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Showing 1-10 of 41 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2011
This looked like the perfect unit for what I was looking for. Even called Garmin about downloading street maps and the rep assured me that while you can't download the whole North America collections you can certainly download for a state. WRONG! Purchased the map CD and guess what, because this only has 24Mb it cannot fit many of the sections (note not even states but sections of a state). I pointed out that on the Garmin web site it specifically shows compatible software which includes the NA street map. I also pointed out that nowhere does it indicate the file size of the sections of the maps (ie won't fit in this unit). No explanation. I have several Garmin products but I have to admit this experience was lame. I now need to buy the unit that will accept a memory card. Good be what you're looking for but do a lot of homework first.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
I have bought FIVE (5) Garmin GPS units, one Nuvi for the car and 4 handheld. The hardware is fine, but as many here have indicated, the product is only fully realized with good software maps, which are purchased separately (from Garmin). Now I have not had good luck with my handheld GPS's: one stopped working, I lost 2 of them, and a fourth got run over by a car in New Zealand. Of course no one would expect a replacement for a lost device, so I bought new ones FROM GARMIN. But I then had also lost use of the maps that I purchased, and Garmin will not authorize you to use a map you previously purchased on a new device. As was told to me by a (friendly) phone rep, Garmin makes most of its money on software.

Now there are people who will cheat by perhaps selling or giving away a device with software and then ask for free replacements. So it's understandable that Garmin guards against that. But they are totally rigid about this policy, and my experience shows that it's greed rather than a concern about cheaters that is involved. When my expensive Garmin unit got run over and damaged, I offered to send the damaged unit back as proof that no one else was using the software, and they still insisted that I had to buy new software for the new GARMIN GPS I had just bought as a replacement.

I think a customer-friendly company (like Amazon) would make some good-faith exceptions, especially with a customer who had bought so many of its products (and repeated software purchases). You should know before buying a Garmin product that Garmin is not that kind of company. The latest map involved is one that is 5 years old, not all that valuable, but still Garmin would not replace it. And the one that is on this device (the one that comes free with the Venture HC) is, as other reviewers note, not very good, so if you buy this product, you will probably also want to buy some good maps to go with it. Just know what the Garmin policy is about this and what kind of company mentality is involved. Don't think, for instance, that if you pay for the maps and then just decide to upgrade to a better device and want to send in the old one to Garmin to show you aren't using the maps on two device that you will not have to pay again for the software. You will have to pay, whatever the reason that you are not using it on the original device--because that's how Garmin makes more money.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2011
This is the only GPS I have had and I used it primarily for geocaching. Others have given in depth reviews of accuracy, ease of use, and other aspects of this device, so I won't waste time on them. When it worked it was an adequate entry level GPS for geocaching. However, three days ago while on a week long multistate trip of which geocaching was a primary goal, the device malfunctioned. We were just walking along to the next cache and the screen faded out. Thinking that the batteries were dead, I replaced them but still no signs of life, just a brief flash and a black screen. I took it home and searched the forums for similar problems and found that quite a few users had experienced similar behavior after upgrading the firmware. They gave some hard boot key tricks (hold down this and that while pushing this up, standing on your head and shaking a chicken, you know what I mean). None of these tricks worked. I called Garmin and they said to send it in and they would send me refurbished unit, long after my trip was over of course. Their tech guy was helpful, but didn't give me anything that I hadn't already tried. Vacation plans scrapped, I'm taking it back to REI and upgrading to a different unit.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I bought this unit a little over 3 yrs. ago. A basic, but good, hand-held GPS unit. I use it primarily to mark waypoints in my work as an environmental educator and during some biological field research. So having the unit and having it working is important to me.

Recently, I went to the Garmin site to download "Basecamp" software onto my laptop, and while I was there I decided to download software updates for the unit. I did so and the unit stopped working and would not power up. I called Garmin at the end of a Friday and they emailed me some links and instructions to try to get the unit running again. This did not work. Then I had to wait over the weekend to call them again.

