The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Garmin Oregon 700 Review

Straightforward function meets glitzy features in a unit that's great for a range of activity in reasonable weather conditions.
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Price:  $400 List | $328.15 at Amazon
Pros:  Smartphone-like touch screen, solid reception, activity specific profiles, wireless messaging and communication, tons of waypoint storage
Cons:  More waypoint storage and features than most need, battery hungry, hard to use with glove, can freeze up in cold
Manufacturer:   Garmin
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 19, 2018
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 7
  • Reception - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Display Quality - 20% 9
  • Speed - 15% 8
  • Weight and Size - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Simple to use with loads of useful features, the Oregon 700 is Garmin's most affordable GPS unit in the Oregon series. This series boasts dual-orientation touchscreens that function a lot like a smartphone, making them intuitive for the casual user. It also offers customizable profiles for a range of activities. It's great for those that want to track multiple activities, like hiking, biking, and fishing. A relatively large, bright display is a nice bonus. The 700's 16 hours of battery life is on the shorter side, but since you can switch out AAs in the field, it's essentially immortal. Compact and light, it's also easy to toss in a backpack or jacket pocket. This unit is among our favorites for gloveless weather, where the touchscreen really shines. When it's colder out, it's a little less reliable, particularly if you're using alkaline batteries.

It baffles us that the 700 stores two to five times the number of waypoints of the other units tested. It's hard to imagine that many users need 10,000, along with 250 tracks with up to 20,000 points each. We'd rather pay less for less. The less expensive Garmin GPS MAP 64s has glove-friendly buttons and is more reliable but takes longer to use. The slightly more expensive Garmin Montana 680 has excellent speed, accuracy and reception and the largest display we've tested. The biggest downside is its bulk.

For those who are used to the controls of a smartphone and modern electronic touchscreen displays, look no further than the Garmin Oregon 700. It's the least expensive unit in the Oregon series, but it still packs a lot into an easy to use device. The self-orienting touch screen and pre-set profiles for different activities make this unit easy to get started with, and we found it to be a little easier to navigate the menus than some of the others. This was our favorite device to use in better weather, but the touchscreen is hard to use in gloves or with a wet screen, and the cold makes it devour AA batteries. Curiously, the Oregon 700 can store 10,000 waypoints, which makes it leaps and bounds beyond any other touchscreen, and perhaps excessive for most. Still, we think the Oregon 700 is an excellent device for most activities.


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Garmin Oregon 700
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $328.15 at Amazon$449.99 at Amazon
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Pros Smartphone-like touch screen, solid reception, activity specific profiles, wireless messaging and communication, tons of waypoint storageExcellent reception, large buttons, big screen, smart notifications and connectivity.Fantastic reception through thick coverage, affordable, large buttons, share wirelessly features, smart notifications (connect to your smartphone)Easy and affordable two-way messaging, great smartphone app, feature loaded, proven global networkImpeccable reception, large display, 8 MP camera, compatible with several mounts, dual orientation, wireless communication, electronic compass
Cons More waypoint storage and features than most need, battery hungry, hard to use with glove, can freeze up in coldExpensive, bulky, complicated connectivity between devices.Weak basemap, larger size, non-rechargeable batteriesExpensive initial purchase, largest and heaviest messengerLarge, heavy, expensive
Bottom Line Straightforward function meets glitzy features in a unit that's great for a range of activity in reasonable weather conditions.A reliable and accurate GPS unit chock full of features.This is your best bet for four-season reliability when it's too dirty or cold out to take off your gloves.Fully featured and arguably more reliable even than commonly available satellite phones.A large screen and excellent reception make up for this unit's bulk if you have trouble viewing normal units or use satellite imagery.
Rating Categories Garmin Oregon 700 Garmin GPSMAP 66st Garmin GPS MAP 64s Garmin inReach Explorer+ Garmin Montana 680
Reception (20%)
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9
Ease Of Use (20%)
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Display Quality (20%)
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Speed (15%)
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Weight And Size (15%)
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Versatility (10%)
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7
Specs Garmin Oregon 700 Garmin GPSMAP 66st Garmin GPS MAP 64s Garmin inReach... Garmin Montana 680
Battery Life (hours) 16 16 75 22
No. of Waypoints 10,000 5,000 (250,000) preloaded geocaches) 500 4,000
Saved Tracks / Points per Track 250 / 20,000 200 / 10,000 20 / 500 200 / 10,000
Preloaded Maps US and Canada Simple Basemap 1:25k U.S. and Canada Simple Basemap
Dimensions (in.) 2.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 2.4 x 6.3 x 1.4 2.7 x 1.5 x 6.5 2.9 x 5.7 x 1.4
Weight w/ Batteries (oz.) 6.8 8 7.6 7.5 10.3
Display Size (in.) 1.5 x 2.5 1.43 x 2.15 1.4 x 1.9 2 x 3.5
Display Resolution (pixels) 240 x 400 160 x 240 200 x 265 272 x 480
Built-in Memory 16 GB 4 GB 2 GB 4 GB
Accepts Data Cards microSD microSD No microSD
Touchsceen or buttons? Buttons Buttons Buttons Touchscreen (dual orientation)
Electronic or Differential Compass? Electronic Electronic Electronic Electronic
Barometric Altimeter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless Communication? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Satellite Systems Used (GPS, GLONASS) Wide Augmentation System Present (WAAS)? All All All All
Ability to add maps? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automatic Routing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vertical Profiling Yes Yes Yes Yes
Camera/Video No No No Camera - 8 MP
Photo Viewer Yes Yes No Yes
Geocaching (paperless) Yes Yes No Yes
Hunt/Fish Calendar Yes Yes No Yes
Sun and Moon Information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Area Calculator Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Information 2 AA Batteries 2 AA batteries Rechargeable lithium ion 3 AA Batteries / Rechargeable NiMH pack
Online Connect Communities Garmin Connect Garmin Connect Garmin Earthmate Garmin Connect
Screen Info transflective color TFT transflective, 65-K color TFT, transflective transflective, color TFT transflective 65k color TFT
Interface Information high-speed USB and NMEA 0183 USB, NMEA 0183 compatible USB high-speed USB, NMEA 0183 compatible
What Comes in the Box? USB cable, documentation, bird's eye sattelite imagery, carabiner clip -1 year BirdsEye satellite imagery w/ international coverage
-USB data cable
-Carabineer clip
-Documentation
-inReach Explorer+
-Preloaded with TOPO
-USB cable
-Carabiner clip
-Documentation
-1 year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
-USB cable
-AC charger
-Battery pack
-Multiple socket adaptors

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.
We've yet to have trouble getting reception in the field.

Reception


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 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.
Even in this bright light, it's easy for the tester to see the screen and use it to navigate.

Display Quality


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.
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.

Speed


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.
If your adventure is warm and dirt-free enough to avoid gloves or take them off comfortably, the Oregon 700 is a good choice.

Versatility


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.
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.
Light and easy to carry the Oregon 700 is ready for most adventures. Clipping it outside dense clothing or your pack improves reception.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.


Clark Tate