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Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

by Garmin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 299.99
Price: CDN$ 298.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Technical Details

  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide relief basemap and 2.2-inch color display
  • WAAS-enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and a reliable signal
  • Built-in 3-axis electronic compass always shows your heading; barometric altimeter pinpoints your precise altitude
  • Compatible with topographic, marine, and road maps-TOPO U.S. 24K, BlueChart g2, City Navigator, etc
  • Powered with two AA batteries; waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain, etc

Frequently Bought Together

Customers buy this item with Garmin eTrex Carrying Case CDN$ 14.99

Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator + Garmin eTrex Carrying Case
Price For Both: CDN$ 312.99

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Product Details


Product Description

Amazon.ca Product Description

Garmin eTrex is a recognizable name when it comes to outdoor explorations and adventures. These handheld GPS line has been selling millions of units over the past 10 years. With new refinements, including better menus and simpler operation, the new, head-of-class Garmin eTrex 30 is a hiker's dreams come true. Offering international shaded-relief (pseudo-topographic) mappings, a 2.2" color screen, built-in altimeter and compass, this handheld GPS device lets you explore the world's roads and forests with more assurance than ever. The eTrex 30 offers 2.2" 65k color sunlight readable display, a shaded relief worldwide basemap, and internal memory plus a microSD card slot. It also exclusively features a 3-axis electronic compass that shows your heading even when the unit is not held flat, as well as a barometric altimeter that provides precise elevation readings. Wireless unit-to-unit connectivity is available for sharing waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches. Use the internal memory with the microSD card slot on the eTrex 30 to add TOPO, road and marine mapping options from Garmin. Geocaching friendly? The eTrex 30 is compatible with paperless geocaching, meaning that you can download all the hints, descriptions, and other information you need about a cache right to the GPS unit from OpenCaching or Geocaching. It's veritable features and open options demonstrate how eTrex 30 is more than a hikers dream. It is compatible with Garmin's detailed Topo 24K and inland lakes maps, and includes a hunt/fish calendar, an electronic compass, and barometric altimeter--all features that hunters will appreciate. The eTrex 30 GPS is waterproof to IPX-7 standards, meaning it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 3 feet. It's also compatible with Garmin's marine maps on microSD cards. Use the optional eTrex 30 bicycle mount to take your GPS on the road or mountain bike trips to help keep

Product Description

Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin's eTrex GPS series offers reliable satellite navigation, making it a favorite of hikers, hunters, and geocachers. The eTrex 30 adds a barometric altimeter and electronic compass to the features of the eTrex 20, along with the ability to wirelessly share data with other users. Equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a 2.2-inch color display, and shipping with a worldwide basemap with relief, the eTrex 30 is ready for a wide array of detailed topographic, marine, and road maps--and ready to start you on your next adventure.

Compatible With:

  • topographic, marine, and road maps--TOPO U.S. 24K, BlueChart g2, City Navigator, etc.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By BWB75
Verified Purchase
Navigation through the menus to do what you want takes a little bit of getting used to, but it does work at -25C with lithium batteries (5 hrs at -25C in my pocket snowshoeing). You will need to purchase Garmin maps, or if you're like me find them online for free (most maps are free source, not illegal). If you're in Canada, find an active torrent for Ibycus 4.0, maps are great with many trails already marked.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works OK but has a lot of short comings. Aug. 8 2012
Verified Purchase
This unit is well built with a solid and compact design. I am using this for tracking hiking trails near where I live. The main issues for me as a new-comer to personal GPS units are:
- The software in the unit is just horrible to use - too many top menu choices - must jump back and forth between different areas to do things. You can't really do anything useful directly from the map display (like set waypoints or save and display tracks).
- It DOES NOT COME WITH TOPO MAPS. To me this is like buying a car and getting no tires. This unit is made for off-road use (IMO) but is not fully equipped. Be prepared to buy maps or figure out how to get them online for free.
- The Basecamp software to run on your PC is also painful to use - very poor user interface design.
- The buttons on the unit are also poorly laid out and hard to use for anyone with large hands. Part of this is because of the bad software design which forces you to jump all over the place to do things.
- Location tracking seems to be very inaccurate on occasion - sometimes I'll follow the exact same trail home and it shows me as being 10-30 meters away from the same trail on the way out.

