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Garmin Oregon 450t

*Est. $450
Reviewed
December 2011
by ConsumerSearch
Garmin Oregon 450t

Best handheld GPS

Pros
  • Easy-to-use touch screen
  • Accurate
  • Customizable menus and profiles
  • Advanced track navigation feature
Cons
  • Screen not easily visible in sunlight
  • Cost of additional maps
  • No camera

The Oregon 450t has all the features expected of a high-end GPS receiver. These include a large touch screen with a user-friendly interface; 3D map viewing; built-in topographic maps; wireless sharing with other Garmin Oregon and Colorado GPS receivers through Bluetooth connectivity; paperless geocaching ability; barometric altimeter; and the capability to save multiple user profiles and settings. In addition, navigation is accurate and precise, and viewing angles are good. The 450t can run for about 16 hours on its two AA batteries. In addition, it is ruggedly built and waterproof to a depth of 3 feet, meeting IPX-7 waterproof standards.

Navigating is easy with the Oregon 450t. It can hold up to 200 routes with a maximum of 1,000 waypoints, and save up to 200 tracks with 10,000 points. A triaxial compass means that users don't have to worry about holding the GPS receiver level. However, as noted by reviewers such as Rich Owings at GPSTracklog.com, the increase in convenience over a two-axis electronic compass comes at the small expense of a more complicated calibration process, and that must be performed each time the battery is changed.

Although he calls the Oregon 450t's interface "about as intuitive as they get," Owings points out that the many options on the screen may be overwhelming for a first-time user. The main menu is spread over five screens, which the user can customize by creating new profiles, each with different menu setups and settings. Comments by owners posting at Amazon.com indicate that the Oregon 450t's users make full use of this facility.

The Oregon 450t comes preloaded with topographic maps of the United States, which are at 1:100,000 scale. Some reviewers question whether this is worth the extra cost over the base model Oregon 450 (*Est. $300), which is identical save for those preloaded maps. For example, GPSTracklog.com says that users can access plenty of free topographic maps at a 1:24,000 scale from the Internet. However, reviewers at Amazon.com comment that these smaller scale maps lack details, such as unpaved roads and trails, which are useful for off-road and backwoods navigating. A BirdsEye aerial 3D map feature allows users to download 3D imagery maps of places including state, national and local parks, and lakes, rivers and trails. You need to pay an annual fee (*Est. $30 per year) to access this feature, however, and that draws some negative owner feedback.

Geocachers can download site details directly from the Internet into the Oregon 450t instead of having to enter them manually, a feature that's well received. Users can also access descriptions of a site, with hints about its location and logs from other searchers, and upload and log their own attempts at finding the site. One drawback identified by the reviewers is that you need a premium membership to a third-party site to fully utilize these features.

The Garmin Oregon 450t brings photos into the GPS experience with a picture viewer enabling users to share uploaded pictures. It also has an interesting photo navigation option where users can upload geotagged photos of locations and navigate to them. The Oregon 450t, however, lacks a camera. People who want the ability to take their own geotagged photos need to purchase the slightly more expensive Garmin Oregon 550t, which is identical to the Oregon 450t model but with a 3.4 megapixel autofocus camera.

GPSTracklog.com has a great review of the Garmin Oregon 450 -- identical to the Garmin Oregon 450t except for the addition of topographical maps. TopTenReviews.com does evaluate the Oregon 450t; while the write-up is based more on specifications and features than testing, it is still helpful. For user opinions, head to Amazon.com.

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Garmin Oregon 450 Handheld GPS Navigator
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New: $329.99 $238.00   
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Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS Navigator

 
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Our Sources

1. GPS Tracklog

Rich Owings reviews the Garmin Oregon 450, identical to the Oregon 450t except for the latter's built-in topographical maps. He highlights the color touch screen, the unit's triaxial compass and the customizable menus. He also notes that the visibility of the screen is an improvement over this model's predecessor, the Oregon 400t.

Review: Garmin Oregon 450 Review, Rich Owings, April 2010

2. Amazon.com

Nearly 150 owners have their say here, though many of the reviews are of other GPS receivers in the Oregon line. While some gripes are definitely aired, most owners are pleased enough to grant the Oregon 450t (and its near relatives) either a 4-star or 5-star rating.

Review: Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS Navigator, Contributors to Amazon.com

3. TopTenReviews.com

The editors of TopTenReviews.com call the Garmin Oregon 450t the "most well-rounded of the [Oregon] series" and state that it's perfect for any type of outdoor activity, from driving to biking. They identify its 3D map view system as one of its coolest features.

Review: Garmin Oregon 450t, Editors of TopTenReviews.com

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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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