Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Announces New 2015 Montana Devices


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?


  1. I very much doubt they have removed WAAS capability, that would make no sense. Merely they are adding GLONASS. Looks like an internal hardware upgrade for the most part, not much different.

  2. Eric Madsen says:

    About 10 years ago we bought a Garmin 76CSx and had a terrible time from day one. Among other problems, about 4 years into ownership the unit would no longer turn off. We had to unplug the device or take the batteries out. Garmin’s response: too bad. We no longer support that model and won’t repair it for you, even for a fee.

    Any guesses about how long it will be before Garmin similarly disavows the Montana 600?

  3. I had a Montana 650t I liked it a lot! It was recently stolen during a break in so I needed to replace it. I noticed the 650t 680t were the same price so I decided to upgrade. I’m hoping the 680t has the same performance as my 650t or better. My 650 could get down to 7ft accuracy.

  4. MICHELE says:

    I have Mmontana 600 and look for a reason to upgrade to 610. It’s incredible so few difference from the 600. Almost noting. And all that, after so many years!
    I don’t know if love my 600 or hate it. Some times it run so well that is very nice use it. Other time it don’t run. Shut down in the most important moment. Once it delete all the data (waypoint, track, etc) in the middle of the travel, I was by myself only without a guide.
    The bad news is that this is the same item. Nothing about a newer and modern processor.

  5. Dave Braham says:

    I had a Montana 650t and as others have said, it was a great unit…when it worked! I used it for geocaching and after several issues with shutdown, freezing, major distance inaccuracies etc, Garmin offered me a Montana 680t to replace it (with a $100 charge). I was excited to get the new unit but my excitement didn’t last long. I started running into the same issues as the 650t but after switching to GGZ file format instead of GPX, everything seemed okay…until we hiked 10 miles on a 95deg day with no shade. After about 5 miles the unit started doing REALLY whacky stuff…the screen started jumping all around and didn’t respond to touch any more. Even removing the battery and re-installing didn’t help. Garmin suggested switching to AAs to see if it was a battery issue…nope. Of course they are trying to blame GSAK so I’ll load through base camp and try again this weekend. Anyone have any similar experiences?

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