So although it generally works well there are a lot of weak points and small irritating factors (also, no batteries, no case, no strap, no belt clip). Oh and the documentation is pretty weak also. I get the impression Garmin is riding on their reputation. Lots of room here for competitors to come out with a very superior product.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good device, pretty much what I hoped for June 16 2014
Verified Purchase
For me this is a replacement for an eTrex Vista. I especially appreciate the faster response in determining location. As well, I would generally rate it easier to use while retaining the compact shirt pocket size of the Vista. I find the menus easier to use. I have not explored all of the features of the device in the approximately one month I have used it.
I use the elevation tracking in measuring vertical heights from the top of cliff banks to fossil locations. If one does not need this feature or the compass the eTrex 20 is a more affordable alternative apparently with otherwise similar features. Neither the eTrex 30 or Vista are particularly accurate at determining elevation on their own; however, both did well over moderate distances if one can enter a known elevation at a location and provide good differences between points on steep terrain over a short time.
I found downloading of maps and uploading of data points and tracks to be easy. The eTrex 30 provides turn-by-turn driving navigation with warning sounds though the screen is a bit small for use in a vehicle. I have not used this in urban driving, but it worked well in rural areas.
Pros - compact size, fairly affordable elevation measure (if you need it), great for hiking and useful for auto navigation, rapidly acquires location, allows position averaging at different times for same location (presumably more accurate but I have not checked this), generally easy and usually intuitive operation.
Cons - did not come with lanyard, operation manual stored on device rather than in printed form and needs to be uploaded to computer, text entry awkward (though I do relatively little of this so not a big deal to me and I clearly knew it would be like the Vista). Data display a bit small for my ageing eyes when driving.
In summary, a solid, compact, and functional GPS unit. Good price for unit with its features. Some may prefer other models with touch screens and larger screens.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good March 18 2013
Verified Purchase
very good, but hard to follow when moving and changing information. should be mlore user on the move friendly. thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  613 reviews
183 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Oct. 22 2011
By LaredoHeat - Published on Amazon.com
The Etrex 20 is a nice step up from the Legend H. Satellite reception is very sensitive. I compared the Etrex 20 head to head with the Magellan GC...The Etrex 20 locked on to 18 satellites under a sky with no obstacles vs. the 5 locked on by the Magellan GC. The Etrex was showing an accuracy of 7 feet (Glonass satellite constellation added to U.S. + WAAS and European satellites allows for this type of accuracy) while the Magellan GC was showing 56 feet. Inside a building next to a window, the Etrex 20 found 14 satellites. The Magellan GC was unable to find any satellites.

The aquisition of satellites is quite fast. From a cold start out of the box, the Etrex 20 found my location in about 30 seconds. Once the unit has found it's location, subsequent aquisition times (given that one hasn't traveled several hundred miles since last turning it on) is almost immediate.

Garmin tech on the phone helped me put my identification on the start up screen.

The unit allows for one to choose the order that screens come up... I liked the Legend H's progression of boot up screen into satellite screen into map screen...I have set my unit to power up on the satellite screen, and then when I am satisfied with the satellites that have been found, pressing the back button puts me into the map screen. Pushing back again gets me into the menu screen.

