Garmin eTrex 30x Review


Adventure is an interesting pastime that serves educational, therapeutic, relaxation, and networking purposes. Whether it is hiking across the country, climbing mountains, or visiting forests, you do not want to get lost. Instead, you want to locate your companions with ease, especially when you go separate ways for some minutes. Besides, you might be unfamiliar with the route and need guidance. Thus, you need the Garmin eTrex 30x as an indispensable travel device.

In addition to the sophisticated map that underlines its simple interface, you can access information concerning your desired destination. It intimates you with the best directions and shortcuts, which can make your journey faster. The Garmin eTrex 30x has several exciting functionalities when compared to its previous model, the eTrex 30, such as better display resolution and larger memory capacity. In this comprehensive Garmin eTrex 30x review, you will find the benefits, drawbacks, features, and substitutes for this device.


  • The interface is intuitive and easy to understand for all categories of users
  • It functions optimally in different forms of weather situations
  • You can slot it into your pocket or backpack with ease
  • The battery can survive about 25 hours of continuous usage
  • It has a waterproof casing (IPX7 grade) that can survive occasional falls in water, splashes, or raindrops
  • Its GLONASS feature makes geo-positioning easier, faster, and more accurate
  • The embedded map has sophisticated tracking technology for a better user experience
  • You do not need paper to run its geocaching feature



  • The inbuilt maps are not comprehensive enough for an average user
  • Occasional loss in the signal that may delay GPS connection (it has a low probability of occurring)
  • Although the batteries have an extended shelf life, you will need replacements after moments of repeated use
  • If you want a detailed topographic map, it comes as a separate purchase
  • The mobile device has no touch screen feature



Battery Life

The accompanying batteries take longer before dissipating their energies. Ideally, they should last between 24 and 26 hours. Since the Garmin eTrex 30x runs on double AA batteries, you can easily replace them when they run out. As a rule of thumb, always take replacements to prevent an unforeseen breakdown. To ensure the batteries maintain their normal depletion rate, adjust the screen settings to reflect the lowest resolution available. This is necessary to ensure that the direction to your destination is still visible while keeping the power source at optimal operation. Moreover, the duration for the AA batteries is dependent on the screen brightness.


A key highlight of the Garmin eTrex 30x is its ability to deliver optimally under different environmental conditions – thanks to its rugged and sturdy design, you can count on it during inclement weather. The casing follows IPX7 standards, which is the model of durability in the industry. Whether it is an accidental fall into water, raindrops, or splashes, you can count on the GPS device to survive such. In addition to this, the casing is strong enough to withstand impacts or falls on hard floors. However, you might need extra protection for the screen to keep it in the best form possible.


Arguably one of the best GPS devices in the market due to its unique features and functionalities, it also ranks high in terms of portability. It is very compact and the weight is so small that a baby can handle it with ease. The dimensions are 1.4 inches by 1.7 inches, with a 2.2-inch (diagonal) screen. You can simply put it into your pocket when not in use. Other times, it contributes an insignificant mass to your backpack. This allows you to take as many accessories and provisions as possible on your adventure. Besides, it weighs about one-tenth of a kilogram.

Expanded memory

The Garmin eTrex 30x has a memory capacity of almost 4 GB. This is a massive upgrade over the previous version with only a sizable space. Since the amount of details contained in the embedded map is minimal, you will need to buy an extensive map with more routes, better suggestions, and more accurate positioning. To cater for this addition, it has provision for external SD cards with a maximum memory space of 32 GB. However, the SD cards formatting styles must be the FAT32 configuration. As a result, you can install as many maps as possible with minimal strain on the device’s storage.

Map transfer features

If you are new to GPS mobile devices, you have nothing to worry about because the Garmin eTrex 30x has you covered. In addition to its intuitive interface, you can quickly grasp the flow of the device to track your movement, give you suggestions, and highlight the best directions. It requires a zero amount of tech-savviness so that beginners will find it appealing. To make the transfer more simplified, you can use Google Maps for smoother synchronization. Since Garmin offers comprehensive topographical maps as standalone products, consider each with your device’s compatibility before completing a purchase.

Wireless connectivity

One of the hallmarks of the Garmin eTrex 30x is its simplicity and speed. When it comes to moving information and files across devices, you do not need any wired transmission. Thanks to its ANT+ technology, you can simply rely on its wireless connection. Moreover, when you click on the “send” button, it automatically transfers your directions (routes), geocaches, tracks, and landmarks with compatible GPS trackers and smartphones. As such, it eliminates the stress of plugging USB cables. Not only that, but you can also connect to sensors and other Garmin-like products like the VIRB device. However, both devices must be within a 10 feet range.

