Garmin Upgrades Rino GPS Radios

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Garmin has introduced two new additions to its Rino line of two-way radios with integrated GPS technology, popular with hikers, climbers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The Rino 520HCx and Rino 530HCx feature a higher-sensitivity GPS receiver for improved accuracy and faster location acquisition, as well as a microSD slot for loading detailed map data.

“Since its inception, the Rino line has staked claim as the only integrated device that not only lets users communicate by voice, but also send and receive their exact locations,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s VP of worldwide sales, in a statement. “With the Rino 520HCx and 530HCx, we’ve upped the ante with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that rapidly acquires and maintains a lock in heavy tree cover or deep canyons. The microSD memory card slot also lets users load their device with highly-detailed topo maps, road maps, or lake maps.”

The 5-watt transmitters in the Rino 520HCx and 530HCx let users talk to each other over a range of up to 14 miles; the units also feature a mini-USB interface and a built-in auto-routing base map so the units are immediately useful even without add-on map information. The 520HCx adds a seven-channel weather receiver, an electronic compass, and an altimeter.

The Rinos also sport features of obvious safety benefit to hikers, mountaineers, hunters, and others. A location-reporting feature lets users transmit their location information to other Rino users using the Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) spectrums; when activated, other users wll see the location and distance of the sender on their units. Users can also ask to poll the locations of other Rino users, and the units will automatically transmit back their locations.

The units come with a base map of North and South America, showing cities, highways, and borders; users can add additional maps depending on their activities; pre-programmed maps are available from MapSource (including topographic maps for hiking), City Navigator (for driving or city use), and BlueChart (for boating).

The Rinos are waterproof in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, and typically get 14 hours of use per battery charge.

Both units should be available in June, with the 520HCx carrying a suggested price of $449.99, and the 530HCx gong for $499.99.

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