The basemap is worldwide in scope for major highways (the Legend covered North and South America as far as major highways are concerned. The rest of the world consisted of primitive outlines of countries, no highways, only capital cities), and the coverage of towns and cities around the world is impressive. I looked for the little city of Turfan in the Gobi Desert of northwest China on the old silk route and found it! The world basemap actually shows more towns when on the 5 or 3 mile scale than my New York Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World in the U.S. and around the world (even more towns than the NYT Atlas in Mali!). If a dot is not labeled, you can move the arrow to the dot, and the display will identify the town (highways can similarly be identified). One can seach for worldwide cities by direct spelling...the Etrex usually comes up with the intended choice before one spells out all of the letters of the name. When the town is found, the user is free to examine the map for the found town's setting. This is neat for looking up a town that comes up in conversation or on the news! The Magellan has street level coverage within the U.S. The Etrex 20 does not include this. That said, downloading and SD cards with street level mapping inside and beyond the U.S. is available from Garmin as well as topographical maps. The Magellan GC does not have downloading or SD's available.

The color screen is actually quite readable without use of backlighting when in a lit environment (backlight can be lowered to none if one wishes to make the batteries last 25 hours). The color screen shows the physical relief of a region at the 3 mile scale and above (white background for 2 miles or less). I like the daytime screen much better than the nighttime screen. I went into settings and made the daytime screen the default screen at all times.

I found that I could go to the trip computer option, and change one of the fields to display battery condition. I have made this a page now...unit now powers onto the satellite page, pressing "back" takes me to map, pressing back takes me to trip computer, and pressing back again gets me to the main menu. Great stuff!

I'm thrilled with this unit.

Updated by internet to version 2.4

Got the North America Roadmap...it has every road in the U.S and Canada, and most in Mexico. The unit allows one to search for an address anywhere in the continent...it will prompt for state (or province), city, house (business) number, and finally street. The unit often comes up with a list of choices before entire entry is fully typed in. You can then see a map of the selected address (and zoom in and out and pan), and if desired, ask it to navigate to the spot. If you wish to search for places of interest such as restaurants in a city far away, go to settings,system, then select the satellite listing and place the unit in demo and exit out . Then select "Where to", find "city", and select move to city. Now you can search for places of interest in the chosen city, and if desired, navigate to it. Remember to go back and activate the satellites, and WAAS. When on a scale of 300' or less, the unit displays points of interest, often with business logos! (update Dec 4...this works on the recreational profile. On the automotive profile, one cannot move location to the city of interest. In the automotive profile, the emphasis is on navigating to the city of interest)

I have no interest in geocaches, and cannot comment on how the unit does with this!

Update 11-24...

At or above the 20 mile zoom, especially 30 miles and up, the topographical detail shown on the physical relief map is quite vivid. Below that zoom level (12 miles or less...and at the higher 20+ mile zooms when there is little in the way of relief to display), I prefer the blank white background allowing for the roadway networks to be highly visible. I just realized that the settings/map menu choice offers the option to not display physical relief at any zoom scale! Until now, I was disappointed to have the blank background only at the 2 mile zoom or less. Nice! I do wish that the option to display highest density of towns/data allowed for even more towns to be displayed in rural areas where towns are far apart.

Update 12-02...

Tech support helped solve the density of towns shown not being as full as I expected when unit is set to display "most" (as in most towns that the unit will display). I was operating the unit in the recreational profile. On the automotive profile, the map will show all of the towns in the data base on the map on the 3 mile scale choice (or dots that the curser can be moved over to call up an id if the map is too crowded), and a good many towns at the 5 mile scale.

Update 06-11-12...

