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Garmin Colorado 300 review | Handheld Operation

Published on: Friday, November 7th 2008                   Written by: Wim de Lange - Photography by: Mark Peters

Garmin Colorado 300 GPS

Garmin Colorado 300 GPS

Navigate with the Rock ’n Roller

Striking is the Rock 'n Roller, a smart combination of a dial, tilt and press button. The dial lets you scroll through the menus, zoom in and out in the twinkling of an eye, insert texts, set the alarm to the correct time and set the brightness of the backlight. Quite rightly a multifunctional component. At first, scrolling was a bit unhandy, the dial responses so quickly that I had trouble pressing the correct item. After a while, however, I got the hang of it, although I also used the tilt button frequently.

Garmin Colorado GPS navigation

Garmin Colorado GPS navigation

Tilt button and Central press button

The tilt button can also be used to scroll and besides that, we can move the indicator on the map screen with it. Sometimes the tilt button gave me trouble too. The tilt button is rather thin compared to the rest of the Rock 'n Roller. My hands are on the large side, however; glove-wearing people will also encounter troubles. The central press button functions as enter button, thus confirming the choice. The button has to be depressed explicitly, which means unwanted changes are not likely to happen.

 

Soft key functionality

N ext to the dial, some two silver colored buttons are positioned, the so-called soft keys. The functions of these soft keys change and depend on the application that is activated. The current function is indicated on the screen in the top corners. The soft key on the right will be used most frequently. This button offers access to the shortcuts.

Garmin Colorado 300 review

 

Garmin Colorado 300 in the shadow

Garmin Colorado 300 in the shadow

Garmin Colorado 300 monitor

You end up in the set of applications of your own choice through the shortcut button. By means of the Rock 'n Roller you can 'roll' to the desired application and activate it with the enter button. All of this is visible on the renewed monitor. According to the specifications, the Colorado's monitor is the same size as that of the GPSMAP 60; 3.8 inch (corner to corner) and that is all there is for comparison between the two screens. The type indication is not rendered on the screen, which offers almost 1 cm more space on the top side of the screen. And in width, more use has been made of the pixels which offer a broader view with the same zoom setting. The resolution has been more than doubled, from 160 x 240 = 38.400 pixels to 240 x 400 = 96.000 pixels. This should offer more detail. Indeed; 'should', since this is not exactly the case.

Garmin Colorado 300 in direct sunlight

Garmin Colorado 300 in direct sunlight

Brightness of the monitor

We did not expect it, but on the pictures we can see that the GPS model of 3 year ago is better when it comes to the ability to read its monitor, even in the shade. It's not until standing in bright sunshine that the Colorado screen shows to its full advantage and beautiful details become visible. Reflection is part of the problem. From a photographic point of view, this problem could be solved with a polarisation filter; however, that is not how the device is used in practice. The dark background colour is cause of the problem too and cannot be adjusted. On top of that, the contrast can't be set, so only activating the backlight will improve things a little. In the evening with the light on, we have a perfect view even if the light is not fully on. Unfortunately, the backlight uses up more energy which decreases battery life. The package comes with a sticker that advises to use batteries with a capacity of more than 2500mAh. However, this is more of a must than a luxury. And the documentation is right when telling you that standard batteries will offer a maximum of 16 hours of working with the Colorado 300.

 

Garmin Colorado GPS receiver

Garmin Colorado GPS receiver

Battery and memory compartment

Battery and memory compartment

 
 
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