The Garmin GPSMAP 64 is an excellent GPS for hikers and trekkers. But, with so many different models of the GPS, how do you choose the right one for you? That’s what we’re going to help you figure out in this review!
We’ll compare the 64s and the 64st in detail and let you know just what the differences between the two are. I’ll also talk about all the features these two devices share: spoiler alert, they are more alike than you think!
So, read on to find out which Garmin GPSMAP is the best option for you!
First I’ll talk about the common features of these two devices since there’s quite a lot of them. If you’re more interested in the differences, feel free to skip to the bottom part of this review.
Let’s talk about the things we all notice first – the design of these devices. They are almost exactly the same; they have the exact same dimensions, they weigh the same and all of the buttons are exactly the same. Both devices also feature a 2.6” color display, with a resolution of 160 x 240 pixels.
The only obvious difference between the two is color; the 64s features orange accents, while the 64st features grey accents. And that’s not going to impact the performance of the device in any way, so let’s move on to some of the more important features.
Battery life is another area where these two Garmin GPS devices perform exactly the same. They use either two AA batteries or the optional NiMH battery pack. Battery life is estimated at about 16 hours, which is usually enough to get you through a day of hiking.
The NiMH battery pack can be recharged while it’s inside the device, but it’s an accessory you would have to buy separately. The good news is that it’s not too expensive, and it could save you some money in the long run.
If you decide to get the battery pack, I recommend that you always fully charge it before hitting the trails. And I would advise you to carry a pair of AA batteries, just in case, the GPS runs out of juice.
This is especially important for longer hikes; yes it has a decent battery life, but when hits that 50% the battery starts to drain faster, as the devices have some really powerful features. And that’s why I think you should always carry replacement batteries with you.
Garmin 64s and 64st both have high-sensitivity GPS with a GLONASS receiver. They feature quad helix antenna for superb reception anywhere in the world, which is exactly what you want from a GPS device.
Receivers that are compatible with GLONASS re able to acquire satellites 20% faster than those that rely on GPS alone. This means that your device is more precise in calculating your exact location, which is really great.
You might need to enable this feature when you first get the GPSMAP 64s or 64st. But that’s pretty easy; just open up the Setup System page and set the Satellite System setting to GPS+GLONASS. You will get more detailed instructions in the owner’s manual.
Both devices have a built-in 3-axis electronic compass, which will help you never get lost. And it works even when you’re standing still and not holding it level, which is pretty great. They also feature an accelerometer that tracks your hiking speeds, as well as a barometric altimeter that measures changes in pressure, in order to pinpoint your exact altitude.
The 64s and 64st are exactly the same in this respect. Neither device has any additional features.
Both GPSMAP devices have Bluetooth and let you connect them to your phone. This means that you can receive emails, text, and other notifications from your phone on your GPS, which is pretty cool. You won’t have to rummage through your backpack every time you hear a ping.
However, bear in mind that the GPS devices don’t have a WiFi connection; you will be able to receive emails and similar notifications only if your phone stays connected to the Internet.
This feature also allows you to share your tracks, routes, and waypoints wirelessly with other Garmin devices, and that’s pretty cool. If your friends own a hand-held Garmin device, you can share your favorite routes and trails with them with a simple push of a button.
However, keep in mind that having Bluetooth on for prolonged periods of time will drain your battery faster. Don’t keep your phone and GPS paired for too long, especially on longer hikes where you’re going to need that GPS for longer periods of time.
Whichever device you end up buying in the end, you will get one year of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Subscription for free. This allows you to quickly transfer satellite images to your device with BaseCamp, and easily integrate them into your handheld maps.
You can transfer an unlimited amount of images to your device, which is pretty cool. And all the images are updated frequently, so you don’t have to worry about any out-of-date stuff on your device.
After the free year expires, you will need to pay $30 annually if you want to continue using this feature. But the images you’ve downloaded to your device won’t be removed; you will still be able to use them, but you will not have access to newer, up-to-date images.
