The most versatile GPS navigator that Garmin has ever produced is undoubtedly the GPSMap276C. It was introduced in 2004 and for more than a decade, has been the GPS chart plotter of choice for hardcore adventurers. In fact, it was (and still is) a highly sought after product on websites like eBay and Amazon.
Fortunately, Garmin has listened to fans of that popular device and launched the long-awaited upgrade; the Garmin GPSMap 276Cx. Sporting a much thinner profile, higher resolution screen, and the same button layout we have loved for so long on its predecsor, the 276Cx has just raised the bar on GPS navigators.
If you are reading this, and have only really ever used Garmin’s handheld or automotive devices, let me put things into perspective. The GPSMap 276Cx is designed for land and sea adventurers who require the most durable and functional digital navigator and chart plotter to reach their destination. The GPSMap does this in a variety of ways, firstly, there is a 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. Unfortunately, the screen is not touch-capable and while we initially found ourselves swiping or tapping the screen, we quickly got used to the buttons situated on the right-side of the device. While this could arguably be a problem for average consumers who are accustomed to touch-screen devices, the GPSMap 276Cx is not aimed at that audience.
Looking under the hood, there is very little that resembles the old GPSMap 276C device. A decade’s worth of technology advancements and Garmin was able to cram a lot more into the 276Cx. This navigator now features GPS + Glonass support, it is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible and can even connect to ANT+ devices. There is also a removable micro-SD card slot that can be used to add new maps or expand the unit’s storage capability. The GPSMap 276Cx has 6GB of internal storage.
Although the GPSMap 276Cx comes with TopoActive Africa Maps we immediately installed the latest version of Tracks4Africa’s 2016 map sets. The reason is simple Tracks4Africa have the most comprehensive map set of Africa, for travelers. It is updated frequently too so you are always assured of the most accurate map data.
Interestingly, the GPSMap 276Cx now also uses the same Garmin AMPS Rugged Mount that is used for the Montana and Monterra. The device can be powered by your vehicle, by 3x AA batteries, or a 5000mAh Lithium battery that is 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 will come in handy when you traverse remote landscapes.
You can also pair it with your smartphone to get Active Weather Updates, enable Live Tracking, access Weather Radar data, update Live Geochacing information and receive phone notifications.
Explaining the buttons in detail
The buttons are what makes this product so unique and the layout has not changed from the original 276C. Here is a breakdown of 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 is also a bunch of customisable screens that you can use when driving with this device as your navigator. Naturally, there is also loads 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!
The GPSMap 276Cx does not dissapoint. If you are an adventurer who requires the best that technology has on offer, then this is the navigator for you. – This GPS is available from NavWorld in Johannesburg.