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Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

Detailed Description

July 24, 2012
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

The following is a detailed description of the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx referred to in the article "Handheld Mapping GPS, High Tech Gadget for Outdoors".

Package - eTrex Vista HCx, USB Cable, Wrist Strap, Auxiliary Mount Adapter, Owners Manual, Quick Start Guide, MapSource Trip & Waypoint Manager CD, United States Basemap (interstates, primary highways, major cities and large bodies of water), Auto Routing Capability (activates with optional maps)

-- 4 Primary Screens/Pages

Article Photos

eTrex Vista HCx

Main Menu Page - 15 Screen Choices (Satellite, Trip Computer, Mark, Find, Tracks, Routes, Highway, Setup, Proximity, Calendar, Calculator, Stopwatch, Sun & Moon, Hunt & Fish, Games)

Map Page - 8 options (Stop Navigation, Recalculate, Data Fields, Guidance Text, Setup Map, Measure Distance, Turn Declutter On, Restore Defaults)

Compass Page - 8 options (Sight 'n Go, Stop Navigation, Recalculate, Course Pointer, Data Fields, Change Data Fields, Calibrate Compass, Restore Defaults)

Article Links

Altimeter Page - 7 options (Plot Over Distance, View Pressure Plot, Zoom Ranges, Change Data Fields, Reset, Calibrate Altimeter, Restore Defaults)

Controls - 5 Buttons (In/Out Zoom, Menu/Find, Quit/Page, Power) and 1 Enter/Joystick control

Physical Dimensions or Specifications
Size4.2”h x 2.2”w x 1.2”d
Weight (w/2 AA Alkaline & Memory Card)5.7 oz.
Magnification Levels27 (20 ft. to 500 mi.)
Controls5 buttons (side) & joystick (front)
Operating Temperatures5° to 158° F
Start Acquisition (hot/warm/cold)3 / 33 / 39 seconds
Compass Accuracy± 1° (user calibrated)
Barometric Altimeter Accuracy± 1 ft. (user calibrated)
GPS Accuracy<33 ft.
DGPS (WAAS) Accuracy<10 ft.
Velocity Accuracy.32 ft/sec steady rate
Heading IndicatorCardinal Letters, Degrees, Mils
Internal MemoryNone
Memory CardmicroSD (any size)
Battery Type Menu SelectionsAlkaline, NiMH, Lithium
Approx. Battery Life (AA Alkaline)*25 hours
User Defined References20 Tracks (10,000 points/track)
1,000 Waypoints, 50 Routes
MSRP** (as tested with software/maps)$399

* Backlight usage and light intensity are the primary factors in reducing battery life.

PLUSES - Battery Life is outstanding (+++); Driving directions with the City Navigator microSD card are excellent with many of same features as GPS units used for traveling, such as beep alert and self correcting directions (+++); it does not give verbal directions; Garmin has hundreds of different detailed maps available (roads, waterways, topos, trails, parks), many of which are U.S. specific (+). Being area and type specific, you only need to purchase what fits your individual needs (+).

MINUSES - While the four control button on the sides are easy to activate, the power/backlight button is almost flush with the case making it a little more difficult to activate (-); Back lighting has to be adjusted each time the HCx is turned on (-); When not using backlighting, the screen is a little too dark (-); Different types of maps or geographic areas may require different microSD cards to be installed. While this adds massive flexibility, these maps are optional and require purchasing (-).

The Vista HCx with the City Navigator mapping software is very impressive. The screen shot is Pineview Memorial Park located on Youngstown Road (Route 422) between Warren, OH and Niles, OH. Not only does it show the boundaries (darker green), but it also shows were the driveways are located (red lines). This screen shot was created 17.26 miles way using the 'panning' feature of the Vista HCx.

One bayonet type clasp holds the back on the Vista HCx. A quarter turn releases the clasp allowing easy access to the batteries for easy replacement and the microSD card. The USB port is located under the rubber flap at the top of the case.

MSRP (as tested with software/maps) - $399

To return to Handheld Mapping GPS article:

First Published April 2010



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