Garmin eTrex Venture HC Handheld GPS Navigator

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PRODUCT REVIEW

A step up from the basic eTrex H model, the Venture HC shares the same robust build quality and ease of use, but has the added advantages of  colour screen,  basemap, 24 megabytes of internal memory and a USB cable to connect to your PC, enabling you to download maps and routes quickly and easily. Great for both geocaching and hiking, this machine has proved itself a popular choice and comes highly recommended.

Mapping

The Venture HC comes with a built in basemap, though it is rather basic. Only major features are included (coastline, lakes, rivers, cities, motorways and main A roads) – so don’t expect something similar to a car SatNav, and bear in mind off road public footpaths are not included. You’d therefore struggle to navigate with it alone, but when used in conjunction with paper OS maps, the Venture HC really comes into its own. Its high sensitivity GPS receiver (which provides a reliable signal in all environments including dense tree cover and among tall buildings) enables you to locate your exact position (providing you with a grid reference to 5 digit accuracy vertical and horizontal) so your map position can be fixed to within 10ft.

Alternatively, if you want to eliminate the need for paper maps , the eTrex HC can be connected to your PC (via the included USB connector) enabling you to download maps, plot routes on your PC which you can then transfer along with the maps on to the unit, and upload tracks to the PC which can then be transferred into other mapping applications. Downloadable maps, such as Garmin’s MapSource Topo maps have to be purchased separately, and while the cost of  £100 approx. for maps of the whole of the UK is a significant investment, it is still cheaper than buying the equivalent in paper format. With the maps on screen, you can zoom in and out easily, giving you all the detail you’re likely to need.

It should be noted that the Venture HC does not have a memory card so you are limited by the size of the internal memory to the size of maps you can transfer across from your PC. The internal memory will easily hold enough for the day walker, but if you are planning any long-distance treks- such as the Pennine Way- then you might be better considering a higher spec model with external memory card.

Geocaching with the Venture HC

The Venture HC boasts a built-in geocaching mode. Simply search www.geocaching .com to find the geocaches you want to explore, then via the USB connector, basic location information can be sent to the Venture HC to get your hunt started.

Garmin have a well deserved reputation for reliability and ease of use, and their Venture HC model does not disappoint. A good value, reliable medium spec. machine.

Summary of key features

  • Lightweight, one handed operation
  • High sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receiver
  • Waterproof
  • 24 megabytes of internal memory
  • Basemap
  • Colour screen
  • Requires 2 AA batteries.  Battery life – 14 hours
  • USB connector
  • Built in odometer, clock and compass

DETAILS

Garmin eTrex Venture HC Handheld GPS Navigator
Overall Rating:
Total Customer Reviews: (42)
List Price: £169.99
Sale Price: £138.95
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days