June 3, 2005

GPS REVIEW: eTrex and eTrex Camo

The Garmin eTrex and Garmin eTrex Camo are entry level handheld GPS receivers that are affordable and easy to use for basic navigation. They lack a lot of the bells and whistles of the more expensive eTrex line, but if you need to navigate to a location and back, without the help of a map in the GPS, these receivers are OK to consider. These models are limited by a couple of key features that they do not offer: Mapping and being able to navigate across a “mapped screen” is a much easier experience.

Limited memory for keeping waypoints, and routes; these can only store 1 route and 50 waypoints which is about as limited as it gets. If you can afford to move up to the Garmin Legend, you should, as the added features of mapping and route/waypoint storage will make the GPS experience better.

The Garmin eTrex and Garmin eTrex Camo handheld GPS receivers start with a map page that shows where you are, and a trail of the track you are taking. This does not have a map background, but allows you to drop waypoints on important sites, navigate to destinations, and create routes from waypoints or tracks that you have taken. The GPS receivers also have a compass page that uses your movement and GPS satellites to determine direction (it does not have a compass in the device). The trip computer has the ability to show many different data types in 5 fields. The final screen has core set up functions as well as the ability to set up and manage routes or waypoints. Both of these receivers are limited to storing one route and 50 waypoints. This is very limited and other models in the line greatly increase the route and waypoint capacity. While you can not download maps to the GPS receiver, you can create waypoints and routes on the mapping software and download those to the unit.

All in all, these units are sound handheld GPS receivers that can serve a good basic role for navigating while in the wilderness, for hiking, hunting or Geocaching. If you want to navigate roads, or have more than one day's worth of routing needed, or you want added compass or altimeter functions, then move up the line, as these basic models won't help. In order to download maps to the other eTrex products in the line, you will need a computer and optional mapping software available from Garmin. Considering the fact tha tyou'll probably love the GPS, and want to do more with it, I would highly recommend moving up to a mapping GPS.

Want to move up? Try the Garmin eTrex Legend

Key eTrex/eTrex Camo Pluses

Good basic navigation in the wilderness.

Very portable for the trail.

Lots of accessories.

Camo or Bright Yellow are great colors for whatever your needs are.

Key eTrex/eTrex Camo Minuses
No navigation with maps.

Not able to manage multiple routes.

Not WAAS enabled.

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

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Posted by Scott Martin at June 3, 2005 6:58 PM

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