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  1. #1
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    Dedicated bike GPS done wrong

    I unwrapped my new Garmin Oregon 450 with much anticipation last night, but sadly it was short lived. As many people do, I did a lot of research on the internet before settling on the 450 to use for mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor activities. It got good reviews and I read one write-up by a claimed user that uses it for mountain biking that swung me.
    Anyway, I wanted a decent fairly low cost GPS for multiple outdoor activities. I have a smartphone with many apps that can do much of what I want to do, but thought it would be better to get a more rugged and dedicated device that was purpose built for the great outdoors. In hindsight, that was a big mistake.

    1. Dumb and user (un)friendly
    It has been a long time since I worked with a Garmin product and I just assumed in the world of smartphones and smart apps, that the same thinking would now be employed on GPS devices. Well, it is not. The interface is archaic and as ridged as the rock of Gibraltar. Yes, you can customise this and customise that, but it remains rigid. The pre-programmed options (profiles) are not great and can’t give me what I want; certainly not that I can find. The device has a 3” screen and I want to use half of it to see the map of the route I am cycling. This is rather important in mountain biking… I also want to see my current speed and a couple of basic KPI’s. Well, to my disappointment you can get the one or the other, but not both on the same screen at the same time? If you can, I certainly can’t figure it out. I don’t have days to surf around on various forums to figure it out. My point here is that I didn’t have to surf for days to figure out how my smartphone (Samsung S4) works and trust me that is much more complicated and can do much more than this, so why should I have to do it with a GPS?

    2. Dimensions and weight
    The device is bigger and heavier than what I imagined. Yes, it is rugged and made for rough treatment, but why so much bigger than a smartphone that can do 50 things more? I’m sure if you ripped the GPS module out of a smartphone and just kept the bare essentials with it along with screen and battery, you would end with something a quarter of the weight. Add a bullet proof case and it would still be half the weight and certainly have much smaller dimensions.

    3. Software interface
    This is where it really fails and big time. There are multiple Garmin software interfaces for communicating with this device, but each one fails in some way or another. The first is Garmin Connect, which is a web interface that allows you to download activities you have done and upload them to the web, share and record for future reference. It uses downloadable software to communicate with the device. The other and probably most important thing, is that Garmin Connect allows you to download tracks that others have already done. Imagine this, you can pre-plan a mountain biking trip so that you can follow a route that others have already followed and then clock your time against them. Well, it doesn’t work. You can do all the fancy planning and downloading of tracks on Garmin Connect, but when you plug in your Oregon 450, it won’t let you upload it! It only allows you to download trips that you have already done. What is the point of having this device then? The technology exists and there are hacks that now allow you to do it, but why do you have to go to such lengths? Why can Garmin not just support their own products properly?
    The second interface is Garmin Basecamp. I have had more success uploading and planning routes with this package, but it is not easy to use and you need a PhD in astrophysics to get it to do what you want. Why? Why not just make something easy and intuitive like the rest of the world does with software? Why not make it powerful too so that you can do anything you want? I have now resorted to using both Garmin Connect and Garmin Basecamp to get what I want. This means exporting files from one to the other, using hacks and cracks to make that work. Why not just make it work properly in the first place? Why are only some devices supported by Garmin Connect?

    4. Hardware interface
    This is a real corker. The device uses a mini-USB cable to communicate with computer for updates, upload activities and download new routes (if you have the time to follow the processes described above). It also has a built in wireless communication module whereby it can send information such as routes etc. to other compatible Garmin devices. But it can’t communicate wirelessly with a computer! Why can it not just use the same wireless module for that? Even if you had to buy some kind of a dongle to make it work?

    5. Product range
    Another baffling thing is why Garmin have so many products? There must be 20 models targeted at outdoor navigation alone. Another 10 especially for cyclists and another 10 for joggers and other fitness orientated people. This could be done with two or three products with different software applications. At the heart of each one of these devices is a GPS module, touch screen and processor with a bit of memory. It should be fairly easy to standardise and bring cost down substantially. You could have one device that could be used by road cyclists (who are critical on weight) with a removable case that you can switch to another case and then use on a mountain bike (where ruggedness is more important) and then another case to use as hiking GPS. Why have different devices for each application? You could have different software apps dedicated for hiking or for cycling or for whatever you want. Garmin can open an app store and make tons of money that way. Having so many products that are so similar yet so different just pushes cost up and forces the user to purchase more than one device. In both cases the only winner is Garmin. Why not be more consumer friendly?

    I am really surprised that a company like Garmin have not moved with the times. They have such a good reputation and build such good quality products, why not capitalise on that. Have they not realised what happens with companies that don’t? Why not just have a look at BlackBerry, where they were 5 years ago and where they are today. If the boys at Garmin don’t wake up and move with the times, they will end up in the same pile… All that needs to happen is someone to wake up and see the need for a SMART GPS, build it on Android or IOS (or whatever SMART platform) and they will close their doors…

    My advice is that if you are looking for a GPS to use on a mountain bike (perhaps road too?) right now, I reckon you are better off buying a used iPhone and dedicated bike mount than investing in a so called “outdoor” GPS. It will cost you the same, but you’ll get what you want through the right app and not have to deal with all the BS you have to as described above.

  2. #2
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    Wow Chuck!

    Well, I use a Garmin 500 for cycling and I even use it for hiking with great results. I find Garmin connect to be easy to use with an over abundance of information at my disposal.

