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on March 1, 2017
This device (the eTrex 10) is a gem. Thus the five star rating. I've been studying it and using it on bicycle rides for the past two months. I've read several of the Amazon reviews for this product, and few do a good job of informing the consumer. I think this is because the product caters to so many different endusers: boaters, kayakers, walkers, hikers, off-road cyclists, and on-road cyclists. My review is written from the perspective of an on-road cyclist. And I'm not going to write a review as much as merely answer a series of questions.

1. Can you charge this device using a USB cable? >>No. The device uses two AA batteries for power. They can be cheap alkaline, or the more expensive rechargeable NiMH or lithium. Alkaline work ok if the weather is warm or hot. If you go the rechargeable route, don't buy cheap ones that have less than 2000 capacity. I didn't know rechargeables came in different capacities. Duh! The rechargeable batteries you need to recharge in a separate recharging device.
2. What do you use the USB cable for that comes with the device? >>To connect your device to your PC or Mac so you can update software or move GPX files on or off the device. GPX files are what tracks and waypoints are stored in. I use a Web site called RidewithGPS to create my TCX files. Then I use other software to convert them to GPX files. Think GpsVisualizer dotcom.
3. Can you load maps into this device? >>Not really. There is an almost nonexistent base map that comes with the unit. It is supposedly possible to overwrite it with a different map. However, for you to add maps to this device you would need to be able to insert an SD card which is where you would store extra maps. Since you cannot install an SD card into this device, you cannot add maps.
4. Can you use this device on long bike rides so you don't get lost? Is it good for bicycle touring? >>Yes. This is why I purchased this device.
5. Can this device aid one in navigating a city walk? An outdoors hike? An off-road bicycle ride? An on-road bicycle ride? Yes to all four questions. I use the device for GPX files I create using a free online service called RidewithGPS dotcom. The GPX files are the end-product of designing a route. Some of the routes are through city streets. Some are through trails in the various outdoor parks near my home. Some are mountain bike trails. And some are 200k brevet rides on roads. I copy the GPX files into the GPX folder in my device and I'm ready to go.
6. Can an SD card be installed into this device? >>No. Not on THIS device. Pay a little more to get the eTrex 20x or the eTrex 30x and you will be able to install an SD card in those devices.
7. Is it easy to read this device in sunlight? At nighttime? >> Yes. Yes. I have found it easy in both daytime and nighttime. Of course, I have to wear glasses that correct my vision well. The viewing screen is somewhat small.
8. Is this device good for long distance bike rides like brevets? >>Yes. GPS navigational devices designed for cyclists typically have internal rechargeable batteries that will die after 10 to 12 hours of constant use. Since the eTrex 10 uses two AA batteries, when they die they are easily replaced while riding the bike. As long as you have extra AA batteries along during your rides you will never be without a functioning eTrex 10.
9. How long does it take to find satellites before it starts working? >>Depends. It always cranks up quickly (within a minute) for me. However, I have both kinds of satellites enabled in my system setup. Uses more power this way though.
10. Is the user manual instructive? >>It is OK. The problem with the manual is the uses the device can be put to are so broad: boating, walking, hiking, biking off-road, and biking on-road. There really should be a manual for each type of user – and there just isn't. Furthermore, do you want to use the device to mark geocaches? To merely be a navigation tool? Or to record where you have gone so you can retrace your steps? I'm really only interested in using the device as a navigation tool.
11. Does this device track pace and distance traveled? Can it double as a bike speedometer? >>Yes. Yes. You can configure the view screen to tell you how far you have traveled at any point in time. And you can configure it to tell you how fast you are going in mph or kph.
