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Garmin GPSmap 64S Review

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Although the video represents the Garmin GPSmap 62st, there’s little to separate the two devices

Anyone who has read our review of the Garmin 62S will think we are recycling work, however, rest assured that’s definitely not the case!  Our friends at Garmin sent us a shiny new Garmin GPSmap 64S, the reincarnation of the excellent Garmin GPSmap 62S

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Admittedly on first glance its actually quite difficult to tell the two devices apart:

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Is there more lurking beneath that familiar wrapper?  Lets have a look…

We always advise when investing a substantial amount of money in any item, be that a technical shell jacket, mountain boots or in this case a handheld GPS device.  There’s plenty of competition within the Garmin range, let alone other manufacturers.  Understanding exactly what you intend to use it for and under what circumstances could heavily influence your choice.  Better to invest some time and effort in research before investing your hard earned cash in the wrong unit.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimbGarmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

GPS enabled devices and applications are common place these days therefor choice is not something that will leave you wanting; smartphones, cameras and dedicated units offer a bewildering array of options, however, before we go any further a word of warning to the wise. Smartphones and the numerous GPS apps available are not necessary up to the task of providing the level of precision required when you’re scrambling up the side of a mountain, deep in a valley or traversing between peaks. Whilst the GPS technology is improving all the time in smartphones, the GPS receivers built into such devices are tiny when compared to the might of their much larger siblings; such as the Garmin GPSmap 64S

Rugged, Full-featured Handheld with GPS, GLONASS, Advanced Sensor and Wireless Connectivity

  • 2,6″ sunlight-readable colour screen
  • High-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with quad helix antenna
  • Preloaded option with TOPO UK & Ireland Light map & Ireland Light map featuring Garmin activity optimised routing
  • 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
  • Also includes Worlwide basemap with shaded relief
  • Barometric altimeter and 3-axis compass
  • Outdoor optimised dual battery system
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth® technology¹ or ANT+™

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

The new GPSMAP® 64s handheld navigator features a 2.6” sunlight-readable screen and a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with a quad helix antenna for superior reception. The rugged and waterproof GPSMAP 64s comes with a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis compass. It wirelessly connects to your smartphone to allow Live Tracking and Smart Notification.

In essence, this thing has the power to identify your location quickly and accurately whilst maintaining signal, even in dense cover, valleys or surrounding tall buildings.  Its worth noting the 64S has the GLONASS capability running in parallel to the standard GPS found in the 62S; so you get the Russian satellite navigation help as well to add to the accuracy of your location.

This thing has the power to identify your location quickly and accurately whilst maintaining signal, even in dense cover…

The GPSMAP 64S is classified as a handheld navigator by Garmin and its main purpose is to navigate through even the most remote areas and terrain. There is a 3-axis-tilt-compensated compass and barometric altimeter as well.  One very worthwhile trick the 64S has up it’s sleeve is a 12month subscription to the Birdeye view mapping system; something it’s slightly older brother can’t boast about.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

We’ll continue to use the Garmin GPSmap 64S over the next few weeks or so, however in the meantime check out the First Impressions tab for more details.

Or

Visit the Garmin homepage

I have always been an advocate of pre-planning trips, especially in the mountains, which when combined with the basic essentials of an area map and base plate compass, is more than adequate to navigate my way around any route.  I honestly believe there is no substitute for mountain craft and navigation skills, which is something I encourage you all to adopt as your primary method or traveling between locations.   The extra value handheld GPS devices, such as the Garmin GPSmap 64S, bring to the party should not be underestimated either.

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I have been using handheld devices as well as GPS enabled wrist watches over the last 12 months, but more recently the Garmin GPSmap 64S which I have been very impressed with.

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Having used its predecessor, the Garmin 62S

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

a great deal over the last year, I was aware of what I could expect from this device and just how much I would end up using it.

With a substantial price tag, these things are certainly not just something you’d want use only in an emergency; I use them side by side with a map and compass to keep the mountain craft alive but have the opportunity for a quick fix of my location.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimbGarmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

When you’re suddenly shrouded in cloud it can be quite frightening if you’re not paying attention to you’re exact position, especially when traversing close to drop-offs.  This is where the GPSMAP 64S comes into its own, it always knows where you are whatever the weather and gives you that quick location fix you can then identify on the map and plot your next steps across the mountain tops whilst flying blind.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64S is fitted with a 2.6″ sunlight-readable colour screen and also a Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief as standard on the device. The 64S has the added bonus of a 12 months subscription to the brilliant bird eye view which really adds some reality to an ordnance survey map.

The GPSMAP 64S has a great user interface and button configuration with the front panel having an easy to navigate multi-directional toggle that has the function buttons around it. The buttons are nicely spaced on the device so as to stop any two button hits when wearing gloves. The screen is a great transflective, 65-K color TFT so you can always see the detail wherever you are.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The unit takes 2 AA batteries which give it 16 hours use in one sitting and they sit snugly beneath the rear panel

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and carabina clip for attaching to your belt loop or pack.

