Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin eTrex Legend H and Vista H

ETrex Legend H

UPDATE: The Garmin eTrex Vista H now has its own page on GPS Tracklog.

Garmin has responded to the state of the economy with two new entry-level handheld GPS units, the eTrex Legend H (pictured at left) and eTrex Vista H. These are monochome units, with internal memory only (no micro-SD slot). The Vista H will include a barometric altimeter and electronic compass. MSRP is $149.99 and $199.99.

Here’s the full news release.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Michael Robertson says:

    Assuming that these units don’t have the routing feature (and I assume they don’t since the memory is limited), I don’t see what advantage they offer over the existing Venture HC and Summit HC models, which both have the same 24 MB of memory and color displays. The Venture HC is available for $130 at Amazon; the Summit HC is $184.

  2. I expect they’ll be steeply discounted, with the Legend coming in around $100 or so.

  3. I was going to say the price is kind of high compared to the street price of an HCx, if it would be a bit under $100 I’d buy one for my kids. Get a street price of $79.99 for the legend and $99.99 for the vista and they would be acceptable but any more than that you can just buy the HCx.

  4. I bought a Legend-H as a backup for my existing Etrex Legend when I saw it advertised for $90 at the local Best Buy. I have run the two units side by side and find that the Legend-H responds more quickly to page changes than the Legend, and seems to be more sensitive, even getting data from satellites inside the building I’m writing this in now.

    The Legend has a more detailed basemap than the Legend-H. Also, the “welcome message on the H only stays on for about ten seconds, whereas the Legend keeps it on for about thirty, long enough to read it.

    While the Legend provides a drop down list of pages from which to choose, available on every page, the H only allows page changes by cycling through the pages, although the configuration allows for removing pages from the list which will cycle. I was expecting for this to be irritating, but find the fast response of the unit to page changes to make it actually preferable to choosing a page from the drop down list.

    The Legend has both the proprietary Garmin protocol and the NMEA protocol, and works well with the gpsd and gpsman programs on linux. The H only has the propriety Garmin USB protocol, and only works on very recent versions of gpsman, (I found it to work on
    the Lenny release of Debian, but not the Sarge) and the Legend-H is not listed as a working model on the current website for gpsd.

    I had hopes of using the H with my laptop and some navigation software, but without gpsd compatability I can’t do that. The Legend works well for this, but I have to use a serial to usb converter with it, and the
    converter doesn’t provide enough power to the unit, which causes it to shut off, even with batteries in the compartment. Now I will have to make a supplemental power supply and rig it into the gps data

    For my most common use, logging data for mapmaking, it seems that the H will do what I need, and the price was right.

  5. Rich Owings says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. I think its the first hands on review I’ve seen of it.

  6. Are Mapsource 2008 Topo maps able to be loaded into the Legend H? Thanks in advance.

  7. Yes, but I would look at the Venture HC instead. Color units are much more visible in sunlight.

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