12. How relevant are street signs when using this device? >>Street signs are not really relevant because maps are not really relevant. With this device and your GPX file you will have a track (breadcrumb trail) and waypoints (usually along the trail). I create my GPX file so the names of the waypoints are street names. When the device is functioning a cursor shows up in the view screen indicating where I'm actually planted on the earth. As it moves along the track and I approach a waypoint I know it'll be time to make a turn. I can make the turn without even knowing the name of the street. And when riding in the middle of the night I rarely look for street signs to verify a turn. Of course, it is nice to see a street sign that matches the waypoint title. Waypoint titles show up in my view screen as I ride.
13. Does the view screen easily scratch? >>Yes. This is a problem. Invest in a $10 screen saver.
14. Does this device provide turn-by-turn instruction when being used? >>No. You only get turn-by-turn instructions when a GPS device uses an installed map to "calculate" your route. This device doesn't even have a map. But the eTrex 20x and eTrex 30x models do have maps. However, those units don't use the maps to calculate routes. The maps are just background images to the tracks and waypoints that appear on the respective view screens. All three units allow you to create proximity warnings around your waypoints. And when you get within a certain proximity of a waypoint you can be warned. This function works kind of like turn-by-turn instructions. Unfortunately, I have found them not to be too helpful. They tend to clutter up my view screen.
15. Can you insert a pre-loaded route? >>Yes. See answer to Q12.
16. What kind of battery life can one expect? >>With two rechargeable NiMH AA batteries with capacity of 2600 each you'll probably get more than 20 hours. This has been my experience while having both types of satellites accessed and leaving the backlight on constantly.
17. Does this device have touchscreen features? >>No. If it did you wouldn't get 20 hours of battery life. See answer to Q16.
18. What memory does this unit have? >>Only internal. This device does not let you install SD cards. The eTrex 20x and eTrex 30x does allow for SD cards. Those units cost more.
19. What kind of batteries does this device use? >>AA batteries. See answer to Q1.
20. When the batteries die do you lose your current track and any waypoints? >>Nope. This is because information is saved as you go along, and the route is not “calculated” during your ride. The track is static information, as are the waypoints. When you turn the device back on after changing the batteries the cursor in your view screen shows your current location just like when the power went out.
21. What file formats does this device read? >>Only GPX files, which are XML text files with a .gpx extension. Won't read TCX or FIT file formats. To create GPX files I download my routes from Ridewithpgs and then use one of a few free online converting Web sites to convert the TCX file to a GPX format file.
22. Does this device have an audio component? >>Nope. If it did, then you wouldn't get 20 hours of battery life. However, pay a little more and get the eTrex 20x or eTrex 30x and you will have some audio capability. For example, the proximity alarm in the eTrex 10 will not produce any bells or beeps, but the other two units do.
23. Does this device have a mapping function? >>It will record where you have gone if you want it to. Save the file when you are done, and you can upload it to RWGPS, Garmin Connect, Strava, or MapMyRide.
1010 comments| 114 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 21, 2014
I like the product, which does what it claims to do. Signal quality is decent for its value.
I mainly use it for hiking and geotagging my photos, it supports GPX format tracks which I can use in Lightroom or Photoshop to geotag the photos I take during the trips. Also they're vast variety/number of maps for you to download free or purchase through Garmin. For me as a newbie to the handheld GPS device it sure satisfies my need, 5 stars.
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on March 15, 2016
If you have never used this type of equipment before of course it is going to be some what confusing but let me assure you that its just like getting a new phone turn it on play with it for a while follow the instructions when you get lost or want to find out a specific task. I got it because you can enter a grid location and it will guide you exactly to that spot or with in a tolerable distance from it. I've used similar equipment before...as for how it built its a tough little gps in my opinion small which is a positive for hiking doesn't weigh much, oh and it is water resistant so that's another positive as for acquiring satellite signal it was pretty fast on my side of the world but that was on a sunny day lets see what it does on a cloudy day.
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on February 12, 2018
It's a good little GPS for someone who just wants to find their way back to the truck. It gets the job done for me.

