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Garmin Rino 530HCx: Two-way Radio, 'Find Others' Features

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Garmin Rino 530HCx

Garmin Rino 530HCx

Photo © Garmin

The Bottom Line

Ever wish you knew the exact location of friends and family while on a skiing or hunting trip, or at an amusement park? Now you can, with the Garmin Rino 530 HCx, which provides full color map handheld GPS functionality, plus a powerful two-way radio, plus NOAA weather radio, and more. But its position reporting feature is its unique factor. Press the "call" or "talk" keys to automatically send your exact location to other Rino users in your group, or "poll" others' locations from the menu to appear on your map. The Rino's sturdy, waterproof, rubber-armored construction helps it stand up to rough outdoors treatment.
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  • Combines two-way radio and mapping GPS in one unit.
  • Unique "polling" feature lets you locate other Rino users on your map.
  • Sturdy, waterproof construction.
  • Micro SD card for easy data/map transer.
  • Weather radio.


  • Menu and rocker/enter key system takes time to learn.
  • Small plastic charger adapter required to charge unit. Could be broken or lost.


  • Price: $350 - $480.
  • Dimensions: 2.3" x 5.1" x 1.8", 7.5" high with antenna (5.8 x 13.0 x 4.6 cm, 19 cm with antenna).
  • Display size: 1.3" x 1.7" (3.3 x 4.3 cm)
  • Display type: 256 level color TFT.
  • Weight: 10.3 oz (292 g) with battery pack.
  • Battery: Removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
  • Electronic compass.
  • Barometric altimeter.
  • NOAA weather radio.
  • Wide range of maps and charts available (see "suggested reading" link).

Guide Review - Garmin Rino 530HCx: Two-way Radio, 'Find Others' Features

The Garmin Rino 530HCx is the top model in the five-model Rino line. All models include two-way radio and GPS. The 530HCx has a color map display, high-sensitivity receiver, micro SD card slot, and a five-watt transmitter. The transmitter has a two-mile range under the Family Radio Service (FRS) frequencies, and a 14-mile range over the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS, license required). At the lower end of the price scale, the Rino 110 ($194) lacks these features, but still has location polling.

The powerful and technical features of the Rino 530HCx make it well-suited for professionals who make a living outdoors, including hunting and fishing guides, ski patrol, and search-and-rescue squads. Operating temperature range for the Rino 530HCx is -4 degrees F to 131 degrees F. Its sturdy construction and waterproof case will help it hold up to hard use.

With so many functions, it takes time and practice to find your way around the Rino's menus. It becomes quick and intuitive with practice, but is not well-suited to the casual user.

Buttons include call and talk keys, a page key that cycles through screen types, volume and zoom/map keys and a thumb rocker/enter key that helps you navigate among choices.

It all comes together as you travel with the Rino out in the field. Hit the rocker key and cycle quickly between the radio, color map, compass, altimeter, and main menu. Enable the ability to send your location when you setup the radio, and you will enjoy peer-to-peer location monitoring among other Rino users monitoring the same channel and squelch code.

The Rino 530HCx's crisp color map and easy-to-use map pan and zoom features help make it truly useful in navigation and "big picture" assessment of your location.

Battery charge life is rated at 14 hours, so you'll need access to a charger, or limit use on a multi-day trip.

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