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Lowrance iFinder Expedition c - Lowrance iFinder Expedition c
Features are right up there with the best recreational GPS devices too. Not only does the device boast GPS, but also a barometric altimeter - which can be used to track your altitude or plot atmospheric pressure history (and even predict the weather) - a digital compass, and extra mapping can be added to the device via MMC/SD card. A quick hunt online revealed most of the products available for the iFinder appear to be US focused, with no topographic maps available for Europe or the UK, which is disappointing. Marine maps are available for west and northern Europe, however.
But one of the device's most interesting features is that it's EGNOS (European Geostationary Overlay Service) ready. This is a system, put in place in recent years - and still in its experimental stages - aimed at improving the accuracy of GPS. Originally intended to assist pilots and aircraft, the system can be used by anyone with a compatible device, and despite the system not being completely finished, I found that, during tests in open countryside in northern France, that the iFinder picket up an EGNOS signal - indicated by an asterisk on the bars of the GPS status screen.
It's difficult to know how much this affected performance and accuracy, but one thing is clear - the Expedition c is incredibly accurate and responsive - the most accurate hiking GPS I've used. Tracks are plotted very finely indeed, and on a quick walk to my local tube station, I was able to see precisely where I had stopped and crossed the road.
GPS performance is exceptional too, with the Expedition c picking up a full lock in ideal conditions in under 30 seconds. Impressively, it maintained a solid position under light and heavy tree cover, and more importantly with the device warmed up, the iFinder was able to pick up a satellite lock almost instantly on the rare occasion that it lost signal. Again, this easily outstrips the Satmap's performance and bests any hiking device I've used.
All-in-all, the iFinder Expedition c, despite its size and ugly looks, is a highly impressive hiking GPS. It doesn't have the fancy mapping bells and whistles of the Satmap Active 10, and it's bulky compared to many of its rivals, but its performance is excellent and that's what you need when you're out on the trail.
And though £256 may seem expensive, compared to similar products from Magellan - the Explorist 500 for instance - it's actually a lot more competitive than it looks.
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