Sorry to hear the new model didn't work for you. That said, the 78 series will only get better with new software updates, the 76 is dead.
It sounds like the tide screen is a deal-breaker for you. I agree that if you can't read the data, you don't have the data.
While I prefer the way tides were presented on the 76 with the moving cursor, it's just not a deal-breaker for me. On the 78 tide graph, the text area above the graph scrolls up and down, to give the time of the highs and lows for the day in fairly large text. You don't need to change screens.
BTW, once you use the find button to find the tide or current you want, you can just move the cursor slightly to select the tide/current icon, and then press enter to see the tide/current info. Or you can just press menu/review point.
I do have trouble with fine print on the currents screen. I agree Garmin should provide a method to make the print larger. I talked to Garmin support and suggested that this should be configurable like other text items, and should allow scrolling. If they really wanted to be fancy they could implement a cursor-controlled "magnifying" glass that enlarged the area beneath it.
FWIW, I don't have the same experience on your other points, e.g. screen sharpness, etc. I'll share my thoughts below, in case someone is debating on whether to get the 78.
I haven't had any issue with the "chip clip". It's similar to how a SIM card is held in a cell phone. Did you have the clip in the locked position? Did you catch it with your fingernail? I prefer the chip under the batteries as it is a more watertight location than the chip slot on the 76.
I haven't tried to email Garmin support, but I have never had to wait when I called them directly.
My old, beat-up 78Cx is collecting dust. If you need it cheap for a backup, send me email back-channel. For a back-up I got a regular 78 (my primary is the 78sc). I need the much-improved route capability of the 78 series and prefer it over the 76.
Heel and Pegpads™
Canoe / Kayak Anchors
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