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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market for a hand-held GPS. We've got a Garmin GPSMap 492C (I think it is) on Abracadabra, and we're quite pleased with it, but Garmin hand-helds seem awfully expensive for what you get, and hand-helds, in general, don't usually have very big screens.

Enter the Lowrance XOG. It's touch-screen, so all the real estate is display. The same GPS can be used both in the car and for marine use, with just the addition of a $110 NauticPath card. And the XOG has a street price of under $200.

The last time the XOG was brought up, it looks like the only down-sides were, according to camaraderies's comments, a built-in lithium battery with 2.5 hour run-time and "the unit's case isn't waterproof." Well, I can live with the battery issue. There'll nearly always be a cigarette-lighter socket available where I'll use it (in car or boat), anyway. As for the water issue, the XOG's description says it's "Rugged, weatherproof." (ref: XOG | Lowrance ) To me, "weatherproof" means it can at least stand up to being rained on, so it should be able to handle whatever spray gets thrown-up over the bow, etc., no?

Comments?

Thanks,
Jim
 

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For use on a boat, I'd look for a unit that was at least IPX7 or JIS7 rated, rather than just weatherproof. Part of what is important is the User Interface, and that is one area that Lowrance seems to fall short. Of all the GPS brands, Garmin seems to have the best UI overall...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For use on a boat, I'd look for a unit that was at least IPX7 or JIS7 rated, rather than just weatherproof.
I'm not so concerned about that. "Weatherproof" would do it for me. My rationale goes something like this: The only way it should ever end-up in the water is if I either drop it overboard or we sink. Since I doubt they float, in the first case, and since I'll have bigger concerns, in the second case, I'm not going to worry about it ;).

Part of what is important is the User Interface, and that is one area that Lowrance seems to fall short. Of all the GPS brands, Garmin seems to have the best UI overall...
Plus we already have a 492C, and I imagine any Garmin would be closer to its UI than any anything else.

Doing a bit of research, I've read the Lowrance isn't very readable in bright sunlight, it only gets about two hours runtime on its internal batteries, the little waterproof closures for the connections are delicate and a PITA to use, and the USB-connected power cord connection tends not to stay put. (All you portable device manufacturers using the USB port for power/charging, heads up: That connector geometry was never designed for rough use. Stop cheaping-out.)

I'm not discounting the unit entirely, at this point, but I think I'll keep looking.

Jim
 

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I'm not so concerned about that. "Weatherproof" would do it for me. My rationale goes something like this: The only way it should ever end-up in the water is if I either drop it overboard or we sink. Since I doubt they float, in the first case, and since I'll have bigger concerns, in the second case, I'm not going to worry about it ;).
Also could happen if you drop it in a cockpit and get a good dose of water in it...

Plus we already have a 492C, and I imagine any Garmin would be closer to its UI than any anything else.

Doing a bit of research, I've read the Lowrance isn't very readable in bright sunlight, it only gets about two hours runtime on its internal batteries, the little waterproof closures for the connections are delicate and a PITA to use, and the USB-connected power cord connection tends not to stay put. (All you portable device manufacturers using the USB port for power/charging, heads up: That connector geometry was never designed for rough use. Stop cheaping-out.)

I'm not discounting the unit entirely, at this point, but I think I'll keep looking.

Jim
I was lucky when looking for a new handheld to replace a very old Garmin 76CS... I found a Garmin GPSmap 76CSx at Boater's world for $160. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like the Garmin Nuvi 500 would be a much better way to go. It's rated IPX7 waterproof and gets up to eight (8) hours on a charge. It's about 2/3 more expensive than the Lowrance, and the Blue Sea chart I need would cover only my cruising grounds, rather than all North American coastal waters plus all the Great Lakes, and would actually cost more than the Lowrance charts, but still...

Still uses its delicate USB port for charging :hothead , but it wouldn't need it nearly as much/often. Also, you can buy optional replacement batteries, which appear to be easily field-replaceable, so I could just keep one of those charged-up, too.

