Garmin Oregon 400c

Sail the seven seas without getting lost.

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Garmin Oregon 400c
  • Garmin Oregon 400c
  • Garmin Oregon 400c
  • Garmin Oregon 400c
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Coastal maps, microSD slot, rugged casing, wireless sharing function

Cons

  • Suitable only for a small audience, Garmin doesn't provide similarly priced options for land-based recreation

Bottom Line

The Oregon 400c is a reasonably priced option if you need detailed coastal maps. The inclusion of a microSD slot provides adequate room for expansion.

Would you buy this?

Sitting at the top of Garmin’s handheld GPS range, the Oregon 400c doesn’t have all the frills of Magellan’s Triton 2000 but it still has a host of features to suit a wide range of situations.

The Oregon 400c follows the familiar styling of other Oregon devices with grey plastic and rubber casing. Built to an IPX-7 standard with rubber protection for the unit’s mini-USB port, the Oregon 400c is shock- and water-proof, making it suitable for the rigours of outdoor adventures. The unit’s cleverly designed back cover clamp allows for the attachment of a carabiner.

In terms of features, the Oregon 400c is identical to the Oregon 300 in almost every way. A 3in touch screen eradicates the need for a confusing button layout and provides easy access to the device’s map, electronic compass and other navigation functions. Like the Oregon 300, the Oregon 400c has a microSD slot and enough internal memory to save up to 10,000 user-generated points of interest and 20 tracks.

Whereas most of the Oregon 300’s internal memory goes unused, the Oregon 400c comes preloaded with Garmin’s BlueChart g2 coastal charts for Australia and New Zealand. The maps provide a huge amount of extra information on top of the base map, including tidal charts, shaded depth contours, major land features and submarine lines. Complemented by basic depth information for up to 100km offshore, the BlueChart g2 maps provide invaluable information for a seafarer.

Although these maps aren’t available separately for Australia and New Zealand, the $249 premium for BlueChart g2 Pacific Ocean maps makes the $100 price hike between the Oregon 300 and 400c a softer blow. If you need marine maps for these regions, going with the 400c is a cheaper option than upgrading the Oregon 300’s maps. Preloading the maps onto the unit’s internal memory also leaves the Oregon 400c’s microSD slot free for adding other marine detail maps or Garmin’s City Navigator maps, purchased separately for $195.

A common problem we encounter with Garmin’s Oregon series is slow signal acquisition. The Oregon 400c was fairly surprising in this regard. Although initial start-up took over three minutes, the device’s HotFix technology meant that subsequent cold acquisition times were closer to a minute. These times are fairly reasonable, though we would have liked the 400c to have an external antenna port as found on the Colorado 300 for greater sensitivity in difficult environments.

Unlike the Magellan Triton 2000, the Oregon 400c doesn’t boast an integrated camera or flashlight. Still, the unit provides basic navigational features such as geocaching, location-specific fishing and hunting times, and an electronic compass. The Oregon 400c’s 'Share Wirelessly' function remains our favourite addition: the ability to share routes, waypoints and geocaches between compatible Garmin GPS devices wirelessly.

Regular sea-voyagers and off-coast fishermen are likely to find a valuable companion in the Oregon 400c.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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