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Old 05-16-08, 06:37 PM   #1
johnny99
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Garmin Edge 705 vs. Etrex eTrex Vista HCx?

Have any of you compared the Garmin Edge 705 vs. the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx and decided to buy one or the other? What was your rational for the decision?

I was thinking of buying the Edge 705, but then I saw the eTrex Vista HCx in the same store. Both units have the same GPS software and color map display. Both have a barometric altimeter. Here are the advantages of each that I see:

advantages of the Edge 705:
half the size and weight of the eTrex
optional HR and cadence sensors
built in training software (virtual partner, etc.)

advantages of eTrex:
20 hour battery life (double the Edge)
AA batteries can be replaced in the field
bigger screen
more sensitive GPS receiver
half the price ($300 vs. $600 with map software)

Are there any other important differences? Which one did you buy and why? The lower price and better battery life is leaning me towards the eTrex. Thanks.
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Old 05-17-08, 05:31 AM   #2
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I bought the Vista HCx. Price was a big one - I didn't want to spend more than $250 for the unit (by the way, check Amazon - can get one for around $220 or so). I also wanted one that I could take if I go for a hike or in a car and one rugged enough that if I dropped it a few times I wouldn't have to worry. But mostly I wanted a GPS for navigation. While the heart monitor and cadence sensors are cool I can use a second monitor for that and still have enough money left over for the maps (don't get the Topo - it sucks dead monkey gonads).

I would never buy a unit that has an internal rechargeable battery. First off that will degrade and then it's useless unless you hack it or buy a new battery for something exorbitant (usually). As you say, the AAs are easy to carry extras around (or if you want to be really slick you could do something like this with rechargeables). Even with my Vista's more sensitive GPS receiver it goes wonky from time to time, I couldn't imagine what it would be like with a lesser one.

I put up a thread with a bunch of links in it for the eTrex here if that's useful.

And the altimeter is fairly useless unless you want to know if a storm is coming.
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Old 05-17-08, 03:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. The Amazon price is without maps, right? The Garmin maps cost $80 extra, or do you recommend 3rd party maps with the same functionality? Thanks again.
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Old 05-17-08, 03:27 PM   #4
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I've been trying to find a good 3rd party maps but so far they're meh.

If you do buy a map get the City Navigator - the Topo really is horrible.
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Old 05-17-08, 09:57 PM   #5
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The Edge has more pixels, larger screen than the Etrex series:

Edge "320 x 240 3.5 diag" Etrex "1.7 x 1.3 220 x 176"
However, higher pixel density often translates into less light being reflected from the back to the display.
Some would argue that the SiRF III GPS chipset is superior to the chipset in the eTrex.

Actual battery life for the HCX is supposed to be 18 hours - less with backlight use.

Weight is only .2 0z heavier for the Edge - Read NEGLIGIBLE
If you aren't into the training features, the Etrex Vista HCX and 60CSX & 76CSX are better navigators.
I prefer the latter, because of the larger display - only weighs 2 oz more than the Etrex!
Larger display is so much better for navigating!
Unless you are in actual competition, the weight difference shouldn't be a concern IMHO of course.
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Old 05-18-08, 12:09 AM   #6
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I was very tempted by the 60 csx and 76 csx as well - but the price drove me to the eTrex.
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Old 05-18-08, 10:13 AM   #7
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According to the Garmin web site, the Edge 705 weighs 3.7 ounces and the eTrex Vista HCx weighs 5.5 ounces (with batteries). Both have the same 176x220 pixel screen size.

76cxs is 160x240 pixels and 7.7 ounces. It is physically much bigger than the eTrex (4.2x2.2" vs. 6.2x2.7").
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Old 05-18-08, 04:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
Have any of you compared the Garmin Edge 705 vs. the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx and decided to buy one or the other? What was your rational for the decision?

I was thinking of buying the Edge 705, but then I saw the eTrex Vista HCx in the same store. Both units have the same GPS software and color map display. Both have a barometric altimeter. Here are the advantages of each that I see:

advantages of the Edge 705:
half the size and weight of the eTrex
optional HR and cadence sensors
built in training software (virtual partner, etc.)

advantages of eTrex:
20 hour battery life (double the Edge)
AA batteries can be replaced in the field
bigger screen
more sensitive GPS receiver
half the price ($300 vs. $600 with map software)

Are there any other important differences? Which one did you buy and why? The lower price and better battery life is leaning me towards the eTrex. Thanks.
I got the 605 because I felt it was better suited to my usage. The main purpose was so that I could create routes for long rides to prompt for turns when riding in unfamiliar locations. While both should be able to do this, I do really like the training specific functions of the unit as well.

15 hours x 2 does not equal 20 hours. For someone considering rechargeable batteries, I would expect to get half the time of Alkaline batteries. Buying batteries frequently could get expensive too, however the option to buy lithium batteries is there. Lithium batteries are usually twice the price of Alkaline batteries, however run times on these batteries is definitely way over twice, so in that sense, they are a bargain. They are also lighter.

It looks like the Edge 605 could be taken apart pretty easily with a Torx wrench so I am hoping that within a few years some replacement batteries will be available. Batteries for handheld devices (iPods, etc) tend to sell for $30-35 in do-it-yourself kits. I think if I went with anything but a bike specific model, it would be one of the "Rino" units, if I had friend I rode with also willing to purchase them. How useful would that be!
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Old 05-20-08, 07:52 PM   #9
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The handlebar mount/stem mount is better on the Edge.
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Old 05-22-08, 12:31 AM   #10
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My choice

I thought about this for a while and decided to go with the Vista HCx. Here's my quasi reasoning for going this way,

1) I don't care about the after ride data. I'm not a racer/or that serious to care. But there are after market and even free website software that could analyze data for either model.

2) With above reasoning - the only thing I really care is the mapping capability and both uses same display/software. Actually its a same (nearly same) unit with a different packaging/case/software.

3) I am still keeping my CatEye computer. This is important - I just can't see myself recharging this every other day and bring it out to my bike for my daily ride. I change my CatEye battery once a year (or every other year) and its one of those priceless thing where you have a one less thing to worry about. I'll bring the GPS for those nice UNKNOWN routes on the weekends - along with bringing the camera, binocular for bird watching, etc.

4) Since I am keeping my CatEye and its has a cadence - I don't need the Cadence on my GPS.

5) I have 2 heart rate monitors (watches) - one with a chest strap and one without. So another heart rate monitor won't do any good or wanted. I do several different sports - so watch is a better solution for me.

I spent about $400 for the vista HCx, city map, 2 bike mounts, car mount, car charger and Duracell rechargeable batteries/charger. So if can get over the "its not a bike specific" marketing - its a better buy. Of course, if you need all those function and think you'll charge the battery, then Edge is better
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