Garmin GPSMAP 64st: Definitive Review (2020)

Accurate, Dependable and Loaded With Features A GPS To Keep You On Track

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Table of Contents

24

Models Reviewed

19

Hours Of
Research

24

Field Test
Hours

52

Users
Surveyed

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Best Value Award Winner

Looking for a reliable GPS that delivers top-class accuracy?

You’re in the right place.

We bring you our TopNotch Garmin GPSMAP 64st Review 2020.

In line with TopNotch review standards, we’ve done extensive world-wide field-testing with our GPSMAP taking us across a varied range of terrains over a period of several months.

In this article, we’ll report on features, display, reception, ease of use and versatility.

We’ll also provide you with a detailed comparison of this unit with others in the same category.

And guess what?

We loved it so much we chose the Garmin GPSMAP 64st as the TopNotch Editor’s Choice.

So stick with me as we head deeper into our review.

You’re about to learn about:

Reception
8
Ease of Use
7
Display Quality
8
Speed
9
Weight and Size
8
Versatility
8
Overall Score
80
  • Manufacturer: Garmin
  • Display Size: 2.6 inches
  • Display Type: Transflective, 65K color TFT
  • Weight: 7 lbs 6 oz
  • Average Battery Life: 16 hours

Bottom Line : A great product from Garmin that comes with modern features packed in a timeless design

Pros


  • Excellent reception even in tricky terrains
  • A high level of accuracy
  • Offers Bluetooth and wireless connectivity
  • Excellent durability
  • Fast boot-up time
  • Large buttons ensure easy handling

Cons


  • Some users missed the touchscreen functionality
  • The user manual could be more detailed

Our Verdict: Garmin GPSMAP 64st

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a feature-rich GPS that’ll offer perfect mapping for any outdoor adventure.

We (the TopNotch team) assure you that with the Garmin GPSMAP 64st in hand, there’s virtually no chance you’ll wander off the trail unless you choose to do so.

Let’s start with the reception quality of the device.

The fact is, in our outdoor tests, this GPS outshone all the competition with its top-class speed and accuracy.

And the handling?

The big buttons make handling a breeze and the interface is super easy to use.

Another plus point is the excellent build quality which ensures adverse weather conditions aren’t an issue. We dropped it on moraine fields in a Himalayan trek and used it through rain and snowfall. The unit came out tops for us every time.

Want to explore the terrain in detail?

No problem at all. This GPS comes preloaded with high-resolution topographical maps of the US.

Here’s another interesting feature.

This device allows wireless data sharing with other compatible Garmin devices. So sharing routes amongst your buddies is pretty simple.

Now, hold on.

We didn’t forget about the few (there are only a couple to be fair) downsides of the unit in our review…

The team felt that the battery life could have been better.

Another point to be noted.

You won’t be able to use regular rechargeable batteries.

Specialist Garmin rechargeable batteries are a possibility though.

More on that later.

In addition, the novices in our team needed more time to figure out the details of the GPS.

However, we thoroughly enjoyed using the device because of its superb performance and handy features.

On the whole, our team concluded that the Garmin GPSMAP 64st is the perfect choice for the intrepid adventurer.

The Bottom Line:

After judging the overall performance, there was no hesitation in marking this GPS as the Editor’s Choice. It was a unanimous decision here at TopNotch.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st features a 2.6-inch sunlight-readable color screen and a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with a quad helix antenna for superior reception.

RELATED: 10 Best Handheld GPS

Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results

garmin gpsmap 64st review
Garmin gpsmap 64st review

For the Garmin GPSMAP 64st Review, our team headed out to a wide range of terrains across two continents. From the Stoney Indian Pass in the Glacier National Park to the rugged trails along the Ngozumpa Glacier in Nepal, we did all the necessary legwork to thoroughly test this device.

Thanks to the high level of accuracy, we were never disoriented in the wilderness.

The best part is…

Even if you’re heading to a new country, the unit comes with sufficient memory for loading all the necessary maps.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option with great features, we suggest that you compare the Garmin GPSMAP 64st vs the 64s

So let’s take the next step and look into what makes the Garmin GPSMAP 64st the TopNotch Editor’s Choice.

Reception

Let’s jump right in

In our tests, the reception quality of this Garmin GPS was found impeccable even under thick forest covers or in deep gorges. Even in areas guarded by high cliffs, the signal reception was spot-on.

What makes it so precise?

The high-quality quad-helix antenna captures GPS and GLONASS satellite signals smoothly to deliver top-class accuracy.

We also found the GPSMAP 64st is very reliable while “locking on” to any position in a trail.

