Garmin eTrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit Review


Garmin eTrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit Review

The eTrex 10, launched in October 2011, is their latest update to this stalwart model, and it does not disappoint. They have maintained everything good about the old model, and have simply improved some of the functionality to make it even easier to use, housing it all in an updated casing.

Perfect for geocaching, this basic no-nonsense device provides excellent value for money. Unless you’re heavily into all singing, all dancing high- tech gadgetry, this model is likely to provide you with everything you’re actually likely to need or use, and remains one of the most popular and affordable on the market.

Clear, easy to use screen and controls

garmin-etrex-10-outdoor-handheld-gps-unitThe unit comes with a manual and USB cord so, unlike the eTrex H, you are able to connect it to your computer and download information direct to the device. Simply insert 2 AA batteries (rechargeable NiMH or Lithium are recommended) and you’re ready to go. The black and white screen displays an easy to follow menu which has been adapted so you can now customise it to switch between different  profiles (Geocaching, Fitness, Automotive etc).

This is convenient as it allows you to have the options most applicable to your current need  foremost on the screen as you turn the unit on. The device is then operated by use of a joystick and 5 buttons on either side. The joystick button guides you round the menu options, then simply press to select the option you want. If you need to retrace your progress through the menus, simply press the “Back” button on the side.

The device feels sturdy and robust in your hand, and is built to withstand the bumps and bangs it will inevitably receive, including being accidentally dropped in water. It can cope with all but the most extreme of weather conditions, with the screen being easy to read in any conditions including bright sunshine. It comes with a lanyard on the back  and can be easily attached to clothing or rucksacks, as well as being compatible with all Garmin spine-mounted accessories.

The etrex 10 now comes with a preloaded worldwide basemap. Don’t expect too much from this however as any detail (including road systems) is non-existent, and remember this unit does not have the facility to display OS mapping. Used alongside a trusty paper map and compass, it provides clear grid references so you know exacty where you are, and then  clearly points you in the direction you want to go. The tracking function shows you the high and low elevation points on your route and way points can be added manually via the digital keyboard, or downloaded into the device using software such as Garmin’s “Basecamp”, allowing you to estimate time and distance between points. Up to 50 routes and 1,000 waypoints can be stored.

Fast and reliable GPS positioning

Incorporating the brand new GLONASS system with a WAAS enabled GPS receiver, eTrex  devices can now track using both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously. This increases the number of satellites they have access to, and therefore enables them to “lock on” to a position approx. 20% faster than using GPS alone.

The eTrex 10 can therefore be relied upon to locate your position quickly and precisely, and maintains its signal  in areas of dense cover (woodland , beside tall buildings etc) and even indoors.

Paperless Geocaching

If you’re wanting to use the device for geocaching, probably the most useful of all the updates on the eTrex is the ability to download information straight from sites such as This eliminates the need for manual entering of coordinates, or paper print-outs. eTrex stores and displays all the information you need, location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions so you’ve got everything at your fingertips.

Excellent battery life

Garmin advertise running time as being 25 hours in battery life. In reality this is probably nearer 20 hours but this is still more than enough for a long day out, so there’s little danger of running out of power half way through your trip. This is an advantage over the use of Geocaching apps on a smartphone, which, although convenient, do tend to eat up power, and can leave you short before you’ve found your chosen cache.

All in all….the eTrex 10 seems to me to be an improvement on what was already a good basic device. By all means, if you’re after a  high spec model , pay more for the added extras on the eTrex 20, 30 or other models, but don’t dismiss the eTrex 10 out of hand. Used alongside a paper map and compass  you may well  find it  gives you everything you actually need, and still leave a bit more of that hard-earned cash in your pocket!

Added extras on the  :   eTrex 20

  • Colour screen
  • Micro SD card slot, and 1.7 GB of internal memory (allows you to load OS maps).
  • Array of compatible mounts- for bike, boat, car, motorbike, off-road vehicle..)

Added extras on the   : eTrex 30

  • Built-in 3 axis tilt-compensated electronic compass
  • Barometric altimeter (tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise location, and over time to monitor changing weather conditions)
  • Wireless sharing with other compatible Garmin devices.



  • 2.2-inch, monochrome display that’s easy to read in any lighting situation
  • Durable and waterproof, eTrex® 10 is built to withstand the elements
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit
  • High-sensitivity, EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix® satellite prediction to locate your position quickly
  • 2.2-Inch monochrome display that’s easy to read in any lighting situation
  • Durable and waterproof, eTrex® 10 is built to withstand the elements
  • Easy to use interface
  • Supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit
  • High-sensitivity, Egnos-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction to locate your position quickly
Mike Nikko is a blogger with over 15 years of experience. I will bring you the best product reviews and other useful life experiences, tips to increase height, tips to improve health... If you have any questions, feel free to ask Mike Nikko!

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