REVIEW: Garmin Montana

The wait is over

Since I first blogged about the Montana in May I had been itching to get my hands on one, patiently waiting for a UK online store to get some in stock. I didn’t really want to pay the price that Garmin were stating as the RRP. £600-£650 is a lot of money for a GPSr. I was therefore pleased when I saw them sold by Marine Electronic Services Ltd. I pre-ordered my Montana 650 and patiently waited for 2 weeks until finally the day came when my Montana was delivered. Sod’s law meant it came on the very day that I was travelling to Wales for the MEGA so I had to again patiently wait until I got back to play with it. For anyone thinking of purchasing a Montana, I will say that I’m definitely pleased with Mes Ltd. I emailed them a few times to check on my order (I lied when I said I was patient!) and always got a reply back within an hour or two. They also provided a tracking number for me to watch the status of my order. At the time of writing they are also the cheapest price I can find for all of the Montana models, although I notice the 650 has gone up by £20 since I purchased it. I think their site currently does still have the best price.

The review

I’m going to look at the Montana as “A Geocacher” and review the features that I think a Geocacher is most likely to use, so this isn’t going to go into depth with the Marine, Hunt and Fish features, etc. The model I am reviewing is the “Garmin Montana 650” although there’s not a massive difference between this and the other models. The 600 is the base model. The 650 is the base model + a 5 megapixel camera, and the 650t is the base model, camera, and maps.

The size

The first thing you will probably notice about the Montana is that it’s big! It has a 5.06 x 8.93 cm (4″ diagonal) screen. I think this is the thing that will put most people off of purchasing it (Other than the price, of course!). It’s also quite chunky, but you do need that to ensure that it’s not easily damaged. To be honest, the size doesn’t bother me too much. If we were going caching in a really urban location (e.g. a day trip to London) I would be tempted to leave it at home and take our Garmin Dakota simply because you wouldn’t be as easily noticed. The size gives a huge advantage and the massive screen is just brilliant to work with. It’s so easy to scroll around the map and see caches, particulary if you are in an area and are not sure where to go next.

A Dakota 10, Samsung Galaxy S, and the Montana

Caches on the map zoomed out

Read the rest of this entry »


NEW: Garmin Montana GPSr + Magellan eXplorists in the UK

Well, it looks like there are some exciting times ahead for us UK gadget-loving Geocachers. Today Garmin announced the new Montana unit and last week Magellan announced that they would return to the UK and launch four GPS handhelds.

Garmin Montana

The Garmin Montana

The Garmin Montana looks very exciting indeed. We have the usual features that the Oregon is packed with (Wireless, microSD card, waterproof, durable, paperless caching, etc.) but we also have a 4″ sunlight-readable touchscreen (Hooray!!!) with improvements on the display and the ability to view maps in landscape mode. It’s also packed with a 5-megapixel digital camera which allows Geotagging (Add the coordinates that a photo was taken to the photo attributes) and allows the ability to navigate to a geotagged photo. We have a massive 3.5GB of built-in storage too (Well, you need somewhere to store those 5MP photos!). It comes with a rechargable Lithium Ion battery, but also gives the option of using 3 AA batteries, for those emergencies when you frantically dash of for an FTF and the battery dies, of course! It also looks like if you buy the City Navigator maps for it, plus a mount then it will transform into an in-car sat nav. There will be three models: the 600, 650 (+ camera) and 650t (+camera, +maps).

Read the rest of this entry »