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  #1  
Old 10-26-2018, 08:15 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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I'm really looking forward to picking up one as a present for myself.

I won't be able to use it for some time, as I'm back in health trouble, but whatever. I'll figure the shit out eventually, and in the meantime I can play around with it anyway. I love my 478, but it's at the point that updates for street navigation are just a bit too difficult.

For anyone about to say that a smart phone is better, or an iPad paired with such a connection... You're wrong. It's not better, and it's not even good enough for use beyond supplement and convenience. Once that signal goes out, they're paperweights; and they don't operate like most think they do, anyway. They aren't real GPS units, and they're a joke.

An iPad with a dedicated receiver? Well, that's better, and certainly more graphical, but it's still a dog next to the real thing. They may not be pretty, but at least they have buttons, they take one hell of a beating, and they're as reliable as an iron brick.

Several times now, simply for street navigation, people have called and asked to use my 478, and I've told them no, because they should have listened to me to begin with. You see, signals get cut around here for some bullshit that's going on frequently. When that happens, your navigation is dead.

Moreover, it's dead if you're actually in the middle of nowhere and need real navigation.

About a month ago I had to quickly bounce around various houses all in one day with someone simply because they had no way to find them quickly enough. Paper maps wouldn't get us there as quickly as required.

So, zip-tie the antenna to the roof, stick the 478 on the windscreen (not the way it used to be, but it was fast), and off we went, beating everyone to the punch, because we had navigation; and every damned satellite in the sky at full strength.

I'm really excited Garmin decided to release a product worth owning again. Hopefully it's not the last one we get, but using those phones... If you're out dicking around and not encouraging such products, you're the one killing them off.

You know what also works when coms are out? My old Streetpilot III (as in, literally the first color mapping GPS on the market, at about $1,200 in whenever it came out), as well as my first-release Etrex Vista. Stick that in your iPhone and smoke it.

Keep that in mind when you give the middle finger to quality.

Cheers,

Kennith
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2018, 04:11 AM
gimebakmybulits gimebakmybulits is offline
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Originally Posted by kennith View Post

For anyone about to say that a smart phone is better, or an iPad paired with such a connection... You're wrong. It's not better, and it's not even good enough for use beyond supplement and convenience. Once that signal goes out, they're paperweights; and they don't operate like most think they do, anyway. They aren't real GPS units, and they're a joke.

Kennith

I've always been curious about this so maybe you can help explain why they seem to work. For instance I'll go to the Eastern Sierra's for a couple of weeks of hiking and fishing with my Samsung in airplane mode and it will be accurate in both elevation and location the entire time.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:26 AM
kennith kennith is offline
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I've always been curious about this so maybe you can help explain why they seem to work. For instance I'll go to the Eastern Sierra's for a couple of weeks of hiking and fishing with my Samsung in airplane mode and it will be accurate in both elevation and location the entire time.
It's the nature of the device.

They're chock full of sensors, and when they don't have a sensor, they've got a receiver. When those aren't enough, user and cloud-served data can be compared periodically to produce the track; and it's always pinging towers in the background.

A lot can be determined with very little. Phones with built-in GPS hardware can indeed still function when the signal drops, but you're looking at limited performance. Sometimes that's a big deal, and sometimes it isn't.

A GPS is doing a very specific, simple job. A smart phone is playing MacGyver in a Sherlock Holmes game. They're masters of guess-work and using every trick they can muster all at once.

Smart phones are impressive and helpful, but a world in which they've completely replaced stuff like the GPSmap series is a really silly place to be. They may be a fixture in our lives, but from a survival/travel/adventure perspective, they should be supplements; not primary solutions.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 10-27-2018, 09:30 AM
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On what situations on the east coast do you really need a GPS like that as opposed to a iPhone with a app? I use the Gaia app throughout north Georgia, WNC, and VA with or without a cell signal with no issues. Unless you’re on the wrong side of a mountain most places have cell service now (for better or worse). Have never been out west so I won’t pretend to know the usefulness of a GPS out there
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:01 AM
kennith kennith is offline
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On what situations on the east coast do you really need a GPS like that as opposed to a iPhone with a app? I use the Gaia app throughout north Georgia, WNC, and VA with or without a cell signal with no issues. Unless you?re on the wrong side of a mountain most places have cell service now (for better or worse). Have never been out west so I won?t pretend to know the usefulness of a GPS out there
I could drive a Honda Civic down most of the trails people build Land Rovers for. Does that mean I should take a Civic to the beach?

