updated 01:40 pm EDT, Fri May 11, 2007
Garmin Rino HCx
Garmin has just revamped its GPS units with the Rino HCx series of map radios. Tailored to hikers and others who need to keep in touch out in the field, the 520HCx and 530HCx each have a color mapping display for location spotting in the wilderness but also have a two-way radio; the communication not only helps keep in touch within a 14-mile radius but also uses spare bandwidth to pinpoint other Rino users in range, preventing friends from getting lost.
New to the HCx versions are technologies borrowed from in-car receivers, Garmin says. Besides a faster GPS receiver that can fix a position even in deep woods, the new radios also have a microSD slot. The removable storage can overlay the base North and South American maps with topography, better road maps, or lake and river marine charts.
Either unit is waterproof in up to one meter (3.3 feet) of water and can run on a single lithium-ion battery charge for 14 hours. The 530HCx is Garmin's flagship through the addition of several tools for even greater detail about the local environment, according to the company. It adds a weather receiver for picking up on the local climate and will alert its user when poor conditions are inbound; the radio also packs a digital compass for finding one's direction and a barometric altimeter for mountain climbing and other nature trips where air pressure can be critical.
Both of the new Rino models are due to ship in June, starting at $450 for the 520HCx and climbing slightly to $500 for the 530HCx. [via GPS Lodge]