Garmin Geko 201

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Garmin Geko 201

Although it has four video games, the Garmin Geko 201 GPS receiver isn't a toy. Its small, durable, waterproof case contains a navigation tool with all the accuracy of larger and more expensive receivers. If your fun happens outdoors, the Geko is a reliable personal guide to take with you.

With a size of only 1.9" W x 3.9" H x .96" D, the Garmin Geko 201 is not only smaller than the average GPS receiver, but it's simpler to operate with fewer buttons. One thumb or finger on the Up and Down buttons highlights page and menu options, adjusts the display's contrast, changes the scale on the Map Page, and cycles through the data fields on the Navigation Page. Pressing the Ok button confirms data entry or menu selection, or makes your current position a waypoint. Use the Page button to switch between the main pages or to undo the last action. And the Power button turns the receiver and/or the backlight on and off

In addition to operating with just five buttons, the Geko 201 uses five main screen displays of navigation information. When planning a trip, you'd use the Menu Page to create and select waypoints; select, change, or save tracks and routes; and set function options. Next, you might check the Satellite Page, which shows the GPS satellites being monitored by their location and signal strength. It also has an estimate of the current accuracy of position calculations.

To start your trip with the Garmin Geko 201, you use the Map Page. This displays your location, as shown by an animated figure and any waypoints with their symbol and name. A line marks your route and when you follow the route, it's replaced by a line showing the path you took and recorded by the track log. And while traveling your route, you can see your direction with the Navigation Page. Its compass image has the direction you're headed and the direction to your destination. It also shows the destination's name and distance, and a data field for displaying optional trip information, such as estimated time to arrival or total distance traveled.

For checking other navigation information, the Geko 201 has the Trip Computer Page. There are four data fields which display the navigation items of your choice from a list of 31 options.

The adjustable contrast of the LCD screen makes Garmin Geko 201 comfortable to read in any type of light. And the backlighting lets you view the grayscale display clearly at night. To save the power of the two AAA batteries, the backlight has a shutoff timer. You can set it to turn off the backlight after a period from 15 seconds to 2 minutes. And without excess backlight use, the batteries will last up to 12 hours.

Since it can use Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals, the Geko 201 is accurate to within three meters. It's also Differential GPS (DGPS) ready for use with a DGPS beacon receiver. And the Geko can send its navigation data to other instruments using the standard National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) protocol. Or you can save trip information on your PC.

Internal memory of the Garmin Geko 201 can save 500 waypoints, 20 reversible routes with 125 legs per route, and 10 tracks with up to 10,000 track points. And the tracks can be followed in reverse so you can easily return to your starting point. In creating and using your route you have a choice of 12 map coordinate systems and 101 datum.