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splashy

Garmin Monterra

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If you get a decent phone you don't need a GPS dongle.

 

The greatest phone in the world is useless for geocaching without good cell coverage. Even in metro-Atlanta there are dead zones.

 

Not if the phone uses GPS rather than cellphone triangulation. My phone is five years old and when it uses GPS it gets me a lock within about 20-40 metres, compared to anything up to 1800 metres when using triangulation. It's nowhere near accurate enough for me to have any confidence caching with it, even with a good GPS lock, but the difference between the two location approaches is substantial.

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The Groundspeak app works perfectly fine offline and allows downloading of the caches, photos and maps.

 

Not the Windows Phone version, because it doesn't actually save the cache info. Pretty useless for "offline" caching.

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I see the Monterra page on the Garmin web site but I do not see a projected release date. Perhaps I have missed it.

Has one been discussed?.

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I see the Monterra page on the Garmin web site but I do not see a projected release date. Perhaps I have missed it.

Has one been discussed?.

21th October maybe ?

GPSCity

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I looked at the Monterra description for all of 10 minutes today, zipped over to GPSCity and placed my (pre)order destined to ship Oct 21 (or so.) It looks pretty much like what I have wanted for the last 5 years.

 

I will probably continue using my beloved 62SC, because it works so well. But this Monterra thing has some real potential, so I ordered one so I could check it out.

 

If you think of the Monterra as a fancy phone with no phone chip, it's expensive and a dumb idea. If you think of it as an alternative to (for example) a Trimble Juno T41 (starts around $1500) or other rugged handheld programmable data collector, it's probably the cheapest in that class by far. I have had 3 Garmin handhelds and a couple Nuvis. I have also had other handhelds including PocketPC and Android and Linux devices and a Delorme PN40. I always want to have flexibility in loading in my own maps and programs, and that's wanting with a GPSmap or a Montana.

 

I live in the Willamette Valley. It rains here, a lot. I have killed 2 cheap cell phones. A friend just killed a 4 day old Galaxy S4. Maybe it does not rain where you live. I don't want to put my GPS away if it rains. I still need to know where to go, even if a hike turns wet.

 

I actually dropped my Garmin eMap and rode over it while bike touring. Nary a scratch. I have dropped my 62SC off my bike once or twice. No problem. I can't imagine that my Google smartphone could take that. I think it would go to pieces. I have found probably 6 cellphones on the roadside while riding to work. None of them were functional. I need rugged.

 

Cell phone coverage is very spotty here. My Google Nexus phone sucks as a GPS receiver when it's out of cell range. The battery is too small. If I leave the GPS on, it won't last through 1/2 of a hike. No, I don't want to carry extra batteries. I gave up on using it for geocaching and got the 62SC. I don't even have a SIMM in the Google phone right now, back to using a cheapie little phone that has 4-5 days battery life and fits in a pocket.

 

The sun comes out here occasionally and when it does, my smartphone screen is worthless. Have to find deep shade to see it. That means it's pretty much useless on the handlebars on my bike. On the bicycle it's either raining (so I have to hide it away) or too sunny (and useless). I currently use the 62SC as my bicycle computer, speedo, cadence, map, and geocaching buddy all in one.

 

I also happen to be an Android developer, so while I hope that the Monterra works as well as the 62SC, if it's not then I think it will still be fun to write code for it.

 

Cheers

 

Brian

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Have you tried disabling the cellular radio on your Nexus on hikes? In my experience, it's the biggest source of battery drain in areas with poor cellular coverage, because it's continually looking for towers.

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Thanks for the tip. I found I was able to put it in airplane mode and then turn WiFi back on. I don't normally use cellular so this should help all the time.

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I just hope this means there will be a full Garmin app for Android...If it is even close to having a current version of Android on it, it will be possible to get the app off of there. But if they wait just a bit and put a full Offline Garmin mapping app and the topo....that would be sweet. It would cut into their hardware profit, but would probably sell WAY more since everyone has a phone and only hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore.

 

My Colorado still kicks butt, but I would love to have all those same functions on my S3

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everyone has a phone and only hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore.

