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Montana decision process


Bonaro
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Ok...I am upgrading my 60CSx. I dont believe the Oregon will help me because I really want a larger screen.

I believe I have decided that I need a Montana, now to choose the model

The way I understand it is, with a few exceptions is:

 

600 is the base model

650 comes with a camera

650T comes with a camera and 100K maps

If I want aerial that will ding me for Birdseye @ $30

 

So...if I dont care about a camera in my GPS and I plan to buy the 24K maps so I can have the higher detail, then a 600 is my best choice...right?

 

Did I miss anything?

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Ok...I am upgrading my 60CSx. I dont believe the Oregon will help me because I really want a larger screen.

I believe I have decided that I need a Montana, now to choose the model

The way I understand it is, with a few exceptions is:

 

600 is the base model

650 comes with a camera

650T comes with a camera and 100K maps

If I want aerial that will ding me for Birdseye @ $30

 

So...if I dont care about a camera in my GPS and I plan to buy the 24K maps so I can have the higher detail, then a 600 is my best choice...right?

 

Did I miss anything?

 

Yes, you missed a lot.

 

You just missed some GREAT Black Friday sales that had the Montana 600 for $399USD, and Garmin had the BirdsEye subscription for 33% off at $19USD.

 

If you don't want the Camera, do get the 600.

 

The 100K topo maps on the 't' models are mostly useless. Mostly.

 

Before you purchase Garmins 24K topo maps, take a look at GPSFileDepot offerings. I use their maps almost exclusively.

 

Read up on the Montana GPSr.

 

EMS still has a few Montana 650t for $479USD - not a bad price....

Edited by Atlas Cached
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So...if I dont care about a camera in my GPS and I plan to buy the 24K maps so I can have the higher detail, then a 600 is my best choice...right?

 

Did I miss anything?

 

I have the 650, I am not too happy about the camera quality, for sure I would get the 600 if I was buying again.

I have the 650. It is the best GPS I have owned... but the camera leaves something to be desired. If I were to do it again, I would also get a 600.

Edited by Barrikady
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My experience is that even if I don’t plan on using all the bells and whistles I will get to a point that I wish I would have bought the one with them and then have to go buy a second one. You can always add the “t” maps to the 600 and 650 so I wouldn’t bother with the 650t unless the price is right. Having said that, you cannot add the camera to a 600 so my recommendation is the 650 even if you don’t think you’ll use the camera. I always have my phone so never thought I’d use the 650 camera but found it comes in very handy when kayaking. By the way, it’s only money.

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I agree with previous posters that the quality of the camera is adqueate but not great. I got the 650 but would go with 600 if I could get in my Wayback machine and do it over. I jusst use my phone but if youare kayaking that would affect the decision. I didn't need the maps because I had a Oregon with 2008 TOPO US on it and just copied it over to the new device.

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The camera is pretty poor indeed. Most mobile phones do better. And they offer some control, not to mention a flash.

 

Another thing which I find really disappointing is that the Montana is almost worthless for navigation in big cities, especially car navigation. The map tends to freeze because there is too much data with which it can't cope. The device also stumbles on map errors (I have a Nuvi 765, which happily marches on at the points where my Garmin crashes).

Sometimes the device recovers by itself, other cases are known where people have to remove the battery to get the maps working again. All this has been reported to Garmin hundreds of times, with supporting files, but they don't seem to care to fix it.

 

Anyway, if you think you can live with this, in my opinion, huge drawback, by all means, buy it. It's still a lovely piece of hardware, even if the software seems to be written by a bunch of hacks.

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Another thing which I find really disappointing is that the Montana is almost worthless for navigation in big cities, especially car navigation. The map tends to freeze because there is too much data with which it can't cope. The device also stumbles on map errors (I have a Nuvi 765, which happily marches on at the points where my Garmin crashes).

Sometimes the device recovers by itself, other cases are known where people have to remove the battery to get the maps working again. All this has been reported to Garmin hundreds of times, with supporting files, but they don't seem to care to fix it.

 

Set Map Detail to 'Normal', or 'Less' for City Navigator - you will still see what you need to see for city navigation, and the unit will run much smoother.

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The camera on the 650 is seriously lame. That said I've found it handy at times, if I'm out hiking and spot something I'd want to go back to with my decent camera gear I can take a simple snapshot, see what it was I found and subsequently return with my gear.

