Garmin is announcing a new handheld line this morning, the Garmin Montana series. Three models, the Montana 600, 650 and 650t, make up the line, which feature the ability to rotate between portrait and landscape orientations and give turn-by-turn directions.
The Montanas sport a 4” touchscreen, as opposed to the Oregons’ 3” screen. In addition to the ability to give spoken directions when loaded with City Navigator maps, all three models come with a tri-axial compass, barometric altimeter, paperless geocaching capabilities and a li-ion battery pack. Or you can use 3 AA batteries. Battery life is rated at 16 hours for the li-ion (same as the Oregon), but you’ll get a boost to 22 hours with AAs.
With the bigger screen and battery capacity comes bulk. While the thickness is the same as the Oregon series, the units measure a little larger in width and height, 2.9" x 5.7", compared to 2.3" x 4.5" for the Oregons. It does taper a bit more on the ends, as can be seen below.
There’s a price to pay in weight in addition to bulk; 10.2 oz. with the li-ion pack, or 11.7 oz. with AAs, versus 6.8 ounces for the Oregon with batteries.
Screen resolution seems to be toned down a bit. The Montana series pixel density is only about 75% that of the Oregon series, so they may be a bit brighter while still being relatively high-resolution.
We can see below that there are some menu differences too. Perhaps they’ve found a way to make it a bit easier to access things than on the Oregon series, which often requires too many steps.
Product differences and links
- Garmin Montana 600 – Base model, $549.99 MSRP (Amazon)
- Garmin Montana 650 – Adds a 5MP camera, $629.99 MSRP (Amazon)
- Garmin Montana 650t – Adds a 5MP camera and preloaded 100K scale topos, $699.99 MSRP (Amazon)
- Compare models
Here’s Garmin’s blog entry on the new line.
Finally, if you want one, you won’t have to wait too long – they’re slated to shipping by the end of June. T3 is actually saying mid-June. I may update this post if I learn more details today. If so, I’ll give a tweet.
UPDATE: While much of the interface appears unchanged, note the three bar menu icon in the images below, which should make it much easier to access relevant settings and options.
UPDATE 2: Link to full Garmin news release. Also added BirdsEye aerial image below.
And a question for our readers – Is this the dual use unit you’ve been waiting for or is it just too heavy and bulky?
UPDATE 3: Here’s a brief hands on that cites excellent visibility and says that the spoken turn by turn directions are delivered via a special auto mount.
- GPS City is showing an in stock date of June 27 for all three series
- A video that appears to be Garmin introducing the Montana to dealers
- Garmin Montana mini-site showing more screen shots