Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget, the Garmin eTrex H GPS navigator helps you navigate your way through the toughest terrain. The unit is equipped with a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, which locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons. The advantage is clear whether you're traipsing through thick woods or strolling near tall buildings and trees, you can count on the eTrex H to help you find your way when you need it the most. And just like the original eTrex, this little yellow wonder is intuitive and rugged, with a lightweight housing that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
- Rugged case
Best technology in a starter unit
If you’re only interested in point to point navigation (geocaching, trail tracks or just finding your way back to the car or the ski chalet), then this unit will do a great job for a no-regrets price. If you’re looking for road network navigation, then this isn’t for you.
Be aware that this is the ‘H’, for ‘High Sensitivity’ unit, introduced in 2007. It’s appearance is almost identical to older Yellow Etrex units, the difference being “High Sensitivity” in red letters just above the screen. Although the older units do work and may still be found, their worth is significantly lessened by the availability of this unit. That’s something to keep in mind when looking at used or “new old stock” units at other venues.
One thing that other reviews mention is true – straight out of the box it takes a long time (hours) to acquire it’s almanac (a digital description of where satellites are in the sky which is transmitted periodically) and then it’s satellite signals. Mine took at least 3 hours and had me thinking it was defective until it finally locked in. Don’t despair, this is a one-time thing – once accomplished, start-up time is about 5 seconds.
Garmin E-Trex 100 H
Edited 8/6/09 — Okay. This has become my standard GPSr but I no longer recommend it for the new cacher. I have gotten accuracies within 5 feet in the worst conditions. Although I still like it, the biggest drawback is that the downloads require a serial port. Most computers don’t have these any longer which means you need a conversion cable ..another $35 .. if you can find one. For basic GCing, I now suggest the Garmin Venture. Same basic operation but uses a standard USB connection.
An Excellent Basic GPS
Awesome Basic GPS Unit, Great Price!
There are more expensive GPS units that do more out there. I love technology in all parts of my life, but the reason I backpack is to simplify. The last thing I wanted was to buy a complex GPS that required the purchasing and loading of topo maps onto my computer … and all the headaches and hassles thereunto. (Read some of the reviews on the pricier, more complex GPS models.)
I took this eTrex with me on a multi-day backpacking trip in Southern PA. I received the eTrex literally the evening of the day before I was to leave. I turned it on, watched a few on-line videos, and was off and running. (I even made copies of a few pages of the owner’s manual to take with me, but found that the unit is so simple to use that I didn’t need them.)
I gave it four stars because the owner’s manual is very poorly written. This is my first GPS unit and some discussion of the basics would have been helpful. But with the help of a few videos on Youtube and other places on-line, I was able to get up and running fairly quickly.
As with other reviewers, my eTrex took a few minutes to find the satellites when I first turned it on at home. The other things new users might want to know is that if you drive several hours before turning the unit on (as I did), the eTrex needs a few extra minutes to “find” itself again. Not a big deal, but good to know.
Bottom line: If you want a simple GPS for backpacking, hunting or fly-fishing, then this is the unit to get.
Heading and Speed Fluctuate
Perhaps the issue could be fixed with a software update (I was running 2.6), but the cable is so expensive.
Update 4/6/2009: After complaining to Garmin technical support, they sent me a RS-232 to USB adapter cable and USB interface cable so I could hook this up to my computer and update the firmware. Now, with ver. 3.1 installed things seem to be working fine. If you plan on updating your firmware using one of these converter cables, be aware the process is not for the faint of heart. I am pretty techie yet I had a heck of a time getting Garmin’s update software to recognize my unit!
Fine basic unit
Obviously, this is a basic unit. If you are interested in additional features such as mapping, route tracking to an on-board map, calling your mother, etc…, look elsewhere. However, be warned, most users use those features for about 20 minutes (on average) before forgetting they exist.
Four stars only because of the interface cable is not included and must be purchased separately.
Great for the price!
Simple…but, that’s the point.
This is my first GPS. I am no luddite, I have built my own PC more than once, and am generally excited by technology — when it works (don’t get me started on the awful disappointment that is every mobile phone and mobile phone network on the planet). I am an avid mostly car camper/day hiker, though I have aspirations of weekend-long hikes (crowds do tend to chafe). In the Marine Corps, I was trained to actually use a map and compass (as in, “find the tree with an orange spot on it in the dense forests of North Carolina”). Though I’m a little rusty, I do exercise that skill once in a while, and philosophically, I prefer it. I’m a bargain-hunter. I hope to use this on hiking trails or in wilderness as a tool to keep me from becoming hopelessly lost, and I don’t geocache.
1) Ease of Use. I’ve never had a GPS before, but it only took the short walk from the parking lot at Disneyland to the front gate to figure out how to mark waypoints, use GOTO and Trackback without the benefit of the manual or any quickstart guide. Button purpose was easy to intuit. Poking around randomly is an effective learning tool (the same can’t be said for my mobile phone).
2) Accuracy. On said initial use, the device told me that I had returned to the front gate of Disneyland (waypoint #2), and when I had returned to my car (waypoint #1). In “Normal” mode, the “Skyview” screen normally displays an accuracy of between 14′ – 20′ indoors or in a car. I have yet to try to hide myself from the Sattelites in dense jungle (maybe a later review).
3) Ease of Use. Worth saying twice.
4) Durability. It appears that it will take a short drop or two, though I prefer not to test this personally, and there’s no official statement of it’s comparison to known standards (i.e., IEC 2060529). Garmin’s website does state that the eTrex H is waterproof to IPX7 (within the aforementioned IEC 2060529), which means it is protected against temporary immersion in up to 1 meter of water.
1) There are no maps, though this could be said to be a “pro”. I anticipate having a physical (most likely paper) map (as I usually do for use with a compass), so this isn’t a big deal to me. If you expect a map you would be in for an awful surprise. Having no maps, however, isn’t a torturous idea; you can successfully use waypoints, routes, and trackbacks to prevent you from getting lost, and your indicated lat/long (or grid coord.s) to let someone else know where you were if you needed to.
2) The screen is a little difficult to read without the backlight indoors or under cloudy conditions. There is a contrast adjustment, but there is apparently no adjustment for brightness. The resolution is fine (text and numbers are clear enough), but could be better given the small screen (some lines are too pixelated to be clear).
Overall, I’m very happy with it and I look forward to trying to get lost. I, unlike some others who’ve reviewed here, did not see the hours-long delay in acquiring an initial sattelite array; I was up and running in about ten minutes. I will not be transferring data to or from my PC, nor will I be geocaching, so the lack of a data cable or maps is in no way disappointing. I need it to work simply (which it does) and accurately (which it also does) in potentially adverse conditions (which I believe it will do).
The size is excellent can fit anywhere in my gear and works great under cloud cover and trees so far. The manual isnt so great but it is so easy I played around with it for about 10 minutes and figured it out. I gave it four stars simply because when you select MGRS, the numbers are small and it takes that extra second to read.
Hopes this helps out any other u.s. military interested