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Garmin Etrex Handheld Gps - Is the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS Right for You?

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If you are a nature fan who often goes hiking or camping, then you have probably often considered that a handheld GPS device might come in handy for those inevitable times when you find yourself lost. Lately, a few products have come onto the market in order to fill this need, but the best one is probably the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS. Let’s take a look at some of the features of this remarkable device to see if it might be the right GPS unit for you.

When you first pick up the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS unit, you’ll probably notice how rugged it feels in your hand. This is a device that is made for the true outdoorsman. It has the classic yellow rubber “sporty” look that is common of many other outdoor devices. Most standard automobile GPS devices feel as if they will break if they are dropped on the carpet, and even most of the handheld devices out there feel pretty fragile – but the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS can really take a licking and keep on ticking.

The device itself is pretty simple. This is a good thing if you don’t like learning complicated devices with a hundred different buttons. In fact, the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS has very few buttons. You might think that this might make it frustrating to use, but luckily the user interface is extremely intuitive to use. The menus are extremely concise and quite logical. Navigating them on the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS is a snap.

What good is a GPS navigation unit if you can’t mark your trail? The Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS makes this extremely easy to do, by allowing you to set “waypoints”. Even better, you can mark up to 500 waypoints. It’s hard to imagine the need to mark more locations than that, so you can basically mark as many locations as you want. In order to create a new waypoint, all you need to do is hold down one of the buttons for approximately a second, and a new mark will be created on your map.

Considering that the interior antenna is pretty small, the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS is not too bad at keeping track of the satellites. The only time you might run into trouble is when you are in a densely forested area. When you reach a clearing, however, it only takes about 10 seconds for it to link back up.

Another great thing about the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS is that it can double as a GPS unit in your car. Just throw it on your dashboard or passenger seat, and it will let you know your location, your speed, and the direction that you are travelling.

One of the most useful features of the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS is the ability to link it to your computer. You can download additional software that will allow you to extract information from online maps and street directories. You can then download the extracted information directly into your device. This is extremely convenient if you know where you will be going ahead of time. It’s also much quicker and easier to edit information on your device with a keyboard and a large computer screen.

Although there are many great aspects of the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS, it would be remiss to not let you know about a few of the negatives. For one thing, it is difficult to tell if the backlight is on when it is sunny. This can potentially drain your battery if you don’t manually check it. The map interface could also have been implemented a bit better. The Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS doesn’t allow you to scroll the map from side to side: you can only zoom in and out. This makes it tough to examine the terrain of a far off area with any kind of detail. Also, when you zoom out, the screen can become cluttered with all your waypoint information.

Overall, the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS is an excellent device. Although it isn’t perfect, it is still far better than most other models on the market. Considering that you can find the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS for less than $100, it is definitely a great value.

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