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Garmin Rino 530hcx Handhelp Mapping GPS / Radio Review

It May Be Expensive, But Think Of The Possibilities...

Garmin Rino 530 Right lets stop and think about this now. A fully featured handheld GPS system - with a two-way radio? Why?

Well, it'll save you the weight of having to carry two seperate devices, but the real beauty of this sytem is the way that Garmin have combined the features of the GPS and the Radio.

The Rino has the ability to transmit your position, via the radio, to other Rino users, and display them on the map on your screens. How good is that?

Keep track of friends hiking together. Paintball games would take on a whole new aspect. You can silently send messages on a hunt without disturbing the wild-life. Absolutely superb.

Needless to say that the Rino 530 cames very well specified, see our review of the eTrex Vista HCX for similair features. The Rino comes with a built in compass and altimeter, base-maps, the all-important sd slot for expandibility.

Auto-rerouting, so if you buy the relevant maps you can use it like a proper car sat nav, or pop in the optional Bluechart maps and the Rino will be just at home on the water.

You may be thinking that all this sounds very good - but what can you actually do with all these extra features and how do they make navigating easier and safer?

Lets start off by looking at the navigation features. The built-in compass, ability to download detailed topographical or road maps and expandible memory means that the Rino can direct your car to your chosen trail-head, then take you on very accurate routes from waypoint to waypoint. Important POI's, geographical features and trails are easily seen, and the compass means route finding from one point to another is a breeze. With Track Log turned on the Rino will record your route, and when asked, reverse it to take you home. Sorted.

The addition of the two-way radio adds a whole realm of features. Aside from standard FRS and GMRS radio communication, the Garmin Rino will allow you to send messages to other Rino users with range - just like text messages on your mobile or cell phone. The Rino will also transmit your location, and display the location of up to 16 other Rino users that are in range - superb for keeping track of other people in your group, or groups of people. The radio an be set to silent / vibrate mode so it won't give your position away when tracking wild-life or playing paintpall - imagine that!

All this is of course very expensive, and you'll still need the back-up of paper maps and an orienteering compass, but think of it is an investment, and especially if other hikers you know use Rinos - the fun and safety gained from knowing where everyone else is!

This Garmin GPS is a truly exceptional piece of kit, and if you can afford it, buy one now, you won't regret it.

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