Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Introduces New eTrex Handhelds


Just about every handheld top 10 features at least one, if not more, of Garmin’s eTrex line. These durable and affordable devices are incredibly popular, so it’s no surprise that Garmin has finally announced the next-generation eTrex devices: the eTrex 20x and 30x. The new eTrex units are expected to be available this summer and will share many features with the original eTrex line including the simple, easy-to-use interface.

Unlike its predecessors, the eTrex 20x and 30x both boast a 2.2 inch full-color, sunlight-readable, high resolution display for easy use in any weather condition. The devices are both rugged and waterproof with an IPX7 water rating, meaning that the devices can stand exposure to water up to one meter for 30 minutes.

The devices also feature 3.7 GB of internal memory with an expandable SD card slot for loading as many maps as users wish. The devices are compatible with the following map types:

  • TOPO 24K
  • HuntView
  • BlueChart g2
  • City Navigator (with turn-by-turn directions)
  • BirdsEye Satellite Imagery

There is also a dedicated geocaching profile with the ability to read GPX files so users can download caches directly to the unit instead of handling dozens of printed papers.

Of course, being a GPS unit, the next-gen eTrex devices both feature built-in high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receivers with GLONASS support and HotFix satellite prediction for a more reliable satellite fix. In the release, Garmin claims that the devices would be able to acquire satellites quickly and maintain the signal even in heavy cover and deep canyons. Both devices also feature a built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and a barometric altimeter, both of which were previously only available to the eTrex 30. Both new devices also feature extensive mounting capabilities.

The primary difference between the eTrex 20x and 30x, as far as I can see, is that the 30x will be able to wireless share waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches with other compatible units. Otherwise, they seem pretty much the same.

The eTrex 20x and 30x are expected to be available this summer. The eTrex 20x should retail for $199.99 and the eTrex 30x will be available for $299.99.

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