Reviewers point to Garmin's Oregon 550t as a top choice for serious enthusiasts. Its impressive lineup of features includes an easy-to-use touch-screen display with an interface that resembles that of the iPhone. You'll also find a 3.2-megapixel camera that can geo-tag photos (embedding location coordinates), a three-axis digital compass, paperless geocaching, a barometric altimeter and more.
A few negatives are noted here and there. Some reviewers would like a more user-friendly way to link photos to waypoints, and most say the Oregon 550t's screen is a challenge to use in bright sunlight. Then, there's the hefty price tag. The Garmin Dakota 20 (*Est. $250) is less expensive and easier to tote around thanks to its compact size, but not everyone is a fan of its smaller, lower-resolution screen. It's also slower when loading maps.
We found several good reviews for the Garmin Oregon 550t. GPSMagazine.com names the Oregon 550t its top pick among handheld GPS receivers and provides a very detailed and comprehensive review. GPSTracklog.com also provides a thorough report. A succinct but still helpful review can be found at TrustedReviews.com. More than 140 user reviewers at Amazon.com award the entire Garmin Oregon line an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars, but that includes models with different and fewer features than the 550t.
Anonymous reviewer "Fletch" says the Garmin Oregon 550t is a highly capable, rugged and versatile GPS receiver that's a good fit for novices and experts alike. The camera is only on a par with most cell phone cameras, but its geotagging capabilities are good. He also praises the three-way compass as a great navigation tool.
Review: Garmin Oregon 550t Review, "Fletch", April 2010
2. GPS Tracklog
Rich Owings calls the Garmin Oregon 550t "a great workhorse for those who can afford a high-end handheld." Features and ease of use are praised, while the touch screen's visibility in bright sunlight and steep price tag are criticized. Owings also complains about the cumbersome way the unit makes the user link photos to waypoints. But none of that stands in the way of his recommending the 550t.
Review: Garmin Oregon 550t Review, Rich Owings, Dec. 2009
The Garmin Oregon 550t is the highest-rated handheld GPS receiver at this British website. It is described as being full of features for the serious hiker. The geotagging digital camera is especially appreciated.
Review: Garmin Oregon 550t Handheld GPS Navigator Review, James Morris, Feb. 2010
Owner-written reviews on Amazon.com reveal how happy buyers are with the Garmin Oregon GPS units, including the 550t, after days, weeks and even months of use. Reports on the whole are positive, but not all users are completely satisfied. Some reviewers complain about software bugs, and others aren't sure that the Garmin Oregon 550t is worth the price. Reviews are amassed together with other GPS receivers in the Oregon line, making it a little bit of a challenge to make sure comments pertain to a specific model.
Review: Garmin Oregon 550t, Contributors to Amazon.com