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Garmin Oregon 400t review | GPS operation

Published on: Friday, May 15th 2009                   Written by: Wim de Lange - Photography by: Mark Peters

Garmin Oregon basic map

Garmin Oregon basic map

Standard installed maps

Like other GPS handhelds of Garmin, the Oregon 400t features a basic map, in this case the WW Autoroute DEM Basemap NR. In the name, DEM stands for Digital Elevation Model, which is the base from which heights including their shades can be displayed. The extra costs for this model are for the standard integrated Recreational Map of Europe v2.0. It's a very detailed map with a scale of 1:100,000. Even street names are visible, although at the preloaded Topo map I miss indications for ditches, harbors and canals. If you think you can go from A to B in a straight line, you're wrong, because you will at times find yourself in front of all kinds of water. So for full information, you will have to invest some extra money.

Garmin Oregon 400t profiles

Garmin Oregon 400t profiles

5 profiles on the Garmin Oregon 400t

While using the device, I missed a button to access the main menu directly. That's where you have to start on most occasions if you want to change settings. If you're deep into a sub menu, you have to scroll back to the beginning, which is rather time-consuming. You can avoid this by making use of profiles. Per profile, you can dedicate the buttons of the main menu, and several settings are linked too. On the screenshots, we see the adjusted main menus of the profiles Automotive and Geocaching. You can link CityNavigator to Automotive, for example. The Garmin Oregon 400t features standard 5 profiles however; this number can be enhanced at will.

 

Operation with gloves on

T he weather in January is cold and sunny in Holland, which is excellent to go for walks. Of course, I take the Garmin Oregon along. And because I want to compare the accuracy of the GPS signal with that of my old GPS, I have to hold both devices in my hands. However, the weather demands gloves, and I am curious to see how the touchscreen will react to this extra layer. The gloves are thick and soft. To my surprise, the Oregon can still be operated very well, while pressing the buttons on the GPSmap 60CS is harder. Even dragging the map on the screen proves effortless. In fact, I don't notice that much of a difference between working with or without gloves on. Nor does inserting text present any problems.

Garmin Oregon 400t review

 

Garmin Oregon versus Garmin GPSmap

Garmin Oregon versus Garmin GPSmap

Brightness of the touch screen

While reviewing the Colorado 300, I had to come to the unfortunate conclusion that the new type of screen caused problems now and again. In particular during daytime, it is hard to view certain things on the screen. On paper, the Oregon and Colorado feature the same screen, although in reality there is a huge difference. The Garmin Oregon 400t has a matte screen surface where reflection doesn't stand a chance. Although this is without question an improvement in certain situations, it can at times be hard to read the screen without the background light on. To prevent this from happening, the Oregon GPS device will activate the light upon touching the screen. This does improve things a lot, but is hard on the batteries. I will come back to that later.

Garmin 400t versus Garmin 60CS

Garmin 400t versus Garmin 60CS

New versus old screen

‘’Back in the good old days…’’ is something that has been said in regard to the screens of the new Garmin models. I have compared them once again. It was raining, so I put them inside the house for this picture, at a distance of one meter from the window. The first picture is taken without background light. The difference is rather small, and because of the light, the image on the Oregon is slightly less visible. For the second picture, I set the background light to full power on both devices. I did not adjust the exposure of the picture. The Oregon offers so much more light than the GPSmap, therefore the screen looks overexposed on the photo. In reality, the screen offers a clear view with all the details perfectly visible and in a higher resolution.

 

Garmin Oregon 400t GPS receiver

Garmin Oregon 400t GPS receiver

Garmin Oregon 400t GPS handheld

Garmin Oregon 400t GPS handheld

 
 
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