Jim
 

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The USB ports are and issue and if read the fine print they will be dammaged if the o-ring seal cover is not ON

I feel the best hand helds use AA batterys with with and external power supply that connects to sealed external contacts

Which is how most marine handhelds are built Lowrance included

I also own a Lowrance 3500c 5' color and the screen and NauticPath card are great


I also have a car unit and the battery life kind of sucks :) compared to the 20+ hours of most AA battery units
 

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Consider the Lowrance iFinder H2OC. A "real" marine/outdoor handheld that can use a variety of chart cards (including the Nauticpath one), uses AA batteries, comes with a cigarette lighter power cord, and no annoying touchscreen interface.
 

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For a basic handheld, I have been happy with the Garmin HC. I bought it from Anorama as a referb for $69 a month ago. Works well for what I needed it for... uses AA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Consider the Lowrance iFinder H2OC. A "real" marine/outdoor handheld that can use a variety of chart cards (including the Nauticpath one), uses AA batteries, comes with a cigarette lighter power cord, and no annoying touchscreen interface.
Thing is: With the touchscreen interface you get more screen with the same size package. That's becoming increasingly important as my eyes become less efffective with age :(. I didn't used to much like touchscreens--hated them, in fact, but I guess I've gotten used to them. My Palm Centro has a touchscreen interface and so does my wife's TomTom One. My Centro's is just so-so. My wife's TomTom One is actually pretty good.

Here's the deal: We're buying a small stink-boat to give us time on the water when there's no air and to let us go places that a boat with a 40' mast and 5' draft simply cannot go. We'd like to have a GPS on the boat. By getting a hand-held unit, I can also use it on Abracadabra as a backup for the "fixed" GPS on her, and as a racing aid. (There's a VMG trick you can do that will give you much the same effect as knowing your polars--but then you can't "go to" your marks.) Something like the Nuvi 500 would also get me a GPS in the car. Then there's the times we go up north to a friend's place that's out in the middle of nowhere. Would be nice to have a hand-held GPS in case I'm out trekking alone and get myself turned around. (Which doesn't take much, out there, I'm here to tell ya.) Don't really need any of these things, but getting all of them in one package helps justify the cost :D.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Consider the Lowrance iFinder H2OC. A "real" marine/outdoor handheld that can use a variety of chart cards (including the Nauticpath one), uses AA batteries, comes with a cigarette lighter power cord, and no annoying touchscreen interface.
May do that, after all, Jim. The Admiral and I have been researching the Garmin Nuvi 500 and, well, let's just say: 1. It ain't all it's cracked-up to be for non-marine use and 2. From what little marine use feedback I've seen, it's not that great.

The two biggest complaints I see are: 1. Display just doesn't cut it in bright sunlight. 2. Battery life is nowhere near Garmin's eight hour claim.

For the Lowrance H2O C, OTOH, I'm reading pretty consistently good reviews.

You know: There's absolutely no reason whatsoever that Garmin, Lowrance, Magellan, TomTom, or whomever, can't make a good, portable GPS that would do it all. It's just electronics, software and data. They simply choose not to so so.

Jim
 

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While not quite handheld, the older Garmin GPSMap 276 and its successors fulfilled both roles admirably.
 

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I love my H2oC but it recently developed a problem needing factory repair. I called Lowrance to get an RMA and was told the cost would be $165 since it was out of warranty. I can get a replacement on ebay for about $125 so the repair is a no go. The Lowrance tech said that many places were offering the H2oC at closeout prices because Lowrance was coming out with a newer model:

Endura™ Out&Back | Lowrance

They are supposed to be out in July. There are 3 Endura models, with the Outback being the cheapest by far. They are designed for outdoor use and are not particularly suitable for in the car. The primary difference between the models is the amount of mapping software included. Since Sailnet users would probably buy marine charts or lake maps separately it seems to me that the Outback would be the best bet. Tigergps.com is pre-selling the Outback for under $200. You would have to spend another $100 or so for a micro SD with the charts you need.

On the other hand, this may be an opportunity to pick up an H2oC really cheap. The iFinder series and the Endura models are roughly the same size, have roughly the same size screen, and are both waterproof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
While not quite handheld, the older Garmin GPSMap 276 and its successors fulfilled both roles admirably.
Unfortunately, despite being older models, the 276C is still a $300-$400 device, it would seem. I would consider it, otherwise, because it looks like it's got the same buttons as my 492C.

Jim
 

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SemiJim—

The 376 is available for $345... not a bad deal...
 
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