    Sorry you had such a bad experience with your Oregon, but I am sure it's main intended use was/is not cycling. I am sure it's an added feature because they already have the programming in place for other devices.

    Good luck and welcome to MTBR although most people don't use their first post to *****, that comes later.

  3. #3
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    One word, unrealistic expectations.

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    ^ You have 50% too many words.
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  5. #5
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    You opened it last night, woke up this morning and wrote review like you are an expert on it.
    How about learning a little more about it, giving it some real world use, etc, before passing judgement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    ...I wanted a decent fairly low cost ...In hindsight, that was a big mistake.
    Applys to pretty much everything, not just GPS units.
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    While I agree that it is a bit antiquated as compared to modern smartphones, but if you did as much research as you said did I'm sure you realize Garmin is not running an IOS or Android operating system so to expect the Garmin to act like those devices is an oversight on your part. Keep in mind the hardware requirements are quite different as well. I've heard the GPS receivers in smartphones aren't always that great.

    Regardless I do think Garmin could use an update to their model line.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by net wurker View Post
    ^ You have 50% too many words.



    Yep, like the 50% unrealized expectations.

  9. #9
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    It sounds like his new Oregon 450 really grinds his gears.

  10. #10
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    Wow that was long.

    Garmin connect allows you to save someones activity as a course and send to your device. Then all you have to do is tell your Garmin you want to follow the course. I think you need to spend more time using the Garmin before you give up on it. I love my edge 500 and wouldn't go back to trying to use a phone.

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    You had me at "hello"

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    You opened it last night, woke up this morning and wrote review like you are an expert on it.
    How about learning a little more about it, giving it some real world use, etc, before passing judgement?
    You're right, I will spend more time on it. I was up half the night due to a misbehaving two year old and that contributed to the lengthy post. I'm not holding my breath, but will give the unit more of a chance.

    Having said that, part of the reason for the post is that I was hoping someone at Garmin would pick it up and have a good read at it. We have the ability now to make things more flexible/customizeable and easier to use (as smartphones have proved) and I see no reason this cannot be applied to GPS.

  13. #13
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    I love my Garmin 500 but if I were Garmin I'd be worried. Smartphones are eating the world. I look at my Garmin 500 while I ride for various bits of info but the most important (to me) analysis happens after the ride when I log the ride on Strava. I could get all that with a $50 Cateye on the bar and my phone in the pocket running the free strava app (or one of the many alternatives).
    My phone has a 1080p display, a quad-core processor, 64 GB of storage, it connects at incredible speed to the cellular data network and calculates position using both the US and the Russian GPS systems. There is *no way* that Garmin could offer me similar functionality for the ~$130 this phone cost me (including cost of 32GB microSD card). I know, I pay a lot more for my carrier subscription but I'd do that anyway and when my contract runs out the phone still remains a viable bike ride logging machine -- even without cellular connection.
    Most dedicated cyclists still use Garmins or equivalent for good reasons but for casual users and people on a budget I am sure the smartphone will take over. I am not too surprised by the OP's opinion.

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    Hard to believe

    It's hard to believe all you say is true, particularly since you just got it and you are unfamiliar with it. I especially find it hard to believe you can't upload activities to Garmin Connect. But all too often people buying GPS units have unrealistic expectations. Some of it is your own fault, e.g. dimensions and weight could be ascertained before purchasing.

  15. #15
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    Dedicated bike GPS done wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    You're right, I will spend more time on it. I was up half the night due to a misbehaving two year old and that contributed to the lengthy post. I'm not holding my breath, but will give the unit more of a chance.

    Having said that, part of the reason for the post is that I was hoping someone at Garmin would pick it up and have a good read at it. We have the ability now to make things more flexible/customizeable and easier to use (as smartphones have proved) and I see no reason this cannot be applied to GPS.
    First, the Oregon 450 is not a dedicated mtb/cycling GPS. It can be used as such, but is not as easy to use as an Edge series GPS.

    If you only want one GPS for hiking, bike, car, the Oregon is fine, and very customizable. If you can figure it out.

    I have the Oregon 450. Used it on the bike for a while. Prefer my Edge 305, mostly because it is a Bike Computer with GPS capabilities, not a GPS with a cycling computer display screen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ View Post
    One word, unrealistic expectations.
    Twenty years ago I got my first cellphone. It was a clunky user unfriendly thing. Today I have a phone that runs Android, it is easy to use and fully customizeable. Twenty years ago I bought my first GPS. Today I bought a new one. It has a colour touch screen, but for the rest, is pretty much the same... Do you get my point?

    Bet you $50 that if the GPS industry doesn't catch on within a year or two, Samsung (or someone else) will be making a fully customizeable user friendly GPS running on Android and Garmin will be selling maps only...

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    Dedicated bike GPS done wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    I love my Garmin 500 but if I were Garmin I'd be worried. Smartphones are eating the world. I look at my Garmin 500 while I ride for various bits of info but the most important (to me) analysis happens after the ride when I log the ride on Strava. I could get all that with a $50 Cateye on the bar and my phone in the pocket running the free strava app (or one of the many alternatives).
    My phone has a 1080p display, a quad-core processor, 64 GB of storage, it connects at incredible speed to the cellular data network and calculates position using both the US and the Russian GPS systems. There is *no way* that Garmin could offer me similar functionality for the ~$130 this phone cost me (including cost of 32GB microSD card). I know, I pay a lot more for my carrier subscription but I'd do that anyway and when my contract runs out the phone still remains a viable bike ride logging machine -- even without cellular connection.
    Most dedicated cyclists still use Garmins or equivalent for good reasons but for casual users and people on a budget I am sure the smartphone will take over. I am not too surprised by the OP's opinion.
    What kind of battery life do you get while using your phone as a bike computer?

