Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator Review

Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator Review
I not too long ago upgraded towards GPSMAP 60CSx from 60CS.  I have been able to run the "x" through its paces and am very pleased.  The signal is excellent-- display in very fast time to opening position and good monitoring under tree cover, amongst tall structures, inside some structures!, and also from inside of a backpack or pocket.  

I use the unit (as I did its predecessor) for auto-mapping when I travel and also for outdoor fun.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I own and use the Garmin TOPO and City Navigator North America software  (about $100 each).

I never ever go to a different city without the 60CSx packed with the suitable City Navigator data.  Looking for inns, appointments, eating,  airports is now a complete snap.  In contrast to the StreetPilot units, the 60CSx didn't provide voice feedback and the interface takes a small practice--but these would be slight concessions when you consider the hand held versatility of the 60csx.  The automatic route calculation works well and provides good directions at the spot of turns, etc.  This particular CS could keep data for 2-3 destination cities-- nevertheless i could load destination data for everything west of the Mississippi into one 512mb chip in the CSx.  Pre-load three chips and you'll have the entire US.  This extended storage capacity and flexibility was the feature that prompted my upgrade.

Outside Fun:
With the help of the Topo software plus some USGS quadrangles, I have had great success plotting waypoints and creating routes on camping and hiking trails.  I commonly do all those plotting on the PC and upload the data to the GPS--it is a great comfort to have the route plus waypoints in-hand as you explore new areas.  On a recent cold temperature bacpacking journey, the CSx kept my position locked underneath thick foliage while the unit was in my breast pocket-- under similar conditions the CS receiving would have been spotty (yet useful).  It is amazingly fun to come back from a trek and publish your track (electronic breadcrumbs)  to the computer and after that watch the data in GoogleEarth.

In my opinion the CSx has a bit poorer battery life compared to the CS.  Hours of battery life differs widely with conditions--my current set of Energizers have endured the unit through about 10 hours of cold temperature mountaineering (hard on batteries) and another 3-4 hours of auto-navigation.  The battery level navigator is down to a single bar and I'm going to replace them before the next trip.

I heartily recommend this unit for the all-around user--it's not often you get a toy that's so much fun while still being useful.