Garmin announces the new GPSMAP 276Cx

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by mattebox, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. CLANTECH

    CLANTECH Cruising Southern Africa

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    I‘m sorry Steve but you sound like BMW to me. Like Garmin selling the 276Cx as an Adventure GPS, BMW sells their 1200 GS as an Adventure Bike. But when it’s then used Offroad and something brakes, they claim it wasn’t built for that purpose!
    I own a 276Cx for a while now and still today i‘m disappointed how it performs compared to my old 276 (and not a smartphone). For unit that expensive I can expect more, especially when it comes to refreshing maps, calculating routes and guidance popups. We are in 2017 and not 1997!

    Just my 2 Cents!


    Hanging around, planning my next trip.
    grisen, JustRok, rider911 and 2 others like this.
  2. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    I'm not going to engage the ignoramuses that complain about a unit they aren't interested in buying and are clearly clueless about navigation. To me it makes about as much sense as trying to have a rational conversation with people that believe politicians are running child sex slave operations under pizza restaurants in DC - it's pointless!


    OTOH you have one, have owned a 276, so have a much more relevant perspective IMO. I understand it but temper it with my own personal requirements.

    To me, the poor route calculation is likely an issue... But I'd like a unit that has a big daylight visible screen (check), buttons (check), real navigation features that I can use whether off-road, in the air and on the water (check), is rugged (check), takes vehicle power directly (check), will run on readily replaceable off-the-shelf batteries (check), has a solid mount (check), moves easily from vehicle to vehicle and to desktop (check), logs unlimited GNSS data at receiver rate (check), is simple to load/retrieve maps and user data (check), etc. This is likely the best game in town. Many people are quite happy with the unit too. I'm pretty darn sure I will be also. Heck, one of my greater disappointments with this unit is that the GNSS receiver only runs at 1Hz - talk about last century LOL!

    I think it's all about expectations. I've owned dozens of electronic navigation tools and operated hundreds of them going all the way back to ADF's, VOR/DME - RNAV, LORAN, etc. and even learned CNAV. Some were genuine dogs. From that experience, the feedback on this forum and others, I think I've got my head wrapped around the strengths and weaknesses of the unit so when I decide to acquire one I will know what to expect...
  3. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    well, that was unfortunate. maybe some other time you can articulate an answer. no biggie.
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  4. chris_sav

    chris_sav Adventurer

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    As you said previously, my 276CX went back and I bought a Montana 680T. Nowhere near as nice a machine as the 276CX but at least it does what it says on the tin, it works! and tells me when to turn before I get there. Used the Montana for almost a year now and cannot say I particularly like it but it's better than a lovely big posh shiney GPS that they forgot to put an engine in.
    JustRok and PoleRbear like this.
  5. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    I get so frustrated by montana... Mostly the UI and features/functions and abysmal routing although the behavior due to it's poor accuracy is annoying too. The 276cx looks like the UI and features/functions are spot on. I can see the route recalculating on the 276cx being frustrating but slow map is far from a big deal to me - I actually spend less than half the time on the map page on montana (more than half is on the trip computer)...

    So if these are my expectations I likely won't be hugely disappointed by the unit...

    I see myself using this in my 4x4, on the moto, in my kayak and other marine usage, in sailplanes and other experimental aircraft... maybe on the electric bike if there's room in the cockpit (it's pretty busy at this point!) :nod

    [​IMG]

    :ricky
  6. chris_sav

    chris_sav Adventurer

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    Agree suspect Montana routing but I find it's only an issue on some but not all OSM maps, so may be map dependant. I don't think the 680T is as good as the 650T (poorer sunlight display and shorter battery life) that I had (some scrote relieved me of it).
  7. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    The things I don't like about montana routing have little to nothing to do with the maps.

