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Garmin eTrex Touch – The right outdoor device for me?

Garmin offers the eTrex Touch Series, two GPS handhelds that are the "touchscreen" counterparts of the eTrex Series.

The devices have been on the market since 2015, a long time in the world of electronic gadgets. Perhaps they will be replaced in 2021?

Garmin eTrex Touch buyers guide
Garmin eTrex Touch 35

Garmin eTrex Touch – Best for

I recommend the two handsets especially for

  • Geocaching
  • Cycle touring
  • Hiking

How do the Touch 25 & the Touch 35 differ?

The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 has additional features on board:

  • Barometric altimeter for exact altitude data and for use as a weather station.
  • Bluetooth LE for connecting to a smartphone (Features: Display of smartphone notifications, LIVE tracking, data upload to Garmin Connect)
  • ANT+ to connect to sensors (heart rate, speed, cadence, combined speed/cadence, temperature); transfer waypoints, routes, tracks, geocaches to compatible Garmin devices; control a Garmin VIRB action camera or a Garmin chirp

For the extra features the eTrex Touch 35 costs about $50 more.

In my opinion Bluetooth is not necessary, ANT+ is helpful, the altimeter is a fine extra (especially for cycling and hiking).

Garmin eTrex Touch models – Pros & Cons – Buyer’s Guide

What are the pros of the two eTrex Touch GPS devices?

  • Small, light, handy
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to read display
  • All important functions for outdoor trips & geocaching
  • Extensively configurable
  • Wide range of commercial maps from Garmin
  • Compatible with free OSM maps
  • Memory expansion via microSD card
  • Multiple GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, SBAS)
  • Bicycle holder included

What are the cons of the two eTrex Touch GPS devices?

  • Small, low resolution display
  • User interface with some flaws
  • Annoying status field
  • Mix of GPX tracks and FIT activities
  • Outdated USB interface
  • No data download from smartphone (e.g. tracks)
Garmin eTrex Touch series buyers guide
Garmin eTrex Touch 35
Garmin etrex Touch 35
(As of: 2020/10/19 9:09 am - Details)
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  • Touchscreen - 2.6-inch color, capacitive touchscreen display
  • Activity profiles - easy-to-use navigation for multiple activities, including climb, hike, hunt, bike, geocache, fish and more
  • Electronic compass - all models offer a 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when standing still, without holding it level
  • Built-in mapping - all models feature worldwide base map with shaded relief, while the 35t comes preloaded with either topo u.s. 100k or topo Canada maps
  • Barometric altimeter - smart notifications - ant+ connectivity
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Conclusion & Recommendation – Garmin eTrex Touch Series – Purchase advice

How ever, my favorite GPS handhelds are really not the eTrex Touch models. They can do many things and can be used as allrounders, but they have disadvantages: Not in the technical way, but in the handling. An annoying status field always points to start the track recording, the user interface is not always intuitive.

I can only recommend: Try it out or choose another Garmin handheld device!

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