    I have no desire to own another smartphone or pay for the required service plan.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    Twenty years ago I got my first cellphone. It was a clunky user unfriendly thing. Today I have a phone that runs Android, it is easy to use and fully customizeable. Twenty years ago I bought my first GPS. Today I bought a new one. It has a colour touch screen, but for the rest, is pretty much the same... Do you get my point?

    Bet you $50 that if the GPS industry doesn't catch on within a year or two, Samsung (or someone else) will be making a fully customizeable user friendly GPS running on Android and Garmin will be selling maps only...


    Just what I want, a phone/gps that does both of those things half assed and with battery that lasts 3 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    I love my Garmin 500 but if I were Garmin I'd be worried. Smartphones are eating the world. I look at my Garmin 500 while I ride for various bits of info but the most important (to me) analysis happens after the ride when I log the ride on Strava. I could get all that with a $50 Cateye on the bar and my phone in the pocket running the free strava app (or one of the many alternatives).
    My phone has a 1080p display, a quad-core processor, 64 GB of storage, it connects at incredible speed to the cellular data network and calculates position using both the US and the Russian GPS systems. There is *no way* that Garmin could offer me similar functionality for the ~$130 this phone cost me (including cost of 32GB microSD card). I know, I pay a lot more for my carrier subscription but I'd do that anyway and when my contract runs out the phone still remains a viable bike ride logging machine -- even without cellular connection.
    Most dedicated cyclists still use Garmins or equivalent for good reasons but for casual users and people on a budget I am sure the smartphone will take over. I am not too surprised by the OP's opinion.
    I think you got my point. Expect a lynch mob to come knocking...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dan4jeepin View Post
    Wow that was long.

    Garmin connect allows you to save someones activity as a course and send to your device. Then all you have to do is tell your Garmin you want to follow the course. I think you need to spend more time using the Garmin before you give up on it. I love my edge 500 and wouldn't go back to trying to use a phone.
    For some reason, it doesn't work on the Oregon 450, which is part of my gripe. See https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...ect-amp-Oregon You will see some of the convoluted ways users are trying to get around this problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    It's hard to believe all you say is true, particularly since you just got it and you are unfamiliar with it. I especially find it hard to believe you can't upload activities to Garmin Connect. But all too often people buying GPS units have unrealistic expectations. Some of it is your own fault, e.g. dimensions and weight could be ascertained before purchasing.
    Feel free to read https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...ect-amp-Oregon . You are absolutely right and I should have paid more attention to physical dimensions and weight. I really just expected more from an industry leader...

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    What cell phone do you own that you're using to make a comparison to this gps with?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    I love my Garmin 500 but if I were Garmin I'd be worried. Smartphones are eating the world. I look at my Garmin 500 while I ride for various bits of info but the most important (to me) analysis happens after the ride when I log the ride on Strava. I could get all that with a $50 Cateye on the bar and my phone in the pocket running the free strava app (or one of the many alternatives).
    My phone has a 1080p display, a quad-core processor, 64 GB of storage, it connects at incredible speed to the cellular data network and calculates position using both the US and the Russian GPS systems. There is *no way* that Garmin could offer me similar functionality for the ~$130 this phone cost me (including cost of 32GB microSD card). I know, I pay a lot more for my carrier subscription but I'd do that anyway and when my contract runs out the phone still remains a viable bike ride logging machine -- even without cellular connection.
    Most dedicated cyclists still use Garmins or equivalent for good reasons but for casual users and people on a budget I am sure the smartphone will take over. I am not too surprised by the OP's opinion.
    Again its all about expectations. If all you are looking for is an average speed and means to upload your data to Strava you are correct. But do you have topo maps on your smart phone? Can you download GPX tracks to it so you can use it to navigate? (while Im sure you can do some/all of this on a smart phone this is where the GPS's shine) What happens if you are out on a multiday ride? How will you charge your phone? I purchased my GPS because I was getting into endurance races. I can easily download and modify GPX tracks in topofusion, download to the Garmin and take my Oregon out on a 2 day ride with an extra set of AA batteries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    For some reason, it doesn't work on the Oregon 450, which is part of my gripe. See https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...ect-amp-Oregon You will see some of the convoluted ways users are trying to get around this problem.
    So a convoluted way is to plug your Garmin into a computer, open windows explorer, click on the Garmin and drag a GPX file into the GPX folder? Wow I must be getting old. I guess the new norm must be to just ask your device to transfer files wirelessly and let the "magic" begin.

    Maybe people think using a key to unlock your car is convoluted these days as well.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    Feel free to read https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...ect-amp-Oregon . You are absolutely right and I should have paid more attention to physical dimensions and weight. I really just expected more from an industry leader...
    You do realize the Garmin Oregon 450 was released in Nov 2009, 4 years ago !!! Its under their discontinued section on the Garmin site. How good were the smartphones 4 years ago? I actually have the same unit Oregon 450t and I have zero issues getting GPX files onto the unit.
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    Upload to Gamin Connect?

    Did you install the Garmin Communicator as per the manual? And I guess I should ask if you even registered on Garmin Connect? If not what you can do is limited. The title of your initial post "Dedicated bike GPS done wrong" is incorrect. You did not buy a dedicated bike GPS, you bought a trail GPS.

