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jamescam

Garmin eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30

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I have decided on picking up one of the new Garmin eTrex units when they begin shipping in the next month or so (some sites are saying mid-August), however I am unsure of which model to go with. The eTrex 20 can be had for under $200 while the eTrex 30 is $100 more but adds a tri-axial electronic compass, barometric altimeter and wireless data transfer to compatible units. I do not think I would use the barometric altimeter or wireless data transfer features but I'm curious about the tri-axial electronic compass. My biggest annoyance with the hobby is the bouncing signal or losing my heading that occurs when using my Win 7 phone under the cover of the trees found plentiful here in the northwest and (unless I'm misunderstanding what it is) I think the built in compass could help with that. To help with the decision I'm seeking advice on how the incremental features found in the eTrex 30 could be used and opinions on whether it's worth the extra $100. Thanks!

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Try searching for the same questions applied to the ETrex Legend vs. Vista. This has come up many many times. The ETrex 30 has even a better compass than the Vista.

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When I found myself in the market for a new handheld, I had decided to wait until the new eTrex line came out. Like you, I was debating about the extra money for the 30 vs the 20.

 

I had decided, based upon my experience with my trusty 60CSx, that the electronic compass was not going to be worth the money and so I settled on the 20.

 

I went to our local retailer's website to place a pre-order for the eTrex20 when I noticed they had a sale on the Dakota 20. Sure, it was a model that is a couple of years old, but it had all the extras (compass, altimeter, wireless sharing) but it was only $20 more than the eTrex 20. While I wasn't willing to pay an extra $100 for the features, I felt $20 made it worth it.

 

The 3-axis compass is WAY better than the old 2-axis models. One of the reasons I wasn't willing to pay more for the compass was because on my old 60CSx it was pretty useless so I kept it turned off most of the time. The 3-axis model actually works really well. I love it, but I'm still not convinced it is worth an extra $100, but I might go as high as $50 now.

 

(And, I still never use my altimeter or wireless sharing which is as I expected.)

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Hi,

 

Does anyone know if these two new models allows custom maps and birdeyes images?

 

Garmin hasn't yet put the specifications in the site for these new models.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

AA

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Hi,

 

Does anyone know if these two new models allows custom maps and birdeyes images?

 

Garmin hasn't yet put the specifications in the site for these new models.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

AA

The eTrex 20 & 30 does BirsEye and the 30 also does Chirp. As far as Garmin Custom Maps, I don't think that has been established yet.

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Im a big 3 axis compass fan but $100 is a lot of money. Personally if I were going to spend $300 I would just look at the Dakota 20 or the Oregon 450.

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Wait a little. The prices will drop as they are priced too high. I expect pricing will be $100, $150 and $200 for the three new models within the first 6 months.

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Wait a little. The prices will drop as they are priced too high. I expect pricing will be $100, $150 and $200 for the three new models within the first 6 months.

 

This seems much more reasonable given the specs.

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Yah, they always overprice them before release. They need to come inline with the other models quickly, or they do not sell. You can get an Oregon 450 for $300, so selling an Etrex for the same price makes no sense. They have to be less than a Dakota in the end.

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Hi,

 

I'm a little bit disappointed because these new models does not allow custom maps.

 

AA

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I'm a little bit disappointed because these new models does not allow custom maps.

By custom maps, do you mean ones you create yourself? Do the current eTrex units allow that, and where have you seen detailed specs about the new ones that indicate they don't have that capability? I've been watching Garmin's site but haven't seen much about them yet.

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Thanks for the information, Red. There are no links to the Garmin shop from the eTrex page, so I didn't know there were more details there.

 

What I'm hoping for is compatibility with the open-source USGS maps. Guess I'll have to wait until the new units come out and see what luck folks have with those.

 

p.s. Greetings to the Calgary area. I've visited Bragg Creek a few times.

Edited by Wintertime

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Interesting that the spec page says no custom maps? Garmin's custom map page lists the eTrex 20 & 30 as compatible?

 

https://support.garmin.com/support/searchSupport/case.faces?caseId=%7B7aca6c60-ac37-11e0-d01c-000000000000%7D

 

JT

 

Indeed it does...very interesting. We may not know until it actually comes out. I have found Garmins spec page to be off from time to time so it doesn't surprise me too much.

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I was originally hoping it would (thought it might be a deal breaker), but it looks like there are many other options available for maps outside of Garmin that would work fine. How often do you think most users make custom maps?

 

JT

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I was originally hoping it would (thought it might be a deal breaker), but it looks like there are many other options available for maps outside of Garmin that would work fine. How often do you think most users make custom maps?

 

JT

 

I doubt very often. The "custom maps" are very limited, so not very useful. In general, making custom vector maps is a much better way to go.

 

What exactly are you wanting to achieve?

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Well, the only GPS I have owned (sold it) was the original eTrex. It was a nice unit to start with but I eventually decided I wanted map capabilities. I will definitely start geocaching again, but mostly want it for backpacking. I was just backpacking last weekend in the Jefferson Wilderness and ran into a lot of snow (couldn't find trail) and low visibility. The map and compass just weren't doing it for me in that situation. Realized just how much I miss my GPS. Good thing my fiend had one! His didn't have maps as well, and it would have made a big difference. In addition, I used the eTrex on my bike and will get a bike mount for it as well. So, it needs to be small, good visibility on a bike, and capable of mapping. I'm looking at the eTrex 30 or Dakota 20 (started another thread about this). I've used the National Geographic TOPO! State products for years (synced waypoints with the eTrex) and in an ideal world I would be able to transfer those maps. However, looks like that is not going to happen (another thread). The upside is that on the National Geographic thread there have been some great alternatives mentioned. I have used (and own) an old copy of MapSource 1000K (version 2) but never really liked it (why I purchased National Geographic TOPO!) Although, it looks like it might be better then the basemaps that come with the Garmins? I'm on a Mac now so I guess I have to use a program to convert them for the Mac - I'll have to look into that. Although I did take a look at the new Garmin 24K series and that may be the simplest answer to all of this.

 

JT

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Well, that was easy!

 

1 - Used Garmin MapConverter to convert the TOPO USA 1000K maps from PC to Mac.

 

2 - Transferred the maps to my Mac.

 

3 - Used Garmin MapManager to install the maps on the Mac.

 

4 - Opened BaseCamp and there they were!

 

Now, the only problem is they are really old :) There is a third bridge in my small town that does not even show up in the maps. Oh well, at least most of the stuff should be good.

 

JT

Edited by mobiletaylor

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