 

Another thing I like to do is take pictures of things like trail markers, or problems with trails, so I can then see exactly what's where for navigation, and for reporting issues to trail maintainers.

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The camera on the 650 is seriously lame. That said I've found it handy at times, if I'm out hiking and spot something I'd want to go back to with my decent camera gear I can take a simple snapshot, see what it was I found and subsequently return with my gear.

 

Another thing I like to do is take pictures of things like trail markers, or problems with trails, so I can then see exactly what's where for navigation, and for reporting issues to trail maintainers.

 

To add to this, think of the geo-tagged photos you take with the GPSr camera like 'photo-waypoints'... Sometimes you need to mark something when out surveying, or any any number of reasons, and taking a photo is often quicker, easier, and more explanatory than trying to mark a traditional waypoint and enter text information to describe what you are marking.

 

You know, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? Try getting a thousand words into a waypoint description.... you can, with the camera :)

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I usually have a dedicated camera or my phone on me for the photo ops so a built in lower res cam is not a huge feature for me. However, taking a geotagged pic would be cool so I can navigate back to that old cabin or whatever.

 

I own TOPO but they are only 100k so I would definately buy into the 24K

 

My main priorites for choosing the Montana would be larger screen and better user interface than my 60CSx

 

Does anyone know if rain on the screen will flub the use of the touchscreen?...rain drives my droid crazy

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I usually have a dedicated camera or my phone on me for the photo ops so a built in lower res cam is not a huge feature for me. However, taking a geotagged pic would be cool so I can navigate back to that old cabin or whatever.

 

I own TOPO but they are only 100k so I would definately buy into the 24K

 

My main priorites for choosing the Montana would be larger screen and better user interface than my 60CSx

 

Does anyone know if rain on the screen will flub the use of the touchscreen?...rain drives my droid crazy

 

Can't say I've tried typing in the rain, I have mine mounted to the handlebars of my bike. I've been out cycling with it in torrential rain, heavy hail and thunderstorms and it's never let me down when I've wanted to check the map, pan and zoom the map etc.

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So...if I dont care about a camera in my GPS and I plan to buy the 24K maps so I can have the higher detail, then a 600 is my best choice...right?

 

Did I miss anything?

I agree with the other posts. You aren't missing anything, but you may want to reconsider the camera question. I got the 650, figuring I'd never use a crappy, worse-than-cell phone camera. But I find I use it all the time. Since it tags the photos on the same map as the caches, I don't have any question on which cache I took a shot if I want to upload it with the "found it" log. It's not something you'd want to use for prints, but it is great for logging caches. I'm glad I got it.

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Thanks all for the excellent advice and opinion.

Extra thanks to AtlasCached. I found your advice to be well written, complete, prompt and respectful in this thread and others.

I posted in a different thread and apparently wandering away from the purist geocaching path is to be discouraged. I appreciate the unbiased responses

 

Now...I need to find a good deal on a Montana :unsure:

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Thanks all for the excellent advice and opinion. Now...I need to find a good deal on a Montana :unsure:

 

Best price over the holiday weekend was $399 USD for a Montana 600.

 

All the good sale prices seem to be done for now, but GPSCity does still offer the 650 with CityNavNA (not sure of your location) for about $100 USD more - not a bad price for the combo - but not the best price ever.

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The cool thing about sale prices is that there always seems to be a sale somewhere.

I will return my Oregon and sell my 60 CSx and be ready to pounce on that Montana when it shows up

There was a 650T on Craigslist for $475 but I was not prepared... :(

 

There was a zen-like saying I used on my teenage son just to confound him...

The ox may be slow but the earth is patient :P

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Ok...I am upgrading my 60CSx. I dont believe the Oregon will help me because I really want a larger screen.

I believe I have decided that I need a Montana. . . .

 

I have found this discussion to be very interesting as I am also looking at a Montana 600 as an upgrade, from my Legend HCx. In finalizing my decision, I would like to hear from those who have used the Montana for geocaching--other than the price, is there anything not to like about it?

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Ok...I am upgrading my 60CSx. I dont believe the Oregon will help me because I really want a larger screen.

I believe I have decided that I need a Montana. . . .

