Is there anything better than exploring the great outdoors? How about exploring the great outdoors without getting lost? A good GPS is a lifesaver when it comes down to it. A GPS will let you explore without getting lost.
Garmin has been a world leader in the GPS world for some time, and have released some of the best GPS devices out there. Two such devices are the 64s and the 64st. Both are reliable devices, but which one should you choose? This detailed review brings you everything you need to know when you are comparing the devices so you can make an informed choice.
Difference Between Garmin 64s and 64st
Screen and Case
A readable screen is integral to a GPS device. If you cannot read your map, then the device is next to useless. How do these two devices fare?
A good GPS needs a professional screen. Both of these devices have a 2.6-inch screen which will display your maps in full color. They are also covered with a transflective material to cut down on the glare from the sun. Map reading is easy with both devices.
Both devices are completely waterproof. There is also the option to add a case to either device to improve the grip and protection. Both devices weigh in at 8.1 ounces. The Helix antenna on both devices is the same and will pick up signals even when you have obstacles in the way. This is particularly important when you are in the mountains or heavily-wooded areas.
Verdict: No difference between them
Software and Features
GPS devices have moved forward so quickly in the past few years, that the devices are almost incomparable to the first devices which hit the market. A GPS with advanced features can be key in dominating the market. How do these two models hold up?
Both models are able to access the BaseCamp software. This software allows both devices to check and organize maps, create markers, map routes, and access other relevant mapping information. You can also connect both devices to your computer to access more data and share that data with the world (or just your friends).
You can sync both devices to your smartphone if you wish to. This means that you can access messages through your device. If you are out hiking and are using your Garmin, you do not need to also pull out your phone to see your messages.
Both devices come with Geocaching software, but the 64st comes with 8GB of memory while the 64s comes with only 4GB of memory. The 64st also allows you to preselect maps depending on your physical location. These maps are preloaded on the 64st. If you feel that you need more memory, then both devices will accept a micro-SD card.
Both devices come with a year’s subscription to software which allows you to combine satellite maps with your Garmin maps. You also have the option of upgrading both devices to keep them relevant with the most current maps and software. You can sync the devices with ANT along with any devices which use Bluetooth.
Both devices also have an electronic compass, which compensates for tilting of the device. An altimeter and a barometer add to the information at your fingertips, alerting you to any changing weather conditions.
Verdict: Advantage 64st (for the memory capacity).
Ease of Use
When it comes to using a GPS device, ease of use is a big factor. Garmin are rock stars in the GPS world, but do their devices live up to this critical factor?
There really is not much between these two models. When you load your maps to the screen, they are shown in incredible detail. If you were looking at the screens alone, you would not know that you had two different GPS devices. The maps are crystal clear and extremely easy to read. This makes it easier to discern the lay of the land and identify routes. We also found that it was extremely easy to switch from the map to an overhead view of your position. This made it easy to find our positions in relation to the route we wanted to take.
One thing which is frustrating is the short battery life. If you have your device fully charged before you use it, you will have no problems, and you can always carry extra batteries if you feel that you are not going to have enough battery life. If you are low on battery, then the battery can be drained quickly by the powerful functions.
Each device has around 16 hours of battery life, which has never been a problem for us as we have always had the chance to recharge or replace the batteries between use. The included battery pack can be recharged while in the Garmin device or you can use AA batteries if the battery pack is drained. Be sure to buy spare Garmin Rechargeable NiMH Battery.
Verdict: Both devices are also extremely lightweight and small. They are perfectly formed to fit into any of your gear bags and will sit comfortably in your pocket.
The Bottom Line
There really is not much between these two devices, and they really are the same device with some upgrades on the 64st. When it comes down to it, both devices will give you exactly what you need. They both have the same screen size and display, taking advantage of the same software internally. The maps and positioning technology is the same in both devices. They feel exactly the same and work exactly the same. There are only two main differences which may sway your choice.
The 64st has 8GB of memory compared to 4GB in the 64s. This is twice as much memory, which is a lot. If you want to store more information on your device, then the 64st is the way to go. The 64st also has the added benefit of having more pre-loaded maps. If you are using your device in the US or Canada, this is a real advantage.
The Garmin 64s is slightly cheaper. The choice is yours – more memory or fewer dollars.