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GPS Choice : Garmin Colorado 300 or 62s?

4230 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Rayme

I'm on the market for a new bike computer, and I've been looking at gps models lately.

At first, I was considering garmin edge 305 or 705, but the high price (200$ for a used 305 and 300$ for a used 705) make me consider the choice.

Then I came across other models from Garmin, not bike specific, a bit bulkier, but that seems to be far more versatile, namely the GPSmap 60Csx, 62s and Colorado 300/400.

Here is the thing: I don't really mind about the weight, I plan on using it for training and long marathon races, for shorter 1h XC races I still have my beloved cateye strada that works like a charm.

Now here is my wishlist:
- Ability to see my trace on the computer when I come home
- Altimeter and ability to display the terrain profile (at least what I've already done)
- Possibility of using an HRM (I don't plan on using it all the time, if at all, but it's good to have at least the possibility. I don't mind about the ability to display heart zones, I would just like to be able to recover the data at the end of the day)
- Precision is important (I'm a bit of a geek, I like having top of the line electronics), GPSmaps and Colorado seems far superior to garmin edge
- Ability to use it for hiking or geocaching, and car navigation

I've seen the Garmin colorado for 200$, but I keep reading reviews that the screen is not that bright, that there is recurring stability problems...
Have anyone used a colorado on his bike?

Otherwise I've read that both 60CSx and 62s are excellent, the latter being capable of handling HRM and cadence (so is the colorado), but the 62s is almost 350$, the same price as a garmin edge 705, more bike-oriented...

Can you give me your advices, opinions?

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I've seen a handful of folks who use the Colorado. Responses seem to be a mixed bag. There are some issues. The interface is unique (and has since been abandoned...if that's any suggestion). Yes, screen brightness was one of those issues.

The 62 series is much newer (out less than a year). The screen resolution is not as good, but it's also much brighter. It's built upon the basic premise of the 60 series, for what that's worth. There have been a couple issues, but nothing huge that I'm aware of.
Thanks for your reply!
What are the other common issues with the Colorado? (Besides the battery life, 8-10h is enough for most of my rides, and I can still carry AA batteries around for longer multidays rides)
I have heard of some waterproofing issues on the Colorado.

It was buggy for awhile (like many new release Garmins), but I haven't heard much about that. If you geocache, it may be worth noting Chirp compatibility on the Colorado. I am not sure if it is supported the way it is on the Oregon and the 62. I know that when the Chirp was first introduced, the Colorado did not add support immediately like newer models. Support was added later, but I do not know the nature of that support.

FYI, precision is not going to differ between consumer GPS models. They all measure the same degree of precision.

Absolute accuracy also will not vary much. You can expect about 10-12ft (3-4m) accuracy in good conditions. Models with the quad helix antenna seem to be a hair more sensitive than models with a patch antenna, but a larger patch antenna will be a hair more sensitive than a small one. So in a sense, the increased sensitivity from a better antenna can result in better accuracy...but in practice, it's usually not huge.
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When I was talking about precision, I was more thinking about the ability to keep the signal in bad conditions (cloud, rain, in the forest...).

I already have a pda with sirf star III gps included (even my cellphone has a gps chip), the chip is supposed to be good but it is useless in my car as soon as it starts to rain. It is able to keep a signal, but the accuracy falls dramatically, because of the poor integrated antenna.

I made a ride with it on the top of my camelback once (clear weather, but long parts in the forest), and the result was way off when I watched it in google earth afterwards, that's why I'm looking for more specialised gps.

Nevertheless, I never heard someone complaining about the accuracy of the Edge series, even in bad conditions.

Given that they are nearly the same price, would you recommend a Edge 705 or 62s?
Rayme said:
Given that they are nearly the same price, would you recommend a Edge 705 or 62s?
Depends on what you want. I had an Edge 705 for awhile. It was a fine GPS, but I just didn't use it for what it was. I used almost none of the training features. I occasionally used the HRM, but only on the trainer, and that's the only time I used the speed/cad sensor (though that's the only reason I bought the speed/cad sensor, to be honest).

I use a GPS in a lot of outdoor activities - mountain biking, hiking, geocaching, paddling. It made more sense to me financially to use a single GPS that could do all those things, rather than have multiple GPS receivers that were more specialized in their functionality.

I found the Oregon 450 on sale for $250 one weekend and I jumped on it. It does everything I need, and the size is reasonable even to strap to the stem on my mtb.

But does your choice of uses fit with having a specialized bike GPS, or would you prefer something more versatile? Are you patient and willing to wait for a sale? The 62 is a slightly larger GPS, mostly because of the antenna sticking out. Are you okay with that?

Furthermore, if you want something to use in the car, a handheld will work, but its usefulness will be somewhat limited. I used a 76CSx in my car for a little bit, and it was a challenge to use. I bought a cheap, basic Nuvi and using it has been much easier.
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I think I'll have the same use as you do, I prefer something more versatile.

The car navigation is more a "just in case" thing, I rarely use a gps when I'm driving.
When I'm on a road trip I just take a look at where I want to go on google maps and then I drive roughly in that direction, and if I get lost, most of the time I end up discovering things even greater than what I was planning.

In fact the only time a gps would be useful is when I need to go somewhere precisely (for example to a bike race!), so a small screen or unfriendly name entering interface won't be a problem.

I didn't look at the Oregon series because of the touch screen, I've never been fond of it (especially with phones), I prefer real keys, but maybe it's just that I'm old fashion and I'm missing on something!
250$ for a Oregon 450 seams quite a bargain though, it looks like a 62s, without the bulky antenna and with a better screen... Maybe I should consider it too... But I'm ok with the antenna sticking out, to be honest I even prefer the look of the 60/62 series (I like even more the Colorado looks) over the Oregon.

I think I could be ok with a 60Csx (and it's 199$ on amazon) because I probably won't use the HRM, but the only thing that worries me really is the bike mount that seems quite bulky compared to the later series mount (small long plate zip-tied to the stem/handlebar).
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I'm a big fan of the Dakota 20. It is basically a smaller Oregon, still a bit big for a bike but it is bombproof and comes with a good bike mount. Sunlight visible touchscreen and 20 hour battery life.

I did two long tours last year following routes I put together from Google Earth and internet downloads. Free topo map bases are available at GPSFile

If you can learn a few file functions, a real GPS is way more powerful than a glorified cyclometer.
the decision to go touchscreen for me was motivated by my hatred of trying to enter names and descriptions for waypoints by using the arrow buttons and enter button on a 76CSx to choose the letters. You could easily do half a dozen button pushes to enter a single letter.

The touch screen eliminates that hassle. No, it's not perfect, but it eliminates a hassle bigger (to me) than any of the smaller ones it creates.

I'd keep it in mind in case you found a sale somewhere.

The Dakota, too. The Dakota 10 is pretty basic, but the Dakota 20 shares a lot of the features with the Oregon 450. The Dakota is a hair smaller than the Oregon, even, and claims a slightly longer battery life.

I think the newer models in general are worth keeping high on the list, because you can load tiled .kmz files onto them. It opens up data compatibility, and you can now essentially directly load stuff from Google Earth (with a few steps).
Great thanks for your advices, I'll keep an eye on the Dakota 20 too
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