 

That's news to me. I wouldn't dream of using my iPhone as a gps. It gets too hot if powered, and the battery only lasts a couple of hours. Long enough to get lost but not long enough to get back.

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everyone has a phone and only hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore.

 

That's news to me. I wouldn't dream of using my iPhone as a gps. It gets too hot if powered, and the battery only lasts a couple of hours. Long enough to get lost but not long enough to get back.

Yeah, according to this I guess I need to return my spiffy new Oregon 650 that I bought just for geocaching. I also carry a smartphone, but I almost never use it for geocaching. Go figure.

 

I just love these grandiose generalizations. Nobody does this, everybody does that....

 

--Larry

Edited by larryc43230

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I love how both you acted like I said NOBODY or EVERYONE...I said those are the types that tend to buy these units anymore. Geocaching is fun and all, but personally I have only come across 2 other families that have ever heard of it. So sure there are some people that buy for just geocaching as well, but again this is a minority of the general population. See the difference? I would use my Colorado if I was really going off the beaten path for sure, but there are times when you would have your phone and not your handheld is the point, so having these apps would be great. Note I said nothing about NOT buying these units or the new Monterra, I simply said the apps would be a huge benefit.

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I love how both you acted like I said NOBODY or EVERYONE...I said those are the types that tend to buy these units anymore. Geocaching is fun and all, but personally I have only come across 2 other families that have ever heard of it. So sure there are some people that buy for just geocaching as well, but again this is a minority of the general population. See the difference? I would use my Colorado if I was really going off the beaten path for sure, but there are times when you would have your phone and not your handheld is the point, so having these apps would be great. Note I said nothing about NOT buying these units or the new Monterra, I simply said the apps would be a huge benefit.

The way I use the English language, "only hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore" means "nobody but hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore." Same difference.

 

Almost all of my geocaching involves going off the beaten path. Places where there is little or no cell coverage. Places where tree cover makes the GPS in most cell phones mostly ineffective. Therefore, almost all of my geocaching is best done with a dedicated unit, whether or not some new Android offline mapping app comes along.

 

--Larry

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I love how both you acted like I said NOBODY or EVERYONE...I said those are the types that tend to buy these units anymore. Geocaching is fun and all, but personally I have only come across 2 other families that have ever heard of it. So sure there are some people that buy for just geocaching as well, but again this is a minority of the general population. See the difference? I would use my Colorado if I was really going off the beaten path for sure, but there are times when you would have your phone and not your handheld is the point, so having these apps would be great. Note I said nothing about NOT buying these units or the new Monterra, I simply said the apps would be a huge benefit.

The way I use the English language, "only hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore" means "nobody but hikers and hunters really buy a stand alone handheld unit anymore." Same difference.

 

Almost all of my geocaching involves going off the beaten path. Places where there is little or no cell coverage. Places where tree cover makes the GPS in most cell phones mostly ineffective. Therefore, almost all of my geocaching is best done with a dedicated unit, whether or not some new Android offline mapping app comes along.

 

--Larry

 

Same here. If someone says something I have to assume they mean what they say.

 

I hardly do any Geocaching anymore so there's no need to assume that's why I own so many dedicated gps units. But having used my iPhone on a couple of occasions to navigate, I know enough to make sure I always have a real, dedicated gps with me.

 

There's nothing quite so annoying as to be using a phone as a gps or music player, or any of the hundreds of other things it'll do, and to find out that its battery is dead and you can't use it for its original purpose. Especially in an emergency.

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Doesn't really matter, as long as they present a good working unit on the market.

Splashy. You are so funny.

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Doesn't really matter, as long as it can pull up caches live, say with 3G, as the Kindle can do with books.. Oh wait..

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Doesn't really matter, as long as it can pull up caches live, say with 3G, as the Kindle can do with books.. Oh wait..

 

It can if you tether it to a phone.

 

Yes, but I don't have a smart phone. This unit would serve a purpose if it had 3G and behaved like a Kindle, just tailored for GPS instead of books.

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Doesn't really matter, as long as it can pull up caches live, say with 3G, as the Kindle can do with books.. Oh wait..

 

It can if you tether it to a phone.

