Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
The Garmin eTrex Vista HCx is a high-sensitivity mapping lightweight handheld GPS navigator, waterproof designed with a 2.0-inch anti-glare with bright colour TFT, 176-by-220-pixels high resolution display, LED backlit display and keypad, a built-in electronic compass that provides bearing information, plus a barometric altimeter that tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint the precise altitude and also keeping track of the changing whether conditions. This GPS gadget is fitted with the WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) technology in order for it to achieve an accuracy margin and provides peak performance in any environment. It also has a high-sensitivity 12 channels GPS receiver to capture satellite signal, a built-in base-map with automatic routing capability, millions Points of Interests (POIs) with 1000 way points (favourites or locations) with names and graphic symbols, 50 reversible routes, 20 Tracks, plus it is also compatible with MapSource products including BlueChart®, City Select® and U.S. TOPO 24K. It features an MP3 player for entertainment and the device also provides automatic turn by turn directions with optional auto navigation kit Audible beeper alarm which enables you to configure its tones. Besides that, it also support PC connectivity with its USB mass storage device, along with a microSD card slot for additional storage that support up to 4GB in capacity.
Although the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx comes with a small size, it offers a unique button layout, with five buttons located on either side of the unit. This is to provide easy operation of the device by using one hand, while images can be seen through the 256-colour sunlight-readable TFT display. Its five buttons consist of Power key (to turns unit on/off and sets backlight), Quit/page key (escapes the current function or goes to the next main page), In/out zoom keys (for Zooming in/out on a map page, or scrolls through menu lists), Menu/Find key (context-sensitive menus or press and hold to access the Find menu) and the Enter/rocker (works as a joystick, press and release this button to Enter or mark locations). It is also equipped with a built-in electronic compass that provides bearing information whether you are moving or in a standing mode, and its barometric altimeter can track changes in pressure for providing exact altitude of the current location as well as keeping track on the changing weather conditions. It features a Tracking function that works like “breadcrumbs” where it logs in information during a trip for example the TracBack feature for selecting the current or saved track thus allowing user to retrace previous steps.
Other features include GPS Software such as Garmin Atlantic Recreational, Basemap, MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager, a built-in patch antenna, and IPX7 waterproof housing. Besides that, it also supports OSX-based utilities such as a firmware updater and map and Point of Interest loaders, a hunt/fish calendar, sun and moon information, a geocaching mode, plus trip computer records (which is data read-out display of information such as elevation, speed, course, odometer, distance to next destination, distance to final destination, Sun/moon positions, Sunrise/sunset times or current ETA as destination). With the Garmin MapSource software provided by the device, user will be able to upload, download and edit waypoints, tracks and routes. Just by inserting the MapSource card, you will be able to get detail information of street maps and the GPS also provides turn-by-turn directions to the required destination. The Garmin eTrex Vista HCx has a dimension of 5.6 cm in width, 3 cm in depth, 10.7 cm in height, weighs in at 156 grams, and it is powered by two AA type batteries that have an average battery life up to 25 hours of usage.
The device represents value for money due to its advanced technology and functionality, along with its lightweight and compact design which caters for the usage of hiking, driving or even bicycling. With all those features incorporated in the GPS navigator, users can use it in any environment whether in the jungle, high terrain as well as on the road.
“If you need a new hand held GPS, get this one. (Caveat Emptor.)” (KSguy,-)
“The VistaHCx seems to have brought the eTrex series to full features currently available in a handheld outdoor unit, which is also capable of routing on highways. It is also similar in features to the Garmin 60CSx, which has a bigger screen and different shape as well as quad helix antenna. Having used all of the etrex models that have evolved into this one, I have found the HCx is a handy small GPS unit, with all of the features that seem to be on the market right now. I would say it is best suited for geocaching and outdoor use such as hiking, etc. It does well with road navigation if you purchase the CityNavigator software, however it not as easy to operate in a car as the touchscreen navigators and the VistaHCx does not offer any voice directions, only an audible alert when to turn. What I like about the VistaHCx is the small size, and I don’t feel like I am giving up any features.” (GPSinformation,-)