The GPSMAP 60CSx is the new and improved Garmin handheld GPS Receiver.
Very similar in features to its predecessor, on the outside
the 60CSx looks like an identical twin to the 60CS. But there are
significant changes inside, most of them for the better. Street
prices for the 60CSx are $500. Check discount prices here.
The two key features of the 60CSx include the ability to upgrade
the map memory with a larger microSD card and the addition of a Sirf star III receiver chip,
which dramatically improves satellite reception, (although this does not
necessarily improve the listed GPS accuracy on the unit.) Since a majority of the
features are the same as the 60CS, please reference the previous 60C/S review by Joe for
most of the features. This review only addresses the changes
to the 60CSx and the 60Cx, which is the same unit at the 60CSx, without
the electronic compass and altimeter. When the 60CSx was
initially released, there were several bugs that needed to be fixed though
a software update. It seems most of these issues have now been
corrected, and so we suggest you make sure you have the latest unit software.
Check here or use Garmin's new WebUpdater
program. We should also point out that it is necessary
to use Garmin's WebUpdater program even if you like to manually
install the unit software. Using WebUpdater is the only way to
update the Sirf Receiver chip software, although this is
updated less often than the unit software is. Currently as
of this writing, the "GPS SW Version" is 2.60. You can check
this in your 60CSx in the Setup menu, under "System" pressing the menu
key and then "Software Version."
The most noticeable change in the 60CSx is in the receiver, with the
Sirf Star III chip. Acquisition times are very fast, even with a
cold start, typically less than 30 seconds. For a warm start
(when the unit has been on within the last hour) you have a satellite
lock, before the warmup pages have even cleared, typically in two
seconds. (Although the accuracy begins in the hundreds of feet,
but within about ten seconds is down within 12-15 feet.) While
the reception in the 60CSX is improved, including
almost always twelve satellites with nearly full reception, the
listed accuracy on the unit is not as good with the 60CS. In my
testing, the 60CSx
would have more satellites and with stronger signals, but would average
about 12-15 foot accuracy. In the same spot at the same time, the
60CS would have less satellites and poorer reception, but would show
accuracy, usually 9-11 feet, sometimes as good as seven feet.
Some have speculated Garmin is being more careful in how the accuracy
is expressed in newer models. What I will say though is that I
would not trade my 60CSx back for the 60CS, because I
have never lost satellite reception, even in deep mountain canyons or
in a downtown area and believe the accuracy is just as good. The
only place I have got a 'lost satellite
reception' message, is in a concrete parking garage. There has
been some discussion in the forums about WAAS problems with the 60CSx.
As of this writing, it seems all of them have been corrected through
software updates, specifically what was known as the "tunnel problem."
When the 60CSx was released, there was a problem with
having WAAS enabled and when you would go through a long tunnel or
a parking garage, or some
other area where the unit completely loses all satellite reception,
when you get back into an open area where you should be getting
reception again, the unit would not automatically get a satellite
until you turned the unit off and turned it on again. The receiver software update version 2.60 "GPS SW version 2.60"
seems to have corrected this problem. The software update also
allowed the unit to see the newer WAAS satellites, including #51.
Here is a side by side photo of the 60CSx on the left and 60CS on the
right. Notice that the 60CSx has more satellites and better signal
strength, but an accuracy reading of 21 feet. The 60CS has fewer
satellites and poorer signal strength on the satellite page, however,
shows an eleven foot accuracy. Both are getting WAAS correction, shown
with the "D" on each satellite bar. However, this DOES NOT necessarily
mean that one unit is reading more accurately than the other. The EPE
is an ESTIMATED POSITION ERROR and this reading is no more accurate
than the basic accuracy of the unit itself and it depends on which
satellites are being viewed by each unit and THEIR accuracy at that
moment. With the basic accuracy of WAAS on these units being 3 meters,
(about 10ft) you can conclude that the accuracy of the 60CS is 11ft
(+/- 10ft) and that the accuracy of the G60CSX is 21ft (+/- 10ft). This
assuming you have a clear sky view or the error range can be larger.
The ability to upgrade the memory is a huge improvement to a handheld
unit. In the 60CS, you have 56 MB of memory available. In
the 60CSx the included microSD card, (found underneath the batteries)
is a 64MB card. However, it will accept up to a 1GB microSD card.
This means you can load just about as much map memory as you
could ever want, up to two thousand and twenty five (2025) separate map files. I have
successfully loaded City Select, TOPO, Roads and Recreation and
Metroguide USA into my 60CSx, all at the same time. You must
select which map group you want on the screen, this can be done in the
Map Setup menu. There is some memory used up for formatting, for
example with my 256MB card, I was only able to load 234 MB of map
memory. The price on these microSD cards is coming down. I found a 256MB card for just $25.
