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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 27 January 2014
Ordered the Garmin Friday afternoon, chose free supersaver delivery, arrived 10.00am Monday morning - how good is that ?! well done Amazon.
Put 2 AA batteries in and switched on. Couple of minutes and it had aquired satelites and had a fix, really quick.
As has been stated in many reviews the pre-installed maps are a waste of time. In anticipation of receiving the Garmin I had done some research and downloaded some decent maps (for free !) Just 'google free maps for Garmin GPS' and near the top is a site called garmin.openstreetmap.nl. The world is divided into a series of squares, you highlight the areas you are interested in and download the map, it's that easy. I copied these maps to the garmin and now I have a detailed map of the UK with contours (a must for hiking) also have maps for the black forest in Germany and a detailed city map of Barcelona in preparation for some trips later in the year. All the maps are installed and I can just switch between them by enabling and disabling the ones I want
As you zoom in on the maps the detail increases, when you get in close there are points of interest (POI's) so the places we are visiting have restaurants, shops, bars, public toilets,car parks etc etc displayed - very good.
I downloaded Garmin 'Base camp' (a free programme) this is great for organising your maps, setting up routes, sorting out waypoints etc, it's a 'must have' to get the most from your GPS. You can also create 'custom maps' from JPG files. These are imported into Google Earth as an 'overlay' and adjusted to fit the satelite image and give them a 'geo-location', when exported as a GPZ file they can be transfered to the garmin. I had a play with this and installed a map of some walks around a national trust property, worked great. All in all if you are prepared to put a bit of time and effort in you can end up with a brilliant little GPS. It has a decent amount of internal memory storage and you can install a micro SD card if you need more space. All of the maps I have installed have fittted into the internal memory (with space left over), after my Germany and Barcelona visits I can delete these maps to free up space for next years adventures ! To test the Garmin I plotted a little walk around my local area. When I viewed the recorded 'track' on the computer on my return, the track was so accurate I could even see where I had crossed from one side of the street to the other !! Hope this review has been useful. With a days 'playing' with it most of the functions are obvious, the menu system takes a bit of getting used to and I kept touching icons on the screen as I was so used to my android phone ! but the joystick navigation is OK once you get your head round it.
If I have any issues I will do an update but first impressions are 100% positive.
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on 1 April 2012
The unit itself:
It's well made and a nice form-factor - not too heavy or bulky. As a GPS receiver it's impressive. It's able to use Russian GLONASS satellites as well as GPS, and when this is enabled the time to get a fix and the accuracy are both improved considerably. Battery life seems to be very good. It was on for 6 hours this afternoon and still shows full battery (on Lithium AA cells; the ability to take AA batteries is a big plus). Ergonomically it's a little bit right-handed; if you're a lefty (I am) you might find this awkward (I didn't). The screen is small but perfectly usable as long as you're prepared to adjust the map zoom occasionally.

Software:
Operation is pretty intuitive and you can heavily customise the interface according to what you want to do, including what data is overlaid on your map, map orientation and so on (so any behaviours that annoy you can usually be fixed). Moving the map around is quite slow, but on the other hand it's fast compared to walking any distance on a 50k:1 map so it's not really a problem for me; I assume this helps with battery life, which is more important. Firmware update is also painless.

Maps:
You will need to install some OS maps. The base map the unit comes with is useless for anything you might want a handheld GPS for, and be warned that these are not cheap. I added the 50k:1 (Landranger) OS map which covers the whole UK; I believe 25k:1 (Explorer) maps are available individually for the national parks. Bear this in mind when considering the price. There are free maps available that look pretty decent (google talky toaster maps) but YMMV.

In Use:
I take a paper OS explorer map when out walking; this GPS not only shows me exactly where I am on it, but also saves me from getting it out of my daysack unless I want a bigger view to plan my route or need the 25k detail. It basically does exactly the same job on the fell as your sat-nav does when driving in the city - lets you stop concentrating on / worrying about the navigation and enjoy the journey.

Highly recommended - but only if you're prepared to also buy an OS map for it.
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on 25 December 2012
I thought it would have come with a few maps already installed for walking but it hasn't. I have to say I am very disappointed .In the past I have always used OS explorer active. They are laminated maps and great for keeping your bum dry when pick nicking. I have found a site called Dash4it who sell these quite cheap. I have around 20 for various areas of the UK
Its looking like I may have to spend a lot of money just to be able to use this thing and I am starting to think I am better off with the proper maps. This is what has put me off buying one of these in the past but because Santa brought me one I will have to use it now or I will get grief from her indoors .

I don't mind spending a few quid but £200 for a bundle is scandalous when all I want is 1 or 2. Infact it is cheaper to actually buy the proper map then it is to buy the download. Now if that's technology..................
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on 8 August 2014
Lovely bit of hardware but rubbish map. The base map is unusable as it is just a pile of horse s***. Sorry to say. Funny really as a pilot I have a Garmin aviation GPS and that comes loaded with a fine database. Clearly it would not be good if the pilot crashed due to a poor map on the GPS - but who cares about walkers? Give them s**t and then make them pay more than the unit for a decent map. Sad as it drives you towards EBay I am afraid. You spend £113 (ex VAT) on a GPS and then have to spend £160 + on a map that is of any use at all - Just a disgrace I am afraid.Garmin you should be ashamed. You are greedy barstewards.
Now that I have got that off my chest - the device feels nice and is solidly made and looks pretty weather proof. There is a metal ring at the back that if twisted opens the battery compartment - not mentioned in the useless instructions. There is a lanyard mounting point on the bottom edge. The screen is clear and with the brightness turned up is easy to read in the bright sun. Colour rendition and resolution are as one might expect with a unit of this size.
I cannot comment on battery life. Registering the device was straight forward and after download of the Garmin web updater the software update was also nice and easy (PC or MAC). A decent free GB map was downloaded from "Talkytoaster" and loaded onto a micro SD card (all instructions on the Talkytoaster site)and away you go fully functional as it should have been out of the box.
So A decent unit let down by rubbish bundled map, other niggles include no batteries included, no lock button so one could knock the joy stick accidentally and a flush rather than an inset screen which means screen protectors are essential. Finally the instruction manual is utterly useless it fails even to mention the micro SD slot or how to use it I suppose as they expect you to forkout for Garmin maps - outrageous!
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on 4 January 2014
I have been using this for quite some time now, it has replaced old fashioned tech -maps and compass - tho these remain a backup I have with me [plus googlemaps on my phone]. like a map it gets me from A to B. I would always choose my route myself.

