Garmin eTrex 30x hands-on review
Garmin eTrex 30x – a recommended handheld GPS device for outdoor activities like trekking, hiking, mountaineering, kayaking and mountain biking. The eTrex 30x is small, lightweight, glove friendly, full of features and offers an outstanding battery life and an excellent sunlight readable display.
The Garmin eTrex 30x is a slightly upgraded version of the Garmin eTrex 30, a popular GPS handheld for outdoor enthusiasts. Compared to the eTrex 30, the new eTrex comes with a high-resolution display (400 x 320 pixels vs. 176 x 220 pixels), more internal memory (3,7 GB vs. 1,7 GB) and – depending on your country – a preloaded Garmin TopoActive map.
We tested the Garmin eTrex 30x during different outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, cross country skiing and kayaking and found a lot of good and only a few bad aspects! We especially like the class-leading battery life (ranging from 11:00 to 36:30 hh:mm with eneloop LSD NiMH batteries, depending on the settings), the excellent display and it’s size and weight.
Our map provides some tracks recorded with various Garmin GPS handhelds and wearables (GPSmap 64s, eTrex 30, eTrex Touch, Oregon, fenix 3, epix). You can use this for GPS accuracy data comparisons and making up your own mind.
In our opinion the GPS accuracy of the eTrex 30x can not be compared with a handheld like the GPSmap 64s, but it is at par with handhelds like the eTrex Touch or the Oregon series.
Weight, size: 142 g / 5.4 x 10.3 x 3.3 cm / 5 oz / 2.1″ x 4.0″ x 1.3″
Display: 2.2″ transflective, 65K color TFT, 240 x 320 pixels, no touchscreen
Battery: Two AA batteries
Battery life: up to 25 hours
Satellite systems: GPS / GLONASS / WAAS / EGNOS
Interface: ANT+ / USB
Memory: 3.6 GB (314 MB free for user data), microSD up to 32 GB
- 2.000 GPX files
- 2.000 waypoints
- 5.000 geocaches
- 200 routes (250 waypoints each)
- 200 saved tracks
- 2.000 archive tracks
- 10.000 points per track
Sensors (build in): Barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass
Sensors (ANT+): Heart rate, bike speed, bike cadence, temperature, chirp
Wireless ANT+: Sending & receiving data from compatible devices (e.g. waypoints, routes, tracks)
Garmin eTrex 30x
SUMMARY: The first steps with the Garmin eTrex 30x might be hard – especially when you are a novice user: the menu in combination with the thumbstick & button handling is quite annoying, getting used to all navigation features is time consuming.
But when you mastered these initial drawbacks, you get a rugged outdoor GPS handheld with an excellent display and an outstanding battery life – ready for all adventures!
The sluggish map zooming and panning are limitations when comparing the eTrex 30x with actual GPS handhelds from Garmin, but the many good aspects of the eTrex 30x convince us!
Recommended handheld GPS device, especially for kayaking and long-distance hiking with lightweight gear!
Excellent high resolution display
Class-leading battery life
Fast satellite reception
Glove friendly design
Feature set for different outdoor activities
Activity profiles for different settings
Wireless ANT+ interface for unit-to-unit transfer and sensors
Small & lightweight, fits in every pocket, e.g. life jackets
Availability of maps (different types, worldwide, free OpenStreetMaps)
Huge range of accessoires
Sluggish when zooming and panning maps
Some data fields with a slight yellow color cast
Small screen size
Interface takes some time to get used to (menu, thumbstick and button handling)
Individual setup requires some know-how
- GPS 80%
- Battery 100%
- Display 100%
- Handling 60%
- Navigation 80%
- Features 80%
- Maps 100%
- Final Verdict 90%