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  GPS Purchase Dilemma Garmin 168 vs 185

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Author Topic:   GPS Purchase Dilemma Garmin 168 vs 185
SuburbanBoy posted 03-31-2001 12:18 AM ET (US)   Profile for SuburbanBoy   Send Email to SuburbanBoy  
I have a Garmin 168 sitting unopened on the deck of my 15 Sport/Striper. I should be happy, but I just loaded the Waterways and Lights CD on my PC. I find it difficult to see the value of this software for the areas I will be frequenting. The MapSource detail level is marginal. I have had the luxury of using a Delorme PC based GPS for the past two years. The detail level on the Delorme maps is much greater than my Garmin MapSource CD based map. The detail level on the chip based G-chart is also outstanding. But you have to order many chips to get reasonable coverage for the Midwest. Here is my dilemma; I can trade up to a Garmin 185 complete with it newly released firmware (Garmin just updated the 185s firmware yesterday, but still no WAAS see their website) and spend more money for greater chart accuracy, split screen capability and very detailed charts. Or stick with the 168 and its higher resolution screen, WAAS accuracy, considerably less money spent, and hope that some day more detailed CD based charts will become available. All comments are appreciated. Thanks
Dan posted 03-31-2001 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
I just bought, or should I say prepay-ordered a Standard 150 gps chartplotter from West Marine. The unit is 399 with a one free local chip worth 149. I printed the $30 coupon good for one more day (I think) and got a West Marine Credit Card -- for an extra 10% off and no payments for 90 days -- whole thing wound up costing me about 330 with tax. Unit won't arrive to end of April or beginning of May. The unit has WAAS and isn't advertised on the West Marine web site -- you have to call/visit your local outlet.

Garmin 180 series should be updated soon.

SuburbanBoy posted 03-31-2001 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I have searched for the Standard Web Site without success. The technical information could have been useful. But, I also wanted the fish finder system, which eliminates the 150. I think I have settled on the 168. Today, I updated the firmware and enabled WAAS. I did return the Waterways CD. I decided a photocopy of a newspaper picture is more useful than the Waterways CD (in my area). The firmware update went without a hitch using W2K as the operating system. How will you update your firmware as time passes when there is no web presence for Standard? The Fishing Hot Spots CD looked promising but it is not available for review at the local West Marine store and I am reluctant to purchase it without a personal review. Garmin's web simulation of the "Hot Spots" CD does not include any depth detail etc. for the Lake Michigan area. I assume the real thing will include such detail as it is advertised to. I will take a look at the Delorme topo maps and see if they offer any advantage. As I recall they will download to the 168. I will miss the detail provided by the 185 G-charts, but I will take my chances with the programmable 168 and hope that some day soon detailed charts will become available. Does the Standard 150 use vector or raster charts? Good luck with the 150 and let us know how it works out.
Dan posted 03-31-2001 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
You can call Standard at 1-800-366-8431

Tech support will e-mail you MS word doc files on 150 and 160 specs and brochures for each. Their web site for Marine equipment isn't up yet.

If I had planned better, I probably would have purchased a combo fishfinder/chartplotter, too. However, I think it will be nice to have two separate screens.

SuburbanBoy posted 03-31-2001 09:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
When my hull was produced (1979) a "flasher" type of fish finder or depth sounder was the norm. I saw one in a pile of odds and ends at a local Marine last week end. Never could master the flasher. Probably did not use it enough. Soon we will have GPS integrated phones! Maybe I should have held out for the combo with a blender.

Is the 160 a combo? I also recently purchased a hand held VHF, Standard 350. Nice unit, but a topic for another time.
BTW Dan, nice web site.

ChrisK posted 04-02-2001 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChrisK  Send Email to ChrisK     
I have done extensive research on the Garmin 168 and the Standard 150. A few observations: Standard is not and will not be available for review in a retail store for at least 2-3 weeks. The free local chart is usually not enough info for the area, so you would need to upgrade to a larger, more expensive chart ($199 vs. $99). I saw the C-Map NT chart on a PC at a local marine store and was not impressed. The charts were not realistic for the interior march areas that I fish. I have decided to go with the Garmin for a couple of reasons. One, they are the leader in GPS technology at this point. They have been in the business longer than Standard and lots of people use their product (and give them feedback on it, which usually improves quality). Second, Standard has delayed their unit numerous times and although it looks like a great unit, it's hard to buy something you've never really seen before. The offer of a $99.00 rebate for a C-MAP NT chart expired 3/31/01 and I couldn't bring myself to buy it until I'd seen and used it with the chart of the area I use the most. Just my $0.02, not enough time to go into all the details, maybe later.
OutrageMan posted 04-02-2001 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I too have pre-orderd a Standard 160 from West. I feel that I researched this topic extensively. I have seen the C-map NT chart for the Lake Michigan area and have found it more than adequate.

I also looked at the Raytheon product. It was $100 more than the Standard, and then they wnted another $450 for the WAAS antena whereas the Standard came with it.

Brian

SuburbanBoy posted 04-06-2001 01:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I found this test of the Garmin 162 (same as a 168 without the fishfinder) online at the following URL:

http://www.gpsinformation.net/gps162review.htm

The test also includes a brief review of the "Fishing Hot Spots" CD, available from Garmin in May of 2001. It looks like it will have much of the detail contained in the G-Charts for the 180/185. The downside is that it will require an unlock code for each area you want to access. They also mention the accuracy of the WAAS enabled unit as an improvement over non-WAAS units.

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