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Garmin preps improved hiking map units

updated 04:15 pm EDT, Thu May 24, 2007

Garmin eTrex 2007 Leak

Garmin will make sweeping changes to its eTrex line of mapping handhelds, a Canadian brochure (PDF) reveals. All four of the systems will have GPS positioning support, including the option of an installable chip that can relay data through Europe's Galileo satellites. Waterproofing and a ruggedized shell will also help them withstand the punishment of a trail hike while power through a pair of AA batteries should keep them running without the need for an PC or wall outlet.

The eTrex H (pictured, left) starts the line with only basic direction-finding on its monochrome screen. Up to 500 waypoints can be saved for later use while a TracBack feature instantly points back to a starting position for those lost outdoors. A trip computer will also be in place to calculate distance, speed, and time. It should be available for $120 CDN ($111 US).

A step above the H will be the eTrex Venture Hc (shown at middle). Similarly styled compared to the H, it should sit between the budget model and fuller-fledged GPS units: it includes a color screen with a 12-channel GPS receiver, but trims costs by eliminating automatic routing. In return, owners get 24MB of memory which can hold localized maps as well as 10,000 saved tracking points and 20 complete saved tracks. Garmin should introduce the Venture Hc for $210 CDN ($194 US).

Two full-blown GPS units will also enter the line. Both the Legend HCx and Vista HCx (pictured at right) add a microSD slot for much larger map databases and the ability to auto-route users when in urban areas; the Vista HCx in particular will claim the top of the range through a hiking-friendly altimeter and compass set as well as longer battery life. The two should sell for $290 CDN ($268) and $320 CDN ($296) respectively.

Each of the four eTrex updates are due for a fall release. [via GPSPassion]




by MacNN Staff

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