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Opinion - Best Portable GPS Chartplotter

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Hot Rod, Mar 15, 2010.

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  1. Hot Rod

    Hot Rod New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Blue Water Point Marina, Oak Island, NC
    I am looking for a good portable GPS chartplotter that I could use to navigate from 50 miles offshore to an inlet (Like Lockwood Folley Inlet, Oak Island, NC). I am looking for a portable backup unit, now that Loran C has gone down. I have a RayMarine E120 mounted in the boat so I am familiar with the Navionics type chart platform.

    Has anyone tried the Garmin GPSMAP 640?

    I would like to hear opinions as to the best portable unit to get one in safely. I am not interested in the I-phone because of the monthly cost to maintain the service; however, I am willing to pay for the best unit's upfront purchase cost. The bigger the screen, the better, as long as it is portable.

    Which unit would you recommend?

    Thanks,

    Carl
  2. CapLady

    CapLady Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Back in Ft. Lauderdale!
    Hi Carl,

    I have a Garmin Colorado 400C handheld unit. I brought a boat from Annapolis to Ft. Lauderdale with that as my only GPS and it worked great. I use it for a back-up but it's still working perfect. You can get them for a good price now. I got mine when they first came out and I think it was around $550. Now I think you can get one for around $350.

    Good luck with whatever you get.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    11,218
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I played with the 640. Fancy, but I didn't like the screen in sunlight and did too much. Personally I carry a 176C. Getting old, but it's taken me the entire east coast many times with narry a glitch while several major units were acting up. Fast update and accuracy usually within 7'. Rugged, great data field. I think the current version is the 478.
  4. Island Runner

    Island Runner Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Florida
    Since you only want a backup unit (I assume if your E120 goes down and you want to get home) I would think any of the less expensive handheld units would work just fine. For around $100 you could have a backup with your inlet waypoint stored and that should bring you safely in. The costlier units have mapping software and that's nice but may be more than you need. It sounds like whatever you buy is going to sit on the boat unused except in a pinch. Just be sure to keep an eye on the batteries.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    11,218
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Good point IR. This is why I prefer ones that run on good old AA's. I always carry a spare set. With rechargable units (or rechargable batteries) I fear a shortened battery life when it just sits forever charging and no alternatives on hand when it dies.