updated 08:35 am EDT, Thu May 31, 2007
Garmin eTrex Update
Garmin this morning revamped its eTrex line of mapping handhelds with five new models. Elaborating on details from an online flyer, the company has given each unit a new, higher-sensitivity GPS receiver to better fix the user's actual position. Also new to the field is an improved geocaching technique, Garmin says. Rather than add coordinates manually for past caches, owners can download the information directly to an eTrex handheld (as well as some other units) to track others' travels.
The eTrex H ($100) starts the range with the most basic navigation functions: the ruggedized system contains just enough built-in memory to hold 500 waypoints or 20 complete routes and uses a lower-cost monochrome screen. The Venture HC ($200) and Summit HC ($250) add a color display as well as a larger 24MB of memory to overlay additional maps, with the Summit model adding an altimeter and a compass for rougher hiking trips.
At the peak of the line are the Legend HCx (pictured, $270) and Vista HCx ($300). Both build on the foundations of the Summit and Venture by adding a map of North America in memory with a microSD card slot for adding marine or urban map data. Autorouting also finds its way into the premium models with route recalculation and turn-by-turn signals for driving. As with the Summit, the Vista sports an altimeter and compass.
The complete refresh of the eTrex series is due to ship before the end of the summer.