It's nothing to do with the East coast, anyway. I've had the things all over the world, like many others. The obsession with phones has destroyed the market for solid, "prosumer" GPS units.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:08 AM
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Still use my 276C.

Will check it out.

Thx.
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2018, 09:42 AM
kennith kennith is offline
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Still use my 276C.

Will check it out.

Thx.
It's nice that a true successor to the 276C exists now.

So far as "overland gear" is concerned, the 276C is one of the most important products released in the past two decades. They've charted, surveyed, and navigated just about everywhere in the world, and have probably been most places paper maps have, at this point.

They always had to deal with the Garmin ecosystem, though. Now you can use an SD card. Sure, there were ways around it all, but they aren't super convenient, and it didn't always work.

Honestly, that's pretty much the only thing that ever held the line back. Storage capacity and compatibility was an issue. The Garmin cards were nice, but that was never going to last, and they never got big enough.

When they were invented, though, there wasn't much of an option.

The price is right on the 276CX, too. Hopefully it's as solid as the previous models. I'd have expected it to break $1,000, but I suppose they're trying to stay below the marine and aviation-specific stuff.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:30 PM
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I've been using a Bad Elf bluetooth GPS receiver for a couple years with my iPad with the Gaia app and have never had an issue. I sure though that your GPS needs are much more extreme than what I need. A lot of pilots use it also, but again, I'm sure your needs are much more demanding.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:52 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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It's not always about demanding. Sometimes it's just about having the right hardware for the use case.

The popularity of the devices, however, prompted simplification for the uninformed masses. It happens with everything useful, at one point or another. It all turns to shit eventually for the same reasons.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:41 AM
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Been using a Samsung tablet, no cell service but built in GPS, for backcountry navigation for years now. Works great.
The only place I ever see Garmin GPS units is truck stops. I bet Garmin sells more watches and fish sonar units than they do car GPS units. Their Panoptix fish sonar is revolutionary.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:19 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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Been using a Samsung tablet, no cell service but built in GPS, for backcountry navigation for years now. Works great.
The only place I ever see Garmin GPS units is truck stops. I bet Garmin sells more watches and fish sonar units than they do car GPS units. Their Panoptix fish sonar is revolutionary.
That's a good place to spot them, as well as long term or long distance vehicle-dependent travel, marine use, aviation, remote surveying, and things of that nature. I had better examples typed but accidentally closed the browser.

Those hardware buttons make a big difference, as well. It's one of the reasons they have such staying power. No touch screen can do what those buttons can do for you, and no touch screen ever will. It is, quite simply, impossible.

It may take a while to type something in, but you can do it beating down washboards without even looking; and your co-driver will always appreciate it when things get too rough.

I'm sure they sell a lot of fish finders, as noted. So far as I'm aware, they're a top-tier manufacturer in that regard. I wouldn't know from experience, however, as I am not a fishing enthusiast.

I've had it kind of rough lately, so I bought the 276CX. It showed up yesterday, and I've been playing around with it ever since. I have reason to produce some product reviews, so I intend to do a little run-down of these and why they still matter.

For now, I was happy to find that not only does it come with the expected lithium battery pack, it also will accept AA batteries right out of the box in the same compartment, including NiMH batteries that typically operate at lower voltages than similar electronic devices prefer.

That's damned convenient, and also allows one to rig up whatever he wants in the middle of nowhere if he really ends up in a jam. I've seen it before, but it's not super common. It's nice to see here.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:13 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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Well, here it is.

You'll notice some pixelation in the image. The 478 was left a little too close to home, and the 276CX... Well, that damned thing got a satellite lock in my fucking steel building with it's internal antenna.

So, there's nothing wrong with the screens. I just had to wipe out the coordinates and some local stuff.

The interesting aspect of this is the fact that ALL of them work like new. I upgraded to the 478 due to a lack of space as maps became more detailed over time. I upgraded to the 276CX for ease of updates, and simply as a "pleasure purchase".

I still use the Streetpilot Colormap. That is, in actual fact, the first color chart-plotting GPS unit released into the consumer marketplace. It still does the job, and it'll still out-peg a Trimble, every single time, without fail.

While the 276CX looks massive (and it is indeed large), they've managed it properly. It'll still hang on a RAM suction cup without falling off the windshield. Obviously it'll be better with the dash pod installed, but it's fine as-is.

It would have been nice if it could stand up on it's own on a flat surface, but the tapering saved weight.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:30 PM
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Nice and thx for the comparison pic.