    Most of my routing is on-the-fly. I pick a destination, then start to add vias... With montana you get one instead of 50 :puke2 Nearly useless.
    I very frequently use(d) the feature of find "near the current route" - none of that on montana.
    The lack of route editing and functions like "detour" suck.
    I despise that when I'm panning the map I can't do a "find".
    I really don't like that as soon as you move nearly all the street labels go bye bye.
    It avoids left turns and u-turns like plague and won't do a left turn that isn't in an intersection. The old x76/x96's never did this like montana. That may be that the maps no longer support that but it also may be the unit routing algorithms (or a mix of both) and it also may be that the 276cx does the same. I won't know until I try.

    I can go on about all the things I don't like about it... these are the ones most related to how I use routing on the unit...
  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    has anyone slaved the CX memory to another tablet/phone via usb-otg yet ?

    just wondering how well the file access is working between it and other devices.
  9. Mike_MRS

    Mike_MRS Been here awhile

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    Not so much :rofl
  10. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile

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    I have been watching this thread on and off and think I am ready to take the plunge with the 276c. Been running the Montana’s and it has performed fine for my expectations with the exception of the delaminating touch screens. Have there been any repeating reliability issues with the 276c ? I have been let down by the Montana twice on trips and I am a tracks guy so trip is ruined without a backup. The first Montana letdown I had a 60cs with the tracks loaded so after figuring out how to mount it , I was rolling again. 2nd letdown, I wasn’t so lucky and had to abandon the trip. Both failures were the screen and so biggest reason l am interested in the 276c is getting rid of the touchscreen. Thanks
  11. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    the c model is over a decade old. the CX is new, but see the list of under delivered/issues it comes with. the c might actually be the better of the two
  12. DonM

    DonM Do-dah Do-dah

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    the c model is over a decade old. the CX is new, but see the list of under delivered/issues it comes with. the c might actually be the better of the two

    Hope it gets better, old 276/376 was nice except the memory for current maps.
  13. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    Well, I got me a 276CX. I bought it with the intention to try it out and I bought it in a place where returns won’t be a problem in case I can’t put up with its problems.

    What follows are my observations. I did not want to spend the money on the Garmin North America maps in case I didn’t want the GPS. Instead I loaded OSM maps for the western USA and 2 sets of Garmin 24k Topo maps. On the topo maps I suppressed the contour lines on the screen, I never want to see those on my maps. All maps where loaded on a 32GB Sandisk uSD card (not too fast, not too slow, I don’t remember the specs). I also set the map speed at fast (Map setup – Map – Map speed) and deselected anything I did not need on the map to be displayed. I have not tried BirdsEye, so no comments there.

    I have used a 276C for many years so the transition was an easy one. Many of these observations are duplicates of what other already have described one way or another.

    In the end my conclusion is that the unit has its flaws and definitely needs more work to fix bugs or to make things more user friendly. However, there is nothing in this unit that makes me want to return it, even as is. I think I will be very happy with it.

    In no particular order here are what I found so far:

    · The screen is absolutely great. Large, very clear with details clearly legible. It is large enough so I don’t need to zoom out very far to see much of an upcoming routing. Text is very legible.

    · Plenty reports of a severe delay in the position indicator on the screen while scooting along. I have NOT seen that at all. My position tag has always been right where my bike was located as I was riding. Did it get fixed, or are there other reasons for the delay? I don’t know, all I know it has not been a problem for me at all.

    · Zoom-in, zoom-out and pan screen update delays: what I saw was very much a function of how much data needs to be redrawn. The OSM map has less delays then the Topo maps, much less data to redraw. Same for data density, cities have much more data and therefore more refresh delays. I noticed with the large screen I use tighter zoom levels then what I used on the 276C, I can see much more data due to the larger screen. I might have for instance used a 5 mile zoom level on the 276C and now I may use a 2 mile zoom level or less and see more and clearer data. This zoom level makes the delays not very intrusive at all. When panning or zooming at moderate zoom levels (for instance 5 or 10 mile zoom level), there is a refresh delay, but nothing to obnoxious, I can live with it. When zooming out or panning at much expanded zoom levels (30 or 50 mile levels for instance) it becomes very obnoxious. So, not great, and I sure hope Garmin can fix this. It can be annoying, but in the real world it is nothing I personally cannot live with as is. YMMV: As mentioned it depends on where you ride (rural vs large cities), how much data there is on the maps. I live in Colorado with generally not much development. If you live in MA with much many more roads and towns you may see it differently, I don’t know. I know it works for me as is.

