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Author Topic:   Latest Garmin Chart-Plotters, GPS Receivers
swist posted 02-22-2007 09:31 AM ET (US)   Profile for swist   Send Email to swist  
The previous generation of Garmin chartplotters (like the 492/298) are going for great prices now that their 2007 line is announced--fancy screen shots of the new units, replete with shoreline photos, engine gauge readouts.

If I am just navigating in my local area, do I need any of this stuff? I know where the buttons are, so touch screen doesn't seem that important (you are just as likely to touch the wrong part of the screen as hit the wrong button in a bouncing boat). I know what the shore looks like, and I don't need a street map or satellite shot showing me the nearest Starbucks.

For those of us who just want to see a real good chart (the Garmin Bluecharts qualify - can't tell them from paper), do these new units offer us anything we need? For example, is the display technology improved, better contrast, resolution? Are there features that make navigating a boat easier or safer?

The obvious reason for asking is that the older units can be had for really good prices (saw a 498 for under $500 somewhere), and I have the suspicion that a lot of stuff creeping into the 2007 line seems to be from the world of land-based points-of-interest google-earth GPS in your car ("your left turn is coming up in 100 ft").

Does anybody who uses their chartplotter for just a marine chartplotter have any feelings on this? I would rather have a 7 or 10 inch screen with the old stuff for the same price as a new unit with a 5 inch screen if all else (that matters to me) is equal.


bluewaterpirate posted 02-22-2007 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The two biggest up grades other than screen resolution I see in all the new Garmin CP's are:

1. XM Weather functionality (if you fish offshore or on large lakes this is really a terrific safety feature. Adds to on the water SA. (note: only the 400 series has the XM functionality in the smaller units).

2. The optional auto guidance technology will help simplify your navigation. Auto Guidance searches all the chart features to suggest the best known charted route for navigation. You can enter your destination lat/long and it will automatically chart the safest route (not a straight line route as in previous models). The only draw back is that you have to purchase the optional G2 Vision Charts. $220.00 is the best price I've seen so far.


JBCornwell posted 02-22-2007 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
I guess it comes down to what you need vs. what you want.

I agree that some of the new features fall into the category of bling.

One that is not bling is the XM weather access. That is a valuable feature for those who venture in harm's way.

I am very happy with my 276C for now. Maybe someday there will be a Garmin model that offers enough increased value to make me upgrade. Someday is not here yet, but the last time I visited Cabela's Bargain Cave there was a 4000 series in there for $700. There just isn't enough room on the console of a Striper 15 for it. :(

Red sky at night. . .

swist posted 02-22-2007 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
My current unit is a Garmin 276 also, I think it is just great, but the screen is just too small. That's what started this topic - I don't need anything better in terms of features, just same quality output and bigger screen.

bluewaterpirate posted 02-22-2007 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Then your going to have to move away from the 276/376/486 series they're considered portable into the 492/498/400/500/ or 5x5 series.

With that in mind you'll get nothing in return except a larger screen with better resolution with the exception of the 400 model that includes embedded XM functionality. You answered your own question.

jechura posted 02-22-2007 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

I move up from a 176c to the 392 for the larger screen size and the resolution of it and a few other features such as; the DSC log etc. Sold the 176c for over $300 on ebay.


blackdog54 posted 02-22-2007 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog54  Send Email to blackdog54     
There is a garmin portable (can't remember, 275 or 476) that has XM capability. It was almost a $1000 at the SD boat show several weeks back, same price at West Marine.
bluewaterpirate posted 02-22-2007 11:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
It's the Garmin 376c or the 478 your thinking about.
gss036 posted 02-23-2007 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Bluewaterpirate, you tweeked my interest when you sated that the new units pick the best route? Do they take into consideration all the rocks and schoals and narrow passages like we have here in the SanJuan's and Gulf Islands?
I currently use a 176C w/bluewater charts and love it because I can take it with me when I go a friends boat.
bluewaterpirate posted 02-24-2007 07:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
That's correct, however, you must purchase the G2 Vision charts for your area for that feature to work.
swist posted 02-24-2007 08:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
And it's also one of the things I'm questioning here. Part of the fun of boating for me is picking my own route. Then I can store it in the GPS and have it assist me in following that route. As I stated at the beginning, these new units seem to be acquiring a lot of automobile GPS features. In a pleasure boat I might be a lot less interested in the most efficient route from point A to point B.

Yeah, it might for planning purposes be interesting to see what routes the unit chooses, but what are these bells and whistles costing us?

bluewaterpirate posted 02-24-2007 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The smaller units cost is less than the 492/498. And yes you can still build your own routes if you choose. You still have all the same functionality plus some additional for less monies.


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