Garmin has many handheld mapping GPS'es and as I get access to others I'll review them. My current favorite model is the Etrex Vista 30, mostly due to it's very bright screen, long battery life, and birdseye satellite imagery/overlays support. Before I used to take my HCx and Oregon, now all I need is the Vista 30. The battery life is so long, in fact, that my last backpacking trip I left it on all the way in and out without a hitch. The Oregon would have needed a battery change or two. The Oregon's biggest pluses are the Birdseye feature, custom maps, and shaded relief (makes viewing topos much easier), and larger screen size.
Pluses: cheaper, one-hand operation, (16-40 hrs?) hour battery life with battery
save options, sim cards, routable maps, topo maps, very very bright display
Cons: No Birdsye, no shaded relief, smaller screen size
Pluses: one-hand operation, (16-40 hrs?) hour battery life with battery
save options, sim cards, routable maps, topo maps, very very bright display, birdseye, shaded relief
GONAS russian and GPS american satellitetracking
Cons: smaller screen size, slow screen refreshes
Plus: Birdseye satellite imagery (subscription), shaded relief, custom maps, routable maps, topo maps, 65,000 colors
Cons: more expensive, much dimmer screen, much lower battery life (4-8 hrs?) on typical use with battery save options
You can't see the display brightness difference in these phots because I've altered the photos to make them somewhat more readable. The photos (Etrex Vista HCx, Etrex 30, then the Oregon) show size comparizons of the screens. The first set of photos show the Oregon in with just topo maps on. The second set of photos shows the Oregon in with Birdseye and topo on. The third set of photos show the Oregon with custom map overlays, in which I've put scanned a topo map from my collection. The Etrex Vista HCx can't do any of the other map options (overlays and Birdseye), show I've just shown the same topo for comarison. The Etrex was just too bright and everything was appearing washed out! Here we have 24k Topos from Garmin for the Northwest. See the difference between having Birdeye and not? Topo lines are still available, but you get satellite imagery also. I'm not crazy that Garmin dings you with a subscription fee for Birdseye satellite imagery, but I think it is worth it. Last summer I was doing cross country (ie no trail) backpacking and the satellite imagery saved me from many mistakes. I could see clearings and less dense forest areas, and together with the topo lines figured out if it was a cliff vs clearing up ahead. It also makes it easier to decide where to base camp since you can see open areas before you actually get there. You could do this all before at home, but it sure is nice to have a way to review when you're on the trail. If you like using Google Earth to visually plan ahead for trips, you'll love Birdseye.