Ratings: Ease of Use, Performance: 20/25, Look & Feel: 22/25, Features & Software 21/25, How much I enjoy 22/25
Garmin is a large manufacturer of GPS units in both handheld and vehicle models. The handheld units come in general use like for hiking and specific functions like hunting, water navigation or climbing uses. The eTrex Legend Cx is the newest of the handheld hiking and general purpose GPS units.
The eTrex Legend Cx comes with some nice features:
microSD card slot allows for storage of optional MapSource detail
64MB microSD included, Optional microSD cards to 2 GB available
WAAS enabled, 12 parallel channel GPS receiver
Built-in GPS patch antenna
Unit dimensions: 2.2″W x 4.2″H x 1.2″D Display: 1.3″W x 1.7″H,
256-color, high resolution, transflective TFT (176 x 220 pixels)
Weight: 5.6 ounces with batteries (not included)
LED backlit display and keypad
Battery life: up to 32 hours typical use using two AA alkaline batteries
Includes a built-in Americas Recreational Routable Basemap with automatic routing capabilities including highways, exits and tide data (USA only)
500 user waypoints with name and graphic symbol; 20 reversible routes, 50 points per route
Position formats include Lat/Lon, UTM, Loran TDs, Maidenhead, MGRS, user grid, and more
Audible alarms for anchor drag, arrival, off-course and clock
Large numbers option for easy viewing, dual position display mode
Trip computer provides odometer, stopped time, moving average, overall average, total time, max speed and more 10,000 point automatic track log;
20 saved tracks (500 points each) let you retrace your path in both directions
Built-in celestial tables for best time to fish and hunt, plus sun and moon calculations
Mini-USB port for fast, convenient download of map data from Garmin’s entire library of optional MapSource CDs using a PC Compatible with most MapSource products including BlueChart, City Navigator, U.S. TOPO 24K, U.S. TOPO and Recreational Lakes with Fishing Hot Spots
Waterproof, IEC 60529 IPX7, (Submersible 1 meter @ 30 minutes)
Limited one-year warranty
Looking at the eTrex Legend Cx you can’t imagine all they can pack into a handheld unit this small. The Legend Cx comes with the handheld unit, the 64 MB Micro SD card, the USB interface cable, belt clip mount adapter, lanyard, manual, Trip and Waypoint Manager CD and a very nice waterproof quick reference guide.
Using the Legend Cx is pretty easy for a GPS unit, you turn on the unit and allow it to find satellites to receive the positioning data. You can then use the installed maps to locate a very exact coordinate of your location as well as several other functions from the main menu. The main menu has satellite information, trip computer, tracks, routes, highway map, and several other features. You can access settings to set up your GPS unit from the Setup menu on the Main menu and set things like display qualities, tones, maps and other basic features of the Legend Cx.
Setting up your basic map for your location or one you want to use is simple. Run the setup from the CD to install the Trip and Waypoint Manager on your computer and connect the unit to your computer using the USB cable. Your computer will have a program called Mapsource loaded that you can start up and use to create trip routings, find and store Geocache locations or several other handy features.
You can download the Mapsource information you create directly to the GPS unit or to the Micro SD card through a card reader. The Mapsource program is pretty easy to use, but just like the Magellan software, you still have to read about the program to figure things out. The Mapsource is a bit easier than Magellan’s and does have some better features.
I still like to use the GSAK or GPS Swiss Army Knife program for my Geocaching. Geocaching is a fun sport where people hide hopefully waterproof containers and you go try to find them and record your finding on the Geocache website as well as the log in the cache. Caches can be easy or very difficult to find and some of them are dangerous or need special equipment and skills to reach.
Some Geocache’s are underwater or in places like cliffs or mountains so special equipment would be used to reach them such as diving or climbing gear. Also you would need to know what your doing to accomplish these hard to reach cache hunts. Geocaching is a fun sport and many of the Geocaches around the country are simply hidden where you can easily find them once you know what your’e doing. Parks or even near public buildings like libraries can often be hiding places that you would have never known about. Go to Geocaching.com for more information on this fun and easy sport.
