Amazon.com Review Garmin's eTrex Venture GPS receiver offers a host of track- and path-related programs and is surprisingly easy to use. Its size and design make it comfortable to use one-handed, and its automatic tracking feature and ability to download maps from optional CD-ROMs make it an excellent navigation tool.
The Garmin eTrex Venture provides easy-to-use GPS navigation in the palm of your hand. View larger.
Roughly the size and shape of a cell phone, the Venture has six buttons that are easily accessible by thumb and forefinger. The Power, Page, Zoom In, Zoom Out, and Find buttons are along the side, with the big-daddy navigation button (a directional click-button akin to a thumb-operated joystick) on the front above the screen. The side buttons are stiff enough that it's nearly impossible to accidentally push one. However, we found the navigation button to be a bit too stiff, which caused us several errors in entering waypoints.
Text was very easy to read--highlights are discernible and menu bars and clickable objects are well defined. The unit also has an excellent backlight, which illuminates the whole screen with a white light, giving excellent contrast and viewing capability at night.
The Venture's interface is split into five different pages, each providing different functions. The main menu page gives you access to your saved routes and tracks, as well as setup for using WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Service) reception, unit measurement, time, and display. These are all quickly rotated through with the click of the Page button on the right-hand side of the unit.
The map page displays the basemap included with the Venture, and for outdoor excursions it provides all the basics you'll need. It automatically tracks your movements and you can save individual tracks for later viewing. The map is zoomable from 500 miles to 20 feet depending on your preferences. You can place waypoints and places of interest on the map and name and change the icons of each to create your own personalized maps. If you decide you want to go somewhere, press the Find button and you'll get quick access to waypoints, your favorites list, and nearby cities.
The Venture features 1 MB of memory for downloading points-of-interest data--including lodging, business services, banks, and more--from optional CD-ROMs via the included PC cable. Unfortunately, for more detailed mapping you'll need to look to the Garmin eTrex Legend or Vista, both of which have larger memory capacities and the ability to download detailed maps.
Reception was, of course, best outside on a clear day, but the Venture retained most of its functionality under limited cover like small buildings or thick trees.
All in all, the Garmin eTrex Venture is a nifty little GPS tool and is ready to roll for your outdoor adventure. However, if you're looking to use more detailed map data with your GPS, the Garmin eTrex Vista or Legend would be a better choice. --Matt Deffer
Pros: Intuitive interface Clear, easy-to-read display Create waypoints at key locations for easy navigation Included PC cable for downloading firmware upgrades and maps
Cons: 1 MB memory only accepts points-of-interest data What's in the Box
eTrex Venture GPS receiver, City Point database, PC interface cable, wrist strap, user's guide, and quick reference guide.
The eTrex Venture offers a worldwide database of cities and increased internal memory. The one megabyte memory capacity allows the eTrex Venture to accept downloaded information from Garmin's new MapSource Points of Interests CD-ROM (not available until April). The CD enables users to download locations such as restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and entertainment. Once the information is loaded into the unit, and a point of interest is selected, telephone and address information will appear on the screen. The new eTrex Venture uses a rocker switch, like a computer's mouse, making it easier to operate. Lightweight design for easy portability. The 160 x 288 pixel screen has the highest resolution in its class. Stores up to 500 waypoints. Waterproof construction to IPX 7 immersion standards. The Venture uses Garmin's 12 parallel channel GPS receiver for a quick and accurate position. Uses 2 AA batteries (not included). Includes PC interface cable.