- Topographic maps
- Barometric Altimeter
The Oregon 550 and 550T have every feature the same except one: the Oregon 500T is preloaded with topographic maps.
Both of the products have 3.2 Megapixel cameras with autofocus and 4x digital zoom. At first it seems to save you from carrying another camera in your backpack but the image quality is just average. However, we don’t deny that it’s nice to have a camera on the unit. The devices feature geotagging, which records the coordinates (latitude and longitude) in which the photo is shot to the EXIF information, which enables you to see exactly where each photo is taken. You can also display and share your photos in Flickr or Panoramio.
Oregon 550 and 550T both have an electronic compass, which can tell you where you are heading and has tilt compensation, meaning that you do not need to hold the device level (parallel to the ground) to get the best reading.
One of the remarkable features of the devices is the barometric altimeter. The altimeter determines your precise elevation by taking the atmospheric pressure. The units also plots barometric conditions so that you can keep an eye on weather conditions. I think Garmin has just missed a point here: a temperature sensor and logging capability would make for an excellent weather station.
The models in the Oregon 550 series have 850 Megabytes of on board storage space but can be expandable with microSD cards. However, the microSD cards are just for adding additional maps via MapSource and BlueChart g2. There are no multimedia capabilities present such as listening to mp3. Therefore, we can say that the device tends to be for a more serious (or professional) type. Still, I must admit that I’d want to have these features.
You can send your waypoints, geocaches and tracks to other Oregon and Colorado users wirelessly from the 550 series. The products also support geocaching, a favorite hobby of many people.