The second rep. I spoke with walked me through an attempt to restart the unit, but this did not work either and he admitted that the failure of the unit was probably connected to the downloading of the software update and some problems Garmin was having on their end. So he offered to replace my unit with a refurb for free, in exchange for me mailing my failed unit to them (which I had to pay the shipping for. I also had to have a $158.00 deposit put on my credit card to avoid having to wait to get the replacement mailed to me when they received my defective unit). I was not enthusiastic about getting a refurb, but it was what they had to offer, so we did the exchange in the mail.

The refurb, which took only a couple of days to get here, is defective. The unit is unstable, locks-up and sometimes will not power up. And so here I am, it's the weekend, and I cannot get tech assistance from Garmin.

I would have given this unit 4-5 stars, based on performance alone, but I'm dropping that to one because Garmin's own software update causing it to crash and for their replacement refurb. arriving defective.

I'm going to ask for a new replacement when I call Monday although I suspect they will send me another refurb.

UPDATE: Garmin would not provide a new unit to replace the defective refurb; instead they provided a 2nd refurb. I called Garmin when the 2nd refurb. unit had not arrived after a week and was told they had made a mistake and it had not yet shipped out. To their credit, the rep sent it to me "Next Day". Aside from locking up once, the second refurb. seems to be fine.
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July 8, 2013 UPDATE: The second refurb, I reference above, has performed very well and continues to do so.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2011
Please save your money. Buy a GPS that can take an SD card. Buy a GPS that can have the maps updated. Buy a GPS were the maps have a great scale 1:24,000. Don't put your money into this technology. In fact, the Garmin web site says it no longer supports this GPS (firmware, maps..anything).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
I just returned from a 3-day hike where my Garmin etrex Venture HC failed at the first trailhead. After years of successful operation, the GPS would shut down immediately after turning it on. Replacing the batteries had no effect. I was left with a BRICK. After my hike with a useless GPS, I found there's a bug with this product - and has been for years. Search "garmin etrex hc shuts down" before buying this product. Although I managed to recover the device after my trip - with help from internet forums, I will never rely on this device again. Maybe to go geocaching, but it will never go into the woods with me again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
This is my first experience with any product where the firmware update totally trashed the product.

This is also my first experience where the company responsible for destroying my product demanded that I pay $80 for them to fix their problem, when said product currently retails for $120. That seems unreasonable to me.

This is my second and last Garmin purchase. I was totally satisfied with the quality of the GPS unit before this. I can't believe Garmin is so customer unfriendly. Or greedy. Or both.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2010
Truly weird - - this particular model (Venture) does not come with a detailed database, and moreover, the package clearly states that it is not possible to download one! Nor does the PC-based CD that comes with it permit a more detailed database. For a cyclist, this is totally useless. Ironically, an older e-Trex that finally, after several years use, died WOULD accept detailed roadmaps from MapSource! VERY MISLEADING ADVERTISING!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
I am new to the handheld gps. I wanted something so I would not get lost horse backriding on poorly marked trails. What a disappointment! This is so complicated and not what I wanted at all. The storage is so poor that I bought the Topo maps (at 140.00 from Garmin not returnable) and almost nothing would fit. I worked hard on understanding how to use this and finally gave up after two other much more techno people tried helping me. They had as hard a time as me! I read the reviews and I guess others are much more familiar with the whole concept and seem to enjoy them. Not me. If you are thinking how handy it would be to have a gps in the woods, forget this! No storage room at all and not enough details. Not for beginners, that's for sure! Not sure what others are doing, if you're into altitudes, etc., great. If you want something to see where you are going, forget it. Not even a little user friendly and that goes for the software as well.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
It died 3 month after the warranty had expired. Doesn't turn on any more :(
Other than that it is an OK device.
Pros: Lightweight and compact. Good for backpacking or hiking. Works with Google Maps.
Cons: The screen is hard to read in a bright daylight. The internal memory too small. No turn-by-turn directions. Maps are expensive!
This is the second Garmin device that stopped working on me. Makes me think they have a problem with their product quality.
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