Garmin eTrex 22x review

Review: Garmin eTrex 22x GPS (and you can win one!)

This miniature GPS unit contains all the functions you could want but how does it rate in terms of functionality?

As tech gets smaller it often gets harder to use but Garmin’s tiny eTrex 22x bucks the trend with its sensible and well-considered design. The biggest contributor to this is the mini joystick-style navigation knob, which is intuitive and quick in all the functions it provides.

The 22x fits in your pocket and weighs only 147 grams with its quota of two AA batteries included. That’s my kind of GPS because you can keep it handy while trekking yet it doesn’t demand a special pouch to ride in nor add burdensome weight.

The downside, of course, is the small screen, which provides either detail or a broad overview of the terrain but never both. Before doing this review I wondered if I’d put up with that compromise.

The little Garmin does everything a handheld or bike-mounted GPS should do, from tracing the route you’ve taken to plotting a route you’ll take; from geocaching locations to advising the best hunting and fishing times.

The menus are pretty straightforward to follow and will come naturally to anyone already familiar with Garmin’s systems. You can navigate primarily with the joystick under your right thumb, and the ‘back’ button is right next to it.

On the left side, two buttons control the zoom and will also move you up and down through the menu. Just below them is a menu button. On the right, the on/off button doubles as a backlight adjuster.

It is all very simple, which I applaud.

The colour screen is clear and bright in sunlight, with minimal reflection and it will not force you to find shade every time you want to look at it.

You can zoom out on the screen until you’ve got half of Australia showing, then come in until the screen represents a ground width of about 20m. At any level it can’t show the amount of terrain detail a large screen could, simply because the screen would be too cluttered, but at a low level you can easily make sense of the ground within a few hundred metres of you.

Zoom out and the detail disappears a bit quicker than I’d like. However, if you plan all your broad-scale navigation at home on a big screen, then use the 22x as your navigation aid in the field, it fulfils the function perfectly.

That’s exactly how I treated the 22x. In that context, the compromise of the small screen was perfectly sensible when I considered how much I liked the lack of weight and bulk.

Garmin has made no mistakes in the way it has approached the design of this compact little device. It’s a ripper.

You can win one of these Garmins in our Bacon Busters competition. Grab a copy of the magazine to find out how to enter.


  • Dimensions: 54 x 103 x 33mm
  • Screen size: 56mm; 240×320 pixels
  • Weight: 147g
  • Map: Pre-loaded TopoActive
  • Memory: Internal 8Gb; external 32Gb microSD
  • Waterproof: IPX7
  • Batteries: 2 x AA; 25 hours
  • Price: $329
  • Details:




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.