Garmin Etrex Series

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Device Paperless Caching Geocache Storage Waypoints Internal Memory Micro SD Maps Compass Wireless Colour Screen Price:
Etrex10 Yes 1000 1000 NA No No GPS No No Check
Etrex20 Yes 2000 2000 1.7Gb Yes Yes GPS No Yes Check
Etrex30 Yes 5000 2000 1.7Gb Yes Yes Electronic Yes Yes Check

eTrex 10

The Garmin eTrex 10 is the base model of the series, it does not have a colour screen, but is monochrome and has a clear and crisp display. You cannot add any additional mapping, but there is a basic basemap. This devices has no internal memory and you can’t use a data card. However it does support paperless geocaching . There is no option to use Custom Mapping, or Birdseye imagery. We don’t suggest this unit for hiking or hunting, but if your only use is for geocaching, it is a good basic model to go with.

eTrex 20

This is the mid level model in the range, which includes a full colour screen and full mapping capability (with the ability to add your own maps ) This is probably the best value for the money and we suggest new users go with this unit over the 10, in case you decide you do want mapping options, as it adds many more uses to your GPSr.

eTrex 30

This is the premium eTrex model. It has everything as the 20, but also supports fitness devices, such as the heart rate monitor and bike cadence sensor. It also supports Chirp, for Geocaching. Only the eTrex 30 allows for wireless data transfer of waypoints, routes, tracks and geocaches, between the Garmin Colorado, Oregon, Dakota, and 78s models. It also has the built in 3 axis electronic compass and a barometric altimeter.

The eTrex 20 and 30 operate on two AA batteries and both support a microSD slot for additional mapping or BirdsEye imagery. There is already 1.7 GB of built in memory for maps and imagery. There is no high speed USB 2.0 connection, so loading data does take longer than the premium Garmin handhelds

The eTrex does not have a touchscreen, but the visibility outside is obviously much better than the Oregon / Dakota touch screens, with lower resolution than the Oregons. The screen size is somewhat small, 2.2 inches, but for people with good vision, is easy to see.

The eTrex has a high sensitive receiver. It is also the first Garmin unit to receive signals from the Russian GPS system GLONASS, which will give you more satellites in view and thus makes it easier to acquire a signal and then keep it. I was able to get 23 satellites in view at once. 12 GPS and 11 GLONASS. This doesn’t necessarily always improve accuracy, but does help with overall reception

Geocaching

The new eTrex fully supports paperless Geocaching and Garmin’s version, Opencaching. Descripton, hints, logs, etc can all be viewed in the unit. It also supports field notes, which will allow you to upload your finds back into the websites as you log online. Only the eTrex 30 supports the Chirp feature in geocaching.

The eTrex 20/30 includes the basic basemap for the U.S. and has a color screen, and supports terrain shading and autorouting with compatible maps, including CityNavigator and the Garmin TOPO maps. You can either add the regional 24K maps that can be purchased from Garmin.com or the US TOPO 100K product. There are also several free or shareware maps available

Misc.

The eTrex 20/30 supports the trip computer, track manager, waypoint manager, route planner, waypoint averaging, man overboard and proximity alarms.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Small and lightweight for hiking, hunting
  • Full of all of the new features, including terrain shading, paperless geocaching, BirdsEye compatability
  • Improved case and design
  • GLONASS Satellite capability
  • Ability to add your own free maps.

Cons

  • Map drawing slow while panning map
  • Small screen can be an issue when looking at closeup map detail
  • No carabiner clip included in package
  • Compass page doesn’t flow like a real compass, but quickly switches to correct direction
  • Once again the owner’s manual is short on detail– only very basic information is given.
  • (You should check out Garmin’s TrailTech for several tips, improvements and tricks to this unit)
  • Slower data entry, compared to the touchscreen