 

Yes, but I don't have a smart phone. This unit would serve a purpose if it had 3G and behaved like a Kindle, just tailored for GPS instead of books.

 

Find a WiFi hot spot? They are easy to find.

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Yes, but I don't have a smart phone. This unit would serve a purpose if it had 3G and behaved like a Kindle, just tailored for GPS instead of books.

You seriously then want to pay for a 3G monthly data plan solely to download cache information live? That seems a lot of money for very little use.

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Yes, but I don't have a smart phone. This unit would serve a purpose if it had 3G and behaved like a Kindle, just tailored for GPS instead of books.

You seriously then want to pay for a 3G monthly data plan solely to download cache information live? That seems a lot of money for very little use.

 

Before we left on a recent vacation (where I could not use cellular data because of roaming charges) I had problems with the Montana and thought about whether it might be easier just to turn it in under a lifetime satisfaction guarantee and get a Monterra. It turned out that I was able to resolve the Montana problem and the Monterra was not released. It was just as well. I was able to use my smartphone with wifi (iphone with geosphere) to update/filter/create pocket queries and export the gpx file directly to the sd card for the Montana. It took only a couple of minutes and the small gadget needed to make this work (sd card reader) was cheaper than the Monterra would have been. So at this point a new gpsr holds very little interest. It seems like a lot of money for very little use.

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I don't have, nor want a smartphone. A device with the GPS reliability of a Garmin coupled with the ability to retrieve cache information live would be attractive to me.

 

All I am thinking is that if my Oregon 450 could pull down geocaches from the ether, it would be a perfect little thing.

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I don't have, nor want a smartphone. A device with the GPS reliability of a Garmin coupled with the ability to retrieve cache information live would be attractive to me.

 

All I am thinking is that if my Oregon 450 could pull down geocaches from the ether, it would be a perfect little thing.

I'm saying your logic makes zero sense. You do understand that getting cell data costs money? Paying those fees solely for the odd cache update is a huge waste of money.

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I don't have, nor want a smartphone. A device with the GPS reliability of a Garmin coupled with the ability to retrieve cache information live would be attractive to me.

 

All I am thinking is that if my Oregon 450 could pull down geocaches from the ether, it would be a perfect little thing.

I'm saying your logic makes zero sense. You do understand that getting cell data costs money? Paying those fees solely for the odd cache update is a huge waste of money.

 

.. and Hello to you too. Chill out dude. I would pay a reasonable monthly fee for the small amount of data that would be required. Sorry for posting what would work for me. I am of the odd underground dwelling sort that doesn't have a smart phone and its huge waste of money contract.

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"getting cell data costs money"

This totally depends of your contract.

He has NO CONTRACT.... He has to get a SIM card and some sort of plan to allow data solely for the GPS (if that was a hardware option). This would be similar to getting a plan for a tablet that takes a SIM card. I'm not sure what costs are in the US, but here in Canada for a data only SIM card plan, you are stuck at $10 per month as the absolute minimum.

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"getting cell data costs money"

This totally depends of your contract.

He has NO CONTRACT.... He has to get a SIM card and some sort of plan to allow data solely for the GPS (if that was a hardware option). This would be similar to getting a plan for a tablet that takes a SIM card. I'm not sure what costs are in the US, but here in Canada for a data only SIM card plan, you are stuck at $10 per month as the absolute minimum.

 

Given Garmin's experience with the nuviphone, I would not expect them to add cellular capability to a Monterra type of gpsr. But perhaps they will want to try it again from a different angle.

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The Monterra has NO cellular capabilities, but according to a tester it can do Bluetooth Tether.

In that case it will get live data from the cellular via the BT if needed, if your phone supports BT Tether.

 

But in fact with the Nuviphone in the back of my head, I need to see it work before I believe it.

Edited by splashy

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If you can turn your phone into a wifi hotspot, then the Monterra can connect over wifi.

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Sure, but according to the same tester BT used in this way seems to use significantly less juice, on the phone and Monterra's side.

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The Monterra has NO cellular capabilities, but according to a tester it can do Bluetooth Tether.

In that case it will get live data from the cellular via the BT if needed, if your phone supports BT Tether.