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    I believe he is having issues downloading a GPX track from Garmin Connect and putting it directly on his Oregon. Personally i always download GPX files to my GPX folder on my C: drive so I always have a copy. Using windows explorer I simply copy the file from my C: drive to the GPS connected via the supplied (gasp !!!!) cable and Im good to go.

    Without digging too much further as Im having no issues my guess is that Garmin Connect hasnt been around for 4 years like the 450 has. It probably wasnt cost effective for Garmin to go back and make sure every discontinued device was supported. So my guess is the 450 probably doesnt work as seemlessly as the newer models do with Garmin Connect but its really a non-issue.
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  28. #28
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    No

    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    I believe he is having issues downloading a GPX track from Garmin Connect and putting it directly on his Oregon.
    No, he said "but when you plug in your Oregon 450, it won’t let you upload it! It only allows you to download trips that you have already done." I'm beginning to think much of the problem is "operator error". I wonder if he even registered and installed the Garmin Communicator as per the manual.

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    Well could be. I just click on the manual upload button and select my GPX file and done. Oh well.
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    Sounds convoluted.
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    Your expectations are completely unrealistic, as described in detail above.

    This is a huge problem in general. People get used to their smartphones and expect the GPS to operate similarly. All those snazzy do-dads on the phone eat battery life and aren't ideal in the field. Phones HAVE to have smaller GPS antennas in them to fit everything else. As such, their GPS reception sucks. They do their best to cover that fact up, and inexperienced users are frequently duped by those efforts, but that doesn't make it any less true.

    As to the size and weight of the device, a lot of that has to do with chosen materials. They're usually made of chunky plastic, which tends to be a little heavier. I'd rather drop my Oregon on a rock than my phone. All I'm gonna say there. Additionally, outdoor GPS receivers take other priorities into consideration. One being buoyancy. While the Oregon isn't designed to float like some models are (that are even bigger), when used with lightweight Lithium batteries, it's nearly neutrally buoyant, which makes it a bit easier to retrieve if you drop it into a body of water when hiking (the primary intended use of the device).

    Garmin doesn't hide the information about its size. They post it right up on their website and on the product packaging. Not their fault you didn't look/didn't pay attention.

    True, the Oregon 450 "doesn't work with Garmin Connect". This means it doesn't communicate directly with the website when you plug it in. It does NOT mean you can't get your files onto the site. You just have to do a manual upload of the .gpx file. Not rocket science. Garmin Connect was designed to work with specific receivers when it was created. That didn't include the Oregon 450. Newer models are included. Get over it.

    There are similar issues about the way you "expect" it to function re: navigating tracks, recording data, etc. It is not a fitness model, as Shiggy pointed out. Garmin's fitness models function a little bit differently in this regard. Garmin intended for them to function differently based on the primary uses they're built for. For better or worse, that's the way it works. No use getting bent out of shape about it. Either you're flexible enough to adapt yourself to use the device the way it needs to be used for your use, or you're not.

    Sounds to me like you're excessively rigid.

    And, if you want a Garmin that functions like a smartphone, go buy a Monterra. It runs Android. It works like your phone, but is accurate like a real GPS. It's far from cheap. But it's a helluva lot less expensive than the older GPS hardware I've used that ran mobile operating systems for longer than smartphones have even existed. I've used $10,000 GPS receivers for work and during my formal education. Now how much perspective might that give you for the way a $150 consumer handheld would function? For me, that gives a lot of perspective. I don't expect a lot of fancy bells and whistles out of consumer grade gear. I'm not sure about you.

    You need to realize that smartphones are HEAVILY subsidized from service providers to get more people on them faster, and to get them to upgrade sooner. GPS hardware is not. It's built to do what it needs to do, and have more longevity than phones. Many government agencies and universities are still using early generation Garmin eTrex Legends. If, for the less expensive models, that means a more simplified operating system, then that's what it means. You need to get over yourself.

    Wireless file transmission over ANT+ is not all it's cracked up to be. I have a receiver that ONLY uploads wirelessly and I find myself getting irritated with it at times. Garmin is moving away from ANT+ file transfers for this reason. If they're doing that, why would Garmin go and add that functionality to the Oregon? Plugging it in is not rocket science. It's a MUCH more flexible method of handling data transfers, firmware updates, and managing data on the device. That functionality will not go away for handhelds. Get over yourself.

    If you are that dissatisfied, get rid of the Garmin, use your damn phone, and shut the f*ck up because you don't know a damn thing. Now, if you are interested in learning something, sit back, relax, and play with the Oregon. Realize that outdoor electronics are a compromise. Covering 20+ miles through the backcountry in any conceivable weather environment is not the same as being outside 50 feet from your climate controlled car to the climate controlled coffee shop inside a protected pocket. Some of the compromises in outdoor electronics are related to that. Some of them are related to batteries. The life of those batteries (per charge/use) as well as how to handle when those batteries die. It's FAR easier to rely on replaceable AA batteries for outdoor electronics than it is to rely on the smaller and lighter rechargeable LiIon ones in your phone that have more juice. Try replacing the battery on an iphone in the field when it runs out sometime. Solar chargers only become practical at a certain point.