In fact, we felt that the level of accuracy, including that of the 3-axis compass, was truly the best in its class.

Garmin-GPSMAP

Reception Rating

Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
9
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
9
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
8
Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
8
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
8
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
7
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
6
Garmin etrex Touch 35
6

The good news is…

… The unit also provides an extra arsenal to adventure lovers in the form of topographic 100k maps of the US.

Here’s another interesting point.

The addition of Bluetooth connectivity allows the device to connect with your Smartphone. So you can check any emergency calls or messages on the device itself.

We found this a useful feature as it saved us from pulling our phones out of the backpack for checking updates.

Keep in mind though, that it’s not possible to use the garmin 64st for texting or for making calls.

A word of caution:

Keeping the Bluetooth on will deplete the batteries faster. So on long trips, use it sparingly.

Anything else worth mentioning?

Sure.

The unit offers paperless geocaching with support from Geocaching.com. It supports 250,000 preloaded caches and can store and display a wide variety of information.

To add further convenience, there’s support for additional topographic, marine and road maps. But you’ll need to buy most of these maps before downloading.

No matter the type of terrain you choose for traveling, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st has all the necessary features to make it a TopNotch choice.

Ease of Use

Frankly, we’ve found many GPS units hard to operate with gloves on.

But, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st is the exception.

The ten large buttons of the unit offer perfect ergonomics and work very well with all types of gloves.

This is one important feature many novices miss.

Garmin-GPSMA

Ease of Use Rating

Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
8
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
8
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
8
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
7
Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
7
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
7
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
7
Garmin etrex Touch 35
6

While walking in the freezing temperatures above 13,000 feet in the Himalayas, we were so glad we could use the GPS with gloves on!

Nevertheless, we felt the addition of LED buttons would’ve made it even better.

Beyond that, the menu has a simple layout – classic Garmin and easy to use. It also offers freedom for customization if you want.

While conducting the tests, we noted that for first time users, setting up the advanced functions can take some time.

However, we do feel this is pretty much the same with any superior-grade GPS unit.

Admittedly, the lack of detailed instructions in the Garmin 64st manual can be somewhat frustrating for first-time users.

Note that the compact size of the device makes handling and storing super easy.

The average battery life is roughly 16 hours with AA or lithium batteries. We felt that this is one aspect where the unit could have performed better.

 You can use rechargeable batteries…

… but there is a catch.

The device only supports rechargeable NiMH Batteries made by Garmin and they’re more expensive.

Display Quality

Display is one aspect of a GPS unit that impacts its overall performance in a big way.

Now – while we were testing for the Garmin GPSMAP 64st Review we found the display of the unit very interesting for a number of reasons.

Let’s look at the details.

Garmin-GPSMAP

Display Quality Rating

Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
9
Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
9
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
8
Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
7
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
7
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
7
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
7
Garmin etrex Touch 35
7

For starters, the 64 K color TFT display offers a resolution of 160 x 240 pixels – perfect for reading maps.

And you know what?

We found the GPSMAP equally clearly readable under the dazzling sunlight of higher altitudes but also on our shaded forest trail.

Then again, the 2.6-inch transflective display may seem a bit lackluster compared to the touchscreen displays of other GPS’s.

But in reality, we found that reading high-resolution maps was easy. Garmin has done a great job of making the display perfect for outdoor use.

Bonus point – The screen is backlit – so using it in the dark is fine.

Point to be noted:

The display offers only a portrait view.

Clearly, those looking for a touchscreen will have to look elsewhere.

But consider this.

If you love skiing, snowboarding, or other activities in cold conditions this is a device you can easily operate with your gloves on.

In addition, we feel the button functionality is a better choice for activities like cycling or hunting, where you need your eyes-free.

Speed

In our trials, we found speed is not an issue with the Garmin GPSMAP 64st.

The GPSMAP 64st redraws maps quickly – on par with the competition.

Moreover, as it connects with both GPS and the GLONASS systems, the speed of signal acquisition is very fast.

And there’s more…

Even in the remotest terrains, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st calculated any location with impressive speed and precision

Garmin-GPSMAP

Speed Rating

Garmin GPSMAP 64st
9
Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
9
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
9
Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
8
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
8
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
7
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
6
Garmin etrex Touch 35
6

We carefully noted the satellite fixing time of the device as a part of our review.

In most cases, it ranged between 20 to 50 seconds.

In addition, we also noted that even under a thick forest canopy, the reception was never really delayed.

The result?

After comparing the speed with all the other devices, the TopNotch team gave the unit a big thumbs up.

The buttons of the GPSMAP 64st  are not quite as responsive as a touchscreen GPS’s.

