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Garmin Dakota 20

Garmin Dakota 20If you want a good description of what the Garmin Dakota 20 can do, it’s a GPS handheld device that has all the features of the standard touchscreen Oregon that are meshed in a way to fit one smaller device. It might not be as powerful as the standard touchscreen Oregon, but it’s portability and low price is more than enough to warrant your attention if you’re looking for a GPS handheld device that will help you in your travels.

To get a good idea of what this device can do, let’s enumerate all of its features and discuss them in as much detail as possible.

  • ANT-based WIFI capabilities
  • Built-in Geocaching System
  • Barometric Altimeter (with Elevation Plot)
  • 3-Axis Compass

The design of the device is also sleek and elegant. It’s relatively smaller as well and can easily fit into the palm of your hand. And instead of the two-hole lanyard mount used by most GPS handheld devices, the Garmin Dakota 20 uses a rail mount at the bottom. There are no sharp corners on this device. In fact, it looks like a slightly used bar of soap. A teenage daughter will definitely get a good kick out of its streamlined design and easy handling. If you have a daughter who just learned how to drive, perhaps you can give this one as a gift for her birthday. The screen, as expected, is also small. The screen is measured at 2.6 inches. The 65k resolution is respectable enough, though a bit grainier than the Oregon model. But it’s good enough and should show data on the screen clearly enough.

Internal Hardware
Inside the device’s cute exterior is a pretty impressive internal hardware that can perform extensive functions. Like the Oregon model, the Garmin Dakota 20 locks the same satellites. So the device delivers as much as the Oregon as far as navigation and topographic tracking. It also has the same WAAS capabilities. The same GPS firmware is also used, so you don’t experience the bugs common to many small GPS handheld devices. It’s also supported by HotFix, so any bugs that might come about can be fixed by patch upgrades. This is extremely convenient since you don’t have to spend hours trying to look for bug fixes. The device also has 1 GB of flash memory. That’s more than enough for additional maps and files that can prove useful to long trips. Like most high-end GPS devices, this one has a 3-axis compass so that measurements and compass readings are more precise. Plus you don’t have to hold the compass steady. The pointer glides smoothly, which prevents compass “lapses” that might briefly deter you from your destination. The built-in magnetometer and accelerometer are also useful for treasure hunting expeditions.

GPS Performance
This device has the fast lock capabilities of the Oregon model and also almost as accurate. It has access to the HotFix database which can be helpful with mapping. Also, there’s the UserDataSync that shows modified data every time you restart your GPS handheld device.

There are criticisms of the device that you have to take heed before buying. For one, the screen might be too small for some. So if you have a small thumb, you might want to choose another one. There are some small variances in readings, but it’s not such a big deal since it still gets the job done.

Overall, the Garmin Dakota 20 is an excellent GPS device especially for kids. It’s easy to figure out and has all the important features. At $255, this is one of the best GPS handheld devices out there.