When Garmin launched the GPSMap 276Cx back in December 2016, both the marine and 4×4 overlander communities breathed a huge collective sigh of relief. That’s because they’d been waiting for an worthy upgrade to the legendary GPSMap 276C for years! Although no longer “shiny and brand new”, the 276Cx is still one of the most capable navigation devices in Garmin’s stable. To sweeten the deal even further, NavWorld has dropped the price to R10 799, and included a free Auto suction cup mount with speaker plus NavWorld Pouch (worth R1 478) to boot!
If you’re reading this, and have only really ever used Garmin’s handheld or automotive devices before, let us help put things into perspective. The GPSMap 276Cx was designed specifically for land and sea adventurers who require the most durable and functional digital navigator and chart plotter imaginable to reach their destinations. This sophisticated device achieves this in a variety of ways. The most noticeable being its gorgeous 5-inch LCD display that works in direct sunlight and offers a resolution of 800×480 pixels. This resolution offers plenty of headroom to display maps and other data.
One aspect that may surprise new users is that its display isn’t touch-capable – causing newbies to get nowhere fast as they initially swipe or tap the screen to no avail. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get used to its robust button interface. While this could arguably be a problem for average consumers accustomed to touchscreen devices while driving around town, the GPSMap 276Cx isn’t aimed at that audience – but rather a more rugged crowd who desire robust, reliable functionality over modern convenience.
The same, but completely different
Looking under the hood, there’s very little that resembles the old GPSMap 276C device. After a decade’s worth of technology advancements, Garmin has been able to cram a lot more into the 276Cx. This navigator now features GPS + GLONASS support. It’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible and can even connect to ANT+ devices. There’s also a removable micro-SD card slot that can be used to add new maps or expand the unit’s 6 GB internal storage capacity.
Coming preloaded with TopoActive Africa Maps, the GPSMap 276Cx also includes a free 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Subscription. What this does is make it even easier to transfer high-resolution satellite imagery to the device so you can get a better representation of your surroundings. Other BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Subscription advantages include the following:
- The ability to seamlessly integrate satellite images into maps whenever you need them.
- Allows you to layer vector maps on your device for a real-life view of roads, buildings and terrain.
- New images are updated frequently for greater accuracy, and the download process delivers faster updates.
- Captures the world in brilliant clarity and detail with high-resolution sub-meter colour satellite imagery.
- Hunters can perform preseason scouting, determine placement of stands and locate game pinch points.
- Helps hikers and campers find trails/trailheads and clearings for camping areas.
- Lets geocachers determine the terrain type around a cache and identify parking areas close to the caches.
- Allows travellers to view tourist hot spots and landmarks from an aerial view to make excursions memorable.
Interestingly, the GPSMap 276Cx now also uses the same Garmin AMPS Rugged Mount that’s used for the two Montana handheld GPS models. The device can be powered by your vehicle, by 3x AA batteries, or a 5000 mAh Lithium battery (that comes supplied in the box). Garmin says this battery provide 16 hours of usage.
Considering this is a product for adventurers, the GPSMap 276Cx has a waterproof rating of IPX7 – which means it can be submerged underwater up to 1m in depth. Other tools such as the Barometric Altimeter and 3D digital compass come in handy when you’re traversing remote landscapes. You can also pair it with your smartphone to get Active Weather Updates, enable Live Tracking, access Weather Radar data, update Live Geocaching information and receive phone notifications.
Explaining the button interface in detail
The buttons are what makes this product so unique and the layout has not changed from the original 276C. That said, here’s a breakdown of its button functionality.
OUT & IN: Select to zoom Out and In on the Map Page. Works great to see the weather radar map when you zoom out.
PAGE: Select to scroll through the main pages in sequence and to return to the home page. Hold down the PAGE button to switch between Automotive and Marine mode.
QUIT: Select to scroll through the main pages in reverse sequence, revert to the previous value in the data entry field, or cancel a function.
ENTER/MARK: Select to acknowledge messages and select options. You can also hold down this button to mark a Waypoint.
MENU: Select to open the menu for the page you are on. Press twice to open the Main Menu.
NAV & MOB: Select to open the navigation options. In Marine mode, hold to create a Man Overboard (MOB) and begin navigation to the MOB location. In Automotive mode, with an active Route, you can press and hold to replay the current voice prompt.
Power Button: Hold to turn on and turn off the device. Select to adjust the backlight and external speaker volume.
FIND: Select to find a destination. Pressing the FIND button twice quickly will give you the option of setting your current location as the HOME Waypoint.
Directional arrows: Used to scroll, highlight options and move the cursor on the Map.
Thanks to the larger screen on the GPSMap 276Cx, there’s also a bunch of customisable screens that you can use when navigating with this device. Naturally, there’s also plenty of space to add your waypoints, tracks and routes. In fact. the GPSMap 276Cx can store 250 routes, 250 tracks and over 10,000 waypoints. That is a lot of data! Simply put, if you’re an adventurer who requires the best that technology has to offer, then this is the navigator for you. – (c) 2016 NavWorld