Version 2.80 made a huge difference on the response of the unit when traveling at a walking speed. I would imagine that folks that use this for geocaching will find this latest version a great improvement. Previously, (even after allowing the unit to get a solid lock on all available satellites with an estimated 1 standard deviation radius of 9' or less) when navigating the last several dozen feet to a target, the unit would lag behind. I might walk 10-15 feet before it would impact the remaining distance/bearing to the target. The lag would also result in overshooting the target. The new upgrade makes the unit respond almost instantly and smoothly, and allows me to "softly land" upon the target down to the last foot! I also notice now that after the unit has locked in on the available satellites with most reception bars showing "d" as in good lock, the etrex will discern the elevation difference between being held at eye level vs. being placed at groud level, and then back to eye level. Outstanding!
185 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garmin Etrex 20 Oct. 5 2011
By rockwallrick - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I ordered this unit just as it became available on Amazon after conducting assessments of several units. Works just as expected. It takes a little getting used to the menu system, but after playing with it on two different occasions for about an hour total, I've figured out the more advanced items. Worked great right out of the box, quickly acquiring a full complement of satellites while I sat inside the house (accuracy within 10-14 feet inside). Screen has good color and is clear to read. I like the paperless feature and easily loaded a gpx file from geocaching.com. I find the the ability to read all of the logs very helpful. UPDATE: Used it to search and find severla nearby caches, and it worked great! It was very accurate and brought me to within a few feet of each cache. The receiver allows me to mark a cache found and to include comments. When I returned home, I easily uploadedd my finds and comments to geocaching.com. I am very pleased with my purchase.
203 of 231 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall much improved but lost a bit in the process Oct. 7 2011
By M. J. Grace - Published on Amazon.com
Presumably atypically I use eTrex units nearly exclusively for road navigation and often calculate long routes.

I've used a Legend Cx extensively and it's showing its age so I was glad to see the introduction of the 20. I toyed with buying a Nuvi but don't care for the design as it lacks configurability and water resistance, uses a touchscreen, doesn't lend itself well to a motorcycle or kayak or walking when you want to walk.

The Legend Cx routinely takes several minutes to calculate in addition to slow map `drawing' times and I'm pleased to note Garmin improved calculating speed significantly. I used the two side by side for quite a while and the 20 calculates in roughly 1/3 the time (still noticeably slower than the Nuvis I've used). Additionally the map drawing time is much reduced.

Satellite acquisition and retention is quite a bit better: if you turn on both simultaneously the 20 will acquire enough signal to navigate in a fraction of the time; if you compare the 'Satellite' pages there are usually at least half again as many 'bars' on the 20 (and that's all before the GLONASS thingy is turned on).

The former mushiness of the perimeter buttons has been replaced by buttons which 'click' and the notorious rubber gasket (prone to eventual loosening) is gone.

The various menu screens are changed: previously you had 12 options to select on the `Find' page - now there are 6. They are more legible and you can arrange them in the order you prefer.

I'm still disappointed Garmin makes you cough up $80ish for a functional (read: turn by turn directions) road map but they're making progress on that front - you can now buy `lifetime' maps instead of having to purchase `updates'. And I guess I can't blame them for capitalizing on what they can capitalize on, while they can.

Plus I have to admit: Garmin's phone customer service is usually well above average (thanks, Rocky!) and that costs something.

They changed the mounting connector design so you can no longer use your old car/bike/whatever mount. The new design is an improvement, though: more secure and not a piece you have to screw on.

And they took the `Exits' category out of the `Find' menu: why, Garmin? Such a useful tool it was.

To sum: if you're an eTrex fan this incarnation is IMO an impressive advance RE processing and map drawing speed. The maps more closely resemble the Nuvis.

I have no reason to believe it won't be as reliable (IME close to bulletproof) as previous units. And the rustish/red/orange color is cool.

I like mine a lot.

*****

Update: one VERY useful feature for travellers the old eTrex units didn't have is now you can 'Search Near' a 'A Recent Find'.

I also discovered if you 'Review Point' the phone number if available is provided - nice, although the microscopic font errs on the side of 'white space'. :)

It crashes occasionally (I reckon I'm asking more of it than it was designed for); less often after I updated the software but there's no apparent rhyme or reason.

Still and all after using mine for many scores of thousands of miles I remain well pleased with the improvements.

