Author Topic: Easy to read GPS  (Read 2880 times)

Easy to read GPS
« on: May 17, 2012, 09:26:17 am »
Hello all,

I have been thinking about getting a GPS for my longer rides. My eyesight however seems to be getting worse. I was wondering which GPS has the largest display and largest text for easy reading. Any recommendations?

Thanks


fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 05:22:38 pm »
Have a look at the Garmin Montana. It's about the largest screen you will get, at least for something that can be easily used on a bike.

plum

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 05:26:06 pm »
Even the little displays like on the Vista or Legend are easy to navigate by, just follow the big pink line. The display size of speed, distance, time etc is settable and can be made very large.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2012, 05:30:22 pm »
I have a Montana for in-car and recreational use, but I don't think I'd want it on a bike!
It's just too big.   It's basically a thing you hold in two hands.
Do they even make a bike mount for it?
On the plus side, it can optionally run on AA batteries instead of the rechargable battery back. ( one or t/other ).

My now-dead Colorado is smaller, but also too bulky for a bike, IMO, although I did buy a bike mount for it which I never used.

Of the Garmin bike-specific units, the edge 800 has the largest screen ( but not huge ), and the consequent limited battery life.   I got a 9-hour audax out of it, but I doubt it would have lasted much longer.   I have an external battery pack which I'm going to use this w/end for a longer ride.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2012, 06:54:58 pm »
Here is a comparison of the text (not map) readability of 3 common GPSs.
They are approximately real size on my desktop monitor but your experience may vary.
I've greyed them to slightly replicate the real-life 'dim' screen - probably not taken it far enough, the Dakota in particular has very poor screen contrast.

From left to right - Dakota, 'new' Etrex (20 or 30), 'old' Etrex (Legend, Vista etc).


Note that each model uses a different 'typeface'.  I know which one I prefer.
Also note the text size in the field marked 'Next' in the right-hand example, and compare it with the text in the fields marked 'Next Point' in the other two.  That is the best each of these can do, in this (important, to some) 'next' field.

When it comes to the map the comparison is more like this (not dimmed this time, nor to size) - Etrex 30 vs Etrex Vista, but Dakota, Oregon, and most others are now like the left-hand example.
     
sorry, both examples have contours which is not typical, but you can see the wireframe style of map on the older units is pretty unattractive.  But I find the map legends a bit easier to read than the smoothed and outlined ones on the new-style map, which just look a mess.
Also in some modes of use, a Track can get rather lost on the more highly-rendered map, because it is just one line between two other lines, whereas on the wireframe it overlays the single line and is the only thing visible.  Hard to explain and I haven't got an example to show.

Code: [Select]
Montana: Screen Size 2" x 3.5"; Screen pixels 480 x 272; Pixels/Sq. in. (Pixel Density) 18,651
Oregon: Screen Size 1.53" x 2.55"; Screen pixels 240 x 400; Pixels/Sq. in. (Pixel Density) 24,615
Dakota: Screen Size 1.43" x 2.15"; Screen pixels 160 x 240; Pixels/Sq. in. (Pixel Density) 12,508
62s: Screen Size 1.6" x 2.2"; Screen pixels 160 x 240; Pixels/Sq. in. (Pixel Density) 10,909
Etrex (old and new):  Screen Size 1.4" x 1.7"; Screen pixels 176 x 220;
Nuvi 500: Screen Size 2.8" x 2.1"; Screen pixel size 320 x 240;
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2012, 07:16:54 pm »
The Oregon (of assorted flavours) is next down from the Montana, size-wise, but being a reflective screen can vary a bit with ambient illumination. The Etrexes are probably better wrt contrast  (my OH and a few others I know have real difficulty reading print in slightly low lighting, for example), but for just looking at a map, rather than navigating, they might be a struggle being a fair bit smaller than the Oregon. The Oregon screen's bigger than that of the 800, and a bit bulkier using AAs, but not to big to mount on a bike - a mate has his on his mtb.

I actually bought one of the new Etrexes - the 30 (you can still get the HCX, for example) - thinking I could get it down below my knees on the recumbent. But since I can't - and having seen a mate's Oregon when out walking - I suspect I *might* have been better with the Oregon, mounting it a little further away.

From what I've seen in reviews, the Oregon (450/550) screen is an improvement over that of the Dakota (or the older Oregon 300), but I dunno by how much.


frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2012, 10:56:03 pm »
The 62 series sits between the Oregon and the Etrexes (size-wise, and in other ways) and may be worth a look too.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 01:06:55 pm »
Thanks for all the replies. Now I have got somewhere to start.

So far the legend or Vista looks like a possibility, though it seems that linking them up to Linux is a problem. I've also had a look at the 62 series and the 60CSX, apparently an older model, so a bit cheaper. I'll have a look at the others mentioned above as well.

Difficult though when you can't actually compare them. Part of the problem is that I live fairly remote so it is not that easy to go and check out shops. I have been looking out for riders with GPS but so far have seen none!

