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★★★★★

“I got my Garmin eTrex Vista Cx for cycle touring and...”

Written on: 14/09/2006 by dogsbody (4 reviews written)

Good Points
Amazing number of functions and incredible adaptability. Small (size of a mobile phone) light and waterproof. Beautiful clear easy to read colour screen. Endless numbers of options to customise it. Downloads Ordnance Survey quality Mapsource maps, routes, way points etc from your PC onto an upgradeable micro SD card (up to 2GB) so you can plan a route in advance and you'll never need to use a map on the road again. An adapter is available to use it in the car. Has a basic world map and European main routes map already hardwired and with Mapsource loaded you can walk around town finding shops and restaurants etc. Can download updated software from Garmin's web site. Is logical to use once you've got used to it.

Bad Points
Like all sat navs the trip computer is a little inaccurate and will not give a realistic moving average speed, as the way the system works it thinks you're constantly moving unless you switch it off. Gets confusing sometimes with information for the route to follow and points just off the route. It takes a long time to download detailed maps. Although it is aimed at hikers and cyclists, it will not allow you to choose a route that uses only small roads and paths on 'find' function. Footpaths and bi-roads are not always clearly marked on Garmin's Mapsource. Although this is good news/bad news scenario, there are almost too many functions and options so it can be confusing until you've got used to it. Screen could be a bit larger considering the size of the unit but that is the price of miniaturisation.

General Comments
I got my Garmin eTrex Vista Cx for cycle touring and it is amazingly good for that with the combination of the trip computer, altimeter and route planning. It has a dedicated handlebar clip and alerts me to route changes with perfect timing. There are hours of fun (if you've not got a life!) working out all the other functions and wishing you had enough time in your life to justify them. Although it is not a dedicated car sat nav, so it is a bit more fiddly than a TomTom say, it is more than adequate for motoring and maybe the perfect all-round GPS device, at least it doesn't have an annoying voice!