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Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS Review

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS
Getting lost can be fun sometimes, but thanks to the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS, it only happens when we want it to.
Without question, getting lost is part of the fun of motorcycling. But what happens when it’s time to be serious? Places to go, people to see, schedules to keep - this is when Garmin’s eTrex Legend HCx handheld GPS comes in.

Weighing in at just over a third of a pound (with double-A batteries), and about the size of a pack of cigarettes, the Legend HCX is small enough to fit just about any sized pocket. A tough, scratch resistant plastic case and tacky rubber on the sides and back cover prevent it from slipping out of your hand, plus it’s waterproof so don’t worry about getting it wet.

A powerful receiver acquires satellites within just seconds, whether you’re inside a building or out riding in a deep canyon pass. Navigating through its menu system is easy courtesy of its side toggle buttons and the thumbstick on the front of the unit. A bright, backlit 256-color display is clear and easy to read even in direct sunlight.

Although the device comes preloaded with a worldwide base map, it doesn’t provide enough detail for routing within a city. Detailed routing requires the purchase of the optional $99.99 City Navigator North America map data. Once purchased you can upload the map data via a mini-USB port that doubles as a power plug on the back of the unit. Or simply load the maps on a microSD card and insert into the card slot located underneath the battery cover.
In addition to trip routing, the Legend HCx features some cool features like the ability to locate nearest lodging, fuel, and restaurants as well as a customizable trip computer that keeps track of mileage, average speed, maximum speed, and elevation. We enjoyed having the ability to mark waypoints, and create and save routes that you can share with friends.

Garmin eTrex Legend Highs & Lows
  • Small, light-weight, go-anywhere design
  • Easy navigation toggle switches and joystick
  • City maps an extra $100
  • Included 128mb microSD card too small

Although we’re pretty satisfied with Garmin’s handheld GPS it does have some features that could be improved. First, the processing power could be faster as takes some patience to navigate through parts of the menu, specifically the Recent Finds submenu. We also didn’t like that the unit only comes with a 128mb microSD card which fills up way too quickly with your route track information, not to mention that you need to spend another $100 to get the proper maps that should be included with its purchase price.

Nonetheless, after using the eTrex Legend HCx for the last few months we’d be lost literally lost without it. If you’re looking for a pocket-sized GPS that you can take with you anywhere, look no further.

For More Info: www.garmin.com
MSRP: $249.99

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Chris -Good Buy  May 14, 2010 05:14 AM
Don't bother to buy Garmin's overpriced maps. Google "Open Street Maps". You can find links there to the .img files for your part of the USA. Also purchase the Legend HCx version so you can buy micro SD cards to expand the memory. You can also create your own custom maps of uncharted areas by using "http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/draw/". This site has many satellite maps, USGS maps that you can toggle through while you are drawing your custom map. Lets say that you want to map your favorite hidden lake or uncharted trail through the woods. Simply create tracks or areas then export them to GPX format right from the website. Open the GPX files with the free version of GPSMapEdit. Within this tool you can convert your tracks to color coded areas/tracks and export them to Garmin's .img format. Then if you like your custom map and want to merge it with your current Open Street Map file you can use the free tool "mkgmap". Once merged, upload your finished product to your GPS. This is a much easier way of creating custom maps than many of the tutorials that are out there on the web. Happy GPS'ing!
John -Whaterproof?  February 20, 2009 10:35 AM
Is it waterproof? and no tactile screen right?
Torsten -Answer  December 14, 2008 02:11 AM
@ x2468 Yes you can. But you have to buy a mount for it. Not something that will bust your budget though. I belive it's around $70 for the complete motorbike mount kit (incl cables, plugs etc). You can get away with doing it cheaper if you only by the handlebar mount without the motorcycle power kit. This however means that your GPS will stop working when it runs out of battery. But the mount is the same. The screen is in my oppinion not too small. Obviously the Zumo is the way to go if you will only ever use the GPS on your bike, and if you've got the money for it. But the Zumo will be a bit on the large side to walk around with in your pocket. But not impossible, ofcourse. And finaly; yes, it has a turn by turn navigation.
x2468 -GPS  December 8, 2008 09:32 PM
can you mount this too your bars and get turn by turn directions or now? would you recommend this, or a larger model like the tom tom or garmin zumo 550
McBain -GPS Motorcycle Rides  November 18, 2008 11:00 PM
After you get your GPS goto SundayMorningRides.com to download 1000+ motorcycle rides.