Garmin/276Cx

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Garmin GPS intended for outdoor use, first released in late 2016, and one of the most expensive and advanced Garmin outdoor units at that time.

The unit is waterproof with an IPX7 rating. It comes with a lithium-ion battery claiming up to 16 hours of use per charge, or it can be removed and replaced with three AA batteries.

The unit can be used as a hand-held device, although it is a little large and heavy for that compared to true hand-helds. This unit is ideal to be mounted on a bicycle, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, boat, etc. The Garmin AMPS rugged mount can be used with it, providing a very secure hold on the device and it can be hooked up to 12v vehicle power to power and even charge the device. The unit claims an operating temperature range of -15° to 50°C (5° to 122°F) but I have used it mounted to my snowmobile in weather colder than that with no issues.

Unlike other comparable units, this one does not have a touch screen, but uses physical buttons instead. Some people consider this and advantage, while others consider it a disadvantage. The screen is oriented in a landscape manner.

The unit accepts OSM maps in .img format, and can use several of them at once. This allows for maps containing only tracks, or only features pertinent to the activity, to be created and used on top of generic OSM maps as a base. Maps can be loaded to internal memory or a MicroSD card. I've personally used OpenSledMap and OpenSeaMap maps. OSM Routable maps appear to work as well.

The unit also works well for creating tracks to load into OSM. It creates a log in GPX format and stores it on the internal memory, which is easily retrieved by plugging the unit into a computer via USB.


Good Things

  • Plays nicely with OSM, Linux, Mac, Windows. Simply connect with USB and it will appear as a mass-storage device with GPX files ready to copy and upload.
  • 5 inch screen
  • 16 hour battery life, or more if you also have AA's
  • GPS and GLONASS receivers
  • Barometric Altimeter
  • Electronic Compass
  • Ample built-in memory (8 GB)
  • Expandable memory (microSD card)
  • WiFi and Bluetooth capable
  • Well-built unit, rugged
  • Waterproof
  • Buttons rather than a touch screen

Bad Things

  • Buttons rather than a touch screen
  • Size - the large screen and large battery make for an overall large and heavy unit, compared to others.
  • Price - probably the most expensive among comparable Garmin units.

Tips & Tricks

To use the device to create track logs that can be used for mapping in OSM, set it up under Setup --> Tracks.

You can choose whether to create each additional point in the track log based on elapsed time, distance, or "resolution" and I'm not sure what that last one means. I've chosen time, with an interval of 0:05 for 5 seconds.

Under the "Auto Archive" field I chose "Daily" to create a separate file each day, which I find is much easier to manage. The "When full" option creates a running tally that never ends, all in one file.

Be sure to choose "Tracks (GPX/FIT)" for "Output Format" to ensure a GPX file is written, and I chose "Always" under the "Trip Recording" field to ensure I'll never miss surveying something.