Garmin's New Oregon 700/750 series

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Garmin's New Oregon 700/750 series

Postby keithy » Thu 18 Aug, 2016 12:41 am

Garmin released last month their new Oregon 700/750 series which updates the Oregon 600 series.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sp ... 50462.html
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sp ... 50460.html

Image Image Image

The case has some minor cosmetic changes from the Oregon 600 series, however stays pretty much the same as the older model. All the main specs remain the same - eg. the display resolution stays the same as the previous model 200x400 pixels.

Some slight changes:

  • built-in memory on the base model 700 increases to 1.7Gb from 1.5Gb on the Oregon 600. On the 750, the built-in memory remains the same as the 650 model - 4Gb.
  • waypoints increases from 4000 to 10000,
  • tracklog increased from 10000 to 20000 points
  • saved routes from 200 to 250.
  • Wifi connectivity added to the device - the previous Oregon 600 series had Bluetooth and ANT+ for connectivity, which the Oregon 700 series retains.
  • map segments to 15000 which is a big step up from the previous 4000 map segments. This is a big improvement IMHO. The previous limits became evident to me when I had a number of overseas maps (especially European topos) and when you exceed the map segments on either the internal memory or the Micro SD card, the maps just don't appear.
  • Active Weather feature
  • "redesigned" antenna

The operating system has been tweaked and out of the box starts with a menu similar to the new eTrex touch series where you pick an activity first. I have seen that you can select the "classic" menu to start it similar to the older Oregon 600 series.

The inclusion of the Active Weather support with animated radar overlays looks pretty cool, but you still need a smart phone and a wifi connection to the Garmin Oregon for this to work. And to my mind, if you already had the smartphone to look up weather, you wouldn't need it on the GPS.

Internally Garmin are spruiking that they have "renovated and redesigned GPS antenna". I have not seen teardowns of this new model yet, and can only speculate that they have adopted an all-in chipset that incorporates GPS and wifi. The Oregon 600 runs the Mediatek MT3332N Multi-GNSS Receiver SoC and uses a Ceramic Patch Antenna. I am curious as to the "redesigned" antenna. The space in the casing and the lack of a protruding antenna stub would preclude the use of a quad helix antenna. With the inclusion of Wifi in this model, Garmin may well be adopting a combined wifi/GPS antenna module similar to those used by smartphones/tablets. The overall advertised weight stays the same as the outgoing model, so it will be interesting to see what this "redesigned" antenna actually looks like.

The Oregon 700 has an RRP of $599. The 750 adds a camera and flashlight, but I have not seen local pricing on this yet.

Overall, to me it is little disappointing and seems to be a very minor update to the Oregon 600/650 series.
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Re: Garmin's New Oregon 700/750 series

Postby keithy » Sun 21 Aug, 2016 3:32 pm

Since my earlier post, I did some digging around the various GPS forums for users experiences.

I have also spotted some images of the new device's internals originally posted on a geocaching forum
http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index. ... 996&st=100

Garmin Oregon 6x0 vs 7x0 internal annotated (Medium).jpg


I have circled the patch antenna used in the 600 series, and the new combined WiFi / GPS antenna in the new 700 series.

As I suspected, this new antenna is similar to those used in some smartphones/tablets and is mounted at the front edge of the PCB facing upwards - this is to generate an almost hemispherical radiation pattern facing the sky to achieve optimal GPS signal strength and acquisition. This means that the new 700 series should get a good signal with the unit held vertically.

Patch antennas (like those used in the Oregon 600 and eTrex units) are directional, and have stronger signal reception when the antenna is held horizontally (ie. facing the sky). Additionally the position of the patch antenna on the back of the PCB on the Oregon 600 series means that in challenging signal conditions, you might get better reception if the GPS is held horizontally with the screen facing the ground, and the back battery compartment facing the sky.

Anecdotally from user reports, it appears that the new antenna is actually an improvement, and results in quicker satellite signal acquisitions. However, I have not yet spotted a qualified comparison between an Oregon 600 and the new 700 units in a cold start signal acquisition or comparing signal strengths.

There has been at least one early adopters complaining stated that their 700 screen is not as bright as the 600 series screen, making their use in sunny conditions more challenging. Not many people have mentioned this so I might have to pop into JA GPS and have a look for myself.

So, aside from the usual new Garmin device firmware issues and software bugs that inevitably crop up, I may yet change my opinion on the new 700/750 unit.
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