy a GPS unit and am thoroughly confused about which one is best. Hand held or vehicle mount, internal or external antenna, what features are useful and what features are not. Please help!
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Reply By: Russ - Sunday, Jun 17, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Jun 17, 2001 at 00:00
Have a look at, I hav borrowed a Garmin II Plus. Hav been trying it out over the last week. I am impressed and can get it 33% off new price, gives all the options that u want, very tempting for me. Need 2 wk out how much u want to spend and what you want out of it. Do you intend to use it with a mapping program etc? Good luck.
AnswerID: 644

Reply By: Greg Harewood - Monday, Jun 18, 2001 at 00:00

Monday, Jun 18, 2001 at 00:00
Peter - have a look at this page for a few suggestions -
AnswerID: 646

Reply By: Tom Lloyd - Wednesday, Jun 20, 2001 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2001 at 00:00
Hi Peter
Twelve months ago I was in the same position as you now find yourself. After lots of research I decided to go for a unit which not only seemed to offer lots of features but also was the cheapest - the Garmin E-Trex. I have found it to be excellent, being light, easy to operate, feature-rich and quite versatile. As a waterproof hand-held unit it has proved very handy also for bushwalking. Although it only has an internal antenna I have had little difficulty with reception in the car. I sit it on the dash under the windscreen allowing it a clear view of the sky. If turned on its side so that the face is visible it can be "constantly" viewed while driving. Reception drops off though if the unit is mounted lower down. Batteries usage is a big issue and I always power the E-trex from the cigarette lighter socket and let it run all day - batteries only last 8-10 hours otherwise. (The power cord is sold seperately. The features you need are really dependent on what your personal uses are. The GPSs with maps are quite dinky but I personally still would strongly prefer a good "paper" map along with a simpler (and cheaper) GPS. The map units I have seen only cover the more major roads anyway and aren't any use for back tracks and off-road use. To be able to store waypoints is necessary so that you can navigate towards your set point and be able to answer the eternal question "Are we there yet?". Mapping a route can be useful as it saves reprogramming different waypoints constantly. The trackback facility in which the route you have followed one way is recorded can be useful too when finding your way back out of locations. All of these features are available in the E-Trex. I have found it not only easy to use, handy to have, but most of all a lot of fun! I picked mine up from Johnny Appleseed GPS in Brisbane ( Phone 1800 666GPS or 07 3391 4477 , Fax 07 3391 2477 , Email ) where not only did I find the best prices but also excellent support both pre and post purchase. Goodluck with your purchase. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
AnswerID: 655

Reply By: Greg Harewood - Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00
With all due respect to Garmin Etrex owners - I had the use of one for a few days a while back - worked fine - very good value for money - only one complaint - it doesn’t have a screen showing your current co-ordinates!! You have go through the motions of saving your position as a waypoint to see the co-ordinates! Maybe I wasn't using it right (pressed every button I could find) but it was annoying. I personally wouldn’t buy a GPS that didn’t have this fairly basic feature - it comes in handy sometimes.
Cheers Greg
AnswerID: 659

Follow Up By: Tom - Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00
The Etrex does indeed report your current location, along with a wide range of other information including Elevation, Bearing to waypoint (if set), current Heading i.e. direction in which you are travelling, Maximum Speed for trip, Average Speed for trip, Current Speed, Trip Odometer, Trip Time, Sunrise Time in current location, and Sunset Time in current location. The Etrex will display these co-ordinates in whichever format or map datum that matches your requirements.

I've found it very easy to get to know and use the Etrex as everything I've learnt has been through "play" after starting with no experience at all.
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Follow Up By: Greg Harewood - Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00
WOOPS - sorry all you Etrex owners out there - my mistake (re co-ordinate readout - yes it does have one) Pays to read the manual properly - Well, with Tom's enlightening information - and having used one for a while I'd have to say the Etrex is a great buy! Back into my hole... Regards Greg
FollowupID: 189

Reply By: Brian - Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00
Peter I did quite a bit of homework before I bought my Garmin 12 (handheld) about 9 months ago. I bought it through TVNAV- a US based company that does a lot of international orders. The aussie dollar was stronger then so i saved about 25% off buying it here. Dollar for dollar the Garmin seems to have more features than other brands. It has all the features I need- I agree with other comments- the inbuilt map feature would be of no use to me.
It works fine in the car- I bought a $8 universal mobile phone holder and made minor modifications to support the extra weight of the unit. It sits below the level of the dash and has never dropped out of signal (the internal antennae is all you need- the external one is mainly is you plan to have the GPS away from line of sight with the sky- e.g. in the middle of a large boat).
The Tracback feature is very good at preventing you from getting lost and the Garmin stores more waypoints and tracking info than other brands for a similar cost.
Lastly- i stuck a sheet of clear adhesive book covering plastic over the screen- the covering has taken plenty of scratches and protected the glass.
I know others with other brands- they too are fine- but I know I made the best decision.
AnswerID: 663

Reply By: John Paine - Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00
As you said , depends on what features you want?
I have a Garmin 12 that moves between vehicle, boat & handheld with a cig adapter. works great as others have replied. Only drawback is screen size for on screen tracking, I tried a marine version Garmin 128 w/- ext ant (large screen) otherwise same.
Check out oziexplorer site s/ware prog that allows import of map & dump of track onto map, very good australian (Gold Coast)and cheap.

12 does all you want, others just have more bells & whistles.
AnswerID: 665

Reply By: Andrew Stephens - Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00
I felt that I had to put in a plug for the Garmin GPS II+. I have had this unit for about 12 months now and I am still finding more uses for it. I agree with the previous post about the OziExplorer software, great stuff. You can also get the AUSLIG full set of maps for < $100 now, so that is even better. The advantage with the GPS II+ is that the screen can be rotated, so that the unit is horizontal or vertical. The unit is wedge shaped so that it will go deeper down on the dash. The antenna is very good, and you will only get slightly better performance from an external antenna ( I have done tests with a friend ). It is also water proof, although larger than the e-trex, but I think that the screen is larger as well. I purchased mine from the U.S. at the worst of our Aussie dollar slide, and it was still $200 cheaper, so make sure that you shop around.
All that being said, they are all much the same, with the same features, it is mostly a cosmetic issue these days. Do a search for some comparisons. Also have a look here:

Cheers, and good luck, Andrew.
AnswerID: 676

Reply By: Greg Harewood - Friday, Jul 06, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Jul 06, 2001 at 00:00
A few more good hints on choosing a GPS here
AnswerID: 735

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