Better Display

Compared to earlier versions, it features a 240 x 320-pixel screen quality, which allows you to read the maps and suggestions while you are a couple of meters away. Thanks to its 65K color resolution, you can read the screen seamlessly in the sun. Also, you can adjust the number of minutes it takes before the backlight goes off. As soon as the backlight timeouts, it goes into a latent mode to preserve the battery life. We love the screen capture feature, which gives you the chance to grab the current picture on the screen. You can personalize the background colors to suit your preferences.

Compatible with GLONASS

As an improvement over earlier versions, the Garmin eTrex 30x can receive signals from Russian satellites using its GLONASS feature. This is a worthy addition to the inbuilt GPS technology, making it possible to cover more landmass and visit places hitherto hidden from GPS satellites. Although GPS has 24 satellites reportedly hovering around the universe, it leaves some critical places like Patagonia and Greenland. It is important to see both complements each other because, at places where overlapping occurs, you get better and more precise results. Furthermore, GLONASS captures places close to the North and South poles effectively.

In-built Sensors

The newly improved Garmin eTrex 30x comes with loads of useful sensors to capture different data points from the environment to the human body. Firstly, it can track your heart rate via your pulse in beats per minute (bpm). Secondly, you can measure your cadence, which is equivalent to the number of rotations the crank arm makes or your strides every sixty seconds. In addition to these, you can detect alterations in the atmospheric pressure per time and determine your exact height. Other essential highlights are the electronic compass and the innovative altimeter.

Integrated Compass

The Garmin eTrex 30x possesses a 3-axis, tilt-compensating compass that continually shows you the way to avoid getting lost. It has two features that keep you on-track – the bearing pointer and the course pointer. The former uses an arrowhead pointing to your destination, irrespective of your position or direction. This works effectively on the land surface. On the other hand, if you are moving on water or areas with minimal obstacles, the course pointer is preferable. It displays your position relative to your destination. To precise results, you need to calibrate the compass in an open area.

Barometric Altimeter

This feature is very important to climbers. The sensor gauges your approximate height to the air pressure. Immediately you turn it on, it self-calibrates. The barometer works in two major modes – variable and fixed elevations. When in the variable mode, it measures the altitudinal changes as you move. For the fixed elevation mode, it assumes the Garmin eTrex 30x is static. Thus, the only pressure change should depend on the weather. Furthermore, it has four graph types depending on your preference – elevation vs. time, elevation vs. distance, barometric pressure vs. time, and ambient pressure vs. time.


Garmin eTrex 30x Alternatives

1) Garmin eTrex 20x

This GPS tracking device allows you to keep track of all your outdoor movement with only a click. Before setting out, you can define your destination, plan with its Basecamp software, and let it guide you. Otherwise, you can traverse an area via landmarks. That’s not all; the Garmin eTrex 30x comes with a basic map that can direct your movement. Thanks to its sturdiness and durability, it can survive impact and shocks from the ground. Since it is small and compact, you can take it with you anywhere you deem fit.

Apart from its 3.7 GB inbuilt memory, it has space for a micro SD card. The screen has exciting characteristics – a 2.2-inch diagonal view, 65K resolution, and 240 by 320 pixels. With these, you can read the map under the sun without any hassle. Furthermore, you can install other sophisticated maps such as City Navigator NT, TOPO 24K, and BidsEye Satellite maps, among others. In addition to its GPS receptivity, it receives signals from GLONASS and HotFix, which makes it load faster and produce accurate results in dense locations. When you move close to landmarks, you get alerts. Other features include tracking your speed, pressure, time, route, and trails.

2) Garmin GPSMAP 66i

This is a sophisticated GPS tracking device with distinct features. The color screen has a 3-inch dimension to make viewing fast and hassle-free. Due to its cellular interoperability, you can receive weather signals, forecasts, and geocaching in real-time. Rather than receive, you can also send replies to the server via its InReach technology. Besides, it synchronizes with the Iridium satellite for authentic updates. Regardless of your location, you will get the latest updates with ease. To stay connected with your friends and family, you can create a series of text messages that you can send regularly. It does this using its GPS-MAP technology.

Also, it has a live positioning highlight, which shows your precise location to the MapShare tracker every 600 seconds. When you synchronize your social media handles to your MapShare profile, your friends and family can track your movement and safety. The device comes with a preinstalled TOPO maps of the US and Canada. To enable you to install other maps, it has a port for an SD card. It contains specialized sensors to make your hiking and tracking less stressful. In the event of an emergency, it automatically triggers an SOS to the rescue authorities.

3) Garmin eTrex 10

When compared with the eTrex 30x, the eTrex 10 is cheaper and preferable among buyers with a strict budget. It contains a monochrome screen, which may be boring for sensitive users. Although the display dimensions are largely unchanged, it has a reduced screen resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. As such, you might need to take a closer look to get clearer images of the maps and information. However, this GPS device can track 10,000 data points during your adventure, 50 different paths, and 100 trails. Also, it runs on the Basecamp software, which you can use for planning your hikes and movement.