Splashy. This was all discussed last page.... We went past that because fbingha does not have a cell phone because of the service cost. He is willing, though to pay the service cost for a 3G capable GPS.....

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One can get 250MB plans for $15 and 2GB plans for $25 for the ipad. My imagination went wild and I contemplated having such a plan with a 3G capable GPS. Seems like others think it an insane play and it must be since Garmin didn't add it to their android based Monterra.

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I have seen some threads referring to problems with the Monterra's compass or waypoint symbols. I don't have any plans to switch to the Monterra, since my iphone and handheld gives me all the capability I need. But I am curious about how people are otherwise liking the unit (how the screen resolution displays other apps, its accuracy, ease of use, and the like). Did Garmin get it right with this one?

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I assume there will be some problems with it since it's such a big change for them. :-) I ordered one anyway. Ship date for me is purportedly Nov 22 now. The guy I ordered it from sends me an email about once a week saying it's delayed again. I take this to mean they are working hard to make sure it's all good but it probably means the boat was caught in the typhoon.

 

Then again the Nuvi 855 based on Linux worked quite well and I think that was new for them too.

 

If it does not work for me, I will add it to the time capsule storage box in my lab with the Openmoko Freerunner and the Google Galaxy Nexus.

In 2113 it will be quite a valuable collection.

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I've had mine for a day now. I was really excited about the possibilities. The problem is that by trying to add so much new functionality and features they are straying away from the core features people need with a dedicated GPS - stable operating system, dependable compass, good battery life. So far I've had to reboot the device 4 times, the compass does not point in the correct direction, and the batter life is abysmal compared to my Montana. I've tried to recalibrate and it gets stuck on the vertical movement portion of the calibration.

 

I was planning on taking this hunting. Now I'm afraid the compass will send me in the wrong direction, then the battery will die before I find my way out. This is aside from the fact I have two dead pixels and the battery door is not flush (which may mean its not waterproof--I'm not ready to test that).

 

I've been anxiously awaiting for my pre-order since August. Very disappointed right now and not sure what Im going to be doing with it. I can't really wait for software updates to fix these problems (at least the software ones) because hunting season starts this Saturday.

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I was planning on taking this hunting. Now I'm afraid the compass will send me in the wrong direction, then the battery will die before I find my way out.

 

Having used a Monterra for a few months now, I would not choose it as a "Hunting" gps. It's got some really great features but battery life is not one of them. If you do bring it, bring lots of Lithium AAs as backup. It's a little heavy too, don't you think, for carrying around?

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I was planning on taking this hunting. Now I'm afraid the compass will send me in the wrong direction, then the battery will die before I find my way out.

 

Having used a Monterra for a few months now, I would not choose it as a "Hunting" gps. It's got some really great features but battery life is not one of them. If you do bring it, bring lots of Lithium AAs as backup. It's a little heavy too, don't you think, for carrying around?

I suppose it depends on the type of hunting you're doing but I would agree that it is getting a bit on the large size for a true handheld device if you are going far from vehicle or camp. As for battery life, truly not the best but you can manage the battery reasonably well if you use the Suspend Mode and keep the screen backlight low or off in sunlight. Also, using a black wallpaper will reduce the power used by the display and no fancy Live Wallpapers - they eat the battery.

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Dan/DRTBYK,

 

Thanks for the review. Have you noticed any issues when caching like mentioned above? Is the screen as responsive as the new Oregons are?

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Dan/DRTBYK,

 

Thanks for the review. Have you noticed any issues when caching like mentioned above? Is the screen as responsive as the new Oregons are?

As I (and someone else) mentioned, the Garmin Outdoor Apps Compass seems to have a software issue at the moment. It has been reported to the Dev Team. You can use third-party Cache Apps or Compass and they work fine.

 

The current map refresh/redraw code is good but could still use some improvement given the CPU/GPU capability. I'd say it's almost equal to the Montana at this point.

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I invite you all to read my Monterra Review...

 

Excellent in-depth review DRTBYK! Garmin has come a long way in it's development over the past few months and it just keeps getting better. I use it every day and despite having four other recent generation Garmin's the Monterra is my go-to unit. It feeds my GPS addiction and gives me just the fix I need (pun intended). :)

Edited by yogazoo

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