it's true the maps supplied are basic... but the solution is to download off the web... google 'free maps for etrex' there is a site by 'talkytoaster' that gives the whole British Isles OS 1:50 map which is fantastic down to a detailed level and shows all the National trails such as theSW Coast path and the South Downs Way as well as much more detailed/lesser known paths.. I have also added/overlaid a detailed london streetmap. you can create routable maps from the whole world from OpenStreetMap(OSM) maps which are free or use the tool at http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ which creates them for each country

in use I tend to turned the screen backlight off during the day and have it at two or three 'bars' at night, to stop batteries draining too fast, using AA high capacity rechargeable batteries and carrying spares... battery can run out in a full day's walk esp if you use a lot of zooming/panning and it is searching for the gps location a lot [eg if you go through lots of covered places]

like my phone i bought a screen protector... and the garmin case-both worthwhile

lastly the product is inherently safer than a map...by tracking where you have been it is [almost] always possible to return to where you were before...now instead I use maps within guide books for the wider view of where I am, and the garmin to follow a path [where not obvious or when setting off/to get direction right]

this has helped give me the confidence to do long walks in the middle of nowhere on my own...great
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on 16 May 2012
This is potentially a very useful device but the maps are very expensive and you are often forced to buy a bundle of maps when you only need one. Check out the free OSM maps available online: these are often better than the Garmin maps, depending on how you intend to use the device. You could use your mobile phone for GPS and save a lot of money too but, if you have to stay online while using the mobile, this could also work out expensive. I found an excellent website for walks and bike rides in Spain (where I live) - wikiloc - and this is what persuaded me to buy the etrex (plus the free and very detailed OSM maps for practically everywhere in the world). Buy a good micro SD card at the same time, so you can store more maps and info on the etrex.
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on 13 January 2014
I bought this mainly for geocaching. This is an excellent device. Good sensitivity and acquires satellites very quickly - even from inside my house. So far it has worked well even with moderate tree cover. There is a plethora of features - I like the way that I can have a map and compass on the same screen. The supplied map is lousy but I installed a free one from talky toaster [...] which works really well with the device and shows a good percentage of footpaths. Battery life is also very good. I'm really pleased with the eTrex 20 - it has exceeded all expectations.
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on 11 August 2013
I had one main purppse in buying this , and that is to navigate my way round strange towns when on holiday in Italy and still arrive at the meeting place on time leaving me time to see what I wanted. I believe this little gadget will do just that.. I agree with the other reviewers that the installed map is useless, but I have managed (and I am certainly no computer expert) to download and install free maps for the British Isles and for Italy, I would suggest not leaving them on the computer as they take up several gigabites of storage space. The instruction book is not very helpful, and the full manual downloaded from the Garmin website is little better, but I am slowly beginning to get the hang of what is quite a complex instrument . One slight criticism is that the toggle switch is not very positive when pressed, as opposed to being moved . this may be just a matter of my being ham handed of course, but I am getting better at it. I cannot speak for the geocaching facilities, I have only the vaguest notion of what is involved and at my age (85) have no intention of finding out. .
On balance and with no experience of rival models, I would thoroughly recommend this little gadget
Second Thoughts :-
After sometime playing with and using this device, I am filled with admiration for what it can do , I suggest any user should download the Garmin "Base Camp" , with this you can see the maps and tracks and so on on the bigger computer screen . to supplement the inadequate manual I would suggest a book called Getting to Grips with GPS by Peter Judd and Simon Brown, I bought it from Amazon and learnt far more from it from the manual.
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on 26 August 2012
I love this device! OK Garmin do supply a rubbish map with it but I got hold of the free maps on TalkyToaster. They are not the best maps around but they are good enough for a device with such a small screen. I think the mapping facility of devices like this has a limited use anyway.

Have a good look at the maps in Bing and under the "Road" tab select OS maps. These start at 1:50,000 and as you zoom in goto 1:25,000. You then drop a "pin" (Right mouse click on map) and you build up a route. Export this in GPX format, import this file to BaseCamp and the "pins" are converted to Waypoints. Print the map from Bing with the "print" function or a screen capture - your choice - and you have a map of your walk or cycle ride.

This is all you need.
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on 24 May 2014
I bought this primarily for geocaching, and its everything I need it to be. As others have said the map supplied is rubbish, but you can download OSM for free and that should do the job.
This allows me to do paperless caching, store routes and it has alarm features on it as well, though I haven't tested those and hope I never have to. It has a whole host of other features, but I don't know if I will ever use them so I can't go into them here.
Only minus is a lack of a full handbook, but it's easily found and downloaded as a pdf. I store mine on my kindle and am happy with that arrangement.

All in all a brilliant piece of kit at a good price, it's robust and easy to use. Buy a holder for it though, because the joystick will get knocked in the pocket while your walking. Anyway you should have it on show and to hand let folk know your hunting treasure out there.
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