Review Snapshot

Awesome mapping capabilities and satellite detection makes this handheld very popular. Also the interface is vastly improved from previous iterations.


About the only con I found was that the price is a bit high for a product that has been out so long.


For me, this handheld is a solid buy with no doubts. It helps that I have owned one myself and can speak for the value and ease of use.

Reviewed by:
Rodney Southern : I am a long time writer and have been writing full time online for over seven ye...Member Reputation 22 • 39 active Krits
Garmin e Trex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS from Garmin
Garmin ETrex 30 Review
Rodney Southern rates this 4.5/5
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Garmin e Trex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS detailed information
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FULL REVIEW: Garmin eTrex 30 Navigator (Handheld GPS)

Although the Garmin eTrex 30 worldwide handheld GPS navigator is not the newest product on the market, it is still one of the more popular handhelds among hikers and hunters out there. If you are an adventurer, then chances are you are somewhat familiar with this GPS device. It took some even earlier models of worldwide handhelds and added more features and improvements to make it more compatible with the adventurous set of consumers. Even now it stands up well and can be found via Amazon and other online retailers. In a world where you can get directions on your wrist almost as quickly, that is something else.

So what makes the Garmin eTrex 30 better?

It really depends on who you ask. Some folks like the interface better than the old 20 and some donít. To tell you the truth, it seems that from the reviews I went through it was clear that most people that complained about the interface were likely not used to working the unit. It takes time to grow comfortable with any GPS, and particularly so for a handheld. For this reason, many people feel locked into the original that they carried and scoff at anything new. The 30 runs circles around previous Garmins in my view, so complainers likely need some time practicing to learn the interface better.

Another huge improvement is the toughness and durability. In every review, this is something that came up as a positive for the Garmin eTrex 30. It is built strong and light, making it the ideal handheld GPS. Weighing only one pound, you are not going to hardly notice it as you hike along your adventure. Though it is lightweight, it is still built to last. The rubber protection around the edges is effective and it is actually water-proof to IPX7 standards. This basically means you can get it splashed or rained on and it should be fine. Some say that you can dunk it once or twice in water, but I would not risk that. Either way, the Garmin e-Trex 30 is built to last.

What about expanded mapping capabilities?

This is a seriously global handheld GPS. It can read GPS and GLONASS satellites at the same time. This is awesome because it gives you access to many more satellites than GPS alone. When you are out on an adventure or genuinely lost, you can bet your bottom dollar that is hugely important. It also means you can literally go anywhere and pick up readings. In a canyon down deep or on top of a mountain, your signal will be sharp and clear.

As for mapping, the Garmin eTrex 30 is as solid as it gets. It loads up for trips on land, sea and road with pinpoint accuracy and has flexibility that is hard to find in handheld GPS units. It has 1.7 GB of internal memory, making the use of the MicroSD card only occasionally necessary. It works awesomely with TOPO 24K, BlueChart and City Navigator NT map data, as well as many many others. The fact is, if the map is available, then Garmin likely will handle it. You can also share data with other compatible units in the area.

Are there any new doodads for Garmin?

The eTrex 30 offers up a great display that shows up at night and in bright sunlight. Regardless, you will see the display clearly. It also has a barometric altimeter that can show you changes in pressure. These will tell you about altitude and weather patterns once you learn how to read them. The electronic compass is also brilliant as it keeps you on point no matter where you are. Having your bearings is vital in nature and out on the water.

Finally the eTrex 30 is capable of being mounted or worn in a number of ways. It has a place for a lanyard and it also can be mounted easily on a bike or ATV.

Final Opinion

The Garmin is a solid handheld GPS that is perfect for the adventurous set out there. I have owned one of these and love everything about it. In addition, the reviews I find online tells me that the unit is popular with others as well. All the reviews were positive, and the fact that it is still going strong is indicative of a solid product as well. I rate this a solid buy.
Date Reviewed: April 13, 2012, 11:38 am
Reviewed by Rodney Southern
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