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Garmin Dakota 20

*Est. $250
Reviewed
December 2011
by ConsumerSearch
Garmin Dakota 20

Best compact handheld GPS

Pros
  • Compact yet rugged
  • Touch screen
  • Good features
Cons
  • Display hard to read in sunlight
  • Small, low-resolution screen
  • Performance not the fastest

According to reviews, the Garmin Dakota 20 is compact, rugged and versatile, with a bevy of features including an easy-to-use touch screen. You'll also find an altimeter, a three-axis electronic compass that keeps its bearings no matter its orientation, wireless transfers between other compatible Garmin GPS devices and more. On the down side, while the Dakota 20's trim form factor makes it a pleasure to take on the trail, the trade-off is a screen that's on the small side, meaning you won't see as much of a map without scrolling. Though the Dakota 20 has some of the same bells and whistles, those looking for the ultimate in GPS features and performance might also want to consider the Garmin Oregon 550t (*Est. $500), which, among other things, offers a bigger, higher definition touch-screen display and a geotagging digital camera.

We found two helpful expert reviews for the Garmin Dakota 20. The most comprehensive is at GPSTracklog.com. Shorter but still competent and worthwhile feedback can be found at About.com. Amazon.com has a selection of owner reviews.

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Garmin Oregon 550T 3-Inch Handheld GPS Navigator with 3.2MP Digital Camera (U.S. Topographic Maps)
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from Amazon.com
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Where To Buy
Garmin Dakota 20 Waterproof Hiking GPS

 (127 reviews)
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Our Sources

1. GPS Tracklog

Reviewer Rich Owings highly recommends the Dakota 20 in this detailed review. The touch screen, iPhone-like user interface, small and lightweight form factor, and long battery life are all pluses. The screen comes in for some criticism, most notably for its small size and difficult viewing in bright sunlight.

Review: Garmin Dakota 20 Review, Rich Owings, Oct. 2009

2. About.com

About.com's guide Fred Zahradnik calls the Dakota 20 rugged and versatile, saying that it's "small enough to comfortably take on a run or mount on a bike, yet substantial enough to rely upon as your main GPS on a multi-day backpacking trip." He notes that it has a marine chart mode and dedicated geocaching.

Review: Do-it-all Garmin Dakota 20 GPS Suitable for Multiple Sports, Geocaching, Hiking, Fred Zahradnik

3. Amazon.com

Amazon.com is a good destination for user reviews of the Garmin Dakota 20. Most of the more than 50 owners that weigh in are pleased, though some negative comments can be found as well.

Review: Garmin Dakota 20 Waterproof Hiking GPS, Contributors to Amazon.com, Feb. 15, 2010

Handheld GPS Runners Up:

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2 picks by top review sites.

Garmin Oregon 550t *Est. $500

2 picks including: Amazon.com, TrustedReviews.com…

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Garmin Garmin eTrex Vista HCx Handheld GPS w/High Sensitivity GPS
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Garmin Oregon 550T 3-Inch Handheld GPS Navigator with 3.2MP Digital Camera (U.S. Topographic Maps)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $499.99 $279.98   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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