UPDATE: Read our hands on Garmin Oregon 650 review.
As we predicted, Garmin is updating their Oregon handheld line by adding GLONASS capabilities. But they didn’t stop there; the newest Oregons have a bevy of new features and improvements. Read on for the details.
We’re in love with the awesome accuracy of the newest eTrex units, and now Garmin has brought GLONASS support to the Oregon series. According to Garmin:
When using GLONASS satellites, the time it takes for the receiver to “lock on” to a position is (on average) approximately 20 percent faster than using GPS. And when using both GPS and GLONASS, the receiver has the ability to lock on to 24 more satellites than using GPS alone.
Updated form factor and customizable buttons
As you can see above, the Oregon series is getting a style refresh too. The new models are 1/10″ inch thinner and 1/10″ wider. It’s also slightly (0.6 ounces) heavier. One question I haven’t had answered yet is what that is on the lower right front corner of the unit.
The new models are getting “customizable buttons for one-touch image capture and waypoint marking.” Since it appears that there is only one new button, I’m assuming they have also added power button customization, a la the Montana series.
Multi-touch, capacitive touchscreen
The new models will allow you to zoom, pan and rotate the map using multi-touch. Also noteworthy, this is Garmin’s first handheld to feature a ruggedized capacitive touchscreen (previous models were resistive). And according to the news release:
The reflective display technology boosts touchscreen brightness so much, maps and displays are as vivid in full bright sunlight as they are in shade…Oregon uses the sun’s light to produce a display that is twice as bright compared to the previous models and works with many types of gloves.
Note that while it says this is a reflective screen, that may be dumbed down, as I’ve been told it is in fact a transflective TFT screen.
Dual orientation display and nuvi mode
The 600 series can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode and it is also getting a nuvi mode for highway navigation, just like the Montana series.
Other interface changes
- One change is the addition of a couple more data fields to the recreational dashboard
- The trip computer now offers multiple pages of data fields, each customizable to 1 of 4 layouts: 2 large, 1 large and 4 small, 6 small or 8 small
- Advanced Waypoint Management – All data is displayed and editable on one screen; delete one or multiple waypoints at a time from the Waypoint Manager menu
- Shortcuts – Launch apps, switch Profiles, apply settings and start navigating with one touch
There is also a new “full track view,” although I haven’t quite figured out how this differs from what we have now:
Also new to the Oregon is the full track view—where users will see the entire elevation plot and quickly move their zoomed view to any place on the plot. Future plot uses users’ mapping data to show them what to expect ahead.
The 650 and 650t models will come with a rechargeable NiMH battery pack rated at 16 hours that recharges when connected to external power. For longer trips you can swap this out for two AA’s in the field.
I’ve gotten conflicting information on whether this will be standard with with 600/600t or just an add-on option. UPDATE: The rechargeable battery pack comes standard on the 650(t) and is an option with the 600(t) series.
Bluetooth and ANT+
UPDATE: After re-reading some correspondence with Garmin, I realized that I may not have gotten a clear answer on this, so I’m trying to verify if the Bluetooth is 4.0 or an earlier version. Stay tuned!
The new Oregon line includes Bluetooth 4.0 (AKA Bluetooth low energy), allowing you to “wirelessly transfer large files like photos, Garmin Adventures and Custom Maps between Oregon 600-series units (or with the BaseCamp Mobile app).” Unfortunately, the BaseCamp app remains iPhone only, although the folks at Garmin say they are “looking into” an Android version.
Also of note, wireless transfer speeds are now supposed to be up to
50% 50 times faster. The units are also ANT+ compatible for use with heart rate, cadence, chirp and tempe sensors.
8MP camera and a flash (and a flashlight)
The geotagging camera gets a big upgrade to 8MP and gets a flash as well! Also of note is a flashlight feature with strobe and multiple brightness levels.
Less data limits
UPDATE: Apparently there has never been a significant limit on BirdsEye imagery; we don’t know if there is any change re: custom maps yet though.
BirdsEye imagery is now only limited by the amount of internal or microSD card memory, and apparently there is no limit on geocaches either:
The Oregon can hold an unlimited number of geocaches and supports GPX files from OpenCaching.com
Models, availability and pricing
The new models are slated to be available in the first quarter of 2013. The 650 series adds the rechargeable battery pack and 8MP camera. The 600t and 650t include 1:100,000 scale preloaded topos. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is shown below. They list at $50-70 more than current models, but don’t expect to see steep discounts anytime soon.
|Garmin Oregon 600||$399.99||Base model|
|Garmin Oregon 600t||$479.99||100K topos|
|Garmin Oregon 650||$479.99||8MP camera|
|Garmin Oregon 650t||$549.99||8MP camera, 100K topos|
More info forthcoming
I’ll either update this post or publish a new one as more info (UPDATE: Done!…news release links, etc.) becomes available, so stay tuned. There’s also bound to be some interesting discussion in the comments section below; let us know if you have questions.