I am looking to purchase a Garmin GPS 705.
I would like to hear from other cyclists about their thoughts on the unit.
Also, do I need to buy the topo maps with the unit, as there seem to be good deals on packages including the maps compared to buying the maps separately?
These days I would probably go with either the Edge 500 (if you don't need maps) or 800, unless you are getting a very good price for the 705.
The 705 comes with built-in maps which are essentially useless for navigating or doing anything beyond showing what country you are in, so yes if you want to use the on-screen map feature you will probably want to get some with it.
I've recently upgraded from a 705 to an 800 having used the 705 for about a year or so. For the most part the 705 is pretty nice piece of kit, if a little bulky compared to newer models. You can get free street maps (OSM is one such project) and free topo maps.
The 705 has more on board storage than the garmin 800, so if you start thinking down that route (ie, the garmin 800), it's an additional cost you might need to consider if you want to make use of maps whereas the 705 has enough storage to handle a few maps straight out of the box.
Thanks for the replies.
I will have a look at the Edge 500 and 800 for comparison. Although the 800 goes up a bit in price.
There is a deal going for the Edge 705, including HRM, cadence sensor and topo maps for $495.
Around $395 without maps.
The maps that are described as 'next to useless' that come with the unit are only there to provide a framework for other maps that you purchase or otherwise acquire. The maps then hang on the base world map framework.
I am just back from a non-cycling holiday in Vietnam. I loaded some free maps of Vietnam before we went, set the camera time accurately, and recorded the trip using my 705 with it sitting in my daypack. I can now easily georeference the photos. The captain of the Junk in Halong Bay quickly worked out how it worked when I placed it in from of him. All he normally uses is a compass and local knowledge. It was also very useful for finding our way back to the hotel.
For the $100 I would buy the maps as part of the package.
Just don't buy a 305. A poorly designed model whose design presumably hasn't been copied in the latter models. Of the 4 people i know who had one 3 had hassles. After a relatively short period of time they keep switching off when going over small bumps. A search of the internet shows this to be a common problem.