Garmin eTrex Vista GPS Review

4.17 out of 5
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Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

December 17, 2013
Model/Year: 2009

Pros: Small and good battery life. Easy to use. Grabs a signal easy.

Cons: not a lot of detail like the upper end models

Recommendation: I would buy another unit if this one ever gives up. The price and what you get are great.

January 14, 2011
Pros: Built in altimeter and compass. Screen size.

Cons: Battery usage. Cold weather eats them alive and they seem to shake loose at times, turning the unit off. Signal loss in tree cover.

Recommendation: I was looking for a good unit to use for mapping both biking and hiking and this unit has certainly pointed me in the right direction. Luckily, it's a loaner so I'll be able to spend my money on the model up with the extra bells and whistles that will hopefully make this my ideal unit. All in all, a great unit to start with for bikers/hikers.

August 20, 2008
Pros: Small Size, Easy To Use, Multiple Purpose

Cons: Signal Lock Just Short of Excellent

Recommendation: This is what I had before I upgraded to the 60CSx. Very similar functionality and a smaller package than 60CSx, but at the expense of a less sensitive antenna system. New HCx series should solve this. Excellent dollar value as the price of this unit PLUS either street map or topo map is about the same as the 60CSx by itself. If you can live with the less sensitive antenna, this unit is superb for handlebar mounting. Screen size allows easy viewing while riding, but like most LCD screens, it may be hard to see under some lighting conditions.

June 10, 2008
Pros: The display screen is easy to read while reading. The battery life is surprisingly long.

April 29, 2007
Pros: Very simple to use. Screen is easy to read...

Cons: navigation is a little bit hard while you're really need to stop to do anything with this unit. If you're riding in the trees, it gets blocked from the signal, but so does every gps I think.

Recommendation: I think it's a great grab for the price. It does most everything a lot of more expensive units do without the bells and whistles.

April 21, 2007
Pros: The unit is easy to use menu system, compact, and durable.

Cons: The unit can take a long time to start-up and track satellites. No mapping software or USB cable included.

Recommendation: Once the unit is up and running it is reliable. Easy of use is great. Garmin could have add a USB cable and mapping software, and charged a little more for the unit.

April 12, 2007
Pros: The accuracy of the unit is pretty good. At the end of your ride, you can see exactly how far you have gone, total elevation change and speeds. The unit will take uploads for Europe maps also. Very durable. While crossing what I thought was a small washout in Spain, I discovered it was over 7 foot deep. I was clipped in and sank like a rock. The CD player that was supposedly waterproof, wasn't... The GPS was...

Cons: It came with a serial connection cord for map uploads. The USB cable is not available over here.

March 9, 2007
Pros: Built in maps and exit data make this a versatile choice; built in altimeter improves elevation accuracy; good amount of memory built in for track and waypoint data

Cons: Reception is poor in forested areas; easily jarred when biking leading to the unit to turn off

Recommendation: This is a reliable GPS receiver for the most part. I've dropped it countless times and it still works. My main complaint is the battery compartment - batteries are not held securely so when you bomb down a rough trail the GPS usually turns itself off. I've been able to fix this by adding padding to the compartment but it is still an issue. I've had this unit for 3 years or so and have mapped dozens of trails - a great investment.

Garmin eTrex Vista 4.17 out of 5 based on 8 ratings. 8 user reviews.