Garmin GPSMAP 76S

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Garmin GPSMAP 76S

If your best times are spent outdoors, the Garmin GPSMAP 76S can be your complete navigation tool. Along with its GPS receiver, it contains a barometric altimeter and electronic compass. It can use marine charts or regular land and topographic maps. And when you must return to town, it also works with city maps.

Contained within its 2.7"W x 6.2"H x 1.2"D waterproof case, the Garmin GPSMAP 76S has a basemap of North and South America. The features of the map include major highways, rivers, lakes, cities, and state and country borders. It also has 24 MB of internal memory for storing your choice of more detailed maps. It can use a variety of Garmin's MapSource map software whether it's for the city, off road, or the water.

Most of the navigation information the GPSMAP 76S provides is displayed on five screen displays. The most important of these is the Map Page. This single display is so versatile, the options for the type of map used and how it's shown, runs seven pages in the owner's manual. For instance, you can have different text size and map scale settings for city, marine, topographic, or road maps. You can choose to have the map fill the screen or include two data field with your choice of navigation information. The amount of map detail shown has five levels of adjustment and you have your choice of map coordinates format and datum.

Other major displays the GPSMAP 76S has are the Pointer Page, Plot Page, Highway Page, and the Trip Computer Page. With the Pointer Page you get an image of a compass, with both your heading and the direction to your destination shown. GPS can only show your heading when moving, but the electronic compass can also display it when you're motionless. The page has an option to include one or more data fields of navigation information.

Altimeter readings are displayed on the Plot Page. Since the Garmin GPSMAP 76S uses a barometric altimeter, air pressure readings are also available. Elevation or pressure changes can be shown plotted over time and elevation can also be shown plotted over distance. The built-in altimeter is accurate to within 10 feet which is more than GPS elevation readings. Like the Pointer Page, there's the option for displaying data fields along with the plots.

To get navigation data in both horizontal and vertical directions, the GPSMAP 76S has the Trip Computer Page. Two tabs at the top of the display let you choose whether you want to see horizontal or vertical data. They both have eight data fields of navigation measurements. If you're not concerned with vertical movement, you can use the Highway Page for level navigation. It shows the image of a highway ahead and if the road moves left or right, you follow it to make the turn. And before the turn, an "Approaching Turn" message is displayed. Like the other pages, you have the option for showing your choice of navigation data.

Supplying the guidance for the Garmin GPSMAP 76S is a 12-channel GPS receiver that's ready for both Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and Differential GPS (DGPS) correction signals. Regular accuracy is less than 15 meters and with WAAS, under 3. DGPS requires a beacon signal receiver to attain a similar accuracy improvement as WAAS. Power comes from two AA batteries that can last up to 16 hours. The 1.6" W x 2.2" H grayscale display has backlighting, which shortens the rated battery life, but there's an adjustable shutoff timer to prevent overuse. There's also a battery saver mode which cycles the receiver on and on. The LCD screen has adjustable contrast to keep images sharp in either low or bright light.