The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
When you ask the normal person on the street, "What is GPS?" the majority would not have a clue. After being around for years, many a person still does not what GPS are, and what they do. But through reading this I hope to help those of you out there understand and maybe choose to purchase one of these fantastic inventions.
About GPS --------------------- GPS stands for "Global Positioning System", as it is a piece of technological kit that tells you exactly where you are at that exact time. GPS are not really "new" to the technological world. They have been around for years, available only to the military, but since the 1980's they have been available to us, normal working people, in aid to help us in walking in the countryside to driving to Grandma's. GPS's will work in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.
What does a GPS actually do? ----------------------------------------- With any standard GPS, they will allow you to receive co-ordinates to the accuracy of around 15 metres on average. How GPS work is through satellites. The GPS sends a signal to 24 satellites circling the earth and then using "triangulation", the receiver will tell you where you are. First off though, you will need to have a lock onto these satellites. Most GPS's need at least 3 locked on satellites. Make sure you have a clear view of the sky to be able to obtain connection with the satellites. GPS are great, but trees, cloud cover etc. can affect on you achieving a connection with the satellites, and making you go back to your map and compass. Garmin have now installed WAAS into most of their GPS systems. WAAS stands for Wide Area Augmentation System, which Garmin claim that GPS will then be able to receive accuracy up to 3 metres. WAAS are basically 3 geostationary satellites and a complex network of ground stations. In the Europe, the equalvent of WAAS will be EGNOS. Every year EGNOS/WAAS will be released by governments after testing, but since 2000, it still has not been released......but all GPS users are hoping that it will finally be available in 2006. Using "Waypoints", you can create routes on Mapping software such as "Memory Map" and then transfer these to your GPS, so you can then follow a route which can allow the GPS to show distance covered/remaining, predicted" finishing times, average speed etc. These can be helpful in most situations, but unfortunately, the GPS cannot allow time for accent/decent. When routes are followed on the GPS, the GPS will not allow time for accent/decent, which can make the predicted time pretty useless. You will not always have to use a route to find an area, but if you draw a route using the GPS to an area, the unit will draw a straight line to the designated area you have selected. This in not helpful as usually routes are never straight lines so the distance etc. will be out. Whether you are following a route or not, the GPS will draw what is called "a track". This is basically a trail of what you have walked with speed and time attached to it. This can then be transferred to your mapping software from your GPS and you can actually look at how far off the path you went! These tracks can be reversed i.e. if weather gets to and and you need to turn back as the fog heads in. The amount of waypoints, routes and tracks is determined on how much memory your GPS contains. This can be either 8mb,16mb or 24mb.
The Garmin eTrex Legend ------------------------------ This is the GPS i own. Working in an outdoors store (Blacks), owning a GPS is handy in giving advice to customers about which GPS will be suitable for their use. First off, being a mountain climber and long distance walker, I wanted a GPS that would suit my needs for programming long distance walks. As explained earlier, GPS use "Waypoints" in creating and following routes. Each GPS can hold a certain amount of Waypoints, and the legend can hold 1,000 waypoints due to its 8mb ram, and can hold 20 routes. There are a limit to the number of waypoints per route, and the Legends is 125. This can be avoided by just splitting up routes. The Legend has WAAS enabled, so when they finally allow us to use this, the Legend will have full capability of using all the accuracy advantages. Another great advantage of the Legend is that is has a European basemap. This means major cities in Europe will be shown on the GPS, so when you have locked onto the necessary satellites, you will be able to view where you are on the map, and calculate the nearest cities to your position. This is why i paid the extra few pounds for this function. Rather than another cheaper GPS with same functions, I felt having a map is a must have. It also has some minor areas local to me and even a lot of Scottish quiet towns! You can purchase other pieces of Software to enable you to enter in even more detailed areas to a pin hole, which is great if your planning on going somewhere you've never been before! The screen of the legend is B/W, but this is not a problem. Colour makes the view better, but it's not worth another hundred odd pounds. The ruggedness is a great feature to. I believe my legend to be in-destructible. Having a rubber back and sides, it must have taken a few tumbles and drops but is still in great condition. I would like to say its bomb proof, but I don't have a bomb to experiment with! If you are a avid fisherman, you can use the Legends Hunting/Fishing calculator, in which you can receive times in which it is best to fish. The GPS uses the sun/moon to calculate the feeding time for the fishes and thus, a time in which you are certain to catch a bite to eat! The battery life is pretty good as well. On 2 AA batteries, on the "odometer screen", it lasted 15 hours....3 less than the stated 18 hours, but i can live with that. I've noticed though that if you view the map page a lot, re-drawing the map each time eats the battery life. Also, the backlight drains the Legends battery, but as long as you have plenty of spare AA's you will be fine. With the batteries in the unit, it was around 180 grams with AA's. With more expensive GPS's, you can have a Electronic Compass which works when you have no satellite reception. With the Legend, the Electronic Compass only works when you have satellite reception. Again, as with the Electronic Compass, the Altimeter on the Legend uses the satelites, so when connection is lost, you cannot see your elevation. Again, with more expensive models (Vista), these all are built into the GPS and don't need satellite connection. Also, with the Vista, there is a built in Elevation distance profile which is great to see, but when data from the GPS is transferred to the mapping software, the information can then be seen there.
The best place to buy one is Ebay. I picked up mine for £100 including P&P which is a great price for an item which I use everytime I go walking and for even long distance car journeys to work out how long till we reach the destination!
Overall, the Garmin Legend is a great, easy to use GPS with all the features anyone could need. For beginners, this GPS is great as the user-friendliness and the features available on the Legend, it's a GPS for life.