*****

Another update: after spending some time (Garmin's customer service came through again) downloading NT South America City Navigator and flying to Chile my 20 has been indispensable: it would be virtually impossible for me (ignorante el norte Americano) to navigate around Santiago specifically and the country generally without electronic help from the sky.
89 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the new eTrex Vista HCx Oct. 22 2011
By Rodolfo Q. Z - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have just received my eTrex 30 unit, and so far it is perfect and a great improvement over the still amazing eTrex Vista HCx.

The eTrex 30 is for all purposes, the new Vista HCx, both have barometric altimeters and both have compasses, however, the 30 has a tri-axis compass that allow to look at the unit perpendicularly to the ground and it will still mark to the north.

Among the improvements are of course the new hi-color screen (Allows BirdsEye maps, like having a Google Earth in your pocket on the trail!). Wireless transmission of data via ANT+ that also works with heart rate and cadence monitors. And the most important geek factor, the reception of GLONASS signals!

One of the new things that I like a lot is that everything now is a file, on the Vista HCx to download the files it was necessary to use the Garmin serial protocol, now with the 30, only with connecting the unit to a USB port in the computer it is possible to get all the captured data in standard-compliant GPX files. This also means that there is a 2GB (1.7GB usable) flash storage device in the unit.

Placing GPX files in the correct folders in the unit also displays the information within those in the unit, like waypoints or tracks. It is much easier now. In Linux I use gpsbabel to convert back and forth from many formats, in particular I enjoy exploring my trips again with Google Earth and it requires KML files, gpsbabel helps to do that precisely.

Also, there is an Alarm Clock on the unit, I just tested it a 4:30am and it woke me at about 2 meters from my bed. This is something I really wanted to have in my Vista HCx, as my traveling wristwatch isn't that loud, and I had to use a Casio traveling clock just for that. One less device to carry!

Loading maps is now way more faster than with the Vista HCx, having both one for Europe and another locally, takes a few seconds, while before it took minutes

As always, a GPS unit like this, now with a GLONASS receiver, will beat any smartphone on trails and while traveling abroad. Here in the tropics close to the Equator I got a fix pretty quick, but not with as many GLONASS satellites as I wished, that is because that GNSS constellation is best used way up in the north hemisphere.

The User Interface looks better, with antialiased fonts and pretty icons, it is now more like a Windows XP UI, while in the Vista HCx with its limited color palette, was like a Windows 3.1 UI. The on-screen keyboard seems to be easier to use, and looks like a miniature version of those included in smartphones.

Physically, the unit is lighter, more compact (A few millimeters more bulky in depth), easier to handle in your hand, the rocker is in the right side now, good for right handed, but my muscular memory keeps moving my thumb to the previous rocker position in the Vista HCx. The infamous rubber band used in the Vista HCx that unglued so easily with time seems to be substituted with a more solid rubber sides, now attached with screws. The micro SD card is placed like a SIM card in a phone, under the batteries.

Now, this is something I have always wanted that was NOT added... An option to LOCK THE BUTTONS! Neither unit has the option to avoid the buttons to be pressed while having the unit on a backpack or in a holster. I would really like an option like in the mobile phones to do that ("Press such and such buttons to unlock"). Many times I have put my units in a bag to later retrieve them in a weird configuration screen and with a track erased or so.
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can try BaseCamp on your PC before buying Dec 3 2012
By remote camper - Published on Amazon.com
Etrex 20

Have had this unit less than a week and wrote a review that turned out to be 3x this long. Even to provide only some short and sweet of it, it's still long! But potential buyers need to know a few things before pulling the trigger! This review might seem to bleed over to other areas not specific to the unit itself, but are essential to getting the most out of it. I have not addressed many issues that can be resolved with the owner's manual or a search engine.

I suggest that before saying yea or nay on the Etrex 20, download the BaseCamp software (includes MapInstaller) plus at least 3 topo maps (free) from GPSFileDepot to your PC (or Mac) and experiment with the setup. I used the maps on a netbook in the woods, Grand Canyon, Zion and other places while cross referencing to Microsoft Streets & Trips with its hockey puck GPS for months before warming to the notion of the Etrex 20. Even lacking another GPS, you can still use the maps much the same way as you would a paper map. You can print them, too.