    And for the record, Garmin is not known for browsing these forums, and certainly not for responding here. I can't recall that ever happening. You're not the only fool who expected to get anything from posting your uneducated rant at Garmin here. Try posting it on Garmin's forums. I doubt it'd last long without some serious rewriting.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    I did a lot of research on the internet before settling on the 450.
    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    2. Dimensions and weight
    The device is bigger and heavier than what I imagined.
    I did very little research on the internet, but every spec I looked at showed the dimensions:
    Dimensions & Weight
    • Width 2.3 in
    • Depth 1.4 in
    • Height 4.5 in
    • Weight 6.8 oz

    So the dimensions and weight should not have been a surprise to you. Get out of the house and go look at one at a local store (REI, maybe), then you would have held it in your hand and you might have then looked at some of the features on it that you complain about.


    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    I read one write-up by a claimed user that uses it for mountain biking that swung me.
    You are too easily swayed and only reading one mountain biker review does not constitute a lot of research. There are hundreds of reviews out there, find more than one from a mountain biker to base your purchase decision on.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck_za View Post
    part of the reason for the post is that I was hoping someone at Garmin would pick it up and have a good read at it.
    Try contacting Garmin directly, they have this fun link on their website called Submit Feedback, instead of trashing them first on the internet. They are much more likely to respond to your Submit Feedback than they are to jump into your discussion trashing them on a public forum.
    Take Gravity For A Ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Your expectations are completely unrealistic, as described in detail above.

    This is a huge problem in general. People get used to their smartphones and expect the GPS to operate similarly. All those snazzy do-dads on the phone eat battery life and aren't ideal in the field. Phones HAVE to have smaller GPS antennas in them to fit everything else. As such, their GPS reception sucks. They do their best to cover that fact up, and inexperienced users are frequently duped by those efforts, but that doesn't make it any less true.
    that is not what he said, He said the interface could have been better he only used the reference to a smartphone as an ëxample
    As to the size and weight of the device, a lot of that has to do with chosen materials. They're usually made of chunky plastic, which tends to be a little heavier. I'd rather drop my Oregon on a rock than my phone. All I'm gonna say there. Additionally, outdoor GPS receivers take other priorities into consideration. One being buoyancy. While the Oregon isn't designed to float like some models are (that are even bigger), when used with lightweight Lithium batteries, it's nearly neutrally buoyant, which makes it a bit easier to retrieve if you drop it into a body of water when hiking (the primary intended use of the device).
    I still cant get the point of the device if you cannot upload maps from the website whether you hiking or riding. The damn think better float cause i am gonna throw it away

    Garmin doesn't hide the information about its size. They post it right up on their website and on the product packaging. Not their fault you didn't look/didn't pay attention.
    True, the Oregon 450 "doesn't work with Garmin Connect". This means it doesn't communicate directly with the website when you plug it in. It does NOT mean you can't get your files onto the site. You just have to do a manual upload of the .gpx file. Not rocket science. Garmin Connect was designed to work with specific receivers when it was created. That didn't include the Oregon 450. Newer models are included. Get over it.
    so in essence he bought a product thats incompatible with most of the manufacturer website? He could have bought a suunto ambit and still upload gpx file, but whats the point if you cant upload ppl maps which is what he assumed he could do without some workaround downloading to his computer. BTW tons of devices data can be extracted as GPX file even my suunto gps pod can do that and load into Strava.

    There are similar issues about the way you "expect" it to function re: navigating tracks, recording data, etc. It is not a fitness model, as Shiggy pointed out. Garmin's fitness models function a little bit differently in this regard. Garmin intended for them to function differently based on the primary uses they're built for. For better or worse, that's the way it works. No use getting bent out of shape about it. Either you're flexible enough to adapt yourself to use the device the way it needs to be used for your use, or you're not.

    Sounds to me like you're excessively rigid.
    thats a fair point a budget device you know the primary use isn't exactly what you want is always going to involve some adaptation.
    And also the realization sometimes that what you want out of the given device isn't possible and move on.
    And, if you want a Garmin that functions like a smartphone, go buy a Monterra. It runs Android. It works like your phone, but is accurate like a real GPS. It's far from cheap. But it's a helluva lot less expensive than the older GPS hardware I've used that ran mobile operating systems for longer than smartphones have even existed. I've used $10,000 GPS receivers for work and during my formal education. Now how much perspective might that give you for the way a $150 consumer handheld would function? For me, that gives a lot of perspective. I don't expect a lot of fancy bells and whistles out of consumer grade gear. I'm not sure about you.
    so that 150 bucks gps is garbage, I think he got that pretty quick
    You need to realize that smartphones are HEAVILY subsidized from service providers to get more people on them faster, and to get them to upgrade sooner. GPS hardware is not. It's built to do what it needs to do, and have more longevity than phones. Many government agencies and universities are still using early generation Garmin eTrex Legends. If, for the less expensive models, that means a more simplified operating system, then that's what it means. You need to get over yourself.
    on one hand because of short product cycle you have solid integration but on long product cycle the manufacturer doesn't upgrade firmware to operate properly with a server interface and its fine?..Garmin could make this device communicate properly with their site my guess is that they aren't interested because they want ppl to upgrade to actually get integration.
    Wireless file transmission over ANT+ is not all it's cracked up to be. I have a receiver that ONLY uploads wirelessly and I find myself getting irritated with it at times. Garmin is moving away from ANT+ file transfers for this reason. If they're doing that, why would Garmin go and add that functionality to the Oregon? Plugging it in is not rocket science. It's a MUCH more flexible method of handling data transfers, firmware updates, and managing data on the device. That functionality will not go away for handhelds. Get over yourself.
    Ant+ communicate between the device itself and a peripheral linked to the device such as an HR. Ant+ isn't used to connect The Device to a server its either Bluetooth or cable and the software installed on your computer is what "translate and send the info to the server. If Garmin wanted to make the oregon work seamlessly they could..period . The problem with ant+ is that it doesn't transmit well under water which is a problem for triathletes other than that there is nothing wrong with Ant+ If garmin want to drop it for some other reasons.
    If you are that dissatisfied, get rid of the Garmin, use your damn phone, and shut the f*ck up because you don't know a damn thing.
    clearly upset
    Now, if you are interested in learning something, sit back, relax, and play with the Oregon. Realize that outdoor electronics are a compromise. Covering 20+ miles through the backcountry in any conceivable weather environment is not the same as being outside 50 feet from your climate controlled car to the climate controlled coffee shop inside a protected pocket. Some of the compromises in outdoor electronics are related to that. Some of them are related to batteries. The life of those batteries (per charge/use) as well as how to handle when those batteries die. It's FAR easier to rely on replaceable AA batteries for outdoor electronics than it is to rely on the smaller and lighter rechargeable LiIon ones in your phone that have more juice. Try replacing the battery on an iphone in the field when it runs out sometime. Solar chargers only become practical at a certain point.
    Gps sucks juice at 1 second interval and YOU NEED 1 second interval on an MTB. either the device can last min 4 hours at 1 sec or its not usable for MTB.

