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GearTools & Tech

What's the best-value GPS unit on the market?

I'm thinking of buying a GPS system for my son. What's the best value out there (good quality at a reasonable price)? Hir Buffalo, New York

A: Quite a few good choices out there. One really good-value option is the fairly new Garmin eTrex Venture ($159;, which builds on the design of the popular eTrex, introduced about three years ago. The Venture improves on the basic eTrex (now $100, itself a good buy) by offering better screen resolution, more memory, and better accuracy. It's also weatherproof, so can be used on wet hikes.

Garmin eTrex Venture

You might also look at Magellan's SporTrak GPS ($170;, which has memory and features similar to the Venture. A little sturdier case, perhaps, and some people may find its interface easier to use (that's more a matter of personal taste than anything objective).

If you opt to spend a bit more, then the Magellan SporTrak Pro ($270) has enough memory to support detailed internal maps in addition to the usual collection of waypoints. Or, Garmin's eTrex Summit ($229) incorporates an accurate compass and altimeter—an excellent choice for mountaineering, cross-country skiing, and backpacking.

Hope your son enjoys his gift!

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Filed To: GPS Devices
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI