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on 1 April 2008
I have had an original etrex for the last 15 years, which I normally use for fellwalking and geocaching, exchanging information with OS digital mapping on my pc. It cost £130, and the only weakness was poor sattelite reception under tree canopy and cliff face shadow. I have now bought an etrex H, and taken them both out together. The H performs a lot better in areas of poor reception, with an average accuracy twice as good as the old etrex in areas of poor reception. (eg:15ft against the old units 30ft) It even holds a signal when carried in a coat pocket, where the original one isn't useable, warning of poor gps signal. I am very impressed and satisfied with the H, and as a bonus, it only cost £65.
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on 28 June 2008
After a short period sorting out how the Etrex H works, I look forward to using it regularly on holidays. It is quite slow to do this but by editing (Mark) waypoints you can input the exact map co-ordinates, Latitude and Longitude, found from Google Earth and so mark and find hotels, railway stations, restaurants etc with confidence. While on holiday, mark your position with a waypoint and then wander around foreign parts knowing that you cannot get lost - simply use Goto the waypoint and use the direction arrow to find your way back, knowing how long it will take you. There is no need to buy any more leads or expensive mapping software unless you really want to. The GPS didn't seem to work on TGV trains but on the English ones you can see how fast the train is going, although the compass arrow gets a bit confused when you are travelling in a seat going backwards!
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on 10 May 2008
If you're after a simple, lightweight GPS with extremely impressive reception, this is it.

I've used quite a few different GPS, and this is the only one that maintains a lock in my trouser pocket, when I'm in a cutting in the forest. Cold- and warm-start satellite acquisition is quick, and hot-start is essentially instant.

I never let my GPS completely run out of juice, but the stated 17h battery life seems about right.

I use GPS as a backup to traditional navigation, and to help measure progress on longer trips - so I've no need to use the computer interface. Entering waypoints manually is a bore on the eTrex, but again - I don't need to do that.

So - I think it does exactly what it's intended to, reliably and fast. 5 stars.
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on 14 October 2008
Garmin eTrex H Handheld GPS Navigator
I bought one of the original eTrex devices about five years ago but the current model (eTrex H)is a completely different animal. The appearance is identical to the original, but that is where the similarities end.

Garmin have done a great job of removing all the problems with the original eTrex. It's now very responsive and usually takes less than a minute to find satellites from when you press the power switch. Accuracy is usually well within 10 metres even in normal mode (ie without WAAS). The signal is retained under tree canopies though I have not yet tested it in deep forests. Battery life is fine for a day on the hills though the claimed 17 hours seems optimistic. I plan to switch to NiMH 2500mAh batteries, this might give me a longer range.

Given the modest price this superb product is now selling for, nobody should be without one.
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on 6 October 2008
A few mates in the Army had eTrex units and always spoke very highly of them (rugged, idiot proof, accurate) so decided I'd give it a go. Looked on Amazon and realised that the eTrex was being sold by someone else so with the P&P it came out more expensive than the eTrex H from Amaxon with free delivery. Bit of a no brainer! I ordered the eTrex H in a bit of a rush before I went gadding around the Transylvanian Alps. Unit arrived in 3 days (thanks Amazon!) and off I trotted.

The unit is extremely easy to figure out. I did the usual bloke thing and binned the instructions almost straight away and only referred to the quick start guide a few times which was ample.

The unit performed brilliantly and even coped with the extremes of altitude (up around 5000 feet) followed by sitting in a gorge surrounded by trees the next. Very accurate, I followed the advice on this page about leaving the unit for 10-15 mins after turning it on in plain sight of the sky whilst it sorted its life out and this seemed to work a treat. The time I didn't, it took 20 mins to acquire a signal to tell me my location and even then took another 5 mins to get down to a 10m accuracy. Leaving it for 10-15 mins at start up got me to within 3m almost every time and seemed to maintain a Sat lock better as well. Battery life was around 25 hours (consistantly, and that was with rubbish Army batteries not posh ones).

In all, what a cracking bit of kit. No frills just a grid, altitude, bearing and a few other niceties on a unit that's gotten me out of the poo on a couple of occasions already. Go on, buy it. I'm glad I did!
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on 20 September 2010
I bought an eTrex for one purpose only. That was to be able to read OS Grid coordinates during a walk, because like almost everybody who has navigated using an OS map and compass, there is always the time when it is not possible to be totally certain where you are. I understood this could be done with the eTrex, but was not able to find anywhere that told me how to do it. In practice after setting the device to use OS coordinates, it is simplicity itself. Pressing the "Page" button cycles you through five pages; Sky view, Map, Pointer, Trip, and Menu. The Menu page gives access to all the features of the eTrex, but the page of interest is the Trip page. Like the mileometer "trip" on a car, which gives miles for a single journey, the Trip page gives information about a specific walk, hike, run , whatever. There are about 30 possible bits of info you can see on a continuous basis , but you can only select a maximum of five at any one time. One of the possible choices is "Location" which gives the OS coordinates (or lat/long if you want)of your position, updated each second. So, as you walk you have a continuous output of the OS coords. Just what I wanted. I use the other four choices to give me Distance travelled, Overall average speed including breaks, Time walking, and Total elapsed time, including meal stops etc. You zero the trip at the beginning of a walk.The Trip page is really all I need.

There are lots of other things that you can do with the eTrex it but these are of secondary importance for me but I have to say however that the manual is possibly the worst instruction manual I have ever come across, for anything. I think that it lets the unit down totally so rather than a five, I can only award a four since I am sure more demanding users will lose out because it does not really contain meaningful instructions on how to get the best out of the device, which is a pity because it is a powerful little beast and very reasonably priced.
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on 5 February 2008
I had been looking for a GPS receiver for walking and had considered other, more expensive options with mapping and electronic compass. 'GPS for Walkers' by Clive Thomas is a good introduction which suggested carrying a compass and map in case the GPS or its batteries fail. So, why pay extra for the more expensive electronic version which puts extra drain on the batteries?

The eTRex H has proved to be a very useful piece of kit and the H version works well in woodland where it can be more difficult to navigate without it. My only disappointment was entering waypoints on the eTrex which is tedious although I had expected this. Spend the extra money on software and a cable to do it from your PC. I found GPS Utlity is much more convenient for creating routes and then I load the waypoints into Google Earth to check that my grid references are where I expect them to be.
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on 17 January 2017
I have been using the garmin etrex h since 2008 and it is still going strong, was looking to update it but reviews of the more modern garmins are not all that good.
Managed to get another etrex h second hand and using this with copies of memory maps is a far better option than using some of the latest gps.
Garmin should reintroduce the etrex h as many people want a simple no frills gps at a reasonable price.
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on 15 March 2017
Great piece of kit, extremely to use and very robust. Used and abused for a long time now and withstanding everything I put it through!
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on 28 March 2008
This is the only hand held GPS I have used, so please be aware that my experience is limited. I purchased this unit for the sole intention of geocaching, I wanted a cheap hard wearing unit to compliment my existing map and compass, I was not looking for a map based unit or anything overly flash. My initial impression was good, a nice sturdy unit. Gripe number 1 - batteries not included... even a couple of cheap batteries would have been appreciated before you realise rechargeables are essential. It is now important to read the instructions, I generally dive straight in, and on this occasion got myself lost and confused, go through things slowly and it does make sense, it also helps to 'train' your fingers as the side located buttons mean that you can't easily read the button function before pressing. Gripe 2 ..... in time you will probably want a pc cable, (careful though as the unit requires a serial input, or an adaptor lead, and these can be expensive, or do your homework and search about). Having entered a couple of waypoints manualy I took the unit outside for a geocache hunt. I felt that the unit worked well, OK so it doesn't give pinpoint accuracy to the nearest inch, but that isn't what I wanted for geocaching, the fun is in the finding, it got me close enough. In summary I am pleased with my purchase, but be prepared to buy bateries (2x AA) and a pc lead. The unit comes with a lanyard, but I also purchased a cover to protect the screen. All in all my £67 GPS worked out to be closer to £100, but overall I am pleased with the eTrex H.
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