    And for the record, Garmin is not known for browsing these forums, and certainly not for responding here. I can't recall that ever happening. You're not the only fool who expected to get anything from posting your uneducated rant at Garmin here. Try posting it on Garmin's forums. I doubt it'd last long without some serious rewriting.
    At the end of the day he can probably return the product because its doesn't fit his needs thats all there is to say.
    do his research again and learn from this experience. calling him a fool , uneducated and more is way over the top.
    There are probably a lots of people that would find that device adequate for what they do.
    The device doesn't suits his needs end of story
    To the OP
    yu need a device with 4 to 6 hours battery life at 1 second interval for cycling just that is bringing you into a price bracket. From there make a list of must have and discount all products that don't do those.
    from there you look at the price bracket, if too high you MUST compromise on your must have.. simple

  34. #34
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    Operator error

    Quote Originally Posted by jerbsod View Post
    I still cant get the point of the device if you cannot upload maps from the website whether you hiking or riding.
    He doesn't seem to know the difference between upload and download. You do not upload maps from Garmin Connect. You may upload your activities to Garmin Connect or download other peoples activities from Garmin Connect. And you can upload any GPX file from any source just by clicking on "manual upload" and selecting the file as you would any other file on your computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    He doesn't seem to know the difference between upload and download. You do not upload maps from Garmin Connect. You may upload your activities to Garmin Connect or download other peoples activities from Garmin Connect. And you can upload any GPX file from any source just by clicking on "manual upload" and selecting the file as you would any other file on your computer.
    yes I meant upload to the device from your computer after downloading from the website.. as I said lots of devices can output GPX files that you can manually upload into strava or whatever.
    thanks for correcting me for clarity on this

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    What kind of battery life do you get while using your phone as a bike computer?

    I have no desire to own another smartphone or pay for the required service plan.
    I actually don't use my phone as a bike computer since I have a Garmin 500. But I ride with people who use phones in that way. They use them with the display off in their jersey pocket. I have asked the question regarding battery life and it does not seem to be an issue. My rides are normally 2-4 hours. When I later check strava their info looks identical to mine.

    If you don't have a smartphone then obviously buying one as a bike computer does not make any sense. But for those people who own one anyway, the functionality is free.

    Please note that I am not really advocating using phones instead of dedicated bike computers. I couldn't care less what people do. I am just predicting the demise of the makers of a lot of dedicated electronics because their products will be replaced by smartphones. Something that's already happening to point&shoot cameras even though personally I think that phone cameras still suck.

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    If the app records the data and stores it in the phone you could even shut the mobile service for longer battery life as well and just leave gps run.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerbsod View Post
    yes I meant upload to the device from your computer after downloading from the website.. as I said lots of devices can output GPX files that you can manually upload into strava or whatever.
    thanks for correcting me for clarity on this
    But thats the thing. You can easily do this! I do it all the time. There is a GPX folder under the Garmin drive once connected to any computer. This is 100% user error if he is unable to get GPX files onto his Oregon 450.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerbsod View Post
    I still cant get the point of the device if you cannot upload maps from the website whether you hiking or riding. The damn think better float cause i am gonna throw it away
    I don't know your problem, but it certainly isn't Garmin. I put all kinds of maps on my Oregon all the time. GPSFileDepot - Free Custom Garmin Maps, Ximage hosting, tutorials, articles and more for your GPSr has a lot of good ones. I also get free satellite imagery using Topofusion on mine. I think you're doing it wrong.


    so in essence he bought a product thats incompatible with most of the manufacturer website? He could have bought a suunto ambit and still upload gpx file, but whats the point if you cant upload ppl maps which is what he assumed he could do without some workaround downloading to his computer. BTW tons of devices data can be extracted as GPX file even my suunto gps pod can do that and load into Strava.
    it's not INcompatible with much of anything. it's called manual uploads. does everything have to be automatic and idiot proof for you two? again, get over yourself.

    so that 150 bucks gps is garbage, I think he got that pretty quick
    It does what it's supposed to do quite well. It's not my fault or Garmin's fault or anyone else's fault but the purchaser's if it doesn't do what the person wants. The purchaser is the one who chose to spend the money on the item in spite of all the other information out there that clearly outlines the capabilities of the device.

    on one hand because of short product cycle you have solid integration but on long product cycle the manufacturer doesn't upgrade firmware to operate properly with a server interface and its fine?..Garmin could make this device communicate properly with their site my guess is that they aren't interested because they want ppl to upgrade to actually get integration.
    wtf? everything does not need to integrate seamlessly with everything else. what is wrong with a device that can function well on its own and has a high level of compatibility because of it? there's nothing wrong with that. I'd say that your ridiculous rants on this say more about you than anything else.


