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  Best GPS Receiver and Color Chart Plotter for $500

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Author Topic:   Best GPS Receiver and Color Chart Plotter for $500
Ferdinando posted 01-18-2009 06:50 AM ET (US)   Profile for Ferdinando   Send Email to Ferdinando  
I am interested in a new GPS [probably means a GPS receiver and electronic chart plotter combination with color display] for my boat, and I am looking at the Standard Horizon CP180i and the Garmin 520. Any folks out there have experience with either of these units? Any recommendations on other units in the $500 price range? Best place to purchase?



jimh posted 01-18-2009 10:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
These days a GPS receiver with excellent performance can be purchased for about $35. I have the GlobatSat BU-353. It works great.

The drawback to the BU-353 is you need a laptop to use it. If you want a stand-alone GPS receiver with a display you have to spend about $15 more. You can get a nice GPS receiver with built-in display that will give you your position, speed, and also record a track for less than $50:

However, I think you are really asking about a lot more than a GPS receiver. Based on the units you mentioned, you are probably looking for a GPS receiver and an electronic chart plotter with color display. Many of those units also include a SONAR, or they can be expanded to include a SONAR.

We had a long discussion recently on the topic of which one of these GPS and chart plotter units with color display gave you the best performance for the cost:

GPS Chartplotter Best Value

In general when this sort of discussion is solicited, it never seems to reach a consensus of opinion.

I have reviews of three GPS receivers combined with chart plotters and SONAR units in the REFERENCE section. The current prices of some of these units from discounted retailers will be in your price range.

Standard Horizon CP300

Lowrance LMS-500 Series

Raymarine A60

To locate the best place to purchase I suggest you use the GOOGLE product search.

jimh posted 01-18-2009 11:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Standard Horizon CP180i is quite similar to the CP300 which I reviewed, so you may find my comments about it to be useful. I believe the differences are confined to the size of the display (the CP180i is smaller) and the lack of soft keys on the front panel (the CP180i does not have them).
20dauntless posted 01-19-2009 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless    
Keep in mind that depending on where you are boating and which model you buy, you may need to purchase additional electronic charts. I believe the Garmin G2 Vision charts run about 300 bucks per area of coverage...
Jefecinco posted 01-19-2009 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
You may want to consider the Garmin Oregon 400C hand held GPS. It won't provide a fish finder but it has a WAAS receiver and is an accurate unit with good maps installed. A seperate fish finder can be purchased at a resonable price. Lowrance makes well respected fish finders at less cost than some.

If a good multifunction color unit with a five inch screen is what you require I believe your budget will require an increase.

I source for the aforementioned device is Jim at


Ferdinando posted 01-20-2009 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ferdinando  Send Email to Ferdinando     

Thks for the info. I went with the Standard Horizon 180I. I liked the 5" screen and the 3 yr warranty.
The chip ran me an additional $189.00. The 180 cost me $409.00. Best price I could manage. I found 2 or 3 cheaper prices but the shipping was murder. Will let all know how it turns out. Thks again, Fred.

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