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With a budget of 200 dollars, I've decided to get the Garmin Etrex HCX, which has excellent reviews according to many OSM contributors. I'll use it mostly for hiking and contributing to OSM (of course!), sometimes for driving (but not so much).

Then, I checked reviews about the Etrex 20 (the successor), which appears to be nicer, but not really better (accuracy, battery, etc.) than the good old Legend. What people think about that, especially people who had both GPS devices?

Would you recommend another one? (200-250 dollars max)


asked 28 May '12, 23:04

Hugues%20F's gravatar image

Hugues F
accept rate: 0%

I think the Etrex 20 is better than the Legend HCx.

The Etrex 20 supports Glonass, which is means it is able receive more satellites, giving better accuracy and quicker to lock on. This probably doesn't make much difference most of the time, but might help a bit if in a canyon, or between tall buildings.

The 20 has much more internal memory, and it works as a USB mass storage device. So it has more space for tracks and waypoints, and it is easier to copy them to and from the device. It works better with the Garmin BaseCamp software. Plus it is able to use multiple img files for maps, which is useful for combining maps from different sources. The Legend HCx is only able to load a single gmapsupp.img file.

If you are going to be using it on a bike, the newer Garmins use a better bike mount, which is more solid. Also, old Etrex models had problems with the rubber bit around the side becoming unstuck, it seems this has been fixed with the Etrex 20.

The Legend HCx is still a decent GPS device, so a good choice, especially if you can get one cheap. But if you can afford it, I think its worth going for the Etrex 20 for the above reasons. Plus the 20 is generally quite a bit easier to use, so if you are new to Garmin GPS devices, it will probably make more sense.

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answered 29 May '12, 15:14

Vclaw's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%


Thank you for your advice, I think I'm going to buy the Etrex 20, which is not more expensive than the Etrex Legend Hcx. I don't really need something too sophisticated I it looks like the Etrex 20 is more recent and does pretty much everything the Legend does.

Thanks again!

(29 May '12, 20:31) Hugues F

I have been using Vista HCX for maybe four years now, its excellent. it as micro SD which is great as it holds an OSM map and hundreds of miles of traces that can be saved as you go, internal memory is limited so if you set trace to once a second as recommend for mapping you can lose data through lack of space (etrex 20 as more space).Vista as magnetic compass and barometric altitude. I have played around with the Erex 20 in a shop and it as several improvements 1. selectable maps on the micro SD (vista legend only one) 2. It can show birds eye aerial and/or GB Ordinance Survey maps if you must and at a price. I am pleased with my Garmin and if I had to replace it I would choose Garmin again maybe the Erex 20 would be my choice, or even a big screen model.The outgoing model Legend HCX at bargain price will do good work.If you can afford more get it. One other point in the recent sunny conditions an android smart phone although good is so hard to see, the Garmin screen displays clearly in direct sun.

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answered 29 May '12, 07:12

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 29 May '12, 09:20


A big plus for newer garmins the etex 20 included is their custom map feature and

(31 May '12, 21:23) andy mackey

A quick update on the HCX and Vista HCX ranges.

When using an internal Micro SD card, and setting the devices to store location to these, one NEVER looses data while the device is on. If you set caching to once per second ( recommeneded for mapping / Openstreetmap etc ) your location will always be stored to the Micro SD ( assuming it is not full ).

The internal memory of the Vista HCX and Legend HCX is limited to 10,000 track points. When set to cache once per second this gives only ~ 3 hours of recorded tracks on the INTERNAL memory ( 3600 track points / hour ), allowing you to 'track back' on the internal memory for 3 hours / 10,000 seconds of your journey. The log can be set to overwrite at the beginning and loop around, or stop once full .

The SD card is not affected by this setting and will continue to log your location at all times at the rate you manually set it to ( for mappers once per second is recommended ).

At ~20 Mb / 24 hours, even a small 1GB memory card will log many days of travel.

The Vista & Legend cannot access the memory card GPS / GPX data file that has been stored, you need a computer ( with USB ) to read / download this data cache of your movements / tracks.

The Etrex 20 has a 1.7G internal memory as well as the capability of using a Micro SD card.

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This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 30 Mar '13, 00:04

bri%20g's gravatar image

bri g
accept rate: 0%

edited 09 Apr '13, 19:54

robbieonsea's gravatar image


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question asked: 28 May '12, 23:04

question was seen: 16,328 times

last updated: 09 Apr '13, 19:54

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum