Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Garmin Etrex H!

Ok, a technologic post :-)
I’m no techno geek, I have really few electronic devices and gadgets, I just buy what I really need or what I know I can really use a lot. And I always seek the same features in the devices I buy, I want everything to be simple and to do what it’s supposed to do without gimmicks.
Recently in the ooutdoors/sports world there is a lot of attention on GPS devices, as they’re a simple, affordable and reliable way to keep track of time and distance. From a sport-oriented point of view, relating time and distance can mean performance. From a exploring-oriented point of view, it means find the way to something.
I bought the Garmin Etrex H two years ago. I wanted a podometer to monitor my runs, and the idea of using it also as a cyclocomputer and also as a little help to find the way to the car after a day in the woods.

I won’t enter in tehnical specs, you can have a look at the Garmin website if you’re interested:
It’s very well built, after two years of use it works very well. The signal is always very good, both in the woods and in the narrow streets of the center. I remember one single time that it crashed (well, sort of), a single crash in two years means it’s more reliable that the average computer I think.
It runs on two AA batteries (rechargeable too), it may sound bad for some people because of the weight, but for me it’s a big pro as I like every device to run on the same type of batteries, and AA batteries can be found everywhere.
I use this little jellow thing as a cyclocomputer (fixed on the handlebar), to go running (I know that running purists will horrify, but I just keep it in my hand) and also for orientation is foreign cities.
It’s true that it does not have cartographic support but using things like Virtual Google Earth:
you can easily obtain coordinates of the places you have to reach and insert them in the Etrex (editing the point coordinates). So it can help you reaching your destination, it’s great if you’re walking around a city you don’t know.
It’s not the best choice if you need a car GPS device, but with some patience you can create a route using the coordinates of the single points where you have to make a turn, so it can help you in the car too (I have no gps device in the car and I’ve done this thing a few times, it takes some minutes but it’s not that difficult)
Garmin sells the original holster for it, I bought a compact-camera case and it fits perfectly!

Well done Garmin, please don’t discontinue this great product!

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