If you'd like to replace a bunch of state maps or a road atlas with a GPS receiver,
then the Garmin eTrex Legend might be for you. It comes with a basemap of North and
South America showing the main roads and other general details. It's perfect to take
on those trips when you get out of town.
In addition to the basemap, the Garmin eTrex Legend has a marine database built
in which has navigational aids for boaters. And for storing maps with greater detail,
the receiver has 8 MB of internal memory. Garmin offers a selection of map data on CDs
to choose from, and include city, topographic, fishing lake, marine, and world maps. The
maps are transferred to the receiver using the included PC interface cable.
Unlike most GPS receivers, the eTrex Legend has five of its six buttons,
on the side of its case. It was designed this way to make one-hand operation easier.
And of the buttons on the side, usually only two are used with any frequency, the Page
button and the Find button. So unless you prefer all the buttons where you can see them,
this should be a comfortable arrangement. The "Click Stick" on the front, is a directional control
button and functions similar to a computer mouse.
The Page button is used to select one of the five main screen displays of the Garmin
eTrex Legend. The Main Menu Page directs you to subpages for initializing various
functions, creating and managing waypoints and routes, finding points of interest,
managing tracks, and using the accessory functions. On the Satellite Page is shown
the position and signal strength for the GPS satellites in the area. As soon as three or
more satellites are tracked, you can begin to navigate. Your location coordinates are
shown, as is an estimate of the current accuracy of position calculations.
Once GPS navigation is ready, you use the Map Page, Navigation Page, and the Trip
Computer Page to update your progress. The Map Page displays either the basemap or an
additional map you downloaded to the eTrex Legend. Your position and route are marked
on the map along with the scale. Two zoom buttons control the scale from 20 feet to
500 miles to adjust both the amount of detail and map area shown. The view can also be
changed with the pan control. Two optional data fields can display various kinds of trip information
which you've selected.
A compass image is shown on the Navigation Page with your heading and the bearing to your
destination. At the top of the screen is the destination's name, distance,
and time to arrival. The bottom of the screen can have two data fields of user-selectable
navigation information. And when you want more than two data fields, there's the Trip Computer Page.
The Garmin eTrex Legend lets you select 8 pieces of navigation information from a list of 32 items.
Since it's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) enabled, the eTrex Legend can increase
its base accuracy from under 15 meters, to less than 3 meters. Also contained within its
waterproof case are the two AA batteries which power it for up to 18 hours. The receiver
measures only 2.0" W x 4.4" H x 1.2" D and weighs 5.3 ounces. Its grayscale LCD screen
has adjustable contrast to maintain a sharp image as light conditions vary. And backlighting
lets you see the screen even in the dark.