Handheld GPS receivers have truly revolutionized outdoor navigation for the better, quickly becoming a necessary tool for experienced climbers, hikers and hunters. However, the Garmin Oregon 400t proves that handheld GPS technology has truly come a long way. Preloaded with topographic maps of the United States, 3D features, an electronic compass, barometric altimeter and a temperature sensor, this durable unit boasts a 3-inch touch screen for stress free navigation.
Still able to be read in the glaring sunlight, the touch screen display on the Oregon 400t will endure whatever rugged conditions may befall an individual in the wilderness. Waterproof construction and a protective design keep torrential rain, dust storms and humidity from interfering with the sensitive components that one would expect of the esteemed Garmin brand.
A two-dimensional reading gleaned from maps has certainly suited skilled navigators for thousands of years and remains a standard on other GPS models. However, Garmin gives the option for a 3D map view and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) basemap. Simple three-dimensional terrain readouts provide accurate depictions of a landscape at a glance – an interesting feature if topographic maps seem tiring. The DEM basemap details contours that could be vital to a successful climbing or hiking journey. Do not dismiss this as a silly feature; extra perspective almost always has the potential for added success.
Geocaching, a hobby enjoyed by a growing community of outdoor enthusiasts, is easier than ever with the Oregon 400t. The HotFix capability prevents time wasted by lengthy waits for proper reception; satellite locations are stored in the unit’s memory, reducing acquisition time noticeably. Users can record location and safely power off the unit to save battery, without sitting around as satellites are sought out each time the 400t is switched on.
A little wilderness concierge, this GPS device downloads and provides information regarding each cache entered. Navigate helpful notes on trail difficulty, hints, descriptions and more on the vivid touch screen, get moving and tackle the next objective. Able to save up to 10,000 points in memory and 20 tracks, the Oregon 400t can hold a vast amount of data. The MicroSD card interface, a standard in miniature flash memory, is an easy way to update firmware, maps and other information that may be necessary along a journey.
Of course, the array of bells and whistles offered with this unit continues on, with little features and conveniences that anyone can appreciate. Wireless technology facilitates exchange user routes, geocaches, waypoints, tracks and images without having to bother with cables – always a welcome feature. Share photographs of an exquisite hike with fellow campers thanks to the picture viewer. Seriously, this little 6.8-ounce box is packed with perks.
Battery life stretches to up to 20 hours of usage on a single charge. Turn down the backlighting and shut the 400t off when not in use to preserve its precious functionality.
Price: About $420
I would rate this product at a 4.5/5. The Garmin Oregon 400t truly does everything it advertises and does it well, but some customers may remain skeptical at the high price. As newer models currently exist, refurbished and used ones can be picked up for as low as $200. Buy this GPS receiver if durability and performance take priority.