June 2, 2005

GPS REVIEW: Garmin eTrex Line Overview

Garmins eTrex line has been a good performer for the last couple of years. With the recent addition of the color models (Legend C and Vista C), Garmin has incorporated some much needed features to keep the line competitive. The eTrex line starts with a solid but very basic GPS receiver, the eTrex or eTrex Camo, and continues to add features like mapping, altimeters, electronic compasses, color and storage capacity as you move up the line. The low end can be had for less than $100, while the fully loaded color versions go for over $300.

The mainline models are the eTrex/eTrex Camo, Legend, Vista, Legend-C and Vista-C. The Venture adds some limited routing capabilities, but for about $30 extra, you can buy the Legend, which adds mapping and with the mapping's added richness, it is a huge feature leap for very little money. Similarly, the Summit is in a bit of an odd place in the product line, adding the electronic compass function, but removing WAAS accuracy, and the ability to download maps. If you really need the compass, for about $50 move up to the Vista, which keeps the mapping capabilities, and adds much needed memory. Our recommendaiton here at the GPSLodge is to skip these two models and move on; there are better models in the eTrex line.

Overall this line has a great size that works in many places: small enough to fit in a pocket, but big enough to function on a car dashboard. There are many accessories available for the line, and for the most part are economical to get into. They all run decent times on two AA batteries, with the newest color models running up to an impressive 36 hours on one set of batteries. All are waterproof according to IEC Standard 60529 IPX7, which is to say that it can last in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This makes the line great for the outdoors pursuits in the rain and occasional puddle or bottom of a boat.

We review them all here at the Lodge:

Garmin eTrex/eTrex Camo
Garmin Legend
Garmin Vista
Garmin Legend C and Vista C

Read More in: Garmin GPS Reviews | Handheld GPS Reviews | Handheld GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at June 2, 2005 6:53 PM

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