Moreover, it uses 2 removable AA batteries for powering itself. After it runs out, you can insert replacements. The geocaching feature is paperless on this tracking device. This removes stress from manual filling in of coordinates and unnecessary paper use. Some of the information you can get from the eTrex 10 includes topography, description, position, suggestions, and difficulty. Since it receives signals simultaneously from both GPS and GLONASS satellites, results are faster and more precise. To make it easier to share your saved files across compatible devices, it uses the GPX format.

4) Garmin Foretrex 401

Renowned for its hypersensitivity and versatility, the Garmin Foretrex 401 gives you more value for your money. First, it has a multilingual interface that supports thirteen languages, including English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Italian, among others. Secondly, you can put it on your wrist like a watch, thanks to its compactness and attractive design. Third, it has an electronic compass, which directs and guides your movement towards your desired destination. Lastly, you can track your heartbeat using its embedded heart rate monitoring sensor. And additionally, it is water-resistant, and its dual AA batteries can last up to 17 hours.

When compared to the eTrex 30x, it focuses more on the hiking and backpacking segments. Also, the screen is smaller with lower quality, measuring 100 by 64 pixels. It contains a barometric altimeter to determine your precise altitude. The cadence sensor allows it to capture the number of times the crank arm rotates. As soon as you pair it with the Oregon 550t, it self-calibrates it only to give authentic signals. It wastes no time in getting started, especially after booting.

Its GPS receiver gets signals from 12 satellites, thanks to its supersensitive antenna.

5) Garmin GPSMAP 64x


This is a more expensive substitute for the eTrex 30x. As such, it has additional features that make it distinct and more attractive to the user. The colored screen is easy to read under both the shade and intense sunlight. Also, you do not have to squint your eyes because the 2.6-inch display is large enough to read from a distance. We love the improved innovations that come with this GPS tracker, such as Bluetooth connectivity and ANT+ technology. Although you can share files and data with compatible devices via a wireless connection, you can you the mini USB cable if that appeals to you.

Moreover, it has preinstalled TopoActive maps covering America and Australia. Specifically, they are tailored to cyclers, geocaches, climbers, and hikers. To simplify your journey, you can plan your path before stepping out. It has a sophisticated antenna that picks up signals from GLONASS, Galileo, and GPS satellites. This ensures your positioning is 100% precise. Besides, it has a rugged casing that can survive inclement weather conditions. When compared with the eTrex 30x, the battery life lasts about 16 hours in tracking mode.

Uses of the Garmin eTrex 30x


  • Simplified Hiking Direction: when it comes to mountain climbing, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, you need a device that can continuously give you direction, whether there is internet connectivity to not. The Garmin eTrex 30x does just this. It comes in handy for locations you are not conversant with, thus, prevent you from getting lost. You can get suggestions on alternative routes.


  • Precise Positioning: thanks to its compatibility with the Russian positioning system, GLONASS, you have access to precise waypoint, landmark identification, and trail capturing. If you move to areas close to the North or South Pole, where GPS might be unstable, you can rely on the Garmin eTrex for uninterrupted signals. Also, it delivers in dense regions like forests.


  • Rapid Emergency Support System: unforeseen circumstances are bound to occur, especially on routes you are not familiar with. When this happens, you need to get in touch with search and rescue teams as soon as possible. In the event of an accident, failure to find your way back home, or a missing colleague, you can contact appropriate emergency authorities with your Garmin eTrex 30x.


  • Easier Way to Share Your Files: the Garmin eTrex 30x gives you the chance to send your files and data to compatible devices via wireless connectivity. Some of the information you can share include geocaches, paths, trails, waypoints, and pressure graphs. Once you save these files in a GPX format, sharing becomes easy. Other accessories you can connect with include a heart rate monitoring sensor, foot pod, and Tempe.


  • Plan your Trip without Stress: the Garmin eTrex 30x runs on the BaseCamp software, which allows you to plan your movement before leaving the house. If you are interested in geocaching adventures, it supports paperless geocaching, which is environmentally friendly and cheaper.



As an outdoor person, you cannot do without the Garmin eTrex 30x. As a valuable device, it makes your hiking, climbing, and geocaching so much fun. The long-lasting AA batteries give you increased hours of tracking, trailing, and mapping functions. Not only that, its other components make it versatile for all your GPS needs.

As mentioned earlier in this comprehensive Garmin eTrex 30x review, the interface is simple to use and understand for all users’ categories. The large display size reduces squinting and strains on your eyes under intense sunlight. Its compact nature makes it suitable for all your trips since you can slot it into your pocket or backpack.

Moreover, its benefits are many and varied. One, it simplifies your hiking movement by giving you prompts, suggestions, and proximity alerts. Two, it gives you only specific locations and waypoints, thanks to its antenna that picks up signals from both GPS and GLONASS satellites.

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