Garmin 545 & 430, screens & numbers

Garmin 545 430 compared lr cPanbo

I really don’t know where to start with the new Garmins (here, here, and here); there’s so much of interest about the interface, performance, and the Vision charts. At least they’re pretty similar model to model, or at least the two I have in the lab. But I had heard—actually in the exercise room at my local YMCA (!)—that the 4” models were brighter than the 5”. My photo above, bigger here, tends to confirm that, though in real life, inside or outside, the difference doesn’t seem quite so emphatic. They’re both pretty bright. And note the resolution difference; the 545 is full VGA, 480 x 640 pixels, while the 430 is QVGA, 240 x 320 pixels. In the larger photo, the difference is particularly obvious on the numeric data; in use, the finer detail of the higher res screen seems evident everywhere.
   But note that Garmin also has a new series of 5” QVGA plotters, which I haven’t seen. The 520, 530, 540, and 550 all have QVGA, while the 525, 535, 545, and 555 are VGA. So, ah ha!, the model number’s first digit indicates screen size, the second tells you what charts come loaded—none, U.S. inland, U.S. coastal, or U.K. (or Australia) in ascending order—and the third subtly tells you what the screen resolution is. (For clarity, the chart on the 430 above is on a card, not in internal memory). Then when get up into the 4 digit networked series, the screen size moves to the last 2 digits, while the first is the style, and second is chart load. Hey, I’m just explaining, not criticizing; coming up with rational model numbers is hard work! By the way, Garmin’s 400500Series page now has a nice “compare” feature.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

2 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    Interesting things about the specs. There is no mention of power requirements (??a @ 12/24?), other than that they don’t have a battery.
    Also no mention of GPS performance. I guess GPS performance is now so good that it doesn’t even merit mentioning!
    With 50% more screen area and 4x as many pixels, the 500 series must look a lot better.

  2. Gary H Mead says:

    Although the display is great, I have found the Garmin 545 to be lacking in programming areas.
    1. No reversible routes.
    2. Can’t create routes from waypoints.
    3. Has only 20 routes.
    4. *Unable to create routes on PC and upload.
    5. Cannot insert a waypoint in a route.
    *At least I have not been able to find a software program to do upload to the SD.

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