 

I have found this discussion to be very interesting as I am also looking at a Montana 600 as an upgrade, from my Legend HCx. In finalizing my decision, I would like to hear from those who have used the Montana for geocaching--other than the price, is there anything not to like about it?

 

Depending on your preference you may find it too big.

 

I love my Montana but there are times when I'm out caching that I'd prefer something a little smaller. It would also be nice to be able to screw a button into the back of it the way you can with the 60 series (and, I believe, the old eTrex range) - that would let me clip it to a belt/pack strap rather than having it hanging around my neck.

 

I know you can get a RAM mount for it with a belt clip but it ends up making a chunky unit even chunkier.

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Ok...I am upgrading my 60CSx. I dont believe the Oregon will help me because I really want a larger screen.

I believe I have decided that I need a Montana. . . .

 

I have found this discussion to be very interesting as I am also looking at a Montana 600 as an upgrade, from my Legend HCx. In finalizing my decision, I would like to hear from those who have used the Montana for geocaching--other than the price, is there anything not to like about it?

 

Depending on your preference you may find it too big.

 

I love my Montana but there are times when I'm out caching that I'd prefer something a little smaller. It would also be nice to be able to screw a button into the back of it the way you can with the 60 series (and, I believe, the old eTrex range) - that would let me clip it to a belt/pack strap rather than having it hanging around my neck.

 

I know you can get a RAM mount for it with a belt clip but it ends up making a chunky unit even chunkier.

 

I was a little put off by the size initially, as well.

 

But I can tell you, after using the Montana for a few outings, and having the ability to directly edit settings from the map screen (or any other app), and being able to create shortcut macros to accomplish with one button press what would take a dozen or more screen taps on my old Oregon, I can never go back. And now, the Oregon feels really tiny to me. The Montana size grows on you...

 

Make sure you check out the Montana wiki.

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The 600 is a good model, and you summarized the choices well.

 

The Montana is only big for a day. it's a good unit.

 

I don't dispute it's a good unit, I love my Montana. But it's big every time you use it. When it's on the handlebars of my bike it's great that I can see lots of map around me. When it's hanging around my neck sometimes I wish it were just a little smaller.

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Well, I'm not going to get a big screen in a small unit, so I'll go with big. And heavy. The Legend is already annoying hanging around my neck on a long hike, but I do have a couple solutions: an assortment of fanny packs in various sizes, and a shoulder harness made for hunters to be able to carry binoculars hands-free, so I can choose what will work best on any given day. For short term use, just wearing a shirt with a collar to tuck the strap under is more comfortable than T-shirts.

 

I'm glad to see that the size is the only "drawback" that has been mentioned. Thanks to all for the input.

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I love my Montana and have been happy since I got it when it was first released. I got the 650t for the same price as the 600 (which was the only reason I bought it) but would go for the 600 if I were in the same boat. The camera has been great for me when out scouting locations for hides as I can take the picture and then edit the comments about the area while I'm right there. Other than that, it's not really used much except for some ECs or virtuals when I don't have access to my phone. My phone is the HTC EVO and it's about the same size (length and width) but the depth on the Montana is just over twice as deep as the EVO. I never really thought it was big, but I had the 60 CSx and the 60 is longer (top of antenna to base)only an inch less wide and almost the same depth. I bought a Gizzmo vest for it and that really increases the size but I like the raised edge around the face of the case that prevents the screen from contacting the ground first (unless it happens to fall on a projected point like a rock sticking up). The case also has a lanyard and a clip.

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Dare I speak this aloud...I really have little interest in Geocaching. Tried a couple and just wasn't all that impressed....thats just me.

 

I mainly hunt (wandering in the middle of nowhere) and I use it to map out mining claims and explore prospecting sites harvested from old paper maps.

My 60CSX works flawlessly but the screen is very small and the user menus are not friendly. Hence my desire for a upgrade.

 

I find myself fiddling with my GPS constantly when in the woods and the bigger screen would be a huge benefit for me. I think the bulk of the Montana is not a big deal. I usually wear pants with cargo type pockets and my GPS is on a short lanyard with a carabiner clipped to the chest strap on my pack. The lanyard is just long enough to allow me to pocket the GPS or bring it to viewing distance without unclipping it.