The reason I'm rating this product 3 stars, is that the UI freezes frequently, and on two occasions it failed to save my waypoint, which could have landed me in deep trouble if I didn't pay close attention to my compass as a backup. Now I triple check my waypoints before losing sight of my vehicle or landmark to make sure everything is saved. I'm not sure if this is standard quality for this product, or if my unit is malfunctioning.
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on March 18, 2016
Its okay...I chose it for the price, so I got what I paid for. It takes it a while to catch up to me when I am walking. Its not a bad device, but it could be better. Took a day and a half to figure out how to put geocaches on it, and then realized I put the wrong ones on the next day, deleted them, and now I cant get them back on there as geocaches, they are just there as waypoints, so that is VERY annoying, but it will due. I mostly use it when my phone cant quite get me there so I just quickly pop in the coordinates and go that way. I would not say its a good device for someone that has already owned a GPS, but it was my first. Go for a newer version that already has geocaches preloaded (if thats what youre buying it for).
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on August 7, 2016
The Garmin etrax 10 GPS is PERFECT for Geocaching, hiking, boating. It does take a little to familiarize yourself with this unit. The instructions are rather vague. When downloading gpx waypoints into your unit you do have to go into the "drive" on your computer to make sure the files are under "gpx" in the unit so that they show up under the geocache on the unit. But there are great features such as it tells you sun rise/set with options to choose the day. It has fishing time Windows. Most importantly, you can put out a "man overboard" signal, not that I've tested it yet, and I hope I never have to. It includes a calculator for puzzle caches. It also allows for different profiles! So far I've really enjoyed using it for caching and can't wait to use it this fall hunting!
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on April 11, 2014
I have owned and used the original eTrex Legend since it was first sold. Up until now I have not had any issues with it except for the joystick, it would stop working sometimes, I have managed to fix it by taking the unit apart and re-securing all the internal cables, but it is no longer water resistant because I had to break the seals to get inside. Best excuse I could find to replace something that still worked.

My first impression of this unit was just 'WOW!' It's very fast to acquire satellites, it had already locked on to several by the time the boot screens had finished loading. Indeed, I was impressed. After some fiddling around with the settings I enabled WAAS and GLONASS and started playing around outside to see how accurate it was. 9ft accuracy in about 3 minutes. Sat it side by side with the old Legend unit and it matched my waypoints around the yard very very close.

My favorite part about this unit is the fact that it comes with 1.7 gigs of internal memory compared to 8 megs on the old Legend. I haven't loaded anything to internal memory yet, I had an old 8gig microSD card laying around, popped it into the unit and was able to load topo 24k maps for the entire state of WV on to it, and I still had over 7 gigs of memory left. I went ahead and subscribed to Birdseye satellite imagery and have downloaded maps for most of the state parks in WV, as well as several other locations in highest detail. Still have over 6 gigs of space left on my card. My old legend could barely handle one tile of a 24k topo map, and I would constantly have to swap maps depending on the area I was going to be in.

So with all my maps loaded, topo, birdseye, waypoints, geocaches, etc, I figured I was going to experience very slow draw times. Not at all. The processor in this unit can handle what you throw at it.

The eTrex 20 suites my needs perfectly. I use it for occasional geocaching, but the bulk of my use is for hiking, biking, and kayaking. The birdseye maps are great when you are on a large lake, you get such a better idea of where you are.
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on August 10, 2013
To preface this review, I was looking for a basic handheld GPS with Glonass support. My intended use was for hiking in remote areas, both in the USA and abroad.

I started with the Etrex 10 since I really just wanted a unit that would be an insurance policy if I got turned around. I initially thought that the lack of a detailed basemap would not be an issue. I also thought the gray scale screen would be fine for my use. I ultimately discovered that I was wrong on both accounts. Because the etrex 10 contains virtually no basemap (and no way to update), I found it difficult to navigate because there were no points of reference other than a small dot for cities. The gray scale screen seemed to confound my confusion as waypoints and tracks and text blended together on the tiny screen with a featureless background. I questioned if anything the etrex 10 did was better than firing up my cell phone GPS without data. Ultimately I returned the unit because of the reasons above, and glitchy lags in the interface.

