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★★★★★

“Unfortunately it's not possible to write a brief...”

Written on: 10/04/2006 by BobTech (27 reviews written)

Good Points
Just the thing for getting un-lost in a hurry! Small and light enough to take on a walking trip, with a large enough display for easy viewing when mounted in a car. Solid sensitive GPS performance. Extremely intuitive user-friendly menu system with every function you could want, and probably more.

Bad Points
Very few. The GPSmap 60CS is one of the most intelligently designed and well-made electronic items I've ever used. See the main text for a few minor negatives.

General Comments
Unfortunately it's not possible to write a brief review of a sophisticated navigation system like the Garmin GPSmap 60CS. I hope the nice Review Centre people don't edit this too much. :-)

I bought the GPSmap 60CS along with the City Navigator CD of Australian maps and the Garmin dashboard mounting kit. The GPSmap 60CS wouldn't be very useful in a car without detailed road maps of the area you'll be using it in, and they aren't cheap (but worth the price).

After installing the Garmin MapSource software on my PC then loading the appropriate maps into the GPSmap 60CS, everything fell into place.

It's very easy to locate and mark important places in the MapSource software on your PC, then upload those "waypoints" to the GPS receiver via the USB cable. This can be done on the GPSmap 60CS itself, but it's much easier on a PC screen.

With waypoints installed, the GPSmap 60CS makes it very easy to navigate between any two points. It's shown me much faster routes than the ones I'd been habitually using and has probably already paid for itself in time saved. And if you're completely lost, all you need to do is select your home waypoint and ask it to direct you there. Suddenly you're not lost any more!

The unit produces easily-recognized beeps to alert you when you're some distance from a turn you need to take, then alerts you again when the turn is imminent, displaying an enlarged picture.

It can be configured to display ETA, distance to destination, average speed and a host of other statistics which are all user-selectable for display.

The City Navigator maps include an amazing amount of detail, e.g. you can ask to see all restaurants in an area, and it will give not only their locations and the option of being guided there, but even their telephone numbers!

All the time you're travelling, the GPSmap 60CS is logging where you've been, times and even the elevation above sea level. All this information can be downloaded to the MapSource PC program, which will draw the route on its maps. You can see average speeds, times and other statistics which are very helpful for planning a new route you'll be regularly using.

The latest Mapsource version interfaces with Google Earth, and you can see your route superimposed on the satellite pictures!

The display's a 'transflective' one, totally visible from night-time all the way up to sunlight shining on it. If only digital cameras were equipped with these! Battery life is excellent.

There are a couple of minor negative points. Twice so far after I've told the unit to stop navigation then resume some distance later, the GPSmap 60CS has behaved like it's telling me how to navigate, but it obviously thinks it's somewhere else (by showing non-existent street names etc). The "recalculate" function quickly fixes that.

After making a turn, it can take maybe 5 seconds for the unit to realize you've changed direction. If another turn's coming up immediately, it can fail to indicate this until you've gone past it.

At switch-on, the unit's supposed to calibrate the barometric altimeter to the satellites. Sometimes this doesn't work very well, and there can be an error of a few tens of metres.

Overall the Garmin GPSmap 60CS is an excellent unit with very many good points and very few flaws. I'd recommend it to anyone who needs to go to places where they've never been (and get home again)!