Q:

Which GPS unit goes above and beyond in terms of data output?

I cycle long distances, run, backpack, use my bike trainer, etc. And I’d like some type of GPS that has it all so that I don’t have to use three or four different tools. I want something that can map a route whether I’m on my bike or hiking around Mt. Rainier. I want something that will show my cadence, heart rate, miles, elevation, average speed, and time, play my music, and set up tent (OK, not that last thing). Can you suggest a tool that does it all? Rich Spanaway, Washington

Apr 2, 2008
Outside
Outside Magazine
Garmin Edge 705 GPS

Edge 705 GPS

A:

Yikes! That’s a long laundry list. But I think we can take care of most of it…save for the music and the tent parts.

You’re best bet probably is going to be the Garmin Edge 705 (about $540; garmin.com). It’s a bicycle-oriented GPS/mapping unit that has quite a long list of features. It will track your location, of course, and handle GPS chores such as marking waypoints. But it also tracks speed (and average speed over a course), distance, time, altitude, ascent and descent, and more. Plus it watches heart rate and calculates calories burned.

It also maps. The 705 comes with a decent baseline U.S. map (roads and landmarks), plus you can add a wide range of other maps, such as national parks topos, through the unit’s microSD slot. And the color screen gives you a good image.

The 705 is designed for bicycling, but works fine as a hiking unit. Alas, it won’t play music.

If the price is a bit much, Garmin’s 305 tracks location, measures speed, time, and other parameters, handles altitude, and tracks heart rate and calories burned. It doesn’t have the mapping capabilities of the 705. But when in the world have you been truly “lost?"

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