Sunday, 8 January 2012

Memory Map Adventurer 2800 - great unit at a great price

GPS technology has rapidly increased over the last 2 years, with the introduction of more and more phones that feature GPS, the outdoor industry has seen massive strides taken in the outdoor GPS handset category. Memory Map have always been at the forefront of electronic mapping, with their software arguably being the most popular and most advanced out there. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that they have ventured into the GPS handset market and produced their own range of handsets that not only integrate with existing maps but also come pre-loaded with 1:50k maps. In this category it is certainly up against some tough competition with units like the Garmin eTrex 30, Dakota and Montana, Satmap Active 10, and other high end sets. So how does the Adventurer 2800 compare?

First things first, straight out of the box this unit feels great. It's solid feeling - the kind of unit you want to take out into the mountains with you. It's also very light (135g with battery), so the unit isn't a huge amount of extra weight to carry. Switching the unit on reveals the vibrant high resolution screen. It displays the maps with beautiful clarity, if you look at other units available it's easy to see why the Adventurer really dwarfs the competition. Below are the stats compared to a couple of other units:

Adventurer: 96,000 pixels, (400 x 240)
Garmin Dakota: 38,400 pixels (240 x 160)
Satmap Active 10: 76,800 (320 x 240)

Looking at the above you can clearly the see the adventurer boasts a far superior screen, and it really does show when looking at maps especially zoomed in. So far so good!
Memory Map software is great for route tracking,
and as a teaching aid.

Onto the technical side of things, the adventurer comes with a couple of options for maps, you can buy the unit with either 1:50k national parks or 1:50k entire UK (for a small price difference). In addition to this if you own memory map and have your own maps you can add them on as well on the MicroSD (various sizes available) expansion card. For me this meant I could have 1:25k detail as well, which is a real bonus. The maps are really clear and detailed and show all the data on a 1:25k map not just vector mapping details that are found on some mapping systems. The GPS antennae is very powerful, gaining a fix quickly and efficiently. It maintains this fix even in thickly wooded areas, and inside. I compared the speed of the fix against my Garmin eTrex 10, and the eTrex was faster, however not by much, and considering the Adventurer is able to acquire the fix and place your position on a 1:25k map, it's worth waiting the extra minute!

The touchscreen is easy to use, but does require a bit more effort if wearing gloves, this could be an issue in colder conditions, however you can buy "e-tip" gloves (various shops and brands that mean operation even with gloves on is easy.

Overall I love this unit, it's great value, it's easy to use, its powerful and quick to get a fix, and worth the money bigtime especially if you have Memory Map already and want to use existing map

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