Hello Nian; if you're already using an Android phone, then it's probably worth looking into Viewranger, a mapping software designed for use on mobile phones. I have it on my HTC mobile and it's a cracking program. You can get it with 1:50k national parks of the UK at a pretty reasonable rate, and then buy additional maps should you need them, eg: 1:25k.
However, don't forget to take a paper map with you too and the knowledge to use it - mobile phone batteries get eaten up pretty quickly when the GPS is on!
Satmap is good as is the memorymap GPS too. IF you can get hold of the last Trail magazine (and trust their opinions too) then I think it has GPS comparison between 6 different models that most of them fit your price range. They will all do what you would want with them. I think it is this last issue (although the new one might be out today with it being a thursday near the end of the month) but could be the one before.
I think TGO also did a review lately.
Check out their websites as the reviews should be online now. Of course this site will get you to your ideal product sooner with all the helpful people on here. Plus the excellent reviews too. Then when you find one you want try and click on the retailer links from this site too as you might find a good deal for what you need from them and the site gets a kickback which keeps the site free to read everything. (Is that enough kiss arse after suggesting the OP go to another site?)
Thanks for the replies, very informative.
One question about the map. I know maps of other countries/areas can be bought. How about the map quality and price between major brands (Satmap, Garmin as far as I know). Another question is which brand has most maps available? I may travel to Europe and Asia (Nepal, India, China), maybe more I hope...
It was the Trail magazine out now in the shops that did the 6 GPS comparison piece. YOu have a week to get it to find out what they reckon is the best.
I know a few people who have the satmap. IIRC there are two versions, well less versions more kits. One with a protective plastic screen cover and one without I think. I wasn't really listening to the guy telling me nor the guy next to him who also had his satmap out tryoing to get me interested in one. Zzzzzzzzz! Seriously there is nothing worse than a satmap bore. Anyway from the short period I was actually awake when they were talking to me about the satmap you want the active one and make sure you get the plastic cover. It is kind of a clear plastic cover with a frame to it that clicks into place on the satmap covering the screen in a way that makes it look like it should always have been there. Can be used without but it is £300 of kit so might as well make it stay fresh with the cover.
All good kit mentioned above so I think if you get up to the high £200s you will have something that will do what you want. Check out the lowrance kit. Lowrance in USA has a significantly higher market share than over here. IIRC Lowrance is actually a bigger GPS supplier than the main players over here with a bigger market share. They also make marine kit too including sonar, depth beeper thingies and fish finders as well as GPS units. As such they are a big electronics manufacturer. They also tend to be cheaper over here (or at least they used to be). Anyway when they hit the market a few years ago with a budget and higher spec GPS they kick started cheaper GPSs (without compromising quality and performance). At the time the budget Etrex GPS was something like £130 but the Lowrance equivalent (with 14 channels not 12 channels, more waypoints and routes that can be saved so slightly better specs) came out onto the market costing £89. £40 saving was significant I reckon and shortly afterwards the Garmin etrex was also £90. Made me curious as to how GArmin were able to make large savings on their units so quickly after a new (to our area market) competitor came out with a cheaper equivalent product!! If I was cynical I'd think they had a huge mark-up and were ripping off their customers, but I'm not a cynic.
Not sure about mapping but I'd have thought that a bigger name (garmin, magellan or even Lowrance) might have more chance of overseas maps than newer entrants like satmap but that is conjecture on my part.
Not competely sure but I think I read a comparison on costs between GPS systems and mapping costs. There was something about viewranger being cheaper for the software for your phone (assuming you don't need to buy a phone) but the mapping builds up the cost quicker. What I mean IF you need the full 50k or 25k scale maps in the UK it is not really that much cheaper despite the fact you are only paying for the software with the viewranger. IIRC satmap works out about the same with the full set of maps and the handheld unit. If you have to get battery extenders and the like then perhaps viewranger is more expensive in the long run.
Just something else to think about...the cost of the maps you need as well as the unit.
Nian zhang wrote (see)
(reading magazine is more fun than reading from internet).
Well I'm offended!!
<goes off in a huff>
That's a short post for me!
If you are on a budget, consider the Garmin Dakota.
It is compact and offers full mapping with a touch screen and all the other features you could probably want. Will even function as a basic satnav abroad.
Nian - one of my mates had the Sat map and reckoned it fell apart after a short time!!
Bit of advice. Once you've decided which one you want see if they do it at Go-Outdoors and then find a price match. I got the Memory Map 3500 plus 1:50k for £299 instead of £360 but had to swap it - long story dont ask - so got a Garmin GPSmap62s plus mapping for £320 instead of 399.
Check out www.handtec.co.uk or www.pentagongps.co.uk for some good deals. Aslo Uttings Outdoors were doing the Sat Map plus uk1:50,000 for £329 a couple of weeks ago - might still be on if you're going down that route.
i have viewranger on my andriod, i got all of the uk for about 80quid i think!.
then just carry a backup battery and your laughing.
why bother with a standalone gps/camera/phone when you can get one device to do it all!!.
keep your eye on the magazine ad's. veiwranger put out discount codes.
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