Another area where costs have been cut is in the lack of a touchscreen. Instead, the interface is operated via a joystick and four rubberised buttons, leaving room for a rather small 2.2in display. Some might not consider this much of a loss, however, as although the buttons need to be pressed firmly, you will be able to operate this device whilst wearing gloves. The two buttons at the bottom simply zoom the map screen in and out. The menu and back buttons provide access to two overlapping sets of functions, starting from the default map screen which appears when you first turn the device on.
The menu button essentially calls up a quick list of options. You can add your current location as a waypoint, for example to store the whereabouts of your vehicle or base camp before heading out. It’s also possible to record your movements as a track, so you can then backtrack and retrace your steps – always handy when paths are not shown on the map or clearly defined. You can save tracks, too, with storage for 50 tracks with up to 5,000 points each, to make a collection of your favourite walking routes.
The map screen can be customised. The two informational panels at the bottom, which by default show the distance to the end of your journey and bearing, can also be configured to display all manner of alternative information. Heading, current speed, elevation, coordinate readouts, ETA and even current satellite accuracy are all available, amongst many others. It’s also possible to include from one to four fields, although having three or four fields does obscure quite a bit of the map, which is already pretty small.
The sense of screen clutter is further accentuated by the option to superimpose the compass over the map. However, we rather like this feature. Although the dashboard display includes a partial or complete compass, being able to see both compass and map simultaneously means you can glean a lot of information at a glance, without having to flick through screens, which does require a few menu clicks. But it should also be noted that the compass is a digital, GPS-powered version, so it requires a satellite lock to function. In other words, it won’t work indoors or where very heavy tree cover obscures the sky too much. You can also choose between viewing the map in 2D top-down mode or 3D perspective, although you can’t use the onscreen compass with the latter.