I finally plunked down the cash for the automotive mount and City Navigator for my Garmin Montana 600. I had been a bit reluctant due to the cost, but really wanted to test it. In the end, I was able to get both for just under $100 by doing this…
- I got the mount at GPS City; total with shipping = $44.94
- I bought the 49 state version of City Navigator as a download from Garmin; when you register a new unit, you get a 10% off code, bringing it to $53.99
The mount came in just in time for a long planned vacation on the coast of South Carolina, so I got to try it out on a road trip, testing it side by side with the new Garmin nuvi 40.
The Montana performed very well on the trip. My initial destination was unique in that there were several ways to get there, all within a few minutes of each other. The Montana and nuvi chose different routes, even though avoidances were identical in them. Other than that, the Montana performed about as expected, with no routing errors.
While the Montana has an automotive mode with a nuvi like interface, it doesn’t have all the features of even some fairly basic units. So here’s a few items you may be interested in, showing what it does and does not have, when used with City Navigator maps.
- Lane Assist (shown above)
- Customizable data fields (tap the left data field to set)
- Text to speech (when used with the powered mount)
- Speed limits and warnings (shown below)
- Route overview map
- Junction View
- Live traffic
The first one of these is a biggie, and hopefully Garmin will soon fix it. Remember the old Reaganesque trust but verify? It applies to GPS directions as well as strategic arms reductions, and can keep you from getting stranded on a logging road. So I often tap the green bar at the top of my nuvi, and on the screen showing the list of turns, tap the View Map icon. Unfortunately, that’s missing from the Montana, as you can see below.
The mount comes with a suction cup, but as you can see from my pics, I’ve got it attached to the latest Garmin friction mount, which I’m a big fan of.
The bottom line
The Montana is ideal for geocachers or for anyone driving to a trailhead. Not having to load waypoints into two devices speeds things up and gets you outside faster. But I’ll still grab a nuvi for other times. There are just too many features lacking with the Montana and the 4” screen is a bit cramped. I’m amazed how small it seems even compared to a 4.3” screen, much less the 5” navigators that are becoming so commonplace these days. I’ll wrap up with a few pics of the mount…