Thanks again for the recommendations.


frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2012, 09:13:16 am »
So far the legend or Vista looks like a possibility, though it seems that linking them up to Linux is a problem. I've also had a look at the 62 series and the 60CSX, apparently an older model, so a bit cheaper.

The truth is that the original query (ie which is most legible) is only a part of the consideration.

The Legend, Vista and 60 are IMO problematic for a new adopter insofar as they are 'old technology'.  That doesn't mean they are inferior (arguably quite the opposite) but it does mean that by buying one of these you would find yourself increasingly 'out on a limb' in terms of peer support and advice on forums like this.  And if you use an 'alternative' OS on your desktop PC that is another compelling reason to go for one of the newer types (Oregon, 62, Etrex30, etc), all of which play much better with Linux and Mac.

The fundamental choices are really:
a) Garmin or not.  If Garmin ...
b) bike-specific design or not.  If not ...
c) big screen or small package.  And ...
d) touch screen or button-driven.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Toady

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 11:00:24 pm »
Thanks for all the replies. Now I have got somewhere to start.

So far the legend or Vista looks like a possibility, though it seems that linking them up to Linux is a problem. I've also had a look at the 62 series and the 60CSX, apparently an older model, so a bit cheaper. I'll have a look at the others mentioned above as well..
I've got a 60CSX mounted on my handlebars (with Talkytoaster's OSM maps) and my reading eyesight is poor without glasses (I use +2 ready readers) I can read the navigation instructions OK, esp as a lot of what you need is understood from pictures rather than words.  But for other info I need to set it up with big font.  But it's only nav instructions that I need while on the move.  If I want to know how far we've gone, average speed, etc, I stop and put my specs on.

The 60CSX, by the way, is built like a tank - very robust - mine has survived quite a number of unfortunate incidents.

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 09:52:13 am »
Toady,

That is really helpful. I have similar eyesight (+2 readers).

I am wondering whether the 60SCX and the Vista hcx would be similar in use for me? Both in terms of reading the display as well as setting up and following a track. Anyone used both and able to give me an idea?
I would like to buy the 60SCX however the Vista is a lot cheaper. And if I managed to stretch to the 60SCX, would it be worthwhile going for the newer 62S? I was surprised to see that they are roughly the same price on the internet.

Thanks again for all the help


Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 09:56:24 am »
I hate cycling in my glasses. Without them I can't see the screen. However, I don't mind cycling glasses and found some cycling glasses with bits at the bottom which have a magnification bit. Google "Gladestry Audax" and you'll see them. They are precisely what I need and can highly recommend them.
Hope this helps.   

PS I have a Garmin Etrex Legend.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven.

Toady

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 10:18:45 am »
I can't really help with comparing models as I bought my 60CSX a few years ago, and I'm not au fait with what's on the market now.


My thoughts on the 60CSX are:  Built like a tank, frugal with batteries, and uses AAs so you can use rechargeables; quick to get a fix (compared with my previous GPS's, but not compared with phones - which cheat and use A-GPS and download stuff via the phone network); free OSM maps via Talkytoaster (although some technical heartache is required to download them and set up mapsource to use them, write them to the SD card etc, but there are plently of kind helpers out there); The handlebar mount is secure but do also loop the lanyard round the bars - I've knee'd it out of its mount on hills while standing on the pedals pretending I'm Alberto Contador, when in fact I'm in danger of reaching a complete standstill.
   
On the downside it's not a recent model so unless you're getting a discount you may be doing the retailer a favour by buying it.  Garmin's own maps (not the free OSM ones) are very pricey.  If you want to use it outside the UK/Ireland you may need to pay for these maps unless there's a clone of Talkytoaster operating in your chosen country.
   

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2012, 11:33:04 am »
I hesitate to comment too much on these things because different people have widely differing expectations of their kit and of course, different budgets and ideas of value-for-money. But anyway .....

I’ve used a Map60 - I still have it as a backup - and was sufficiently satisfied with it to up grade later to a Map62, specifically to get the Ordnance Survey mapping option. In the meantime, I’d tried the Satmap, which was the first to offer the OS facility, but over a considerable period, I found it inadequate for a number of reasons, though it’s good for walking.

I’ve never gone the Extrex/Vista/Legend route, which is more popular, because I liked the buttons-grouped together aspect of the Map60 and I find I can operate it perfectly well with full winter gloves, even mittens, on my hands and in the dark. The extra screen size is also an advantage, I feel - I use reading specs at 1.75 point strength. On the bike I use bi-focals.

The button model screen is slightly more readable than the touchscreen models, although these things are developing with each new model. You’ll be wiping finger grease off the touchscreens more frequently than with button models, but it’s only a small point. Reflection from bright sunlight is a bit more of an issue and I think the button models cope a little better here too.

