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Customer Review

204 of 209 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 Stars is so wrong, 16 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Garmin eTrex 30 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit (Wireless Phone Accessory)
The 2 star review is so wrong - the reviewer obviously did not check out first what he was actually buying.

The eTrex 30 is a very sophisticated piece of kit - incredibly quick to locate your position and very accurate (it can tell if you are on one side of a road or the other and the isosceles triangle icon on the screen not only shows your location but also the direction you are facing). The features and menu options are also very intuitive and the buttons and "toggle / joy-stick" are very easy to operate - you can do eveything with your thumb, even when wearing mits.
The features such as the "trip meter" are brilliant (even tells you how long to sunset) and loading routes to and from your computer is a doddle.It has a three dimensional compass that very few GPS have - which means it works even when you are standing still (this is the only difference from the slightly cheaper eTrex 20). The altimeter is also very accurate. Phone apps are no-way comparable to what this piece of kit can do (also, using your phone as a GPS will run the battery down very quickly).

Two AA batteries do last the 25 hours advertised - Iam getting three days walking out of them.

I bought it so that I could download 1:2500 maps of specific areas as I need them. Two problems with this: 1) It works out very expensive (e,g. Lake District = £100) and 2) as the 2* reviewer says the "base map" on "BirdsEye" is so poor that you can not accurately identify the area that you you are purchasing - which means that you can make expensive mistakes. This is a pity as the "purchase only what you need" feature is supposed to be a big selling point - I have been told that my email complaining about this has been passed on to the boffins at Garmin.

Given the above, and the small screen size, I would advise purchasing the SD card of the 1:50,000 OS Map for the whole of the UK - this will add another £200 to the purchase price so you need to take this in to account when comparing with other products (although,if you see other reviews and comments for Etrex 20 and 30,there is advice on downloading maps for free).

The ETrex 30 is a sophisticated but easy piece of kit to use, it is nice and compact and durable for walking and running. However, if you need a larger screen (e.g. for the handlebars of a bike)I would go for the less sophisticated, older technology, but larger screened SatMap Active 10.(It is only because of the screen size that I do not give it 5 stars - but there has to be compromises!?)

Update (March 2014): It is now two years since I wrote the above review. My Etrex is still going strong and I still love it - and have relied on it in bad weather on a few occasions. The fact that the price is now down to £168 and the 1:50 map for whole of GB on micro SD card is now £137 (not withstanding comments that can get downloads for free)is , in my opinion, excellent value for money (I paid £230 for the Etrex when it first came out and remember the original - yellow - Etrex, which only provided a grid reference and a few "tracks" and no mapping capability, was around £120 over 15 years ago!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Apr 2012 19:20:52 BDT
jol says:
Very usefull data indeed! Thank you

Posted on 7 Jul 2012 12:30:01 BDT
D. Payne says:
buy a micro sd card and go to for instructions, great value OSM mapping for the cost of a micro sd card, not OS but pretty good to a tenner! Works well with old model etrex will be even better with this one, have used for 18months so speaking from experience. David in Kent

Posted on 7 Jan 2014 18:40:36 GMT
simon says:
does this gps actually give a grid reference aswell though or does it not???

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Mar 2014 14:10:54 GMT
Fellrunner says:
Sorry this reply is probably too late - this is the only review I have done and I rarely check it.
The answer is yes - a quick way of doing it is; when on the map, push the toggle slightly forward and the grid reference comes up on the top of screen - push toggle down to remove and have full screen map.

Posted on 11 Mar 2014 21:17:20 GMT
All you need to do is download the free OS maps here

Choose your regions you want and download the exe.
Basecamp will pick the maps up and away you go. They are really detailed and cant see why people would want to spend £100+ for something that is free!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2014 14:33:25 BDT
Andrew Powell says "Basecamp will pick the maps up . . ." What does this mean? Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2014 22:26:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2014 22:27:01 BDT
Basecamp is Garmins free software that you use to view the maps and also send them to your garmin device for use. You can download it from

After installing Basecamp and the the free maps the link I previously mentioned, when opening Basecamp you will get a drop down which should now have something like "OSM generic routable" (well thats what is says on mine), I also have the "Global Map" one which is so un-detailed its not worth looking at! You should see all the free maps and away you go.

To upload new routes just connect your garmin via the provided USB cable and give it a minute to load and setup. You will get the device listed on the left panel in Basecamp. When you have created your route just right click on it and select "Send To" and choose your garmin device in the list, usually at the bottom. It should now be installed and ready to be used.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2014 22:59:04 BDT
That link is to OpenStreetMap free maps. When people want OS maps of the UK they are referring to Ordnance Survey maps, which are superior is every way. These are the ones referred to by earlier reviewers as costing £100. In fact they now cost £60 for each National Park (1:25000 scale), or £200 for the whole of the UK (1:50000 scale).

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2014 06:13:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jul 2014 06:13:19 BDT
Have you tried the maps! as they are not street maps there are OS maps with walking routes and all sorts, I have now done 15 walks in the peaks and public footpaths and plently of smalller paths are on them. lets just say I havent got lost and they are very detailed. Try for yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2014 18:17:35 BDT
William says:
would this download include trails, footpaths etc?
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