It certainly makes the earlier 276C look outdated.

And agree buttons are more positive than touch screen.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:57 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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Nice and thx for the comparison pic.

It certainly makes the earlier 276C look outdated.

And agree buttons are more positive than touch screen.
They did something pretty cool that I only caught when I took that shot.

Imagine that 276CX vertical... They replicated their classic shape, and hid it in plain sight in a modern design!

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:40 PM
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Keep us posted on how well this works. I'm looking to replace my ye olde 176c. I haven't had any luck with mapping apps other than google maps and Waze. Which work perfectly until you get off the pavement.

My 176c has been a champion. However unsupported software, lack of compatibility with newer GPX tracks (only can hold 250 points in a track), can only hold about 10 tracks, and no auto-routing are starting to become an issue. The 276CX is an obvious updated successor. However the initial reviews kinda put me off. But maybe it wasn't properly tested.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:20 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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Keep us posted on how well this works. I'm looking to replace my ye olde 176c. I haven't had any luck with mapping apps other than google maps and Waze. Which work perfectly until you get off the pavement.

My 176c has been a champion. However unsupported software, lack of compatibility with newer GPX tracks (only can hold 250 points in a track), can only hold about 10 tracks, and no auto-routing are starting to become an issue. The 276CX is an obvious updated successor. However the initial reviews kinda put me off. But maybe it wasn't properly tested.
Here are a few of my initial, potentially negative impressions:

1: I think any long-time user of it's ancestors will be a bit baffled with all that screen real estate. That right now is the biggest hurdle for me. I'm not used to a screen that large, and since the GUI is identical, it makes it a bit more strange.

It's kind of like getting a new, larger computer monitor and playing a strategy game. It's weird at first, but then you just can't go back.

Today, I just made the data field frame the larger size, and it brought it down enough for me to get used to it over time. I can expand when I'm proficient.

2: The second thing I immediately noticed that's sort of a down-side and sort of not is the keyboard input. It's actually got a virtual keyboard like a Playstation, rather than scrolling through each letter one by one.

Now, that's great around town. You do have to look at it, though, and that's a problem for certain activities and professions. You could set the older units without looking at them, because you know the alphabet and how to count. Up, up, up, D; right one, up up C, and so on...

There may be a way to swap input methods, though. I haven't checked. If not, I'll send them a suggestion to add it in an update.

So far as updates are concerned, they're constant. This thing gets some serious support, and extremely frequent map updates. Damned near every time you plug it in they'll have improved something.

3: The directional pad is oriented perfectly in line with cardinal directions as they apply to the front plane of the device. I'm not sure how else to say it beyond the old ones seeming to be tilted just a bit. I'm used to that, and as a result I'm missing things on occasion.

4: A harder polymer is used for the buttons now, and while that is technically an improvement (rocking a Ducky Shine III mechanical keyboard here with Cherry MX Browns), it doesn't feel the same. This is the one time I'd actually prefer a more mushy experience, if that makes any sense.

On that same note, the raised portions of the D pad meant to help indexing still feel strange. I guess it's an improvement, but when you've been using a flat, rubbery one for damned near two decades, it takes some getting used to.

Temporary conclusion:

Here's the thing: They build and sell the entire automotive kit for $699, with a full routable base map. They had to cut a few costs to keep it palatable (because people are pussies when it comes to paying for quality unless it's a new iGadget), and they did it by sharing parts with other units. That's why it feels a bit different. That's why it's bigger, and that's why it's got some functionality and interface carry-overs.

I'll have a hard time finding a way to complain about a GPS that scores a lock inside fully finished steel warehouse. Hell, outside, it's as if you have an external antenna fitted. I can't even imagine how well it's going to work when I actually connect it to the antenna...

I'll keep things up to date as I find out new stuff, but for now, I'm quite satisfied. It'll just take a little getting used to.

EDIT: Later on I'll post a shot of everything that came in the box. They certainly aren't stiffing you with accessories.

You have to print the manual, but I had FedEx do it on card stock with a nice spiral bind and frosted covers. It's full color, and at least it's available. That allowed them to shave another ten bucks or so off the top, and for those who want it, it prints out razor sharp and full of color.

The box is still nice quality, with a different theme. It'll last the same twenty years the others did. That may not seem like a big deal, but I still have the old ones, and use them to store all the bits. I kind of wish they'd have gone retro with the print, but at least it's solid and won't wear out or just end up in the trash.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:48 PM
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Yeah I tried being a cheapo with the software once upon a time. I've just accepted that this GPS needs $200 in software to basically get going.

