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post #97 of Old 03-29-2010
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Garmin Oregon 400c

I could not resist the sale at West Marine for the Gamin Oregon 400c handheld, $299 vs. a Garmin list of $499 and online prices at of around $425 and $450 at I got this as a backup to a fixed mount Garmin 3006c and Garmin GPSMap 478 (transportable but not a handheld). It is replacing a garmin GPSMap 76 (being retired because of the grey scale screen and my need for reading glasses. The big features for me with the Oregon 400c were the price, the fact that it is preloaded with all US coastal charts and the color screen.

In addition to the above units I have owned a Garmin GPS 12, a GPSMap 12 and a Nuvi 205 (still using). I'm obviously a big fan of Garmin products and put the order in as soon as I saw the sale price and compared some online vendors. This is a preliminary review as I have not used it on the water yet.


All US costal charts preloaded.

Excelent GPS reception. I'm getting 4 out of 5 bars inside a stone portion of my house.

Good color screen, in sunlight and in shade.

Battery usage appears to be very good. Use two AA's Alkaline, Lithium, rechargeable.

Contains tide tables and sun/moon phases

Update of unit software very easy.

Download of waypoints and routes from Garmin Mapsource program very easy.

Is a fair amount smaller than the Garmin GPS 72-76 series.

Accepts map data cards.


Menu system not very intuitive. Different from any other Garmin unit I am familar with.

Software used appears to have been designed for hikeing and fitness use rather than marine use. Some typical marine functions not found such as "course to steer", "speed over ground". The software for the GPS 72-76 series better designed for marine use.

Instructions on calibrating touch screen difficule to find but at end of manual.


Still have not used it on the water yet but did have a problem with the software update installed as part of the online registration process. There is a glitch with the latest software version 3.7 which prevents the unity from being put into the "nautical" mode which changes the default screen colors making it easier to read the charts and with the display of spot sounding. Tech support at Garmin with providing a work around untill an updated version of the software is issued. They emailed an earllier version of the unit software to be installed (very easy) until the fix is made.


Finally tried it on the water as a back up to a Garmin 3006 and 478.


Found current stations in the preloaded software, a nice surprise.

Ther vertical (portrait) orentation of the screen doesn't work as well IMHO as the horizontal (lanscape) orentation of either the 3006 or 478.

The unit software does provide tide charts which can be adjusted for other than the current date but it does not provide an indicator line of the current time. You need to interpert where you are on the tide chart from high and low times.

Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 05-17-2010 at 03:09 PM.
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