Photo below is a close up of where the memory card is located.
You must remove the batteries to have access to it. The
card slides in and then the metal cover locks into place.
Another improvement with the 60CSx, is that you can power the unit
through the USB port. When you connect it to the computer through
the USB, it will power the unit. You can also power it through a
Garmin USB DC power cable. There are both AC and DC type adapters available from Garmin as additional accessories.
The 60CSx is compatible with Garmin's POI loader. You can now add
custom Points of Interest into the unit. So far, I have loaded
9,000 POI's into the 60CSx. You can read more on custom POI's, by
following this link on gpsinformation.net.
There is a bug still in using Custom POI's in the 60CSx.
Most of the time, when you select "Custom Points of Interest"
You will see "None Found" However, when you press the menu
key, you will get a screen and by selecting "Select Database" you can
access your POI's in the specific category. I should point out
that once in a while, when I select custom POI's, they all show up,
listed by nearest, but all the categories are combined. I have
tried to figure out why there is inconsistency in this, but so far I
The 60CSx also has a faster processor. I have noticed
autoroutes are calculated faster and while panning the map, it redraws
much faster than the 60CS.
A nice feature added in a recent software update to the 60CSx, is the
ability to save tracklogs onto the memory card. The 60CSx records
up to 10,000 tracklog points, as does the 60CS. But in the
tracklog setup, you can select 'data card setup' which gives you the
option of checking "Log Track to Data Card" and lists all of
the tracklogs, by date, for example "20060502.gpx" represents May 2,
2006. The files are created as .gpx, which is compatible with many
programs, including MapSource. There is also a readout of how much
memory is left on the card. You also have the option to delete
all the track log files, or you can highlight one specific file
to delete it. Garmin has also in a recent software update, added
the ability to put the unit into USB mode, so you can access the
trackfiles in the data card. To do this, select the main menu,
then Setup and then interface. At the bottom of the page, you can
select "USB Mass Storage" The unit will actually lock up
and be in USB mode, until you "safely remove it" on your computer.
The card will show up like any other removable data card on your
computer. You can open up the .gpx files in MapSource, G7toWin,
or other programs that will read the .gpx format. When you are
finished and "safely remove the card", the 60CSx will automatically
restart, as it would if you turned it off and back on. Each
tracklog file size varies, depending on how many track points are
recorded. Typically they are about 60KB, but if I do a lot of
driving I have seen them as high as 150KB a day. One
issue I have discovered is that if you save more than 50 days worth of
tracklogs on the data card, it will only show the first 50.
However, if you connect the unit or the card to a computer, you
will find that all of the files are there, even though your most recent
ones are not visible. But again, you can only delete the tracklog
files on the display, so it is not necessary to see the newest track
files on the screen, to get access to them, only if you wish to delete
Screen below shows what to select to get access to tracklogs saved to the data card.
Unlike other Garmin units I have used, loading in MapSource data erases
the supplied Marine Points data. However, in the 60CSx it
remains. This data gives you tide station data for North America. Example of this page is below.
Garmin says the average battery life in the 60CSx is 18 hours.
In the 60CS, you can expect at least 20 hours of use.
Using WAAS will reduce this some as well as extensive use of the
The 60CSx does not contain at least three features found in the 60CS.
The alarm clock is gone, as is the ability to set a pressure
trend recording. In the marine features, the speed filter in the
60CS is also not included. And in using a 60CSx in APRS,
a amateur radio hobby, the 60CSx does not overwrite when a new station
is heard and downloaded into the unit. It simply adds a number to
the end of the waypoint station. This can overload your waypoint
capacity of 1000 within a couple of hours. Garmin says there is
no way to get the unit to overwrite the stations. However, you
can easily manage this by not giving any of your other waypoints the
Blue Flag icon. Then delete only the icons that are Blue Flags as
needed, to keep the stations from overloading your waypoint capacity.
Overall, I am quite happy with the 60CSx and I use it every day.
In my opinion, it is the most versatile GPS receiver, when it
comes to outdoor use, highway use and NMEA interface use. The
ease of getting and
keeping GPS reception, as well as the ability to increase map memory
are very nice features. I also like being able to automatically
save tracklogs to the data card. If you have a 60CS and are
thinking about upgrading, you will have to factor if it is worth the
added expense, especially if you have to buy CitySelect or
CityNavigator mapping data for it. For the most part, it will be
very similar. Patrick Roeder has a more in-depth review of the
60CSx, conducted in Europe. You can find his article here.
Questions: Visit the gpsinformation.net Forum
Corrections? Suggestions? Email Sam