    Ant+ communicate between the device itself and a peripheral linked to the device such as an HR. Ant+ isn't used to connect The Device to a server its either Bluetooth or cable and the software installed on your computer is what "translate and send the info to the server. If Garmin wanted to make the oregon work seamlessly they could..period . The problem with ant+ is that it doesn't transmit well under water which is a problem for triathletes other than that there is nothing wrong with Ant+ If garmin want to drop it for some other reasons.
    You are incorrect. I have a Forerunner 310XT. The ONLY way it communicates to my computer is through the ANT+ protocol. My computer runs Garmin's ANT Agent, which automatically uploads activities to Garmin Connect from the device when it is on and within range. ANT Agent also handles firmware updates to the device. I have a USB ANT+ dongle for the device. Both the device and my computer can communicate with my Tanita bc-1000 scale, which ONLY provides body composition data via ANT+ protocol to compatible devices. The Garmin Oregon has an ANT+ radio. Certain functions are enabled on it. Wireless data transmission to the computer is not. Yes, Garmin could have chosen to include that functionality. They did not. Get over it.

    Gps sucks juice at 1 second interval and YOU NEED 1 second interval on an MTB. either the device can last min 4 hours at 1 sec or its not usable for MTB.
    Recording interval does not impact battery life. The device is running and gathering positions at at least a 1sec interval regardless of how often those data points are saved to the memory. I have used my Oregon on multiple 4+ hour rides on a set of batteries. I fail to see your point.

    At the end of the day he can probably return the product because its doesn't fit his needs thats all there is to say.
    do his research again and learn from this experience. calling him a fool , uneducated and more is way over the top.
    There are probably a lots of people that would find that device adequate for what they do.
    The device doesn't suits his needs end of story
    I call it how it is. The OP (and you) are clearly of very little experience on this issue. That makes you uneducated. You are fools because you are ranting about a ton of things that you don't understand and really aren't even issues. The few things that might be legitimate issues do not warrant the kind of response they are eliciting from you two in this thread. The device probably suits his needs a lot better than he's making it seem, but he hasn't spent enough time with the device to understand how it works yet, so he doesn't realize it. You are guilty of a lot of those same issues.

  40. #40
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    @ natehawk

    The 310 XT Garmin is massive looking rectangular ugly brick that I would not wear even if it could communicate ANT+ to mars.
    makes me chuckle when I see someone wearing that.
    you must be an old guy to wear that, Its thicker than my TV..

    Although I learned something with this thread such as that battery life isn't affected by intervals only the memory in the device is.
    I feel empowered now.
    Last edited by jerbsod; 12-12-2013 at 04:38 PM.

  41. #41
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    My bad wrong guy.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerbsod View Post
    @ natehawk

    The 310 XT Garmin is massive looking rectangular ugly brick that I would not wear even if it could communicate ANT+ to mars.
    makes me chuckle when I see someone wearing that.
    you must be an old guy to wear that, Its thicker than my TV..

    Although I learned something with this thread such as that battery life isn't affected by intervals only the memory in the device is.
    I feel empowered now.
    there is something wrong with you.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    I actually don't use my phone as a bike computer since I have a Garmin 500. But I ride with people who use phones in that way. They use them with the display off in their jersey pocket. I have asked the question regarding battery life and it does not seem to be an issue. My rides are normally 2-4 hours. When I later check strava their info looks identical to mine.

    If you don't have a smartphone then obviously buying one as a bike computer does not make any sense. But for those people who own one anyway, the functionality is free.

    Please note that I am not really advocating using phones instead of dedicated bike computers. I couldn't care less what people do. I am just predicting the demise of the makers of a lot of dedicated electronics because their products will be replaced by smartphones. Something that's already happening to point&shoot cameras even though personally I think that phone cameras still suck.
    I've been using my phone on my rides for the last few years, although I'd define "bike computer" use as having a display of time, miles, speed, etc. you can see while riding. At any rate, display off in my pocket and Strava on, I have done 4+ hr rides and still have 30-40% battery left at the end (starting with a full or nearly full charge). Running Strava and Pandora on the headphones, I can get through 3-4 hours without my battery dying, although it is getting close. My phone has worked fine for this purpose. Display on and mounted on the bars so I could see my real time speed and distance, however, I wouldn't expect the phone to last too long. A 5" display uses a lot of power.

    I finally went with a Garmin 510 to have the data accessible on my bars while riding, and hopefully to have a little better tracking performance, although I can't really complain about the Strava tracks my phone (HTC One) records.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    I've been using my phone on my rides for the last few years, although I'd define "bike computer" use as having a display of time, miles, speed, etc. you can see while riding. At any rate, display off in my pocket and Strava on, I have done 4+ hr rides and still have 30-40% battery left at the end (starting with a full or nearly full charge). Running Strava and Pandora on the headphones, I can get through 3-4 hours without my battery dying, although it is getting close. My phone has worked fine for this purpose. Display on and mounted on the bars so I could see my real time speed and distance, however, I wouldn't expect the phone to last too long. A 5" display uses a lot of power.

