PROS / The satellite imagery support is a wonderful feature.
CONS / A barometric altimeter and electronic compass would be a nice addition.
VERDICT / This rugged unit has a lot to offer, but some users may miss the card reader.
While we generally prefer handheld GPS devices that can accept a user’s data cards, the GPSMAP 62 has quite a lot to offer. This unit has a battery life that puts some GPS systems to shame, for instance. There is also its high-sensitivity receiver to consider.
The GPSMAP 62 comes with a worldwide basemap with shaded relief as well as photo navigation capabilities. With photo navigation you can download pictures from a Garmin site and GPSMAP 62 will guide you to the sites pictured.
When you are ready to add to the basemap, it is fairly easy to buy more maps based on your interests. There are marine maps and road maps and even custom maps readily available.
This unit supports BirdsEye Satellite imagery, which is a wonderful way to view the world. The clarity and detail of these high-resolution color images will amaze you – for a price. They’re not free, but the annual subscription fee will be well worth it to help you get access to these wonderful images of the world from above. The detail in these images could be helpful to a number of different types of GPS systems users. Hikers and campers will be able to find trails and clearings for campsites, geocachers can glean information about terrain in their target areas, and hunters can scout places for standards.
You can load geocache details straight onto the GPSMAP 62. No need to write it all down and input it yourself. This will save time and trees.
This design does not feature a touch screen, but this will only be a drawback for some users. There are still plenty of outdoor enthusiasts that prefer buttons on GPS systems controls. The screen is backlit, so viewing it at night will not be a problem.
This unit has accuracy levels that are comparable with others in our lineup – within 10 meters of your exact location about 95 percent of the time.
These GPS systems have a pretty impressive battery life. You will get about 20 hours out of just two AA batteries. It’s nice not to have to worry about batteries constantly when you are on a great outdoor adventure.
Unfortunately, these GPS systems do not accept SD cards. There is quite a bit of onboard storage, but allowing SD cards would make storage essentially limitless. Also, this unit lacks an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter. We had come to expect these features, as most of its competitors in the GPS system arena offer them, but the GPSMAP 62 does not. This unit’s sibling GPS systems, the GPSMAP 62st and the 62s, offer a lot of what was missing on the one we considered, but they cost quite a bit more.
Each user has unique adventures in mind when shopping for GPS systems. The GPSMAP 62 offers a high-sensitivity receiver, good battery life, worldwide basemap, geocache-friendly features and a high level of accuracy. It lacks things like SD card compatibility, a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass. However, this system is particularly rugged and may be especially well suited to backpackers who need to find an accurate reading regardless of heavy tree cover or deep canyons.