Garmin GPSMAP 78 Handheld GPS

Priced: $199.99 Rated:   - 3 stars out of 5 by 11 reviews.
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Garmin GPSMAP 78 Handheld GPS -

Geocaching-friendly handheld GPS with wireless data sharing

Garmin has updated the popular GPSMAP 76 with the new GPSMAP 78 Series, powerful marine handheld units that now feature color mapping, a high-sensitivity GPS receiver and a built-in MicroSD card slot for loading additional maps. A whopping 1.7GB of built-in memory provides cutting-edge performance, and you can also add maps from Garmin’s wide array of detailed marine BlueChart g2, topographic and City Navigator road maps. Plus, the 78 Series supports BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, and is compatible with Custom Maps, free software that transforms paper and electronic maps into downloadable maps for your device.

Like earlier generations, these new handhelds feature the same soft-key interface but with a sleek easy-to-hold design with rubber side grips. The “s” models also add a three-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when you're standing still. Each unit features a worldwide basemap, and the 78Cs comes with built-in BlueChart® g2 coastal charts for the U.S. And with the 78 Series, you can share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other compatible devices. So whether you're kayaking, fishing or just cruising around, the 78 Series has everything a mariner needs. They’re completely submersible and float if dropped overboard.

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Garmin GPSMAP 78 Handheld GPS Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

Product good Manual bad

I use the GPS78 when taking the dinghy to places out of sight of our power boat. It also maps out potential anchorage and danger points we might take our trawler. Comparing actual readings using our handheld sonar and nearby tidal stations has been useful. Also using as an independent backup for our main chartplotter has good value. This unit will do all of that plus much more. VERY impressive. However, the manual is totally oblivious of describing how to access these capabilities. There isn't even a word called "tide" in the index of the manual. You have to call Garmin customer service to get the instructions of how to access all the features. It isn't intuitive and extremely frustrating to know those capabilities are there but no help from the manual. I wouldn't be without this unit doing what I do with my boat, but I am very unhappy with Garmin and their lack of effort putting together a manual.
LadyOdessey at on 01/01/2012

This GPS is for marine use.

I got GPSMAP 78 before business trip to Hawaii. I tried several times to measure the positions in Hawaii. GPSMAP 78 has world map but it is not good for land use because of the accuracy. Using in Hawaii I reconfirmed GPSMAP 78 is for marine use. It is floatable and water resistant so I could use on the beach peacefully.
Comparing my old Magellan GPS 15, GPSMAP 78 has beautiful color display and 20 hours of battery life in the almost same price. I confirmed the developing of the technology.
ozakik at on 04/04/2013

Awkwarduser interface

I keep this handheld with me in the cockpit of my sailboat at all times. It aquires GPS signal quickly and the display is easily seen even in bright sunlight. But the user interface is awkward. Simple functions, like pick a route, reverse direction, and navigate require many more button clicks than the older GPSMAP76. Displaying tide tables or currents is not at all intuitive and requires unnecessary button clicks. Overall, the user interface is a step back from the very well thought out and simple GPSMAP 76.
Dr Nautilus at on 08/08/2013

GPSMAP 78 Is Great

It has never let me down no matter where ive been so far. Have taken it to the mountains and across the ocean to Bahamas. Does great at geocaching also.
Huck at on 05/05/2013

Good hand held GPS

Good hand held GPS. Hope it lasts longer than my old Garmin 76 which quit working for no apparent reason
K at on 06/06/2013

Did what I needed!

Very easy to start a route and to mark waypoints.
RonCo215 at on 06/06/2013

Negative Reviews:

Will be returning the 78 and card purcha

- the on line maual is not helpful. picture of the back saying the card slot it under the batteries, with no picture except for the cover, and no installtion picture. On the garmin site it actually says the G2 is NOT recommended for the 78! (wish I had read that before purchasing!) and the G2 US All & Canadian West Coast HXUS039R chart that west marine recommended looks as if it is a bigger card than the 78 accepts, so worthless. I looked at the map detail of the 78SC that has the chart of US preinstalled and even when set on the best detail, looking at a Sucia Chart in the San Juans didn't include soundings or the rocks off the entrance to Fossil bay, and only a very few soundings inside the bay, which is the only one I bothered to check when we picked up the card we had ordered. but still was hopefull the card would give me the detail I need for chart navigation. Am returning the unit today and will stick to my old 72 that gives me lat/lon and will stick with paper chart navigation.
capran at on 12/12/2012

Not as described

Unit did not have any marine applications
Jim at on 04/04/2013

Neutral Reviews:

Good, but not great.

I use the 78 for night sailing. I choose to download free raster maps. My prior unit was an old Mystic black & white with smaller screen. The 78 fails in ability to recharge batteries - apparently I have to remove to recharge - always at an inconvenient time. Its less intuitive and either more clicky or need to surpress the occasional use features. Setup took hour. It has a marine mode but you need to set each feature to your liking. A couple of marine modes would solve it: usa, traditional, european.
Bob at on 10/10/2012

More confusing to use than older models

I feel the designers tried too hard to make this GPS an all around hiker, driver
And marine unit and sacrificed the good marine qualities the older modals had.
I would suggest they make two versions: land, and marine.
Marilyn at on 05/05/2011

Too Many Features

I prefer my old Garmin over this one as it was simple to enter data. This one has too many features and takes some time to adjust to how to use just the features you want.
Gene the Sailor at on 08/08/2011