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Garmin Rino 520 Review

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 2/27/2010

The Garmin Rino 520 is a GPS receiver that also features a 2-way radio. Although the product is discontinued, it is still available on the market today. We will see if it is still a good GPS receiver for outdoor activities.

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    The Garmin Rino 520 is not a GPS navigator. It is a GPS receiver which displays your position in latitude and longitude, and shows your course, speed and ETA to your destination. Aside from being a GPS receiver, it also has a built-in 2-way radio with a maximum transmission power of 5 watts.

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    Rating Average

    The Rino 520 measures 5.8 x 13.0 x 4.6 cm (W x H x D) (antenna closed) and 19 cm (antenna open). Together with the battery, it weighs 290 grams. The TFT screen is 2.1” in size and supports 256 colors. The battery is a rechargeable lithium-ion one with 16 hours of life.

    The receiver is not disclosed by Garmin, and it is not a high-sensitivity receiver.

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    Rating Average

    Garmin Rino 520 The product make you feel that it was purposefully designed for outdoor activities from first sight.

    The power button is located at the top. Keeping it pressed turns the device on and off, and pressing it simply adjusts screen brightness. As is the custom with handheld radios, the call button is placed on the left. The thumbstick, which is used for menu navigation and panning is located at the bottom of the screen, and the zoom button immediately to the right of it. To the left of the thumbstick is the volume/squelch button.

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    Rating Average

    Garmin Rino 520 Showing Other Users The product is for outdoor activities that you go on with your friends or family, therefore do not expect it to have built-in maps. If you want to use it with maps, you will have to purchase the optional MapSource software from Garmin. Out of the box, there are America’s recreational maps (for the models sold in the U.S.), but if you want to extend that more, you have to install maps to the device by using the MapSource software. Here, do not expect to have too much storage space – the built-in memory is only 56 Megabytes.

    The FRS/GMRS radio has 5 to 0.5 Watt transmission powers. Rino also has the capability to display nearby people. Using the same device and with a push of a button, you can have them see your location. Since the radio is FRS/GMRS compliant, you can use it to communicate with any device that supports the same protocols.

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    Price to Performance

    Rating Average

    The Garmin Rino 520 is available for USD 331.67 from There are new products from Garmin that have lower prices, but many of them do not support transmission power of more than 1 Watt. This makes the Rino 520 stand out in the market.

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    Overall Evaluation

    Rating Average

    The price of the device may make it seem more attractive, but instead of going with the “limited” Rino 520, we suggest looking into either the Rino 530 HCx, which is available at USD 379.29 or the Rino 520 HCx which is offered for USD 400.29 from, both supporting microSD cards. The differences between the 530 HCx and 520 HCx are an electronic compass, a barometric altimeter and NOAA weather radio which are present in th 530 HCx but not in the 520 HCx.