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Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2009

Gear Review: Garmin Oregon 550t

This top-shelf GPS can pinch hit as a digital camera.

by: Testers Jonathan Dorn, Kristy Holland, Kim Phillips, Kris Wagner

Garmin Oregon 550t (Courtesy Photo)
Garmin Oregon 550t (Courtesy Photo)

Shutterbug
Make a better mousetrap. That's what Garmin did when they combined their award-winning Oregon 400t (Editors' Choice Award, April 2009) with a 3.2-megapixel camera, creating a top-shelf GPS that can pinch-hit as a point-and-shoot. As a result, our map contributors came back with more trail photos than usual, all geo-referenced to their exact location. And the whole thing is a cinch to use, thanks to a three-inch color touch screen and universal icons that even a non-GPS user can understand.

You can access preloaded terrain maps in 3D, save up to 200 tracks and 2,000 waypoints, and use the microSD slot to expand the unit's 850MB memory. Camera caveat: The 4x digital zoom and autofocus lens are best suited to landscape (not action) photos, and the image quality is best for blogs (not wall art). Bonus: The price includes a battery charger and two rechargeable AAs (expect 10-12 hours of runtime). $600; 5.3 oz.; garmin.com

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READERS COMMENTS

Carl Bishop
Dec 17, 2009

Just bought one of these myself based on your review of the Garmin 400t. It works Great!
Was also able to get microSD 10meter TOPO coverage of Japan. This will really make my outings in the Alps and other places enjoyable.
Also, this device comes with Groundspeak's "GeoCaching" function installed. This is definatley a very cool tool!

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