    · I bought the CX, because I wanted buttons, I don’t want a touchscreen. I work my GPS frequently while riding and I can do so pretty much without paying too much attention to the screen. The buttons are much shallower then the 276C. I wish the CX button where the same as the old machine, but it seems they are workable, even with medium thick winter gloves. I did not expect that, but they are OK. The 4 way cursor buttons are not great, it is easy to go cursor-down instead of cursor-right and such. The 276C had a similar issue, but the CX is worse. So, not great, but I think I can get used to it.

    · What I really miss, and I really hope Garmin will fix this, is the shutdown timer when turning the key off on the bike. Right now, the GPS goes down when the power disappears, instead of allowing me to keep it on with the 30 second shutdown timer.

    · The overlay data field text on the map screen is not as clear as the solid text on the old C. I hope Garmin sees fit to go back to the old font. It is far from a deal breaker, the font “as-is” is acceptable, just not as good as the 276C font.

    · The find function sucks, there is a 2 or 3 second time delay between each character entry. Very bad programming that needs fixing, it can’t possibly be that hard to fix. ====UPDATE: this went away and haven't seen it reappear ======. The search time is also very long. How long has Garmin been doing this, did they get a junior programmer to provide this functionality and no testing necessary??

    · The find function has more option under the “Find-menu” item making a targeted search more productive. Great additions compared to the 276C.

    · Would be nice: The “menu-menu-Track” functionality needs a track percent full bar. The addition of track savings per day is a great addition. Saving a track works also much better then the 276C, it now saves all data, instead of a subset. With the uSD card I don’t have to worry about filling my memory up either anymore.

    · The declutter function (using the enter key) did not work properly. The clutter would disappear and come back right away again. A bug that needs fixing. Or is this a function of the maps I used? I don’t think so, but who knows. ===EDIT: must have been a function of the map I used, with CNNA declutter works fine ===

    · The direction popup windows work well the first time they show up for a turn, but the second time the map detail window, at times, takes seconds to redraw. I actually disable the turn popup window and don’t really need it. One of the new functions is that on the top left of the screen (in the white direction bar) the direction of the next turn is shown and the distance to the next turn. That is a great addition and most of the time this is plenty sufficient for me. I do not use auto-zoom, otherwise the turn would show up there as well. My preference is to zoom in when I want to. Very much a personal preference here. There have been previous reports that these popup windows impact performances. I have not noticed that. (BTW, you can still specify that you want to see a direction popup window on demand by pressing the NAV button.)

    · Minor issue: On the map setup you can set up zoom levels to specify when to show various items. This is one of the great customization features of this series of GPS’s. On the CX these zoom levels you can specify do not correlate with the actual zoom levels. Minor, but annoying bug that needs fixing.

    · FYI: I forgot what it was in the 276C but in the CX model you can get in a test mode by pressing the enter and power buttons simultaneously when starting up. When on the test scree use the enter and quit button to switch to the various test screens.

    · Unlike my wife’s Nuvi I can use MapSource with the CX. I still prefer MapSource. Unfortunately loading some of the maps is now much better copyright protected. Hard to complain about that though. I would have liked to use some of my old maps, but that isn’t going to fly anymore. More money for more maps will now be needed.

    · Issue that needs fixing: When I ride I often add a via point to my route to force the routing the way I want it to go. On the old unit I go peruse the map, find the additional via point, click “Navigate – edit via points”, select “use map” and be still at the point I found. That made adding the via point a breeze. In the new unit when I go to “use map” it goes back to my current position. Then I have to find the new via point again. This is a huge hassle. The CX needs to replicate the 276C behavior.

    · I know it will be a shocker, but sometimes the routing is weird. I know that is inherent it seems with all GPS units, but I get the impression the routing algorithms in the 276C were better. Nothing too obnoxious, just an observation. I use my GPS more as a route advisor anyway and always pay attention if what it tells makes sense. It just something to be aware off.

    · Bug that needs fixing: The old unit was always very good at continuing a route if you missed a waypoint or via point, instead of forcing the route over and over again to the point you missed. Sometimes you miss a via point, because it is not perfectly located on your route, or because you know better where to go then the GPS. The new unit is not as bad as the Nuvi units, but it still has issues. I have now a couple of time via points added to my route automatically by the CX. They show up as a sold line in the “add/edit via points” screen and behave as real via points that the route keeps on sending me to. Very strange, and a very annoying bug that needs fixing.

    · Weather by means of a blue tooth connection thru the phone will come in handy once in a while when the sky darkens and you want to know which way the weather is heading.

    · Many functions works just like the 276C, in my opinion the best bike GPS for those who really use a GPS to its fullest capabilities.


    After using the unit for a couple more weeks I will post updates as needed. I will also post these bugs and suggestions on the Garmin website. Who knows, maybe somebody will listen there and at least make some of the easy fixes.
  14. chris_sav

    chris_sav Adventurer

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    Thanks for the effort that has gone into this. It's good to see a fresh perspective rather than 'I spent my money so it must be great' and 'I sent it back so it must still be crap' (me included :-)).
  15. DonM

    DonM Do-dah Do-dah

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    Good critique, let us know your impression of redraw speed which has been reported as slow.
  16. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    For that my friend you have to read bullet 3.

    Edit: behind a computer now, let me summarize: with the 24k topo maps over Denver at a zoom level of 5 mile, that is ~82 x 35 miles miles visible on the screen, redraw starts to slow down. But still acceptable in my opinion. After that it starts to slow down more. By the time you have a zoom level of 20 miles (320 x 140 miles screen size) it becomes unworkable.With OSM maps the redraw rate is much better. I do not know about CNNA maps, didn't buy them yet.

    In reality while riding I will use 5 mile scale or less zoom level with this large screen almost all of the time and the redraw rate is OK. So, in my opinion FWIW, this is not ideal, but workable.
  17. DonM

    DonM Do-dah Do-dah

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    Thanks! Missed it but “that”much. What is the OSM map?
  18. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    Open Street Map, see openstreetmap.org or download at Garmin.openstreetmap.nl
  19. Garry H

    Garry H Been here awhile

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    What detail levels are you using ?
    I found when you raised them up to take advantage of the great screen at higher zoom levels it was dreadful
    And as soon as i put high detail maps on it far too slow to be acceptable
    Good review...But for a top end unit i find comments like OK, I can live with it and acceptable not good
    When i fist got my 276c i was very impressed with it and keept it for years ...As for the 276cx i was not and sent it back
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  20. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    Garry, I believe I went in great level of detail what zoom levels I used, when it was acceptable, when it was slow and when it was not acceptable. Including what maps sets I used and what level of data density and what I did to improve on redraw speeds. In two different postings. I am not sure how much more detailed I can get. What is acceptable is a personal opinion. I do not use GBDiscovery as my sole measure for acceptability, so my criteria of what is good enough for my rides may be different then yours. All I know when I rode with this unit, although far from perfect, it more then adequately serves its purpose and can replace my old 276C that is on its last legs. I do not often use the GPS at very wide zoom levels and even less with this huge screen.

    The CX sure beats, for me, any of the other bike GPS's, each with their own flaws. YMMV I am sure.

    I am not done with my evaluation, next step is getting CNNA and see how it does then. As before I will post the good, the bad and the ugly.

    BTW: The GPS Store has the bare package for $599 and the automotive package for $699. The latter may be a good deal with US maps "for ever" and car mounts as well in addition to the AMPS mount.