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Upgraded from Garmin 60CSX to Montana 650t: First impressions

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Feels like you are holding a shoebox vs a matchbox. After the initial shock wears off, you notice the screen is much bigger, the resolution is better. Most of the problems with the 60 series have been addressed: The pathetically tiny screen and poor resolution.


Dual battery system is a good idea, although given the size, I would have expected a 3000 to 4000 mAh Li-Ion cell, not a 2000 mAh one. I got a solid 12 hour runtime on Li-Ion and a little more on Sanyo Eneloops NiMH cells. No runtime test on Lithiums or alkalines but expect to get more. Given the size, I would expect 4xAA capacity for better runtime. I think with a new Li-Ion cell and no backlight, you can probably get 17 hours out of it as an estimate. In the 70-80% range, the backlit screen is very impressive. Montana screen is nice but you pay a price for it, you cannot get 24 hour runtime like on 60CSX.


You get used to the size. It's durable and it's how smart phones should be built. My 60CSX wore out the power button after about 4 years. Will see how this one holds up.


The biggest annoyance with Montana is apparently you cannot switch with one click between maps and waypoints. If in the map section, you have to quit out of it, and then select waypoints. In 60CSX, you could mark a waypoint with one click.


I realize you can define the power button, i.e. double tap equals to some fuction but I am worried about overloading it and wearing it out, as I wore out the power button on 60CSX. So you can use the power button shortcut sometimes but I would be concerned about using it on a daily basis.


Another annoyance is that track color cannot vary between day/night modes. You have to pick one color fits all. If you pick red/black/dark blue, it's very visible in the day map, but poorly in the night navy blue colored background. If you pick orange/green/yellow for the night mode, it's highly visible there but doesn't work well at all in the day mode. So for optimum visibility, you have to change the track color as it switches between modes, or always stay in particular mode.


The pointer size is huge. Any way to shrink it? All the other choices are ridiculous.


The camera application is not visible at all in the "Recreation" profile. Weird. It's just gone. Any way to make it available in the Recreation profile mode?


The 100K map that came with it was horribly inaccurate. Way off. 24K topo is much more accurate, I only saw it wrong once or twice and even then marginally.


Running on stock 3.60 software.


All in all, a huge step in the right direction and a very impressive device.

Edited by dictum9
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I just ordered a new Montana 650t from amazon for $579.90, which is a heck of a lot less than ordering it from Garmin for $699.99. I also ordered a screen protector, a GizzMoVest protective case (which not only protects the 650t from falls, but it is also supposed to make it float), a handlebar mount for my bike, a dash mount for my car (so hopefully I will only need one GPS in my car, after I purchase the City Navigator North America NT maps), a Chirp Geocaching Wireless Beacon (to play with), and the correct Garmin carry case to store it in, when I'm not using it. I even bought the wireless temperature sensor, just so that I have all the bells and whistles with it. I am upgrading from one Garmin GPSMAP 76CS and one Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx, and I'm looking forward to the bigger screen (as my eyes are getting weaker as I get older), and the built-in camera to take geo-tagged pictures of my finds, and I’ve been told the compass is much better than the compasses on my GPSMAPs, so the accuracy should be better. I spoke with Garmin and they told me that the accuracy for the 650t is going to be much better than with my GPSMAPs, so hopefully that is going to be true. Even with all the accessories that I bought with my 650t, this still ended up being less than just buying a 650t directly from Garmin. I didn’t know that the 100k maps were worse than the 24k maps, as Garmin didn’t mention that when I spoke with them, they just told me that it came with the 100k maps. I guess I will have to add the 24k topo maps to my list of things to purchase, after I receive my 650t next week.

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While you are waiting for your Montana to arrive, do some reading over here.


The Garmin 100K topo maps are really only good for very basic reference. Check the Maps section of the wiki for some suggestion for much better 'free' maps for your unit.


You will have the best Garmin has to offer at this time, I am sure you will enjoy it. Even more so if you take a little time to learn it inside and out!

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