Your smartphone has a GPS app. Why would you ever need a separate, standalone GPS unit? Unfortunately, this is common thinking these days. Yet, GPS manufacturers have done a surprisingly good job of staying ahead of smartphones when it comes to innovations. Here are five handheld GPS devices that leave the apps in the dust.
DeLorme’s inReach Explorer
At one time, DeLorme was one of the few company’s around to challenge Garmin’s dominance of the handheld GPS industry. That was until Garmin bought them last year. Regardless of this acquisition, the inReach Explorer has the best battery life of any of the GPS units we’ve reviewed. It lasts for 100 hours and provides a variety of features besides simple GPS navigation, including SOS tracking capabilities and two-way satellite messaging.
The 64st from Garmin is a rugged, fully-featured, top-notch unit with a 2.6-inch color screen that quickly zooms in and out. Both GLONASS and GPS technology are utilized with the helix antenna. This allows for an extra signal boost in tough terrains. Even in deep canyons or heavy cover, the 64st can maintain your signal and quickly find your position. And, it packs enough battery life (sixteen hours) to get you through a full day of traveling.
Garmin’s eTrex Touch 35t
Do you engage in a range of outdoor activities, including fishing, biking, hiking, geocaching, hunting, climbing, and more? If so, the eTrex Touch 35t is ideal for you. It has activity profiles to fit your varied needs. It allows navigation using any of the 100,000 preloaded topographical maps, and the eTrex weighs less than six ounces. This is another device that uses both GLONASS and GPS signal and has durable, waterproof construction.
Garmin’s Montana 680
The Montana 680 is the most expensive option on our list, but it also has the most frills. It is heavier than the other units at a little over ten ounces, but it is worth it for the four-inch glove-friendly and dual-orientation touchscreen display. All of the functionality is handled on the display. There is just one button for the power on the side.
Garmin’s Oregon 650t
The 650t weighs 7.4 ounces, has a 400-by-240-pixel touchscreen display with an LED backlight and multi-touch capabilities. You can also use this unit while wearing a glove while in wet or freezing weather. The body is IPX7 waterproof, and the battery lasts for 16 hours on a charge, or you can use two AA batteries.
Author: Sally Collins
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