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I have been using a Road Angel Adventurer and Garmin Oregon 200 and had the opportunity to take the Oregon 550t out for the weekend for a little test run. All I can say is I'm hooked and will be buying one of my own soon.
As for being able to review this item, it has been put through its paces for our hikes when we had it so apart from knowing whats its performance is like over a lengthy period of time we have tested its functions. Like most gadgets they dont work so well after time but if looked after keep going!
This model retails at £489.99 on the Garmin site but can be bought for around £350 on sites like Amazon. It is expensive but really worth the money. The dimensions and battery details are the same as the previous models, 200,300 and 400. Garmin improved their device by adding a few things and improving on their already excellent device. The 450, 450t, 550 and 550t are the new models and have improvements in the following areas. The screen is now easily read in bright sunshine. This really is an improvement on the 200 model and the Road Angel. There is nothing more irritating than trying to look at the screen to find a location and having to cover the screen or lean over the screen to shade it. The 450 and 550 have improved this excellently, It is not perfect but so much better and clearer than before.
The other remarkable improvement, which is in the 550 model only, is a camera. Similar to the iPhone camera, it will tag the photo with a gps location showing exactly where the picture had been taken. The camera is only 3.2 megapixal with 4xdigital zoom so not the best as most phone cameras are a lot higher than this but having the GPS tagging is brilliant. The photos taken are good too, however dont expect exceptional photos!
I thought to myself, what is the point in having this if I have a SLR digital camera, iPhone with GPS tagging. The Oregon is fully waterproof, it will take a photo whilst fully underwater. I am too much of a wimp to try this but believe the word of the manufacture. Theres also a Youtube vid of it!
We were walking in the rain when using this andit performed perfectly. Passing photos onto the computer is easy too using a USB cable.
Using the 200 model before meant it was easy to navigate around this model as they are built similar, same size and same screen size,
The unit fits lovely in your hand and the touch screen is easy to use, however gloved hands make a problem!
The t on the model denotes it has preloaded maps. On deciding whether to have this or not depends what you have already. Having Memory Maos and Anquet maps means I would not go for the reloaded maps to save a bit of money!
These models have all things you need for outdoor pursuits like built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass which does not need to be held level to give a perfect reading and barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude.
There is a slot for a micro SD card which expands the memory emensly so that photos tracks and waypoints can be stored.
You can even download information from a site called opengeocaching.com reference 5,000 geocache sites. I am just getting into geocaching so jury is still out on this one but I think it is just the geocaching side not the function as it runs smoothly with no issues. Just working out if I like geocaching!
All in all I found no issues with this unit, it is very similar to the previous models so if you dont wanbt to spend too much money and can live with the screen and the battery not being to strong then maybe a cheaper option is better. But for me the waterproof GPS tagging camera is brilliant and the Sunlight readable screen is brilliant and makes up for the higher price tag.
These units are so good, there are so many ourdoor units on the market but I am really sold on Garmin and would go with them each time.
They will take Memory maps and Anquet maps for OS mapping of which some units will only either take one or the other or some, like the Satmap, only their own mapping which is very expensive.
Anquet maps are cheaper but Memory maps is a better operating system nd runs quicker and freer.
If you can afford it and you want a good unit buy this one. I'm hooked on it and now when I'm out in the countryside I "Borrow" the 550t model from my friend instead of my 200 model. It will soon be replaced!!!
The navigator with the photographic memory - Oregon 550t combines rugged outdoor touch screen navigation with a 3.2 mega pixel digital camera.
Capture locations and memories with Oregon 550t's 3.2 mega pixel autofocus digital camera with 4x digital zoom. Each photo is automatically geo tagged with the location of where it was taken, allowing you to navigate back to that exact spot in the future. Snap and view pictures in landscape or portrait orientation.
Oregon 550t makes rugged navigation effortless with a tough, 3-inch diagonal, sunlight-readable, color touch screen display. The interface is easy to use, so you'll spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time searching for information. Both durable and waterproof, Oregon 550t is built to withstand the elements. Bumps, dust, dirt, humidity and water are no match for this rugged navigator.
Oregon 550t has a built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when you're standing still, without holding it level. Its barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude, and you can even use it to plot barometric pressure over time, which can help you keep an eye on changing weather conditions. And with its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction, Oregon 550t locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.
With Oregon 550t you can share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geo caches wirelessly other Oregon and Colorado users. Now you can send your favorite route to a friend to enjoy or the location of a cache to find. Sharing data is easy. Just touch "send" to transfer your information to similar devices.