Garmin seems to be on a trend this year with releasing slight upgrades to popular units from previous years. While this isn’t anything new at all (just look at the mess that is the Nuvi line or the various and recent iterations of the eTrex line) it does look like it’s going to be a continued trend.
This week Garmin introduced four new Montana devices as successors to the popular Montana 600 and 650 series. Dubbed the Montana 610, 610t Camo, 680 and 680t, these devices feature slight upgrades over the previous models. And while they certainly look a lot shinier and slightly less bulky than previous devices, I’m not really sure they’ll be enough to convince Montana users to fork out the additional dough. The good news? The Montana 600 might finally drop down in price.
Much like the previous devices, the 610 and 680 feature a rugged design with a 4-inch dual orientation, glove-friendly touchscreen display. The devices have all the sorts of things you’d expect including a 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter as well as an IPX7 rating and a dual-battery system for up to 22 hours of battery life. All features which you can find on the Garmin Montana 600.
The only thing that really sets the 610 and 680 apart is adding GLONASS capability for faster and stronger satellite fixes, and a one-year subscription to Bird’s Eye Satellite Imagery. Much like the new eTrex units, all four new Montana units will come pre-loaded with 250,000 geocaches, although I’m not sure why you’d want that. The units also feature SD memory slots so that you can load geocaches or maps that are actually relevant for where you live.
As far as the 610t Camo and 680t, both units are similar to the 650t and feature a slightly upgraded camera—8 MP as opposed to the 5 MP in the older devices. The camera still features auto geotagging. It’s important to remember that more MP does not necessarily mean a better camera, but since the new units are not yet released it’s hard to say exactly how much better the cameras will be. It’s probably safe to assume it’s a moderate upgrade as far as taking photos goes. The 610t and 680t will also come preloaded with TOPO US 100K.
Other than those slight upgrades, it really looks like these newer units aren’t really that much of a jump from the previous devices, although I expect there are also small software tweaks in the new units which weren’t mentioned in the press release. We’ll just have to see how they look when they’re released.
The new Montana units are expected to be available this fall and will have a suggested retail price in the same range as the current Montana units—between $500 – $600. For more info, you can check out the press release or just read through our review of the old Montana 600 or 650 for an idea of the performance this line generally provides.
So, looking at that, do you think you’ll upgrade?