The Legend Cx is a pretty easy to use handheld GPS unit that is rugged and has a very nice display. The display is backlit with varying degrees of brightness to be able to use the Legend Cx at various lighting conditions. There is even a feature to use different color schemes during the day and at night for optimum viewing ease. The automatic display properties will change for you at dawn and dusk so you have the best viewing scheme that you choose and it turns on and off for your convenience automatically.
The unit uses two “AA” batteries and the Micro SD card installs into a slot next to the batteries on the back. The waterproof cover seems like it will keep out water but just like the Magellan reviews I have done in the past I am not going to dunk this unit, especially as I need to return it. The battery compartment door is a nice quarter turn snap that locks the back in place.
The Micro SD card pops in and out easily from its slot but I am not sure about using these flimsy looking cards. The cards are very small and if you need to be pulling them in and out often you may have problems with the contacts or the possibility of breaking the card. Or just loosing these small cards from dropping them while out on the trail, it just seems a bit small and flimsy. Of course if you’re not going to be inserting the card often this is not a worry.
The Legend Cx comes with a clip that you can mount into a dashboard or vehicle mount or use a belt clip on that you can purchase separately. It does come with a nice lanyard for wearing around your neck or hanging elsewhere. The USB cable plugs into the back of the Legend Cx near the top but this plug in could have been designed a bit better. When you plug in the cable it is at a 90 degree angle to the body so the cable prevents the unit from lying flat on your desk or table. The Magellan units that I reviewed could be laid flat due to the design of their cable.
Using the unit in the field as it were was very fun but I did have some problems. The Magellan units I have reviewed in the past as well as the Legend Cx all have WAAS or enhanced signal for better GPS accuracy. The Magellan units could be within several feet up to about fifteen feet off of the exact location but the distance the unit was off never varied much. Several times I would turn the Magellan unit off and let it reacquire the satellites and it would increase the accuracy.
When walking around with the Magellan unit’s the cursor that was the unit would move around at a steady pace especially when I was circling trying to find the exact container that was hidden. Using the eTrex Legend and having the container marked on the screen was a bit different. The cursor that was the unit would often jump while walking just a few steps as much as twenty feet. I found this to be true when using the unit after turning it off and letting it reacquire the satellite signals as well as out in the open not under trees.
So to find the exact location of a marked item the unit was not exactly accurate and this was one of the problems I was having with the unit. This also happened when trying to find a particular coordinate using the Latitude and Longitude screen. I marked a location in my yard and then walked away from the spot only about fifteen feet. I then found the location using the find feature and the location I had been standing in to mark the spot was about ten feet away. I walked to the spot I had marked and the unit said I was 15 feet off. I tried this again by turning off the unit and turning it back on but with the same results. I also tested this accuracy with the Magellan 500 LE but did not have the same amount of inaccuracy with the Magellan unit.
This is not exactly a scientific testing of the accuracy of the handheld GPS units and only a few feet of accuracy is involved. The Magellan does not do the skipping around that the Garmin unit does but this is only about ten to twenty feet. I understand that the units are accurate to this amount but to have the unit skip by ten feet when you are trying to find an object that is at an exact latitude and longitude is a bit hard. I did find the Geocaches but had a harder time using the Garmin unit than the Magellan for this amount of accuracy.
The Garmin Legend Cx was very accurate within this ten or fifteen feet zone and would not be any problem using whether your trying to find spots for fishing, hunting or during hiking outings. You will end up very close to where you want to be and this accuracy is really not that big a deal but it is something that I noticed when trying to find the Geocache’s. Other than this and a few of the other things I mentioned like the cable when hooking the unit to the PC I found the Garmin Legend Cx a pretty good handheld GPS unit.
It does find satellites faster than both the other Magellan GPS units that I have and does work very well. The software is easy to use and has a very nice routing feature that lets you map out travel destinations using the Mapsource program on a computer.
Overall the Garmin Legend Cx has a lot of features and is a very good general purpose handheld GPS unit. I recommend the Legend Cx for a simple to use handheld GPS unit.