Glad to hear about the antenna. My 176c in my 109 pretty much doesn't work without the antenna. Heck that is good news. I might not even bother with an external antenna (aka, one less thing).

I'm liking this idea more and more...
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:45 PM
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Still don't get it. $100 tablet with built in GPS and WiFi. $5 app. $25 SD card. I stored all of Utah and Colorado satellite/road hybrid maps and hundreds of gpx tracks. Google maps did everything else on my phone. Google will even keep navigating now once signal is lost.
Picture from when I ran the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. The camera shows a lot of glare that wasn't really there.
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Old 11-09-2018, 02:23 AM
kennith kennith is offline
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Still don't get it. $100 tablet with built in GPS and WiFi. $5 app. $25 SD card. I stored all of Utah and Colorado satellite/road hybrid maps and hundreds of gpx tracks. Google maps did everything else on my phone. Google will even keep navigating now once signal is lost.
Picture from when I ran the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. The camera shows a lot of glare that wasn't really there.
That's not ideal on a washboard in the middle of nowhere, in extremely poor conditions, or in a filthy, leaky car you just acquire upon arrival.

You can show up to a trail ride with an app, or even a long camping adventure, but you're not going to get a warm reception before a planned, unsupported outing if you're responsible for navigation and show up with only an iPad.

Hell, some people just like a dedicated device. There is a reason amplifiers are still manufactured, and it's not for user convenience.

To use some easy to digest Star Trek examples, that deflector array sure is useful for getting out of all kinds of jams, but it's never going to be a photon torpedo. The tricorder may do just about anything an episode requires, but it's still not the sickbay.

Everything has it's place.

The smart phone/tablet is a much more useful device overall, and in vacation, trail, or everyday use potentially more convenient, as well. In the narrow focus of extended outdoor navigational use, however, the "traditional" GPS chart plotter blows it out of the water. It does that because it was specifically designed to do that and nothing else.

So far as everyday benefits go, it's a more reliable solution, if not as versatile; and all in one unit contains anything you would ever need in a navigation tool and nothing else. These are simply the benefits of dedicated hardware.

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:36 AM
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Let's face it, you're not running the Darien Gap with your 276. I've had the tablet on washboard and bouncing down roads, no problem. I don't take it i the rain, I'd rather just sit inside the truck where its dry.
I carry the DeLorme Atlas / Gazeteers as a back up. We did a two week trip through Colorado back roads with just the tablet. I'd say that was a planned unsupported outing. I've also run Michigan's UP with just a GPS and then again with a tablet. Same with Kentucky backroads. Hands down the tablet wins every time. Like I said, I'd take a satellite/road hybrid map any day of the week. Or I can switch on topo.
If I were running for months on end in a remote place I'd buy an otterbox. If the tablet craps out I can pull the SD card and use it in any other device.

I'm glad you like your 276 though.
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Old 11-09-2018, 02:37 PM
kennith kennith is offline
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Let's face it, you're not running the Darien Gap with your 276. I've had the tablet on washboard and bouncing down roads, no problem. I don't take it i the rain, I'd rather just sit inside the truck where its dry.
I carry the DeLorme Atlas / Gazeteers as a back up. We did a two week trip through Colorado back roads with just the tablet. I'd say that was a planned unsupported outing. I've also run Michigan's UP with just a GPS and then again with a tablet. Same with Kentucky backroads. Hands down the tablet wins every time. Like I said, I'd take a satellite/road hybrid map any day of the week. Or I can switch on topo.
If I were running for months on end in a remote place I'd buy an otterbox. If the tablet craps out I can pull the SD card and use it in any other device.

I'm glad you like your 276 though.
I'm not taking trips like that at the moment, but I've done that sort of thing many times in the past and I intend to do it again. It put food on the table and it was more fun than anything else I could come up with.

Not everyone has the same hobbies. Some people function better in a mobile, dynamic environment like that. I may think the idea of making little models of Civil War battles is insanity, but you won't catch me suggesting it doesn't happen just because I don't think it makes sense.

Garmin did this for a reason. They aren't just throwing reinvented heritage into a vacuum. You don't have to understand or even appreciate my position when a manufacturer of such pedigree pulls something like the 276CX out of their ass.

It's targeted right at the user you just suggested doesn't exist...

I mean, it's like saying Hustler, Snapper, and Kubota should all disappear because nobody mows twenty lawns in a day. Really?

