The Garmin 76Cx portable GPS is an upgraded version of the original mapping 76 model. It gets the ‘x’ designation for the addition of a removable memory card slot and a high-sensitivity GPS receiver.
Its sister model has both an altimeter and electronic compass and carries the CSx model name. The 76Cx measures 6.2 inches high, 2.7 inches wide and 1.4 inches deep. The 76Cx weighs in at 8.5 ounces.
Eight pushbuttons and a rocker switch located toward the top of the case front panel operate this unit. Pressing the power button for a second or so turns on the unit. Two more quick pushes brings the screen brightness to its highest level.
The pushbutton location in the upper half of case makes it possible to operate this unit with one hand and not block your view of the screen.
The Garmin 76Cx interfaces with the user through a few dedicated pushbuttons and a number of main pages.
To save a waypoint at your present position press the Enter/Mark button. This also brings up the waypoint edit page and allows you to change the symbol, name, note, and coordinates. Waypoint names can be up to 14 characters long and are input to memory using an onscreen cursor pad controlled keypad.
The Satellite page shows you tracked satellite position graphically and lists signal strength for each with a bar graph on the bottom of the page. Icons at the top of the page show battery condition and GPS status.
Three navigational pages follow with each successive push the Page button. The Trip Computer page displays either three data boxes with large numbers or eight data boxes with smaller numbers. Each box data can be user selected.
The Map page displays a full page map or you can add from one to four data boxes, again all user selectable.
The last of the navigational pages is the Compass page. The lower half of the page is filled with a large compass rose. Above this youll find either two, three, or four data boxes, you choice and all data point can be changed by the user.
Another press of the Page button takes you to the Menu page. Here you will find a number of other lists or sub-menus including Tracks, Routes, Setup, Calendar, Calculator, and others.
The page list and sequence can be changed by the user. We decided to add the Highway, Sun and Moon, and Find pages to our list of active pages.
The Highway page uses two, three, or four data boxes on the top of the page with a graphic directional display at the bottom.
Sun and Moon gives the user quick access to sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset times as well as a graphic show orbital phase of the sun and the moon.
We added the Find page because it leads directly to the Marine page which in the Garmin 76Cx holds a tidal station data page. This page lets the user select one of a number of nearby tide stations or manually reset the position reference to access and tide station in the database.
A 2.6-inch (diagonal) 256-color TFT screen with a resolution of 160 x 240 occupies the lower half of the case front. This high-resolution screen provided us with readable map images plus sharp and clear text and numbers. We rated daylight viewability very good on this Garmin handheld GPS.
You can choose from one of ten daytime color palettes. Night lighting on this unit is sophisticated with a 21-position slider to set screen brightness. It has an automatic day/night color palette selector too. This last one can also be set manually to day or night or left in automatic.
There are ten night color palettes to pick from too. The power button can be used to select three screen brightness levels. Pushbuttons are backlit for easy night viewing; however the cursor pad is not lit.
The 76Cx ships with a blank microSD card with at least 128 MB of capacity to store optional downloadable data like charts, user waypoints, and routes. You can load optional map data from either a Garmin MapSource CD or a pre-loaded map card.
Access to the battery compartment, data port, external antenna jack, and USB port are all located on the rear of the case.
The microSD card slot is located inside the battery compartment but does not require battery removal for access.
This Garmin portable GPS can store up to 1000 waypoints and as many as 50 routes. A TracBack feature lets you navigate a track backwards. This makes going back home the same way you came out very easy.
This unit ships with Garmin MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager software and a USB cable to allow transfer of waypoint, route, and track data between the 76Cx and a personal computer.
The warranty period is one-year and the unit is rated water resistant to IPX7 standards. That means it can be submerged to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes and not be damaged. This one passed our submersion test. It has one more advantage for boaters here because it floats.
The Garmin 76Cx is the most marine-orientated handheld we’ve tested. Still to realize its full potential as a marine GPS handheld navigator, in our opinion, it requires the addition of optional map data from either a Garmin MapSource CD or a pre-loaded map card.