Hi All, I have an old Garmin GPS III and just purchased a new Mag. Meridian Platinum. I did a lot of shopping and research (go here for great reviews.. been using them for years.. http://gpsinformation.net/
I have always been partial to Garmin and never looked at the Magellen but after my last research on the web and then in stores to hold, touch and compare I ended up with the Platinum. I was worried about the screen resolution also but after looking at the Vista (great resolution but very tiny screen) vs. the lesser resolution Platinum (Gold is same without compass/altimeter) I chose the Platimum because of the many options that are standard on the Platinum that Garmin doesn't even offer on their new $500.00 color unit. I also looked at the Magellen Sport Color. Its screen resolution is even better than the Vista.. a real real nice unit but then I read that (as with most color units) even with the backlight turned up full (eating batteries) that in the sunlight (like even the best digital camera back screens) you could not read it.. so that ruled that unit out.
Another real nice unit was the Magellen Sport Topo. It is loaded with 100 megs of Topo maps so you don't have to upload anything (thats 100 megs of topo vs. 16 megs of built in street maps that most of the higher end units have) but I wanted to chart my own. Magellen also has removable media (up to 128 meg SD Card) for maps, etc.
Anyway.. it boiled down to features, much bigger display (but less resolution)(don't just compare one unit's res to the other on the web, look at them side by side.. the Platinum's less res but bigger screen is still great.. much more viewing area. I ended up with the Magellen Platinum (which is on the way UPS) because I wanted an electronic compass/altimeter and from the reviews I read, Magellens was much superior to Garmins. I can't wait to get it and hit the trail.. Go to the stores (take your own batteries) and ask the clerks to fire one up for you. I have found that if you take your own batteries they don't have a problem doing this.. Most stores (REI, etc..)don't have good batteries laying around and won't open the ones in the box (which is understandable)(if they do have batteries they are usually dead in a drawer from something else)... I took a handfull of batteries and checked them all out and played with them all. The online stores, TigerGPS, GPS Store have great prices. Just watch some of the real cheap sellers cause they will sell refurbished or used. Make sure you are
getting "Brand New". Amazon has some great prices but a lot of there stuff is refurbished.. be cautious.
Hope this helps..