Garmin did away with their Oregon 600 series, it's all 700's now. The 700 series offers an aggressive amount of track and waypoint storage. While you can get an Oregon 750 with or without preloaded topo maps (that's what the t stands for), the Oregon 700 doesn' t offer a t version. This doesn't really bother us because we'd rather get a smaller scale map than the 1:100k topo that comes preloaded. The 750 also comes with an 8-megapixel camera.
We've yet to have trouble getting reception in the field.
While the Oregon 700 reception was quite good, it wasn't quite as fast as the GPSMAP 66, but the difference was negligible in all but the deepest cover. Like most of Garmin's GPS units, it can access both the GPS and the GLONASS satellite networks, and with the improved antenna from the 600 series, this unit does pretty darn well. Still, if absolute accuracy is what you need, you could get the GPSMAP 66st for the same price.
Ease of Use
Since all but the most stubborn Luddites these days have smartphones, the Oregon 700
is an easy and intuitive unit to use. After turning on, the pre-set activity profiles pop up, and upon selection show a map of your location. You can swipe left or right to show different information (altitude, time/distance, compass, etc.), and shrink or expand the map with two fingers. The power button also acts as a menu button, and the other one marks a waypoint. It's nice to have continuity in all the electronics in your life.
The Oregon 700 presents a number of different activity profiles when turned on, each of which are customizable. The screen also self orients.
The Oregon 700 also has some connectivity to your smartphone, like active weather (which does use cellphone data), VIRB remotes for Garmin cameras, and live tracking. New users were confused about how to find a menu or how to start a track for a minute. They did consult a number of useful YouTube videos. Once you get the basics down by playing around in a parking lot, it becomes fairly intuitive. Finding all the details from there on out is easier. That said, there are a lot of random functions that it takes time and an internet connection to sort through.
Even in this bright light, it's easy for the tester to see the screen and use it to navigate.
The Oregon 700 really maximizes pixel real-estate, fitting a 1.5 x 2.5-inch 240 x 400-pixel display on one of the most compact units in the test. Garmin claims the screen is sunlight-readable, and we didn't have any problems reading it in any lighting. It self-orients between portrait and landscape mode and is, overall, one of the best displays we've tested. You can also reduce screen brightness to save battery.
Here we compare the base map on the Oregon 700 to that on the Gaia GPS App. Gaia wins this round, but with a better topo map uploaded, the Garmin holds up better. The 700's screen is on the small side for satellite-based navigation to be pleasant.
Quick to respond to touchscreen commands it also redraws maps quickly and is fast to find satellites. There is little to know lagtime frustration with this device. To further decrease your satellite finding times, you can also download extended prediction orbit (EPO) files. These predict satellite paths and help the GPS find them, and your position, more quickly. You can choose to slow down map drawing speed if you need to save battery life.
Weight and Size
The Oregon 700's 2.4 x 2.5 x 1.3 dimensions fit easily in the hand. Garmin claims the unit weighs 7.4 ounces with batteries. We weighed it at 6.8 oz with batteries and its carabiner mount. Packability is one of the most important elements of a safety device. If you don't bring it, it won't do you any good. We never have any qualms about clipping the Oregon 700 on our bag.
If your adventure is warm and dirt-free enough to avoid gloves or take them off comfortably, the Oregon 700 is a good choice.
In some ways, the Oregon 700 is really versatile. The activity profiles that pop up to start with are really nice for a quick start function, and they work well for those specific activities, and it's easy to switch from one to the other. Each profile is also customizable, and it's easy to add things like topo maps, plan trips either on your computer or the unit itself if you're planning ahead.
It doesn't have a camera or flashlight, unlike the Oregon 750 model, but odds are you're probably also hiking with your smartphone and don't need to spend the extra $100 to have these on your GPS. With the wifi, Bluetooth, and ANT+ connectivity this unit, plus the big screen and intuitive functions, it makes for a pretty sweet setup for fair weather use.
Like the other non "t" models, the Oregon 700 requires you to download topo maps separately.
However, it's a bit of a different story when it comes to cold or moisture. If you've ever tried to use a smartphone when it's raining you'll know that touchscreens are rather lacking as soon as a bit of water gets on the screen. The same goes for snow, and it's a pain to be taking off gloves when it's cold out, so this device doesn't work well for things like ski touring. The biggest problems we ran into is that it blows through standard alkaline batteries in no time and the device can freeze up in cold weather. To be fair Garmin mentions that lithium or NiMH packs are recommended with this device. Alkaline batteries also tend to lose capacity in frigid temperatures. Lithium batteries are better in the cold.
On occasion, the screen sensitivity is annoying. The unit will jump to another screen with an accidental tap or swipe. You can lock it by tapping the Power/Menu button and tapping the lock icon in the center of the dark bottom bar.
Light and easy to carry the Oregon 700 is ready for most adventures. Clipping it outside dense clothing or your pack improves reception.
This unit will serve you well for any adventure that doesn't involve wearing constantly wearing gloves or really cold temperatures. That said, it's overkill for short casual geocache outings or on-trail hikes, where a smartphone app would likely do the trick. But our smartphones are also overkill for phoning a friend. We like what we like.
The $399.99 price tag is the biggest detractor from whole-heartedly recommending this device to a wide range of users. There are less expensive options that are as good at navigating, they're just a little less intuitive and pleasant to use. For a better value, check out the Editor's Choice Award-winning GPSMAP 66st or the Best Buy Award winning eTrex 20x.
The Oregon 700 is a high-class, easy-to-use GPS device that works reliably in the weather most of us want to enjoy. This is a great option if you can afford it.