    I finally went with a Garmin 510 to have the data accessible on my bars while riding, and hopefully to have a little better tracking performance, although I can't really complain about the Strava tracks my phone (HTC One) records.
    I think you are bang on, the caveat of mobiles is that the power doesn't allow you to let the screen on. I personally like the HR displays when I climb.
    If you want feed back in real time phone doesn't cut it.

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    I guess everyone has an opinion... Problem being, one should be more versed before giving opinions about a product they don't even know how to use. I own / have been very pleased with my 450. If I want to log my ride. It is as simple as opening the Stopwatch app. hit start / when done / hit stop. The 450 created a GPX file logging everything (speed, distance, altitude, time etc) for viewing on your computer. Having a real time satellite image inlaid with speed, elevation etc while you riding in what I want. The 450 works for me !!!

  46. #46
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    Dedicated bike GPS done wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by mdemm View Post
    I guess everyone has an opinion... Problem being, one should be more versed before giving opinions about a product they don't even know how to use. I own / have been very pleased with my 450. If I want to log my ride. It is as simple as opening the Stopwatch app. hit start / when done / hit stop. The 450 created a GPX file logging everything (speed, distance, altitude, time etc) for viewing on your computer. Having a real time satellite image inlaid with speed, elevation etc while you riding in what I want. The 450 works for me !!!
    I have had issues with my Oregon 450 not clearing/resetting when I go through the multiple screen reset process. I often need to do it 2-3 times before it works.
    Had it break rides into multiple files, without me touching the unit during the ride.
    It sucks the batteries dry quickly if the stopwatch screen is left open. Have yet to have it last as long as my Edge 305, even with the display turned off and using high capacity batteries.
    Easy to stop/start unintentionally unless you lock the screen.
    It is just generally clunky and harder to use than a dedicated GPS bike computer.

    The built in base maps are nice, though, and I have used them during rides on occasion (along with a paper map).
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  47. #47
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    If what you want is a device that requires no learning curve and you plan to use for recording strava segments on your workout, an iPhone is great.

    If want to actually use a gsp for what it is really capable of doing:

    -in less-than-optimal conditions,
    and/or
    -with gloves on,
    and/or
    -for more than a few hours at a time
    and/or
    -out of cell-data range,
    and/or
    - you would like more accurate data
    and/or
    -you appreciate having complete flexibility what to do with that data,

    ...... then a dedicated unit like the Garmin is the better tool.

    FWIW, I have both an iPhone and a Garmin 450. I am not trying to knock the iPhone (or other smartphones) I DO use them on the trail occasionally for some functions that the Garmin lacks or are clunky. But other than the fact that the smartphone could be used to call for help in some cases, I would choose the garmin over the iPhone for taking on the trail, especially out in the backcountry. The choice is not even close.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    This is quite the thread.
    Thanks for the info on the recording intervals not affective battery life. I was playing with that setting the same time I was switching battery types so my comparative experience was probably flawed.

    Rather than stirring the same pot thought I might offer help where it may be understood and received with the positive intent I'm hoping. Based on my experiences:
    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I have had issues with my Oregon 450 not clearing/resetting when I go through the multiple screen reset process. I often need to do it 2-3 times before it works.
    I don't have this problem and have no real suggestion. Maybe your firmware vs mine. I've honestly never updated since the first day I unboxed it and got everything up to date in 2009. It works and I'm not screwing with it. If there is some fabulous battery life or reception improvement in newer firmware I'm all ears.
    Had it break rides into multiple files, without me touching the unit during the ride.
    It does this when the overall tracklog fills the allotted number of points. On the Reset screen the top button is the current track (I always reset this), the 3rd button (I believe) is the overall tracklog and usually shows the percentage full. Max tracklog is 10k points so you'll have to do the math on your recording interval and intended ride length. Once over that it'll bump your current track into 2 (or more).

    If this happens I open the gpx in notepad and just copy/paste the data back together.

    It sucks the batteries dry quickly if the stopwatch screen is left open. Have yet to have it last as long as my Edge 305, even with the display turned off and using high capacity batteries.
    I've never noticed one screen vs another ever affecting battery life. Though I don't use the map screen continuously nor do I have any superimposed satellite images. What I did do was choose a darker background wallpaper for the "bike" profile. I use the granite or sand brown one so the screen isn't working so hard. Backlight timeout set to a short duration.
    Edge 305 is what, 18hrs? I'd guess I get maybe 10-12hrs at least on the 450. Been meaning to track that for a long time, always forget.

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    Dedicated bike GPS done wrong

    I can't explain shiggy's problems with the Oregon 450, either. They don't come close to my experiences with the same gps. I have stopped trying to explain them, but point out the differences in my own experience.

    Yes, the auto archive thing is different from the edge and forerunners. But at least it does that now. I remember the 1st gen etrexes where the tracklog was like 5,000 or 7,000 point max and if you went over then oh well. The earlier data was lost. Just piece it back together and it's fine.

    I have never pushed the battery life very hard on mine. Probably only had it on for 8hrs straight max and it has been fine. Pretty sure I don't have any trouble squeezing 20+hrs out of it at 2-3hrs per use.

    Reception has always been pretty solid as long as it had a clear view of the sky when I started it up. Worst trouble I had was after flying across the country and the first time I started it up, I was in a deep valley with heavy canopy. Took forever to get a signal but that was my fault. I could have fired it up at my hotel to let it figure out where it was before starting it up.

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