Sunday, March 18, 2012

New eTrex Units Add Touchscreen

eTrex Touch

Garmin’s eTrex units have been some of the more popular handheld GPS devices, especially for hiking and geocaching. You might remember in May, Garmin announced the next generation of eTrex devices, which will likely be available sometime this month. And, while those handhelds look pretty nice, last week Garmin went a step further and said that it would also be offering an offshoot referred to as the eTrex Touch Series. And, as the name implies, they will all boast touchscreens for a more intuitive experience.

There are a total of three devices in the series right now, the eTrex Touch 25, 35 and 35t. All three units will share some features, although the more expensive two also include additional connectivity that the 25 does not. Here are some of the features that all the devices share:

  • 2.6 inch sunlight-readable capacitive touch screen
  • 16 hour battery life (estimated)
  • GPS and GLONASS support
  • HotFix satellite prediction for faster and more stable connections
  • 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass
  • barometric altimeter (not available on the eTrex Touch 25)
  • worldwide shaded relief basemap
  • microSD card slot
  • internal memory (25 and 35 come with 4 GB; 35t has 8 GB)
  • 250,000 preloaded geocaches

These devices are meant to be all-in-one and can be used for a variety of activities including hiking, cycling, rock climbing, hunting, geocaching or fishing. And, to facilitate all of the many things that these little units are capable of, Garmin has included activity profiles which will automatically save your preferences for each activity. Switching from one activity to another is designed to be simple so you could, theoretically, use this one unit for most things. Of course, it’s all going to depend on how well it does those things… but it’s still a cool idea. Having to lug around fewer things when you’re out adventuring is never bad, right?

The eTrex Touch 35 and 35t both feature a host of connectivity options as well as all of the above features. Both devices have incorporated wireless ANT+ connectivity so users can hook up a variety of sensors for just about any activity. Additionally, these devices are also Bluetooth compatible and can sync with compatible smartphones to display notifications while you’re on the trail so you can stay connected while keeping your device safely in your bag.

There isn’t a solid release date for these devices yet, and the press release simply states “summer 2015” which is… well, right now. I’d expect it sometime at the end of July or maybe even mid August though. In line with the pricing of the 2015 eTrex models, these devices continue on the same price ramp. The eTrex Touch 25 starts at $249.99, the 35 will be priced at $299.99 and the 35t is expected to cost around $349.99.

 

Comments

  1. Brian Lang says:

    Why does Garmin think people want pre-loaded geocaches? If I had one with pre-loaded caches, the first thing I’d do is wipe them off. Caches get archived, go into maintenance all the time – how is Garmin keeping that list updated?

    • Thanks to the new .GZZ file format it will update everytime you update the device. Just like Basecamp does. The compression of the .GZZ format makes the actual file size very small.

  2. I have an eTrex 30 which I love. I use it for cycling, hiking, snowshoeing etc. I don’t want or need a touch screen, for me the cons outweigh the pros. I like being able to use the GPS with gloves or mitts or while in motion on the bike. On the other hand naming waypoints etc would be way easier with a touch screen.

    I’m glad they’re keeping the older interface as well.

    PS. The different profiles for different activities work well for me at least.

  3. SamWise Gamgee says:

    I have the Etrex 20.

    There are a few issues that make me want to upgrade:
    -Easier to name waypoints would be a blessing, as mentioned by Malcolm above.As it stands, using the little joystick for every letter of your waypoint name, is such a slow process on my Etrex 20.

    -Easier access to TracBack feature. Come on Garmin, such a handy feature of TracBack (i.e. follow the bread crumb trail home) should be more accessible.
    After countless updates, Garmin still hasn’t made a shortcut to this feature in the user-interface.

    -Compass. A 3-axis compass would have been handy. My Etrex 20 doesn’t have one.

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