Cheers,

Kennith
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:04 PM
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Let's face it, you're not running the Darien Gap with your 276. I've had the tablet on washboard and bouncing down roads, no problem. I don't take it i the rain, I'd rather just sit inside the truck where its dry.
I carry the DeLorme Atlas / Gazeteers as a back up. We did a two week trip through Colorado back roads with just the tablet. I'd say that was a planned unsupported outing. I've also run Michigan's UP with just a GPS and then again with a tablet. Same with Kentucky backroads. Hands down the tablet wins every time. Like I said, I'd take a satellite/road hybrid map any day of the week. Or I can switch on topo.
If I were running for months on end in a remote place I'd buy an otterbox. If the tablet craps out I can pull the SD card and use it in any other device.

I'm glad you like your 276 though.
A few more points:

The Darien Gap...

The funny thing is, that's precisely the trip I bought the thing with the intention of taking; Deadhorse to Ushuia. It's not the craziest journey, but it would be for me. When it happens, it'll be the first time I've done it on my own dime. It's meant to be an actual vacation this time, with room to explore all the cool stuff I personally wanted to see but never got the chance.

That's the down-side to doing that shit as a job. You can be ten fucking miles from some place you always wanted to see and not have the time to go look. I remember some people getting really into explaining some legendary place that was "very far away" with all manner of cool stories about it.

Turns out it would have been about two days through the bush, and yet there was no way for me to see it. Of course it was just a story, but that's not the point. I wanted to go, but I couldn't. When I'm better, I'll finally be able to do it.

I do want to point out that I've got a GPS-equipped Toughbook that was always with me in the DII. Didn't take it with me everywhere else, but if the DII could go somewhere without being shipped, I took it along and typically got some use out of it.

It's main purpose was to host the Faultmate, but I've certainly used it for more advanced data entry in regard to surveying and satellite imagery viewing; occasionally navigation, as well. It's just not right for fast, on the move navigation in adverse conditions. I mean, the computer will take a beating, but the physical interface just wasn't designed for that sort of thing.

For a while now, the Garmins have had all that capability, but that wasn't always the case, and obviously a laptop is more convenient when you're stationary, and a ruggedized touch-screen can be helpful. There was a time when I'd send off for actual prints of that imagery, and it was fucking expensive.

If you really think about it, it wasn't too long ago that you'd have a GPS and a series of physical prints. Now, it's a GPS and a laptop or tablet. Nothing wrong with replicating the capability in a more modern and useful manner. Some of us still roll with prints as a backup, but not everyone.

Hell, I've got a Nuvi 1300 stuck in my Infiniti, and I'll be the first to say that was the dawn of my hatred for alternative solutions. I don't even remember when I bought that one, but I picked it up at Circuit City, I believe. It'll be replaced with a Pioneer in-dash unit at some point in the near future, but it still has it's place when I buy small cars, and is still updated, strangely enough.

Not too long after those hit the market, the "alternatives" became the "onlys"; and there just wasn't a new option for those of us who needed the good shit.

Observe there's at least one person in here still using a damned 176, and I'll bet you ten bucks that if more of the old guard were still here, you'd have a pile of people still running 276, 378, and 478 units. From an industry perspective, they should all be thoroughly obsolete, and yet here we are, doing our best to find ways to keep them relevant.

There's a reason for that, and it ain't nostalgia. If a tablet worked as primary electronic navigation in those use cases, I'd be all over it. As it is, it's a supplement. I'd go for a MFD if anyone made them, and I did try to use a gaming MFD LCD bezel for flight sims with some custom software a while back, but it was a stupid idea.

If there really was such a product made properly with a remote data entry dial and direct porting to a proper antenna unit, it might be a great thing; and could be used for all manner of tasks. There isn't, though. That's too much for too few people.

The best we're going to get is the 276CX, unless someone like Raytheon finally loses the rest of their mind.

The closest thing I've seen to someone trying out an MFD in that environment is a combination of that new, funny-looking Alpine receiver and the sPod switch panels; which are apparently pretty nice. I wish they'd just geek out and wrap an LCD, but they haven't.

If you've never seen one, they're easy to look up in cockpits, but just imagine an ATM or fuel pump. They use simple MFDs, in which the selections are on the screens next to hardware buttons on the bezels. Add something like an iDrive or Microsoft Surface knob (hell, yank out a quality mouse wheel) for quick data entry without looking, and you've got something interesting.

So, basically I just suggested the creation of a ruggedized infotainment system... Fuck me.

Cheers,

Kennith
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