August 10, 2005

New Products: Garmin Rino 520 and 530

Garmin's Rino line just upped the ante today with the launch of two more Rino radio/GPS units. Garmin says that they have "up to a 12-mile communication range, large color display, mini-USB interface, and built-in auto-routing basemap. The Garmin RINO 530 has the same features as the Garmin RINO 520, plus a seven-channel weather receiver, electronic compass and barometric altimeter." Ouch a twelve mile range? Time to chuck those junky FRS radios hanging around the closet, you know the ones that boast about the 2 mile range? Hold on before you do that, read on.

Recall that the RINO line has the ability to communicate over the FRS or the GMRS frequencies that most "Family" radios use, while also showing you the mapping characteristics of a handheld GPS. The patented feature that the Rino line also incorporates is the location reporting feature that allows other Rino users to know where you are through a signal that goes over the FRS/GMRS frequencies. Pretty good feature when you want to know where everyone in your party is.

Garmin claims that the navigation on the Rino 520 and Rino 530 are similar to the eTrex Vista C units, in that they come with installed base maps of the US, allows for user downloadable detailed maps, it performs auto routing, off route calculation, turn by turn directions with audible alerts, and has the ability to accept these downloads though a USB connection. While the unit comes with 56 MB of internal memory, it does not come with expandable memory in the form of any standard platform like SD cards. The form factor reamins similar, BIG. Not exactly a pocketable item, but hey, you know that already, right?

A rundown of the features from the Garmin website is below. So, if you want to chuck those $30 FRS radios, and can pick up a pair of these baby's for around $450 (Rino 520) $500 (Rino 530) (street) each, you'll be the envy of everyone on the block. Available in September.

Other specific features of the Rino 520:

* GPS accuracy: 10 feet or less when WAAS-enabled
* High resolution, 176 x 220 color TFT display with backlighting (display size: 2.2”)
* Battery power: Lithium-ion battery pack, 8.4V
* GMRS TX power: 5 watts (2 watts Canadian models)
* FRS TX power: 0.5 watts
* Battery life: 16 hours
* Calendar: Shows best hunting and fishing times, plus clock, stopwatch and alarm functions
* Trip computer with speed tracking, sunrise/sunset read out, trip timer and trip distance
* Waterproof: IPX-7 standards (submersible in one meter of water for up to 30 mins.)
* Storage of up to 500 waypoints, with graphic identification, and 20 reversible routes
* User adjustable squelch
* Exterior temperature reporting
* Robust track log: 10,000 trackpoints and up to 20 saved tracks to retrace user’s path or companion’s path via location-reporting feature
* Lightweight design: 10.4 oz (with batteries).

Additional specific features of the Rino 530:

* 7 channel NOAA weather receiver with weather alert detection
* Electronic Compass
* Barometric Altimeter

Read more at the Garmin site on the Rino 520 and the Rino 530.

Read More in: GPS Reviews | Garmin GPS Reviews | Handheld GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at August 10, 2005 9:00 PM

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