I replaced the 10 with the 20. The 20 is a completely different experience. For the extra $60 the unit is highly upgraded. The basemap exceeded what I was expecting. Major highways & state routes are visible along with bodies of water, and shaded relief of terrain. These characteristics are present for all of the countries I checked. A good example would be the Republic Georgia, not exactly the most mapped area of the world. Major cities and towns are marked, highways, water, etc. The color screen really helps keep things visually organized when you have a cluster of waypoints in the same area.

In summary, the Etrex 20 is a major improvement over the 10 in my opinion, based on initial impressions.
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on April 1, 2013
I'm using the eTrex 30 for two purposes:

1. to carry with me while shooting vacation, hiking, and event photos. will then use Lightroom to insert the location into my pictures. it's great to see your vacation and hiking treks with photos laid out on Google Earth or Lightroom's map.

2. while on vacation and in unknown areas will use street maps to track where my hotel or camp is, find attractions, record where I've been, and eventually find my way back to my hotel or camp.

- display is readable in direct sunlight no problem
- display brightness can be turned off for longer battery life
- sensitivity/accuracy is good
- supports NiMh rechargeable batteries
- battery life is longer than I expected it would be
- seems reasonably rugged

- much heavier than I expected it would be
- much thicker than I expected it would be
- lifetime maps not included, but are for my car GPS which was half the price
- maps are extraordinarily expensive
- no strap or belt clip included
- does not charge batteries when connected to USB
- joystick sticks up too high and is way too easy to hit accidentally
- control buttons are rather stiff and must be pushed precisely to work
- map uploads are extremely time-consuming - better to take the micro-sd card out and put it in a reader
- button functions were obviously designed by someone who NEVER used a GPS on the trail. (e.g. no way to reset the trip odo without wiping all the stats; no lap function; etc.)
- manual is very poor. describes what the buttons do, but does not explain various use-cases for actually using the GPS in everyday life
- altimeter is not accurate or consistent
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on January 5, 2014
I've been using the GPS on my phone for hiking and backpacking for a couple years now. The EveryTrail app is terrific. That said, the phone battery only lasts about 4 hours when used constantly as a GPS, and after hiking with other people using Garmins, I finally bought this Etrex 30. It's light (4.5 ounces with battery), lasts MUCH longer than my phone, and works much better as a GPS. I can now leave my phone off and save the battery. (It's also much easier to read in bright light than my phone is, and unlike my phone, can be easily viewed using polarized sunglasses.)

There's a lot of negative comments and reviews here, though, which I'm glad I ignored.

No, maps don't come with this unit, but they are easily available for free online at gpsfiledepot.com, good-quality maps with installation tutorials. I fit a topo of California plus two separate overlays of hiking trails into the built-in storage, and I've still got over 1 GB of space left. A microSD slot is available for people who need still more space. You can also find GPX tracks for free on the web which can be transferred to the GPS. EveryTrail, for example, has many high-quality hiking tracks which can be saved as GPX files (from the EveryTrail web site) and then transferred to the GPS using Garmin's BaseCamp software. This is actually now my preferred method of getting trails onto the GPS, with the free California topo as a background.

Yes, the instructions are poor to nonexistent, but the menus aren't that hard to figure out if you've used a GPS in some other form. Just walk through the menus and play with it a little. Some default functionality is annoying, but every problem I've had so far was fixable through a setting. (For example, I didn't see place names until I changed the maps settings, and I have no need for constant backlighting, which just drains the battery. The default track color is very hard to read against a topo background, so I changed the color to red.)

I agree that they could have included a lanyard, and there's no clip with this thing. For now I carry it in my shirt pocket, but I'll probably attach a carabiner and a cable tie to the lanyard attachment point to make sure it doesn't get lost.

This is my first standalone GPS, and I'll probably be figuring more stuff out over time, but given the weight and battery life and accuracy and wealth of free maps, I'm quite satisfied. It's much more reliable than using my phone.
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