- Its flexibility in loading topo maps into the unit is unparalleled, but the process of "cutting" maps in the Topo USA software and uploading them to the PN-20 is cumbersome;
- From a cold start, it seemed to take a long time to really figure out where it was. Often I would turn on the unit at the trailhead, wait until it had determined it's position, waypoint the trailhead location, and start hiking. Yet when I returned to the trailhead (that I had waypointed when I left), the location it displayed upon my return was often many tens of feet away from the original waypoint (even though I was standing in the same spot);
- The overall responsiveness in paging from one screen to the next, rendering maps and screen refreshes is sluggish.
DeLorme announced the PN-40 GPS, the next-generation of the PN family of GPS receivers, in early 2009. Its documentation and reviews indicated that it addressed all of the complaints that I had about the PN-20, but I hesitated buying one, not wanting to lighten my wallet by another $400 (although DeLorme has offered it for sale a number of times since its release). Then the PN-30 was announced in July: Same performance as the PN-40, without the electronic compass and barometric altimeter, for $100 less. Be still, my beating heart. When REI put it on sale for $200 during their Labor Day sale, I beat a direct path to the store on the first morning of the sale and purchased one. The electronic compass and barometric altimeter just weren't worth the extra $100 for my purposes.
The DeLorme PN-30
- 500MB of internal memory (versus 75MB for the PN-20);
- A dual-core processor for better responsiveness and faster screen redraws;
- A 32-channel GPS chipset (versus a 12-channel chipset in the PN-20);
- Topo USA version 8 (the current version of the PN-20 ships with version 8, but mine came with version 6, and I hadn't upgraded;
- DVDs with precut maps of the entire US, broken up into regions. This eliminates the need to cut and process maps from Topo USA, just choose the region you want from the maps DVD and upload it to the PN-30.