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Cheapest Garmin Portable GPS That’s Still an Excellent Choice

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/31/2010

The cheapest Garmin portable GPS is still a great unit that is perfect for novices that never had one of these devices before, the kids, or anyone not wishing to spend a lot for a GPS for whatever reason. These models still do exactly what they were originally designed for before they evolved.

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    More Money Doesn't Take You Beyond the Original Intent

    The cheapest Garmin portable GPS device will still tell you where you are, where you want to go, and where you’ve been. The device will allow you to enter waypoints and develop and mark routes. You won’t be staring at the most detailed high definition maps on a high resolution screen or be able to record extensive notes about a personally labeled waypoint. Actually if you’re reading this you might be unfamiliar with that term so please read What is a Waypoint if you want to know.

    But my point is, just like some of us who really only want a cell phone to communicate verbally with other humans like they were originally intended for; cheap Garmin GPS units are still made to satisfy their original intent. Users were able to navigate well and not get lost long before Garmin’s evolved into units that have a lot of features that some might even find unnecessarily superfluous.

    Actually, since it’s a little more basic in its functions, you may become a little more familiar with the old fashioned method of orienteering than with the much more expensive full-featured, color mapped models that do everything for you. If any of these things appeal to you than by all means go ahead and buy a cheaper model because it still gets the job done. Maybe you’re not sure you will use it that often buy you’d still like to have one just in case. Before we beat that dead horse any longer, we’ll put a name to this Garmin model that we’ve been speaking about in general terms.

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    Garmin eTrex H Features and Capabilities

    • Garmin eTrex Rugged and durable which is what you want in a portable handheld.
    • It's lightweight and compact.
    • You can operate it with one hand in cold weather for instance.
    • Satellites still lock with great accuracy in deep timber or canyons.
    • Calculates current and average speeds, sunsets and sunrises.
    • Most importantly it can automatically track your route so you can retrace your steps back out.
    • Store up to 500 waypoints.
    • Just 5 buttons makes for quick learning curve on user interface.

    Find more details and the opportunity to buy one here at for only $75. There are plenty of favorable reviews for this device there too. The eTrex H is the lowest end of the outstanding eTrex product line. More features and capabilities increase with the price in another product of this family such as the eTrex Legend for instance.

    By way of comparison, Garmin's feature rich GPSMAP 60CSx is often cited as a worthy choice as the best all around mid-level portable handheld. It's very durable, it has plenty of room for memory, and the addition of maps with SD cards, and the built-in electronic compass and altimeter are really handy features. Customers tend to remain loyal to this unit even with the other Garmin models available like the Oregon or Colorado with touch screens and more bells and whistles. The GPSMAP 60CSx retails for around $350 and you can read more about it at Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Portable GPS Recommendation Review. But since you arrived at this article to learn about the cheapest model available, I assure you the eTrex H is an excellent and dependable introductory GPS device that you will do well by.