Tried out the new Garmin Foretrex 401, the last of the diminutive series I believe. After using the 201 for close to 3 years not bad at all as all I need is just the maximum and average speed as well as the trip odometer and the sailing timer at which the 401 does have it as well. My 201 is starting to have ‘enter’ button problems which costs 69$ to have an ‘out of warranty’ overhaul which if you add all the shipping and customs would cost you a brand new model. Straight out of the box the manual was only a few pages which was meant for the user to figure it out by themselves which if you are used to changing windows it’s easy just as the 201. The 401 is really very receptive even acquiring satellites indoors so it’s either you turn the ‘recording’ to off as not to put in tracks. Here is a comparison between two sportstracklive tracks of the Garmin 201 and the 401 respectively.
The acquisition time at cold start of the 401 is really fast at less than 10 seconds at the most. While the 201 might take twice as much and still in 2D mode however all will depend on how open the area is. I brought my daughter Annika who is 5yrs. old for a test run of the unit. She wanted to tag along dearly and am glad it was hazy and not searing hot. With a H20Man with her she was at least focused on the road ahead not at the weeds and pebbles along the route. It was a walk and run affair. I kept on looking left and right on both units and it seems like the 401 seemed to give a faster readout in every speed change even when they were both set at a 2 second time interval of which you could set the 401 on either distance, time or auto mode. But for the reason’s of being accurate I was told and have read to put it as is. Downloading time of your tracks took about 2 seconds since it was just a short run and downloading further to GPS TrackMaker took a mere few seconds via usb cable. The 201 for a one hour track of say 3000 trackpoints could easily take 2-3minutes sometimes. Both have the basic dimensions being the 401 was about 1 cm. thicker for the battery compartment. Weight didn’t seem to be noticeable. The strap bolts where durable than the pin type style of the 201 but taking it off just needed a watch screwdriver. What I didn’t like was the rubbler flap covering of the usb port which if you tended to use the device on your arm and sweat a lot there might be a faster decay of the material due to sweat. Since I took off the armbands and use a pouch instead shouldn’t be an issue. There is one program called jumpmaster which I couldn’t make use of since I don’t do hang gliding or sky diving for that reason. The barometer is said to be accurate and could be set at millibars, inches or hPascals. Distance can be set at metric, nautical or statute. Elevation can be configured at meters or feet. Vertical speed can too be set for ft/min, m/min or m/sec. I still like the big font the timer that has been incorporated since the 201 was out and can be customized to any second, minute or hour you do want. The usual distance and bearing to tracking back is still in it as well as the auto compass that can be disabled if you wanted to. That’s as far as I went fiddling with the unit since trekking up and down mountains or valleys wasn’t still my thing but who knows one of these days. The GPS window for acquiring satellites is hidden from view although you can post it up or check to see if the satellite dish icon has stopped blinking meaning a solid fix. Am a bit doubtful if it has the true ipx7 standards as the battery cover doesn’t have a rubber trim around it and so is the usb port again for which the rubber flap just covers firmly but not tightly. Nevertheless as long as there is an arm pouch than can handle water immersion then no problem. Overall there isn’t a smaller GPS designed receiver out there that’s as small as this and your main uses are for sailing, speed sailing by windsurfing or kiteboarding, biking and running. Just my two cents worth and still a good follower of this product. Will still save money to have the 201 refurbished later on.