Announced today, Garmin is expanding their eTrex handheld GPS range with their first solar-powered model, allowing users to travel further and longer without recharging. While the eTrex range isn’t cycling-specific like the solar-powered Edge 540 and 840, they are a favorite among bikepackers looking for a simple and streamlined navigation device without all the bells and whistles that typically come with cycling GPS devices today.
Unlike some of the eTrex models that feature a color screen and allow the use of base maps, the Garmin eTrex Solar is stripped back to its simplest form. It can view waypoints, track your location, and help navigate back to specific points. And, using Garmin’s solar technology, it has the potential for unlimited battery life. Even without solar charging, the eTrex Solar can run for up to 1,800 hours in Expedition mode. It uses an internal lithium-ion battery with a USB-C charging port. Unfortunately, while you can upload GPX routes onto the device, it doesn’t accept any sort of topo/base maps, so on-the-fly navigation is somewhat limited.
When paired with a smartphone and the Garmin Explore app, the eTrex Solar offers cloud backups, route creation and syncing via the app, smart notifications, and real-time weather forecasts. Like previous models in the series, the eTrex Solar also features a digital compass, which can provide an accurate heading even when standing still. Plus, it has an IPX7 rating that allows it withstand incidental exposure to water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
The Garmin eTrex Solar has a MSRP of $249.99 USD and can be found online at Garmin.com or at your local dealer.
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