But the fact is, there’s hardly any time lag between the button push and the function being executed.

Last but not least…

…the 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and the barometric altimeter are equally fast and accurate as well.

We carefully noted the satellite fixing time of the device as a part of our review.

In most cases, it ranged between 20 to 50 seconds.

In addition, we also noted that even under a thick forest canopy, the reception was never really delayed.

The result?

After comparing the speed with all the other devices, the TopNotch team gave the unit a big thumbs up.

The buttons of the GPSMAP 64st  are not quite as responsive as a touchscreen GPS’s.

But the fact is, there’s hardly any time lag between the button push and the function being executed.

Last but not least…

…the 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and the barometric altimeter are equally fast and accurate as well.

Weight and Size

So, is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st is good for ultralight packers?

After testing it thoroughly for the Garmin 64st review, we feel yes, it really is.

With a weight of 8.1 oz with the batteries and compact dimensions, we found the handling of the device very smooth.

In addition, it also fits into the palm perfectly.

Moreover, with a thickness of just 1.4 inches, even those with smaller hands will find it easy to use.

Garmin-GPSMAP

Weight and Size Rating

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
10
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
10
Garmin etrex Touch 35
9
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
8
Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
8
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
8
Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
4
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
2

Want to know another TopNotch feature?

The exterior of the unit is lined with high-quality rubber and there are ridges that provide effective grip. We noted this not only kept it comfortable for us but also made the handling easy in wet conditions.

Can I give you an example?

While trekking with hiking poles our palms did get sweaty in low altitudes. This is where the non-slip texture made it easier for the users to grip the Garmin.

Securing your GPS to the backpack strap or the belt is useful while kayaking, cycling or hunting.

Right?

The carabiner attached to the back of the GPSMAP 64st allows you to do just that.

On the whole, the device hits the sweet spot in terms of its overall dimensions. While it might seem slightly bulky in comparison with other lightweight devices, keep in mind it’s also a durable device that won’t fall apart easily.

Versatility

We found that during our tests, the GPSMAP 64st proved itself to be extremely versatile.

Now, check this out.

With an IPX7 rating, it’s also ready to handle any type of weather conditions. One of our team dropped it in a stream (he said he did it on purpose – we’re not so sure!) while hiking through the Glacial National Park and it came out unscathed.

Garmin-GPSMAP

Versatility Rating

Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS
9
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
9
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
8
Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
7
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
7
Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
7
Garmin etrex Touch 35
7
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
6

Want to learn more?

You can find out further details about the ratings here.

So, we can safely say that this unit will perform reliably, even if you head into rough weather conditions.

Here’s the most important part.

The device is compatible with BirdsEye Satellite Imagery software and you can access satellite imagery along with the high-resolution maps.

Keep in mind the device comes with a one-year free subscription to BirdsEye.

Wireless data transfer is another feature that our reviewers enjoyed using. It offers a seamless way of sharing data among compatible Garmin devices.

That’s not all.

The GPSMAP 64st comes with 8 GB internal memory and you can also use a micro-SD card for loading larger maps of any country that you choose to visit.

Moreover, there’s a high-speed USB interface that allows smooth data transfer. With 250,000 preloaded geocaches, the device is also a great choice for lovers of geocaching.

Whether you’re heading for a hiking, trekking or cycling trip, this unit has all the goodies to offer the perfect service.

So, in our Garmin gps map review, the unit shared the top spot in terms of versatility.

Garmin discontinued the GPS MAP 64s. If you’re a big buttons kind of person, the Garmin GPS MAP 64st may your next handheld GPS

Conclusion: Garmin GPSMAP 64st

So let’s rewind and see what makes the Garmin GPSMAP 64st one of the favorite choices of the TopNotch team.

It’s loaded with great features and is a good choice for users who are not so tech-savvy.

The superior accuracy of the navigation means you won’t lose your way, no matter what.

That’s what a GPS is for.

We also loved the reception quality and the speed even in the tricky terrains.

So what about the other features?

We found the compass and altimeter to be extremely accurate.

In addition, features like Live tracking and Smart Notifications worked like a charm.

As our Garmin Review showed, the rugged build quality of the unit means it can withstand rough handling and adverse weather conditions.

Perhaps the device is pricey but we felt that considering the excellent reliability and performance, the  GPSMAP 64st  offers great value.

Considering the scores of the device under each metric, we had no qualms about marking it as the TopNotch Editor’s Choice product.

All in all, we’ve made our choice.

Now you’re armed with all the facts – it’s over to you to make yours.

topnotchoutdoor award

Garmin GPSMAP 64st
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Garmin Handheld GPS (Etrex 20x)
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Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS