Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Garmin 600 initial impressions

My previous GPS went AWOL a few months ago, and I've been waiting for Garmin to release their new Oregon 6xx series so that I can get a new one. Last week I saw that they were in stock at http://www.cyberphoto.se/, so I put in an order and I got it delivered the next day. Excellent service!

The new Oregon 6xx comes in four different variants (as with the 5xx series). The models vary primarily in whether or not they have a camera (600 vs 650) and whether or not they include a topographical map (6xx vs 6xxt). I opted for the cheapest one (600); I don't use the camera much, and OSM maps works well enough. The 650-series also sport a rechargable batterypack which can be charged while the device is connected via USB.

The overall impression is very good. I was a little worried about the ruggedness, but this definitely feels like a device made for outdoors activities. Even though the real test will come when I actually start using it for some actual work. The new capacitive touch screen is really nice, pinch zoom and scrolling is smooth and snappy. I haven't tried it with gloves yet, though.

GSAK still does not seem to support the 6xx series, so I used the 5xx setting which limits the size of a cache file to 5000 caches. Hopefully there is a GSAK update soon so I can take advantage of the possibility of exporting my entire cache database.

Since I did not opt for the model with the topo map, I had to download a OSM map separately. This is super easy to do from here: http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/. I selected "Sweden", downloaded the map, renamed the "gmapsupp.img" file to "sweden.img" and copied the map file to the Garmin directory on the device.

Now, lets take the little thing out for some fun.