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Garmin eTrex Handheld Hiking GPS Sat Nav Range Explained

We Help You Sort Out Your Vistas From Legends, And What All Those Little Letters On The End Mean...

Garmin etrex range

If, like me, you're in the market to buy a handheld GPS Sat Nav for hiking or Geocaching, you've probably considered one of the Garmin eTrex range. However, there is such a range to choose from, with different specifications and capabilities, it all gets a bit confusing about which one to buy!

In this article I'll be trying to explain the differences and what that means in terms of the features they come with, so you'll have a good idea of which one you'll want before you start shopping around for the best bargain.

To start with, the eTrex range consists of several models, the etrex, etrex Summit, eTrex Venture, eTrex Legend and eTrex Vista.

The basic etrex does not use maps and does not have expandable memory.

The basic Venture does not have maps, but does have 1mb of memory to add custom POI files.

The Summit also does not have maps, but does include an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter.

The more expensive Venture has the ability to add maps, but no compass or altimeter.

The Legend has the ability to add maps, but again no compass or altimeter.

The Vista has the ability to add maps and has an electronic compass and barometric altimeter.

As you probably know, each model also comes in several different versions, differentiated by the suffix letters after the model name. H stands for High Sensitivity Receiver (good for accurate positioning under trees, in valleys or between tall buildings). C stands for colour display. X means it uses a micro SD card to store map data, waypoints, etc (expandable to store lots of map data.)

Remember that all of these units will tell you which way to walk to your way point / geocache / destination - as long as you're moving.

By now you should have a little better idea of which GPS will be right for you, so now lets look at a table where I've tried to include and compare the most important features that tell the units apart.

Model
GPS Aerial
Maps (Optional extra)
Memory
Display
Compass / Altimeter?
Turn by Turn
Directions?
(For car use- needs optional maps)
PC
Connection
Approx.
Price (Nov 07)
eTrex
normal
no
no
Greyscale
no
no
serial
£65- £100
eTrex Camo
normal
no
no
Greyscale
no
no
serial
£70
eTrex H
High- Sensitivity
no
no
Greyscale
no
no
serial
£65- £125
eTrex Venture
normal
no (Poi's - Yes)
1mb internal
Greyscale
no
no
serial
£140
eTrex Summit
normal
no
no
Greyscale
yes
no
serial
£200
eTrex Summit HC
High- Sensitivity
Yes
24mb internal
Colour
yes
no
usb
£170-£230
eTrex Venture HC
High- Sensitivity
Yes
24mb internal
Colour
no
no
usb
£140-£190
eTrex Venture CX
normal
Yes
micro sd card
Colour
no
Yes
usb
£180-£200
eTrex Legend
normal
Yes
8mb internal
Greyscale
no
no
serial
£135
eTrex Legend CX
normal
Yes
micro sd card (64 mb inc.)
Colour
no
Yes
usb
£193-£240
eTrex Legend HCX
High- sensitivity
Yes
micro sd card
Colour
no
Yes
usb
£194-£228
eTrex Vista
normal
Yes
24mb Internal
Greyscale
yes
no
serial
£210
eTrex Vista CX
normal
Yes
micro sd card (64 mb inc.)
Colour
yes
Yes
usb
£225 - £350
eTrex Vista HCX
High- sensitivity
Yes
micro sd card
Colour
yes
Yes
usb
£210-£280
Model
GPS Aerial
Maps (Optional extra)
Memory
Display
Compass / Altimeter?
Turn by Turn
Directions?
(For car use- needs optional maps)
PC
Connection
Approx.
Price (Nov 07)

So there it is, the breakdown of the Garmin GPS Sat Nav eTrex range.

I guess looking at the different models and what they can do, the model that appeals the most to me is the eTrex Vista HCX - it does everything, but at an expensive price.

More realistically the eTrex H is a better buy for what I'd be using it for - Geocaching.

Now for a quick word on maps. They're quite expensive to buy. Garmin's Topographical maps of the UK go for about £120 on DVD - so make sure you budget for this if you want maps on your GPS!

Comments / Questions:

 

Great article. Concisely helped me buy my eTrex. I went for the Vista HCX in the end.
Regarding the maps, there are opensource maps out there. I'm using these:

http://www.ukgeocachers.co.uk/garminoverlays/index.php

and there's a discussion thread on them here:

http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=197872

thanks, Neil

Cheers!

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