This is an article by Gary Kaye; a professional writer who is passionate about e-bikes. Check out Gary’s writing/marketing services at CompellingTelling.com.
I am a GPS geek. When I travel I carry a GPS for automobile navigation. I carry a handheld to find my way around trails and cities. A third sits mounted on my bike.
Now Garmin has come out with a device that handles all functions in one device. The Garmin Montana 650t is not elegant in appearance, but it is certainly elegant in functionality.
With a four inch diagonal color touchscreen and a ruggedized waterproof case, I would say it’s chunky, not clunky. It is the first handheld I’ve seen that comes with both portrait and landscape modes.
Because GPS devices suck power, this one has a rechargeable battery, and can also take AA batteries. You can charge it from a USB cord or an AC adapter. Unlike most handheld color GPS devices, the Montana is pretty easy to read in direct sunlight without a backlight. This device has incorporated the best of both Worlds.
Garmin does not yet make a bike mount for the Montana, but Ram, which makes a broad range of bike, motorcycle, and car mounts, has two different systems that will secure the unit to your handlebars. I used the Easy Strap system ($21) to hold the Montana to my trike, and it does the job quite well. You can also use the U-bolt base ($40) together with the Montana cradle ($11.72) for an even more secure mount.
Garmin Montana 650t in landscape mode
The 650t comes with a topographic base map. But if you plug in Garmin’s City Navigator and the car mount, it will allow you to receive spoken turn by turn directions, something I’ve never seen in a handheld.
This is a big unit, and probably not suitable for speed demons. But it you’re out on a trail and want to see the topography ahead of you on a big display, this will do the job.
If you want to use it in a car, it will turn itself into the same display as the Garmin Nuvi automotive series, and let you do all the things you’ve come to expect from a device like this, including waypoint averaging, tracks, and geocaching.
It also comes with a 5 megapixel camera so you can snap a favorite scene and then navigate back to it. And it has many of the functions you’ve come to expect from an automobile navigation device including points of interest, gas stations, etc.
The Montana is not cheap. The top of the line 650t lists for $700, but we’ve seen it advertised online for less. Is it worth it? Given its versatile functionality on the trail, in the car, on a bike, or on a boat, maybe so.
Do you have any questions about the Garmin Montana 650t? If you own this GPS already; what are your thoughts on this device? Please leave your comments or questions below.