If you like what you see after using BaseCamp on your computer, then learn how to install maps directly to a microSD card (or a plain SD for now) inserted into a computer by renaming the gmapsupp.img on the card to a name that reflects the one installed there. The new map you download will be named the Garmin default map name "gmapsupp.img". If you don't rename it, the map you download will overwrite the map you should have renamed! This has to be done each time a new map is downloaded. You don't have to rename the same map in BaseCamp. The BaseCamp filename will remain as it was downloaded. You can do all this before buying the GPS.

I created a README.TXT file on the microSD card to keep track of the last map installed (have installed 12), so I'd know what to rename gmapsupp.img to when adding maps months later (sounds confusing, I know, but ANY (GPSFileDepot only?) map written to the card directly via PC with MapInstaller is written with the filename gmapsupp.img! You can find out more about it online. I don't want to go too much further into the issue here.)

Once you get the PC-to-microSD loading technique down, the Etrex 20 recognizes ALL maps installed with no issue at all and you'll likely be OK with it. You may even come to prefer it. Kind of like learning to drive a stick shift car. I don't know that it's easier with other GPSs. Somebody out there might know.

You can install maps much easier with the Etrex 20 connected to USB (NOT described in my owner's manual, but a nice tutorial available at GPSFileDepot). It will just be VERY slow as mentioned later. MapInstaller (with BaseCamp) provides a very friendly user interface to select/deselect maps you have downloaded to BaseCamp. Also know that if you DESELECT a map it will be UNINSTALLED and if you leave an already installed map selected, it will be REINSTALLED along with any new maps, racking up progressively longer installation times as you add maps. Using this interface with a direct PC-to-microSD card permits only 1 map to be installed at a time and overwrites any previously installed map each time with the gmapsupp.img filename. Hence, the necessity to become familiar with that renaming thing for direct PC-to-microSD transfer. It just sounds a lot more cumbersome than it really is.

When downloading and installing GPSFileDepot maps to BaseCamp, note that there is an issue with the 64-bit installer used in the PC version of some of the mapsets. For the first mapset you are installing on a Windows 7 64 bit PC, you will need to FIRST install a mapset which used a 32-bit installer. You will find this out when you go to download the map and a 32 bit mapset of "My Trails" will be recommended. After that, installation for future GPSFileDepot maps should go smoothly. I took the same precaution with Vista 64 bit. Because high quality topo maps are available at no cost for this device, I see no reason to mark it down for having only a basic map. You should only have to buy maps if you are headed someplace not covered by GPSFileDepot.

I read somewhere that Garmin still uses the old USB 1.1 standard. It took 1 hour 45 minutes to load 2GB of maps with the BaseCamp/MapInstaller software with the microSD card installed in the GPS. Put that card in a PC however, and I loaded 2.3GB of data to the card in less than 5 minutes! If you don't want to buy a microSD card right away, you can load maps up to the 1.7GB Garmin internal storage limit (also at the slower speed). The Garmin internal storage is good for quite a few states. I keep 2 of my most used states in the Garmin internal memory and 10 other states on the microSD card. With the microSD card installed in the GPS, all installations default to the card. With the microSD removed, installations can go only to the internal Garmin storage.

When updating the Etrex 20 software, you'll want to be reasonably sure the computer, the GPS and the network can run for the duration of downloading and installing the update. If power fails, you could brick the GPS. There is a point in the process where you will be instructed to disconnect. Be sure to do it with "Safely Remove Hardware" (or the Mac equivalent). When you restart the GPS, the installation progress of the update will be shown on the GPS screen. Let it finish the installation and boot to the menu, then reconnect as instructed in the online popup. (Garmin doesn't mention anything about the installation continuing on the GPS. You have to INFER that.)