Both of these devices support additional mapping. This means that you can download almost any kind of map to your Garmin GPS, as long as you have enough storage space. the devices support TOPO US 24K, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT, BirdsEye Satellite, and other Garmin maps.
You can find a wide array of topographical maps, automotive maps, and really all sorts of maps on their website, for regions all over the world. But there’s a catch – you have to buy most of the maps in order to download them, so be sure to check just how much a map of your region will cost.
In addition to that, you have to use Garmin’s proprietary software in order to install the maps on GPS devices.
If you like to go geocaching, you’ll be happy to know that both of the devices come with 250,000 preloaded geocache locations from all over the world. The coordinates are taken directly from geocaching.com, so they are 100% reliable.
And if you’ve never tried geocaching before, this might just be the perfect opportunity for you! It’s basically treasure hunting; people from all over the world hide containers in certain locations. With your Garmin GPSMAP, you will have those locations marked on your device, and you will be able to explore them.
Usually, you’ll find just a logbook and maybe a pen, so that you can sign your name. Sometimes you’ll also find toys or trinkets in larger boxes, which you’re supposed to trade. Definitely remember to bring some sort of trinket yourself, so that you can leave some sign of yourself behind on that location!
Both of these Garmin devices support a microSD card. It’s not specified just how high you can go with storage, but even 8GB more will be plenty of space to record all your hikes.
Here’s the thing – the Garmin 64st comes with 8GB of memory, while the 64s comes with only 4GB. You’ll soon see exactly why the st comes with more memory; it shouldn’t be a reason why you purchase one device over the other, because you won’t really be able to use that additional 4 GB of the st. Especially since you have the option to expand the storage if you need to.
If you’re wondering if one device is more user-friendly than the other, the answer is no. Both of them are really easy to use and have a user-friendly interface. Navigating the menu is as simple as using the arrow buttons, and then select a section with the enter button.
You will get used to your GPS in no time. And it will come with instructions on how to use it, how to pair it with your phone, and everything you should know in order to get the most of your GPSMAP.
If you’re not the best with handling tech, you can find useful videos on YouTube. Just search for Garmin GPSMAP 64s(t), and you’ll see dozens of informative videos that will teach you how to use the device in a matter of minutes.
It’s obvious that these two devices are virtually the same. But, there is one key difference – the 64st comes with two additional features. It’s the TOPO version of the GPS device, which means that it comes with preloaded topographical maps. Let me be specific – preloaded topographical maps of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
If you’re from the US, then the 64st is the obvious choice for you. For about $5 more you get preloaded maps of the US, as well as an additional 4GB of memory.
There’s also an option to get the Garmin 64st with topographical maps of Canada, but that one costs a lot more money.
However, neither is going to mean much to you if you’re from Europe, so I suggest you stick with the 64s model. It’s got everything you need and unless you plan to move to the States in the foreseeable future, it’s going to be more than enough for your usual hikes.
So, the 64st comes with preloaded topographical maps of either the US or Canada. But the 64s comes with a preloaded worldwide base map with shaded relief. And it supports additional mapping, so you can easily add a topographical map of your country to the Garmin GPSMAP.
Since both devices have microSD card slots, you can download TOPO or 100K maps and just add them to the GPS device.
It’s very simple, really; if you’re from the US (or Canada) and want to have a topographical map of the country on your GPS, go for the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. You will also get an additional 4 GB of memory, to accommodate for that preloaded map.
But if you’re outside the US (or Canada), then you can just get the 64s. It is the same as 64st in every other area that matters, including display size, ease of use, Bluetooth connectivity, and additional features. Plus, you can actually just download any topographical map you want to your GPS device, since both devices support additional mapping.
And as for that additional 4 GB of memory – both devices support microSD cards, so it really doesn’t matter.
Either one is a great GPS device, designed for all hikers and trekkers out there. And both of them are good devices, with much more similarities than differences.