The mapping you choose will affect the readability. The more heavily detailed OS map is more difficult to read, though often the extra information it delivers can be very helpful. It depends on the type of ride you’re on. If you’ve loaded a clear and definite Route or Track (different subject - a whole can of worms - see elsewhere!) then the non-OS Garmin or open source maps are generally clearer and perfectly adequate. If I want the option to navigate on the fly, I like the more informative OS.

A word of warning about the Map60. Toady is correct; it is very robust. But there can be problems with the unit cutting out over rough road surfaces. I had two Map60s - Garmin eventually gave me a new replacement because the first was plagued with this issue, which other owners have also suffered. Widely thought to be a battery contact thing, I believe the real answer is internal and I haven’t had any such problems with my Map62.

The latest firmware for the Map62 (which can be retro-loaded) includes a photo viewer. I now find this useful as I can scan in a note of various aide-memoire matters and read them on the move if I want - I have a goldfish memory and am prone to worrying about information controls and control closing times. (Other people of course simply pull their Brevet card out of a back pocket but if I do that I just drop the blessed thing and lose it!) The very latest range includes a Map62 with a camera - the influence I suspect of the geo-caching market.

Another thing - the bike mount for the Map60 was a bit of a lash-up and for me, not adequately secure. The Map 62 is a big improvement. The Map62 is undoubtedly a bigger lump than say, the new Etrex models, but the difference in weight isn’t huge. I use tri-bars for comfort and nestled down between these, the Map62 doesn’t look too gross. Like the current Etrex models, it slides into its mount in a fore-and-aft direction, which means it can have lights and other stuff fitted close alongside, which can be useful. The Edge 705 for example goes on sideways, which is a pain in this regard, and I believe the Edge 800 is a twist-type mount, which I guess would need space on both sides. Although with a bit of ingenuity there are usually ways around these snags, it’s helpful not to have to muck about too much with custom mounts.

I hope this helps.

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 12:06:57 pm »
ploddinpedro,

Thanks for your reply. Very informative. It looks like the 62S would be good for my use. The only "problem" is the price. The Vista is so much cheaper. Anybody able to compare the two?

Tail End Charlie,

Why haven't I come across these before. Brilliant. I mostly ride with safety/sun glasses anyway. This will be my first buy. I'll be able to see the smaller fonts on my cycle computer, - and it means that the GPS display itself becomes less of an issue. Thanks a lot ...

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 02:45:07 pm »
You can buy plastic stick-on half-moons which will convert any glasses into bifocals, more than good enough for cycling use.
eg (just from a quick google) http://www.stickonlenses.net/

Since this thread started as a 'which GPS is easiest to read' query, the 60 and 62 series have the advantage of a slightly larger screen, over the Etrexes.  As I said before, one of the fundamental choices is, large display vs compact package.

The 60CSX is considered by many to be the best 'leisure' GPS that garmin have ever made.  The newer 62 is not necessarily an improvement, just as the new Etrexes are not necessarily better than the old ones - in every case they have slightly different strengths and weaknesses.  My close vision is marginal for GPS use and I would say one of the definite strengths of the older models, over the newer ones, is legibility.  But it is perhaps personal taste which is why I posted the screenshots upthread.  The 60 will look somewhat like the right-hand images, in each case.  The 62 will look like the left.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 02:56:39 pm »
What about a running watch-type unit, like the Garmin Forerunners? Since it's on your wrist, you can easily bring it close to your face when you want to look at it.

d.

Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2012, 04:35:47 pm »
I've had another look around the web regarding various models and there really is a lot of conflicting opinions out there. So no clear winner. However I think I will go for the Vista. It is recommended by a lot of riders and it is also less expensive. As I have managed to get an old  Win XP laptop to work again, I should be able to load tracks onto it.

Cheers for all the help

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Easy to read GPS
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2012, 09:33:55 am »
I have a Montana for in-car and recreational use, but I don't think I'd want it on a bike!
It's just too big.   It's basically a thing you hold in two hands.
Do they even make a bike mount for it?
On the plus side, it can optionally run on AA batteries instead of the rechargable battery back. ( one or t/other ).

My now-dead Colorado is smaller, but also too bulky for a bike, IMO, although I did buy a bike mount for it which I never used.

Of the Garmin bike-specific units, the edge 800 has the largest screen ( but not huge ), and the consequent limited battery life.   I got a 9-hour audax out of it, but I doubt it would have lasted much longer.   I have an external battery pack which I'm going to use this w/end for a longer ride.

You can get a bike mount for the Montana although I've read a few reviews that says it's flimsy and breaks. Personally I wouldn't trust something the price of a Montana to a flimsy mount.

I've got a Montana mounted on my bike. I used the motorcycle mount to attach it to the handlebars on the basis it's designed for more vibration than I'll ever throw at it. Yes, it's a big chunky unit and if I was worried about aerodynamic efficiency to the nth degree I wouldn't want it on my bike. That said it's got a huge screen which is great to use on the move.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.