Garmin eTrex 30x vs 20x vs 10x Handheld Navigator

Traveling can be exciting but visiting new areas can be quite scary. That is unless you have a handy GPS navigator, then life becomes so much easier. Traveling to foreign places, even remote areas, shouldn’t be a problem.

Garmin is a US-based company that specializes in manufacturing GPS tracking devices for cars, planes, sports, and even for the military. Although the future of the company is focused on producing wearable GPS tracking systems like wristwatches, the company’s line of handheld navigators is what put it on the map.

Garmin eTrex10 GPS

In this article, we’re going to take a look at three of Garmin’s handheld navigators from the eTrex series: the 30x, the 20x, and the 10. Even though they are quite old (30x and 20x were released in 2015 and the 10 in 2011), they’ve still managed to remain some of the most reliable navigators to date. Between the three, we’re going to see which would be the best to have at this day and age.

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Satellite Systems

30x, 20x, and 10
The two largest satellite systems that provide information regarding your location in real-time are GPS (everyone knows this) and GLONASS by Russia. Although not as familiar-sounding as GPS, GLONASS has global coverage that’s comparable to GPS’s. Essentially, being able to detect both of these satellite systems will provide you with information about any location anywhere on the planet. All three of these Garmin navigators run detect both GPS and GLONASS.

Garmin eTrex20 GPS handheld

Compass and Barometer

Compasses and barometers are handy features to have. Instead, whip the 30x out and begin traveling towards whatever direction seems safest. A barometer can come in handy to measure any short-term weather changes.

20x and 10x
Neither the 20x nor the 10x come with an electric compass and barometer. Getting one of these means you’re going to have to distinguish the North Star from the millions of other glowing balls of gas. To detect any changes in pressure, please feel free to ask your parent’s bones what the weather will be like.

Conclusion: Admittedly, you’re most likely not going to leave home with your trusty cell phone in your pocket. You can check the status of the weather and download/purchase a compass app to get directions. However, if you don’t feel like switching between gadgets to get a comprehensive reading, then the 30x is the device to get.

Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator

Screen Size, Resolution, and Color

30x and 20x
The 30x sports a 2.2-inch, 240 x 320-pixel screens (big screen for ants) with 65,000 colors. They’re not the most amazing screens available, even by 2015 standards, but there shouldn’t be any navigation problems.

The 10 also has a 2.2-inch, 128 x 160-pixel screen, but it’s in monochrome. Imagine running an ancient Nokia before cameras and music on your phones were a thing – that’s about the same picture quality you’ll get with the 10.

Conclusion: These are all pretty ancient GPS navigators, so it’s not realistic to a resolution that’s comparable to the latest Smartphones. However, as they are, we find that all three screens are easy to read, despite the lack of color on the 10.

Garmin eTrex10 GPS Review

Map Memory

30x and 20x
Both the 30x and 20x are capable of storing up to 2,000 different waypoints, locations, and favorite spots and up to 200 unique routes. If you’re traveling to a new place for vacation, the map memory capacity should be more than sufficient to help guide you to most, if not all, of the tourist destinations you plan on visiting.

The 10 is “only” capable of storing up to 1,000 waypoints and 50 routes. Like the other two models, this should be more than enough for a single trip to a new and foreign land.

Conclusion: Unless you’re a hardcore traveler who likes to clutter his or her gadget with unused waypoints and favorite locations, the 10’s map memory capacity should be more than enough. However, we can’t deny that there might be some people out there who need 2,000 different locations saved on their devices for safekeeping or just as a reminder of their favorite trips.

Garmin eTrex20 GPS handheld Review

Storage Space

30x and 20x
Both of these more recent GPS navigators come with about 4 GB of internal storage space. You can also mount a microSD card to increase storage capacity. You can download or make your maps and upload them to the device to find your way through many more places on the globe. However, both of these devices use USB 2.0, meaning that you’ll spend a lot of time waiting for files to finish transferring. It’s better than nothing!

There aren’t any special features found in the 10. It’s a straightforward gadget for navigating yourself through different areas. If you venture into any area without map coverage, you’re stuck where you are. Luckily, you can use Garmin Connect to share data with other users in the Garmin community.

Conclusion: This is another one of the upgrades that the eTrex series got with their line of “x” products. Being able to add and remove maps is what navigation is all about; if you’re carrying the 10 and traveling through parts of the world with GPS or GLONASS coverage, the device can’t help you.

Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator Review

Battery Life

30x, 20x, and 10
So regarding what batteries they use and how long they last, there’s no difference between the three. They all use AA batteries and last for roughly 25 hours. We recommend purchasing recharge batteries to reduce the costs of purchasing new batteries every time they run out of juice.


So between the Garmin 30x, 20x, and 10, which of them provides the best bang for your buck? The 30x and 20x are identical except for the lack of an electric compass and barometer in the latter model. We find that since you can get weather updates and use a downloadable compass on your Smartphone, this isn’t going to be a huge deal-breaker for the 20x. The 10, however, is in another league on its own with its monochrome display and lack of special storage features. The only thing the Garmin 10 has going for it is its ability to access Garmin Connect to share maps with other users.

In short, the Garmin 20x is our favorite of the three without going overboard with its features.

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