I lean towards the garmin GPSMAP 76CSx. Is this model very user friendly, especially when I am a GPS novice? Thanks!

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I am just in the thinking stage of getting a GPS, so an info on this would be nice. What is the cheapest GPS that could be bought, and really be of good use?

User friendly
The Garmin user interface makes sense to me. As with any unit, you just have to play with it for a while.

Depends what you mean by “useful”. I have an old non-mapping Garmin 12 that I still find useful, but if I was buying something new I wouldn’t buy a unit without some type of map.

i have this model and have found it to be quite user friendly. you can’t go wrong with this one, though you may find that some of the whistles and bells aren’t used that often. would i buy it again? sure would. -harry

I own one
and I like it a lot. For a pure novice, though, there’s an awful lot to it. Lots of options, settings, and functions and sometimes even I forget how to get to one feature or another and I’m no novice (I’ve been using GPS tech since right after the government turned off selective availability).

Now, if you have a good base understanding of map and compass use, you’ve got a leg up and should be able to grasp everything pretty quickly. If you’re a complete raw newbie, you’ll have a lot to learn before you can milk this thing for all it’s worth.

Good one!
Good choice. You should be able to figure out the basics pretty quickly if you have any sort of technical acumen.

Once you get used to marking and navigating to waypoints you can learn the more advanced features.

One thing. Garmin is coming out with a new line of units very soon, so if you wait a little while you may see the price of the 76 drop.

Got one last month
I picked up a 76Cx at West Marine, on sale for $299. So far I really like it. Definitely shop around the prices can very by almost $200 between different places. Also note that the maps that it comes with are really plain and lack any detail, so if you don’t have any map software you’ll probably have to spend another hundred dollars.

If you can find one, a Garmin Geko 101. They have been discontinued, but before they were I saw them selling for $49. Some stores may still have them.

It’s a decent, basic unit that will get you from point A to point B in a straight line as good as a $400 unit.

As far as current units, the Lowrance iFinder GO sells for around $69 - $79. It’s a mapping unit (though the maps are so lacking in detail that they are virtually useless) that gets excellent reception and like the Geko 101, it will get you from one point to another in a straight line as well as more expensive units. There are enough issues with this unit though, that I wouldn’t recommend it.

Next up is the Garmin eTrex H (make sure it’s the H). It’s around $89 and has a high sensitivity receiver for great reception under heavy tree cover. If I were buying a unit for under $100 it would be this one. One plus for this unit is that its the only under $100 unit on the market that hooks up to a PC to transfer waypoints and tracks.

It’s a good choice for a boater because it floats. It’s probably overall one of the best handhelds on the market today.

Wait a short while because Garmin is coming out with a new, high end line of units (The Colorado), so the prices on the 76 line may drop a bit shortly.