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Garmin eTrex Review

The Garmin eTrex handheld GPS is the low price leader among units we’ve reviewed. This compact Garmin portable GPS measures only 4.4 inches high, 2.2 wide, and 1.2 thick or just about the size of a bar of soap> It weighs in at 5.3 ounces with a pair of AA batteries installed.

Five pushbuttons control the eTrex, all are side-mounted with three on the left and two on the right.

garmin etrex handheld marine gps

Garmin eTrex

The unit fits nicely into one hand and can be operated single handed without your fingers blocking your view of the screen.

Labels for the pushbuttons are located just under each button. However their black on black color scheme offers little contrast and can make them difficult to read in low light conditions.

Our preference is for clearly marked buttons on the face of the unit. In our opinion, side-mount pushbuttons are more difficult to use and see.

The eTrex software package is simply to operate and uses only four main pages. Page one is a satellite status page with a simple bar level meter at the bottom to show signal strength.

Page two is a map page similar to other basic Garmin handheld GPS units we’ve tested.

Page three is a navigation page; a compass rose with rudimentary markings at the cardinal headings is in the center of the page with a single user selectable data box at the bottom of the screen.

The last main page is the menu page with sub-menus for Mark, Waypoint, Route, Tracks, and Setup.

The eTrex has a 2.5 inch (on the diagonal) screen with resolution of only 64 x 128. This combination causes it to exhibit some jagged edges on curved lines and small fonts.

We found the screen easy to see under all lighting conditions. No pushbutton backlighting is provided. Both the battery compartment and data port connection are on the rear of the case.

The Garmin eTrex can store up to 500 waypoints and 1 route. It carries a one-year warranty.

This inexpensive handheld GPS may not have many bells and whistles but it will track your position accurately for very little money.