Garmin GPSmap 62s Series

Updated version of GPSmap 60CSx
with features from Oregon series
Update #2

August 14, 2010

By: Sam Penrod

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The Garmin GPSmap 62s series, is the newest handheld in Garmin's outdoor GPS line.  Similar is size and shape to the popular GPSmap 60CSx, I expected the 62 would be more like the Oregon series, in a 60 style case.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the 62s has the latest and greatest features of the Oregon, but also some of the longtime favorites in the 60CSx, never implemented in the Oregon. I suddenly became very excited for the 62s.  

The package includes the unit, a quick start guide, a caribiner clip and USB cable.
The actual user manual is found in the memory of the unit itself as a .pdf file, in a folder labeled "Documents"

Comparison in size and screen visibility with the Dakota 20, Oregon 550, 60CSx, and GPSMAP 62s.

The 62 does not have a touchscreen, but the visibility is obviously much better than the Oregon / Dakota screens, with somewhat lower resolution than the Oregons.  While the screen size is smaller, the data presented is actually a little big bigger than on the Oregon, but less of the map is shown because of the smaller screen.  The 62s operates with the same software to the newly released GPSMAP 78s, a revised version of the 76 series.  If there is one negative with the screen, I have found it is the terrain shading.  It appears very dark in steep terrain, especially in a forest type area.  This can be easily fixed, but switching off the terrain shading feature, when it appears too dark.

The 62 series has three models, the 62, with a color screen, the 62s which adds a barometric altimeter and electronic tri-axial compass, microSD card slot, wireless transfer of data and the 62st, which adds on preloaded 100K maps of the United States.  The 62 lists for
$349, the 62s for $449 and the 62st for $549.  Check discount prices here.


The 62s and 62st both support a microSD slot.  I am using an 8GB card for maps and BirdsEye imagery.  Both the 62 and 62s have 1.7GB of built in memory for maps and imagery files.  Under the rubber protector above the battery case, is where the USB port is along with the MCX external antenna connector.

The 62s has a 2.6 inch diagonally measured screen
and is listed as a 65K TFT Transflective, with 160X240 resolution.  

Photo of 62s being held in sunlight, with no backlight on.

The screen grabs shown below, don't look as good as they do on the unit itself.  
The 62 includes all of the recent features added to the Oregon line, including Garmin Custom maps and the ability to add aerial imagery, marketed by Garmin as BirdsEye imagery.   The 62s will allow for shaded relief with compatible Garmin maps, such as the Garmin 24K series and U.S. Topo 2008, the 100K map product.


 BirdsEye & 24K map              24K Map with terrain shading          Waypoint, BirdsEye, 24K map      Map with ribbon menu options

Note:  The waypoint and POI icons are actually the old style version, as seen in the 60CSx.

The 62s was running software version 2.30 out of the box, the latest on the Garmin website.  As of this writing it is up to 2.40, with just a few minor fixes.  A beta version, 2.44 claimed to improve the odometer issue, which in the Oregons and Dakotas (and 62s) does not measure distance as well, while walking under 3.0 mph.  The beta also adds support for multicaches for geocaching.  Here is a link to the beta page, if you want to give it a try and see the new features, which will likely be implemented in a future release.  The beta updates have to be done manually and you cannot use Garmin's WebUpdater.

The unit doesn't list a GPS chipset version, so it's unclear which chipset is being used, but it is a high sensitive receiver.  The reception has been good and the unit quickly re-acquires a satellite fix. The 62 also features paperless geocaching and does support field notes for geocaching.  The 62s and 62st allows for wireless data transfer of waypoints, routes, tracks and geocaches, between the Garmin Colorado, Oregon, Dakota, and 78s models. (62 not supported)

The 62 series has a similar user interface as the 60 CSx, but the buttons have been updated and seem to be improved.  It is easy to move with the ribbon style menu and the rocker seems to work better to me, than the 60 CSx version. 


You can choose between the menu system similar to the Colorado (list) the Oregon (large squares) or even the original look of the 60Csx.  I will say that the 62s has the ability to be customized almost any way you want.  There are up to ten separate profiles and users have the option of the Dashboards, to mix the compass with the map, etc, as introduced in the Oregon line.  

Back view of the 62s alongside the Oregon 550

The 62s and 62st both support high speed USB data transfer (the 62 does not) and has an external GPS antenna jack (under protective cover, above mounting spine)  The 62 has the same mounting spine as Oregon/Colorado and is compatible with the caribiner, bike mount, auto mount, etc. used in the Oregons.

Waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches are all handled as .gpx files similar to the Oregon 550 and 450 series.  You can manage them with the free BaseCamp program by Garmin, which will actually make changes to the file in the unit, as you make them in BaseCamp.

There is no built in camera, but the 62 does support geotagged photos you load in the memory and gives you the ability to navigate to them.  There isn't a dedicated picture viewer, although you can see the photos on the screen to navigate to, but can't  zoom in or pan the photos.

The 62s weighs 9.2 ounces, and claims up to 20 hours of battery life, using NiMh or Lithiums.  Alkalines for me lasted about 17 hours, before I started getting a low battery message.   I have used Lithiums and estimate 30 hours plus and NiMH rechargeables seem to be close to 30 hours.  Regardless, battery life is obviously much better than in the Oregon 550.

The 62s supports the dashboard feature on the compass, map and trip computer page.


The elevation page allows you to find a particular point, then by pressing enter you can see exactly on the map where this location is at.  A favorite feature of mine that never made it to the Oregons, but is in the 62s!

The satellite pages looks similar to the 60Csx and allows you to have multicolor display.  This page will also allow you to use the AutoLocate feature, which will reacquire the almanac data and help when you have traveled more than 600 miles.

This is the keyboard to input data.  If there is one negative on the 62s, it is the slower data entry, as compared to the touchscreen of the Oregon.  The keyboard has been improved however, from the 60CSx.

What's in the 60CSx, not in the Oregon, but in the 62s

The Clear list on Recent Finds
-- does not require a master reset on the 62 as it does in the Oregon
Measure Distance-- the ability to measure distance to a location on the map
Proximity alarms-- to set an alarm when you approach or depart a specific waypoint.  Distance is set by the user
Night View-- This allows for the dark background, which is not so bright for night use.  This can be manually switched on or automatically at sunrise and sunset. (
When in the night mode, there is no terrain shading however.)
Auto Locate-- On the satellite page, allows you to reset the GPS almanac data and get a fresh start.  Helpful when you haven't had it on for a long time or traveled a long distance.
Calendar-- The calendar will log geocache finds, waypoints marked, tracks save.  A nice feature not in the Oregeon.
A lot of the sub menu options look the same as they do in the 60CSx.  A profile called "Classic" looks very similar to the 60Csx.


The 62 series appears to be more rugged and durable than the recent outdoor touchscreens, with better outdoor visibility, and with most of the latest and greatest features.
We like what we see in the 62s.  I've encountered no crashes or bugs with the software and for a new Garmin unit, it appears as if it is fully functional, with no serious software fixes needed.  (Although we'll hope for feature improvements over the next few months.)  I don't  prefer the orange outline on my 62s, the color scheme on the 62st looks nicer.  I will still keep the Oregon 550, for trip planning and automotive use, but I expect the 62s will be going with me now on any outdoor adventure.  You can see more on the GPSmap 62s from Garmin's official product page here.  There are also some short video clips/infomercials produced by Garmin, you can find on this link from YouTube.    The manual for the 62 series can be found at this link.

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