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Garmin Oregon 400t review | Antenna & Battery

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

Garmin Oregon GPS antenna

Garmin Oregon GPS antenna

Where's the GPS antenna?

New on this Garmin top model handheld is the 'knob' lacking. Whereas the Colorado shows a moderate knob, the Oregon shows nothing of an antenna at all on the outside. I wonder if this causes problems. Surprisingly enough, I witness the same results for the Colorado as well as the GPS60CSx during my walks. The Oregon keeps pace at all times. It means the city offers enough reception, which is good for the Wherigo cartridges. What highly surprised me is the start-up with Hotfix. Even after as little as ten seconds, enough satellites were found for a position indication with an accuracy of 15 meters.

Garmin Oregon 400t test

Garmin Oregon 400t test

Improved battery cover

Upon first glance, not a lot seems to have changed on the back cover of the device since the Colorado. However, a major improvement took place. The catch to open the back has remained the same, yet the construction is a lot more solid. The back looks rather simple. The Oregon, like the Colorado, uses microSD cards for storage. The card slot is again placed underneath the batteries, just like the GPSmap 60 CSx. To change the memory card, you have to remove the batteries first. However; thanks to the large internal memory of 850MB, combined with a 2GB card, you won't be changing a card that frequently. The battery compartment is closed with a sunken rubber ring. All in all, it looks like a solid device.

 

The Oregon in practise

T here is a car kit available to use the Oregon while traveling in a car, and the package contains a carabiner clip just like the Colorado. The clip is strong and easy to attach. It is also big enough to hold a few of your fingers when walking whilst holding the device in your hand, thus preventing you from dropping it. However, I don't find it that pleasant and I miss a wrist lanyard. I couldn't find it on the website with optional accessories either, yet the device offers an eyelet to attach it to. Even on a very good spot, right underneath the screen, so if we use a long lanyard we can use the device without having to rotate it first.

Garmin Oregon 400t review

 

Garmin 400t connected to USB

Garmin 400t connected to USB

Garmin Oregon 400t background light

I mentioned before that the background light has to be activated at times in order to maintain a proper view on the screen. The Oregon offers various possibilities to save energy. It's not always necessary to keep the background light on full power, because it is clear enough. Furthermore, we can adjust the time the light stays activated; from 15 seconds to 2 minutes. And we can even combine this with the option Battery Save, at which the screen will be dark until it is touched. Unfortunately, there is no screen lock. During track logging, I put the device in my chest pocket, but the screen remains active this way.

Garmin Oregon battery

Garmin Oregon battery

Energy consumption of the Garmin Oregon 400t

The Oregon works best if we activate the background light on a regular base. It makes me curious to see how long a battery set lasts. Garmin's advice is to use batteries of 2500mAh or more. For this test, I use rechargeable batteries of 2700mAh. I set the background light to 'Keep ON' beforehand. I put the fully loaded batteries inside the device and reset the Tripcomputer data. To keep the Oregon active, I placed it in the windowsill so that calculations with the GPS signal carried on. After working for 9 hours and 15 minutes on full power, the device gave in. So; fully loaded batteries will easily last during a one day trip.

 

Garmin Oregon battery compartment

Garmin Oregon battery compartment

Garmin Oregon AA-batteries

Garmin Oregon AA-batteries

 

Garmin 400t memory compartment

Garmin 400t memory compartment

Flap of the battery compartment

Flap of the battery compartment

 
 
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