On the toggle-- I tried to duplicate issues described where bumping it could cause screens/modes to change drastically and unexpectedly. I bumped it, stuffed it in my pocket and couldn't get the toggle to cause any problem that pressing the "Back" button only once didn't fix. For me, the toggle issue is really no issue at all.

On the small display-- It's the about the same area as the Camo but squared a bit more. It uses less power and the range of backlighting makes the display easily adjusted for high visibility even in bright sunlight. I carry a Senior Pass for our National Parks and need glasses indoors for reading, but I can use this GPS outdoors without glasses.

My old Etrex Camo lasted 10 years with heavy use. One day this past summer, the batteries depleted while it was running. Replacing the batteries always brought it back up, except this last time. It was hard to bid the Camo farewell, but the Etrex 20 is a worthy successor. Noteworthy is that both are able to run for HOURS on (alkaline) batteries that have been depleted to the point where they won't run anything else we own. Those batteries live out the rest of their days in my Etrex 20.

If you are looking for a mapping GPS that has everything you need and little you don't, in my opinion, the Etrex 20 works. I recommend it for someone new to GPS or even somebody experienced who doesn't want cameras, compasses, larger displays and altimeters hogging power. There ARE some issues with documentation and loading maps directly to the microSD card from a PC. While the answers may not always be in the owner's manual, resources are available to assist. You'll be much happier if you take advantage of those downloads I mentioned earlier before buying.

While Garmin user documentation can be very weak, you should at least be able to hit the trail out of the box and know where you are and find your way back. Just know that you are going to have to do some digging to use ALL of the functionality of the Etrex 20. The Etrex 20 can be powered from an external source, but didn't find out how to do that in the owner's manual. Maybe you don't need to know unless you buy an external power cable? While updating, I left the Etrex 20 in the "Garmin" USB Mode (I thought that was how either the microSD or Garmin storage was selected). It asked if I wanted to go to "Mass Storage" (thinking microSD). I answered "No". When I disconnected, it asked if I wanted to continue on battery power. In the Garmin Mode, it had been powered by the PC USB port. Sometimes "Owner's Manuals" don't supply the same level of instruction as a "User Guide". Maybe that's what I need to be looking for.

Scrolling the map past a screen's width can be slow, almost like a slow internet connection loading a web page. But in use, there is no issue keeping track of my position even when in a car. Slow scrolling (e.g., to another state) can be alleviated somewhat by zooming out and moving the arrow cursor to where you want to scroll. The map will recenter to where the arrow cursor is when you zoom back in. Manageable.

I also have to say that working with Garmin Product Support has been a pleasure, which appears to be diametrically opposed to the experience many others have had. In Garmin's reply informing me that my 10 year old Camo couldn't be fixed, they offered a courtesy exchange refurbished Etrex H at a reduced cost. An RMA was initiated for the exchange and I provided billing information. Before sending the Camo back, I emailed asking about the Etrex 20 instead. I received an email a few days later consenting to a refurbished Etrex 20 without having to return the Camo. They even supplied a USB cable, but I had to download a PDF owner's manual. In the course of working through this with several email exchanges, I worked with a different rep each time. Continuity and response time for my issue was excellent. A courteous approach begets a courteous response? Maybe so.

The Etrex 20 is powerful and relatively easy to learn, but am stuck at 4 stars for the weak documentation and the PC-to-microSD idiosyncrasy. If this device used at least the USB 2.0 standard, there would likely be little reason to fiddle with renaming that gmapsupp.img file for direct PC to microSD map loading. Even with the renaming snag, loading a lot of maps at once can be much faster directly to the microSD than trying to push it all through the slow USB connection, but the slower way virtually eliminates the chances for making a mistake renaming a map.

To keep it shorter, I tried to focus this review where the biggest headaches are likely to occur. Will try to monitor this review for a while and answer any questions that might pop up as time permits. Now I have to go edit that README.TXT file before I forget the filename of the last map loaded to gmapsupp.img!
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