I thought I would fill all of you in on SeriousTool's world of GPSr use in the past week since stupidly destroying my original Delorme PN-40, and buying a new Delorme PN-60 as the replacement.
My first impressions of the PN-60 were very good. The unit picked up a full 3D satellite signal within 5 seconds of turning the unit on outside in full view of the sky. Accuracy improved quickly and within a few minutes I had consistent "accuracy" of 6 or 7 feet, which was what I was used to with my PN-40.
The display and layout of each page on the unit was much more clean and modern than on the PN-40. However, I found that navigating from page to page was not as simple as with the PN-40. Getting used to press the Menu button twice in rapidly to access the main menu screen was a bit annoying.
I did notice that the new battery life of the unit was very good. I only ran AA Energizer Lithium Ultimates through it and they were still at "100%" at the time that I returned the unit to Delorme a week later. I did not notice much from the new supposed ambient light sensor for regulating automatic screen brightness.
The file management system is much cleaner than that on the PN-40 running 2.7 firmware. Mind you, the 40's 2.7 firmware was the software that is meant to be used for GIS and XMAP users and not fully capable for Geocaching GPX files. Now that I have returned the 60 and have a 40 again, but with 2.8 firmware, I see that the file management system is pretty much the same on the two units allowing dragging and dropping of GPX files (with the Geocaching attributes right onto the units internal or external memory).
Loading and saving of GPX files on the 60 is MUCH faster than that on the 40 which is very nice. I do notice a significant different in speeds on loading and saving GPX files now that I am back to a 40.
The downsides of the 60 though really were noticeable during a full day of Geocaching on Tuesday 7/13/2010 with Marcipanek and TeamHorwich in the Lewiston, ME area. I saw the issues immediately when Marcipanek and I got to the first cache. The compass worked great as I expected it would, and brought me right to GZ, pointing us right at the cache. However we were having trouble locating the cache so expanded our search area. We were skeptical of the cache's true location so I went to view the cache's description on the unit and for the first time that day, saw the biggest flaw of the 60. At times, too often I think, the software is buggy and gives you the cache description for the wrong cache! I found this happening several other times during the day with the cache description of a random cache that I was not viewing or routing to on the unit, being shown when I was trying to see the info for another cache. Because of this, it made my found logs/field notes for about 9 caches totally unusable when logging the caches on Geocaching.com.
Other issues I see, involve Delorme in general and their approach to the launch of this new unit. When they put this unit out, they rushed it out and released it well before the PN-60Wse, which is the top of the line 60 model. I personally would have liked to have the 60Wse but since I was in need of a unit right after I destroyed my old 40, I had to get something immediately. I thought I would try the 60 and then just return it once the 60Wse was released. I was under the impression through Delorme's website that the Wse would be available for sale in late June. In fact the site still says that. Many online retailers have the Wse listed as for sale but in fact do not have it in stock. Delores updated time line then said late July. And then on Tuesday when I stopped at Delorme's Map Store in Yarmouth, ME, they told me that the Wse would not be available until the fall!
Most of you know the story about my early and minimal involvement with the PN-60Wse Beta program which ended before even seeing a test unit due to my early criticism and honesty regarding Delorme's approach to the GPSr development and marketing. I really think that if Delorme is going to take the Geocaching community seriously, they need to be open to more testing of their units and feedback from Geocachers. I do understand that Delorme's focus is on their Maps and on professional usages of their GPSrs with GIS and XMAP. But, as many of you know, Delorme also chose to be the primary sponsor of GeoWoodstock 8 in Seattle two weeks ago. They are avidly attempting to court Geocachers to their very good units, but when they won't accept ideas from contemporary 2010 consumers users of the units, I do not know how they will succeeded in this endeavor.
I know that other Geocachers have complained about Delorme's unwillingness to incorporate a large or even touch screen to their unit. After using the 60, I saw that the screen size really is too small, and hard to read, more so than on the 40! Lack of an on board camera like some of the new Garmin Oregon models is also annoying. When caching I take many photos, and wow..... carrying my Nikon D5000 or even using my iPhone to take photos while caching is cumbersome. Having a geo-tagging camera on the GPSr itself can be very useful!
I also don't see how Mac users (which I am, except I do have a small netbook PC that I use for Geocaching) can use the PN-60 other than to only use Geocaching.com PQs as their GPX files on the unit. Unless you have a premium Geocaching account, the PN-60 as of now is useless because the only way to get cache info onto the unit is to move GPX files to the unit dragging an dropping, or manually punching the cords in. Delorme's cache register widget and their Firefox send to GPS plug in are not updated for the new 60! Why would you release a new device when the software that people use to utilize their device, doesn't even work with it yet?
Truly I love the PN-40. I see a lot of promise for the PN-60, especially if Delorme can release a smooth PN-60Wse and have the SPOT technology and wireless stuff work correct. It sure would be nice if the rumors about sending Text messages with SPOT from the unit to log caches on Geocacing.com, were true. But I have a hard time believing anything that Delorme says or claims. Not until I really see it in person. Maybe I will try the 60Wse when it is finally released, but now that I have the 40's 2.8 firmware (since I copied all the TOPO 9.0 disks that came with the 60), I don't see much need for a PN-60. I love my orange Serious Tool! The 40's 2.8 firmware update brings up a final example of Delorme's illogic. They are making PN-40 users PAY for the firmware update, by having to purchase the new TOPO 9.0 software! Heck for the time being, this means that Mac users of the PN-40 will be unable to update their firmware because as you all know, Delorme's TOPO software, like all their other software is NOT Mac capable. The sad thing is that the 2.8 firmware makes caching with the PN-40 even EASIER for owners of Macs, but the way Delorme has chosen to offer the firmware for SALE instead of a free release to everyone, makes it more difficult. How ironic.....
If any of you have any questions or more details, let me know!
Last edited by brdad; 07-16-2010 at 09:49 AM.