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This is slightly less than the 20 hours its predecessor had but I would imagine you will dip in and out of the device and won’t have it running constantly for 16 hours anyway, so you should get 5 or 6 trips at least out of the battery’s…I certainly have.

At the rear of the unit, obsured by a rubber seal is the mini-USB port and external antenna point.

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With a quad helix antenna and high-sensitivity, WAAS/EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver with HotFix® satellite prediction, GLONASS so GPSMAP 64s has unparalleled reception to locate your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep valleys.

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The unit weighs a mere 260g which doesn’t add much to your pack and also includes high-speed USB and a water rating of IPX7 enhancing the waterproof properties in even the most inhospitable climates.


Specification and Features

Physical & Performance:

Physical dimensions 6.1 x 16.0 x 3.6 cm
Display size, WxH 3.6 x 5.5 cm; 6.6 cm diagonal
Display resolution, WxH 160 x 240 pixels
Display type Transflective, 65-K color TFT
Weight 260.1g with batteries
Battery 2 AA batteries (not included); NiMH or Lithium recommended
Battery life 16 hours
Water rating IPX7
Floats No
High-sensitivity receiver Yes
Interface high-speed USB and NMEA 0183 compatible

Maps & Memory:

Basemap Yes
Preloaded maps Yes (some versions)
Ability to add maps Yes
Built-in memory 3.5 GB
Accepts data cards microSD™ card (not included)
Waypoints/favorites/locations 5000
Routes 200
Track log 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks

Features & Benefits:

Automatic routing (turn by turn routing on roads) Yes (with optional mapping for detailed roads)
Electronic compass Yes (tilt-compensated 3-axis)
Touchscreen No
Barometric altimeter Yes
Camera No
Geocaching-friendly Yes (Paperless)
Custom maps compatible Yes
Hunt/fish calendar Yes
Sun and moon information Yes
Area calculation Yes
Custom POIs (ability to add additional points of interest) Yes
Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units) Yes
Picture viewer Yes
Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data) Yes
Additional Antenna: Quad helixGLONASS: YesSmart Notifications: yesLive Tracking: yes (with Garmin Connect™ Mobile)Preloaded geocaching.com caches: 250,000


With the type of weather we get in the UK, it’s good to know that Garmin have produced a device that’s more than capable of resisting a little rainfall


Waterproofing, testing and ratings

Water Rating

We rigorously test our devices for water resistance by subjecting them to various water pressure levels (usually translated to depths) under extremely controlled circumstances. You should note that even if a device is above a depth it’s rated for, it might still suffer water ingression if it is subjected to an activity that creates pressure on it that exceeds that depth rating.

Water Rating Definition Suitable Activities Unsuitable Activities
IPX7 Withstands incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes Indoor/outdoor use in the presence of rain, snow or brief splashes of water Any immersion of more than 1 meter, regardless of duration of immersion, or any immersion of more than 30 minutes, regardless of depth of immersion
IPX6 Protected against powerful jets of water. Water projected at all angles through a 12.5 mm nozzle at a flow rate of 100 liters/min at a pressure of 100 kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Outdoor use in rough sea conditions Any sustained immersion
1 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 10 meters Improved resistance to rain, snow and splashes Showering, swimming and water-related activities
3 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 30 meters Showering, rain, snow, splashes and accidental immersion Swimming and water-related activities
5 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters Surface swimming, snorkeling and similar activities High speed watersport surface impact may exceed this rating (ex. wipeout during motorized water sports)


Here’s direct comparison of feature differences between the Garmin 62S and the newer Garmin 64S


62S and 64S Main Differences

 

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimbGarmin 64SGarmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimbGarmin 62S

Physical & Performance

Physical dimensions 6.1 x 16.0 x 3.6 cm 2.4″ x 6.3″ x 1.4″ (6.1 x 16.0 x 3.6 cm)
Display size, WxH 3.6 x 5.5 cm; 6.6 cm diagonal 1.43″ x 2.15″ (3.6 x 5.5 cm); 2.6″ diag (6.6 cm)
Display type Transflective, 65-K color TFT transflective, 65-K colour TFT
Weight 260.1g with batteries 9.2 oz (260.1 g) with batteries
Battery life 16 hours 20 hours

Maps & Memory

Preloaded maps Yes (some versions)
Built-in memory 3.5 GB 1.7 GB
Waypoints/favorites/locations 5000 2000

Additional

Additional Antenna: Quad helixGLONASS: YesSmart Notifications: yesLive Tracking: yes (with Garmin Connect™ Mobile)Preloaded geocaching.com caches: 250,000 This USB mass storage device is compatiblewith Windows® XP or newer and Mac® OS X

 


Whilst the Garmin 64S isn’t a huge leap forward in terms of technology, it does have enough additional features to either warrant an upgrade or attract new buyers into this competitive marketplace.  The improved antenna, GLONASS and Smartphone integration, combined with more built-in memory, Waypoints and favourites equates to a well specified device, rugged device.