 

In a perfect world (probably in the next 5 years) we will see a ruggedized Android type phone with all of it's inherent features PLUS a high end GPS chip set bundled all in one package. I would expect this to be powered by Google (because they power everything) and you could plot your position directly on Google earth and upload your coordinates to Facebook with a single screen tap.

 

This is like porn for techno-outdoorsy types :o

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One difference nobody has mentioned yet is that the 650T has half a gig more memory than the 600 or 650. Sure, you can add a card to all of them, but still, half a gig is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Full comparison here: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=143&compareProduct=75228&compareProduct=75227&compareProduct=75226

 

You are essentially correct, however, Garmin is not.

 

The RAM listed on the Garmin page you linked to is not honestly represented.

 

The true difference between the 600/650 and the 650t is 3.6 GB - which is the amount of space the pre-installed 100K topo use.

 

The Montana wiki has much more accurate information.

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One difference nobody has mentioned yet is that the 650T has half a gig more memory than the 600 or 650. Sure, you can add a card to all of them, but still, half a gig is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Full comparison here: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=143&compareProduct=75228&compareProduct=75227&compareProduct=75226

 

You are essentially correct, however, Garmin is not.

 

The RAM listed on the Garmin page you linked to is not honestly represented.

 

The true difference between the 600/650 and the 650t is 3.6 GB - which is the amount of space the pre-installed 100K topo use.

 

The Montana wiki has much more accurate information.

 

Holy cow! 3.64 GB vs 7.35 GB? (numbers from your link to the excellent wiki site). I'm one of those "you can never have too much memory" people, so to me, this is compelling.

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One difference nobody has mentioned yet is that the 650T has half a gig more memory than the 600 or 650. Sure, you can add a card to all of them, but still, half a gig is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Full comparison here: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=143&compareProduct=75228&compareProduct=75227&compareProduct=75226

 

You are essentially correct, however, Garmin is not.

 

The RAM listed on the Garmin page you linked to is not honestly represented.

 

The true difference between the 600/650 and the 650t is 3.6 GB - which is the amount of space the pre-installed 100K topo use.

 

The Montana wiki has much more accurate information.

 

Holy cow! 3.64 GB vs 7.35 GB? (numbers from your link to the excellent wiki site). I'm one of those "you can never have too much memory" people, so to me, this is compelling.

Yes, but you have toe remove the almost useless 100K topo to have all that space available. You can find much better maps to use that space with.

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Holy cow! 3.64 GB vs 7.35 GB? (numbers from your link to the excellent wiki site). I'm one of those "you can never have too much memory" people, so to me, this is compelling.

Yes, but you have toe remove the almost useless 100K topo to have all that space available. You can find much better maps to use that space with.

 

Works for me. :)

 

Think it possible to move it to either a card for enabling when desired, or just off to a folder on a PC somewhere for re-installation later if one wanted to? I can see some utility to the idea of noting terrain contours when considering routes.

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Is there a resource for 7.5 minute maps that can be installed?

 

Is it possible to install 100k maps for the entire west and then also install higher res 7.5 minute or 24k maps for the areas you commonly visit?

 

Scenario: when I travel interstate I like to track with the GPS but when I an hunting I usually go somewhere in western washington. 100k is fine for travel but the highest res possible is best for in the woods

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Is there a resource for 7.5 minute maps that can be installed?

 

Is it possible to install 100k maps for the entire west and then also install higher res 7.5 minute or 24k maps for the areas you commonly visit?

 

Scenario: when I travel interstate I like to track with the GPS but when I an hunting I usually go somewhere in western washington. 100k is fine for travel but the highest res possible is best for in the woods

 

Bonaro, you will want to give the most excellent maps at Switchbacks.com some consideration. I use the North West Topo maps almost exclusively, and have also the North West Trails enabled with CityNavigator when travelling by road.

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Atlas...question...

 

with a Montana...can I install "nw topos" on my device as a basemap and then install the "washington hunting units" as a layer visible on top of the topo but only when in a custom "hunting" profile?

 

Yes.

 

Install NW Topos, rename the gmapsupp.img to something like , I dunno, NW Topos.img, and then send the WA hunting units map, rename the newly created gmapsupp.img to something like WA Hunt.img, then, from your Recreational profile on the Montana, create a new profile, name the new profile perhaps 'Hunting', and enable those two maps in that profile.

 

More detailed information is available on the wiki.

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