Great portable GPS for hikers, bikers, and hunters
Price, Size, Color display, Removable memory card
Need to use expensive Garmin mapping software, Cumbersome to use for trip routing
The Bottom Line:
The Garmin eTrex Legend Cx is a great all-around portable GPS unit. If you are looking for a GPS for trip planning, you might want to look at another product.
Garmin is one of the top three GPS satellite systems for public use. Garmin is the company that revolutionized the consumer GPS market by introducing the first consumer units in the early 1990's and continues to be the market leader. They offer a wide range of devices, including marine, handheld, and automotive devices which you can find in just about any big-box retailer or electronics specialty store.
In addition to making GPS units, Garmin also develops and markets the MapSource line of mapping software which is usable with some of its products. This mapping software is proprietary and can only be used with compatible Garmin products.
Before purchasing this unit, I owned a Garmin III plus which was a great unit, but lacked a color display and had a small amount of memory (1.44 MB). I wanted another portable unit with a slightly smaller form factor, a color screen and the ability to use the existing Garmin map software that I had already purchased. The eTrex Legend Cx fit the bill perfectly.
-Size: 4.4" H x 2.0" W x 1.2" D
-Weight: 5.46 ounces with alkaline batteries
-Power: 2 AA batteries or via the USB cable/power cable
-176 x 220 pixel 256-color display (1.3" W x 1.7" H)
-30-hour battery life
-Update Rate: Once per second, continuous
-User Waypoints: 500
-Trackpoints: Up to 10,000
-Saved trackpoints: Up to 500
-Saved tracks: 20
-Automatic routing capabilities
-32 MB microSD card
-Waterproof per IEC529-IPX7
The Legend Cx is very easy to use. You can literally throw in a couple batteries, turn the unit on and it will begin the process of initializing itself and locating its position. Of course, there are numerous options that can be accessed through an easy to navigate menu system.
The Legend Cx uses the familiar eTrex "click stick" to navigate through the various menus. This is really more about form than function, as the stick can be a little tricky to use. However, the other alternative would have been a four-way rocker switch which would have significantly increased the size of the unit.
The Legend Cx uses WAAS to give best case accuracy with an approximate 9-foot position error. This is as good as you can expect with a consumer unit and is more than accurate enough for what you will need.
This is where the Legend Cx really shines. The built-in Americas Recreational Routable Basemap v2 includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America, and covers an area from W180 to W30 Longitude, S60 to N75 Latitude. Includes a high-level worldwide map with borders and major cities.
In the United States, the basemap also includes a database of exits for the Federal Interstate highway system. This includes many businesses within about 1/4 mile of the exit, including: restaurants, diesel/gas, hotels/lodging, overnight RV parking, dumps, campgrounds, truckstops, medical facilities, shopping and outlet malls, ATMs, and many more attractions.
To use the Legend Cx's routing capabilities, you need to buy either Garmin's City Select or City Navigator software which allows you to upload detailed maps to the unit. With this software, the unit will automatically generate a route from your current location to a destination such as a street address, city, street intersection, point of interest, hospital, police station, etc. The unit then will provide turn-by-turn directions along with audio alerts to the destination.