I especially like (love!) the easy to use carabiner, which makes it easy to attach to your belt or rucksack until needed.

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Visit the Garmin homepage

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Rugged, Full-featured Handheld with GPS, GLONASS, Advanced Sensor and Wireless Connectivity

  • 2,6″ sunlight-readable colour screen
  • High-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with quad helix antenna
  • Preloaded option with TOPO UK & Ireland Light map & Ireland Light map featuring Garmin activity optimised routing
  • 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
  • Also includes Worlwide basemap with shaded relief
  • Barometric altimeter and 3-axis compass
  • Outdoor optimised dual battery system
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth® technology¹ or ANT+™

The Garmin GPSmap 64S

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It can be difficult when comparing models sometimes especially when they are so similar in build and in particular wrapper.

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As I mentioned previously, at first glance it is very hard to tell the 2 apart, the 64S badge being the only real identifying factor.

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From a functionality point of view the two devices share the majority of the same Garmin technology – which is great for us the consumer –  which will give you coverage for a wide variety of outdoor activities. As we have discovered on numerous occasions the Garmin GPSmap can really get you out of trouble when on the tops of mountains and you become shrouded in cloud; trying to navigate in these types of conditions can be exceptionally dangerous and never underestimated, as a recent visit to our favourite spot will testify.

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The main differences between the two devices that I have found are the GLONASS & GPS running in parallel on the 64S giving more satellite options, so a slightly quicker fix which is certainly a welcome improvement.  You also get a considerable increase in internal memory up to 4GB from the previous 1.6GB which gives you more capacity to save routes, Waypoints and Geocaches (250000 preloaded on the 64S) depending on what you preference is. You also get nice addition of the Bluetooth capability for sharing your routes on the fly with other compatible devices which is also great little addition.

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And finally the smart notifications and live logging added to the new device.  I guess the question you have to ask is it worth the additional £100 or so to get the 64S over its brother? Even though it’s not possible to buy the 62S directly from Garmin, it is still widely available to purchase.

Budget is always a main factor when making any purchase, however a modest saving upfront can result in more expensive further down the line.  When comparing the Garmin 62S and 64S, the additional features of the 64S, particularly the improved location fix times, make it a very attractive buy.  One thing is certain though; whichever device you go for neither will disappoint and both may be the difference between finishing your walk as planned or making a fast exit of the mountain…..go buy one!

Visit the Garmin homepage

Garmin GB Discoverer

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

Navigate with Ordnance Survey Mapping
on your Garmin GPS.

Available in 1:25K and 1:50K scale maps with detailed topographic data including terrain contours, topo elevations, summits, paths, routable roads and geographical points.

Turn-by-turn navigation anywhere in Great Britain is made possible with integrated street maps, included on all Garmin GB Discoverer products. Search, select and navigate to street addresses and attractions and follow routes on foot, in car or by bike using the familiar Ordnance Survey backdrop.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb  Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb  Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

NEW! Garmin launches latest maps for the outdoor adventurer

Garmin, the global leader in Satellite Navigation, has introduced its most detailed recreational map to date for the whole of Great Britain.

Garmin GB Discoverer Premium is the newest, state of the art topographical map that can be used with compatible Garmin devices such as the popular GPSmap 64 series and Oregon GPS handhelds.

Designed with outdoor adventure-seekers in mind, this map includes the 1:25,000, 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scale mapping from Ordnance Survey Great Britain, as well as high detail coverage of the Isle of Man, courtesy of the Department of Infrastructure, Isle of Man, allowing coverage of the whole region on a single microSD card.

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Garmin GB Discover Premium also offers a wealth of information for outdoors enthusiasts planning almost any outdoor trip, including hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. This information includes terrain contours, summits, hiking trails, off road cycle routes, footpaths, bridleways, trig points, wooded areas, campsites, geographic points and much more.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

It also provides turn-by-turn road navigation, provided by HERE Maps, on compatible Garmin GPS devices, delivering the user to their chosen destination or to one of the 570,000 preloaded points of interests, including petrol stations, car parks, banks, restaurants and campsites.

Garmin GPSmap 64S Review WalkHikeClimb

With all this information at their fingertips, Garmin GB Discover Premium users will be able to plan their trips simply and swiftly by linking the maps with the free Garmin BaseCamp™ application, available at www.garmin.com/basecamp. The ability to view a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for route profiling makes planning a journey or reviewing any activity clear and simple.

Garmin GB Discoverer Premium is available as a microSD card only. The RRP is £299.99 and it is available to buy from the Garmin UK website: www.garmin.com.

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