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Garmin gpsmap 66sr or garmin Montana 700


whoopaa
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Hi there, 

 

I am struggling in choosing a handheld gps. I’ve been geocaching for some time and have recently decided that my children (6, 4 and 2) are old enough to come with me on a cachehunt. I’ve been doing my geocaching and logging on my iPhone and find that I like logging on the spot verry easy and fun to do. Time is always short when coming back home so sitting down and logging at home is no option. I’ve narrowed my choice down to the gpsmap 66sr and the Montana 700. I know one is buttons and one is touchscreen but other than that and the price difference

what Could convince me to choose one or the other.  Please advise me because the choise is hard. 

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I like large screens. Was using the Montana 680 until recently and now the 700. Love the 700's screen and the way it functions but it is a brick. Also I've had a couple of times when the screen would not function. Not sure why? moisture from light rain? or drizzle? restarting helped. The 66 series is a great unit. If I could live with a small screen I would go with that one. 

  

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I have the 66s and this is the first new GPS I have had in years the newest being a more than decade old Magellan Triton 400.  Love the large screen, the wireless upload of caches, and I have had less than a month so I am sure there are new things about it I will find out.  The accuracy and speed of this GPS is absolutely amazing to me, and I don't have to walk out of the woods or on to the trail and back towards the cache to get a better pinpoint like I did with the others, so I can highly recommend the 66 series.  Can't comment much on the Montana since I have never used a touch screen GPS but it seems to be how we all use our phones now so I would expect it to have some pretty good Pros too.  

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I am used to the screen of my phone for caching. I think the buttons of the 66sr might come in handy in cold weather but the big screen pushes me towards the 700. Navigation and logging might be easier on the touchscreen. 

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Hard pass on the 66sr in my book. You cannot replace the battery in those, so once they degrade and eventually die, that's it. 

 

The 700 would be my choice by a long shot here. Very nice display, and the flexibility to use AA batteries or a rechargeable, both of which can be swapped out quickly and easily. 

 

Also consider the 66s or 66st models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tahoe Skier5000
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3 hours ago, Tahoe Skier5000 said:

Hard pass on the 66sr in my book. You cannot replace the battery in those, so once they degrade and eventually die, that's it.

 

Strange...the S/ST have replaceable batteries, but the SR doesn't.  What was Garmin thinking?

...glad you pointed that out...thx.

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The 66sr is the best GPS that I have ever owned, by far. And I have had many over the years. I have a 66sr and a Montana 750. For the freakishly accurate accuracy alone I would choose the 66sr hands down. The battery not being AAs is not an issue: in fact I prefer it. Plug it in to a computer, wall, or mount and it charges fast. It lasts a very long time. And as has been pointed out many times before in this forum, if/when it no longer holds a charge it will be relatively easy (6 screws) to open up the unit and replace it. I imagine it will be many years before this would be necessary.

 

Besides, the Montana is a brick when being considering for something like geocaching or hiking. Great for in vehicle/ATV/etc. use in a mount. I chose a 750 because I wanted City Navigator maps on board.

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8 hours ago, jakewa said:

 

Strange...the S/ST have replaceable batteries, but the SR doesn't.  What was Garmin thinking?

...glad you pointed that out...thx.

 

Some users just really love their "AA" batteries and won't let them go. For the rest of us, without a misplaced fear of new technology, there are many great advantages to enjoy.

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1 hour ago, MaliBooBoo said:

The 66sr is the best GPS that I have ever owned, by far. And I have had many over the years. I have a 66sr and a Montana 750.

 

I have both of those also, and the 66sr is the first one I grab every time I go out, 9 times out of ten, or better!

 

 

1 hour ago, MaliBooBoo said:

The battery not being AAs is not an issue: in fact I prefer it. Plug it in to a computer, wall, or mount and it charges fast. It lasts a very long time.

 

I easily get a full weekend of use out of mine without worry.

 

 

1 hour ago, MaliBooBoo said:

And as has been pointed out many times before in this forum, if/when it no longer holds a charge it will be relatively easy (6 screws) to open up the unit and replace it. I imagine it will be many years before this would be necessary.

 

And who knows what the future holds? I may want a newer unit by them anyway!

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And how long have you guys had the 66sr, I know the micro USB on some devices tends to have a bad connection after a lot of loading the battery’s. Resulting in not being able to charge the device. 

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And maybe one last question, when I go out with my iPhone now I can look at the map and select the cache nearest to me on the map, I can see the list as well but find the map to be nicer to find the nearest caches when I am out geocaching. With the Montana I presume you can look at the map and just touchy the icon of the cache you want to see but how does it work with the 66sr? How do you select a geocache on the map page? I’ve been looking for a filmfragment where someone shows the live geocaching function on a 66 series gps but can’t find one. Not where the show it from start to finish. Not having any handheld experience makes that I don’t know how it works and would like some insight before I buy. ? 

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On 4/23/2021 at 4:58 PM, Atlas Cached said:

 

Some users just really love their "AA" batteries and won't let them go. For the rest of us, without a misplaced fear of new technology, there are many great advantages to enjoy.

 

The reality is, aside from having a longer runtime on a single charge (caveat... when the device is new!), there are actually far more advantages to having a GPSr with AA power. That's not "misplaced fear of new technology", it's just a fact. 

 

 

Edited by Tahoe Skier5000
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1 hour ago, Tahoe Skier5000 said:

there are actually far more advantages to having a GPSr with AA power.

 

Fake news.

 

Garmin chose the internal lithium battery specifically for the superior power transfer and endurance capabilities.

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached
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This is true. If one reads all the data on Lithium Ion vs NiMH it's easy to see why Garmin chose Lithium paks. And why Lithium paks are better for phones,etc. 

 

 In the case of the 700 the Lithium pack is 3100 mah. @ 1.3 v.  VS AA Panasonic Pro's at 2450 1.2 v's.     Lithium Ion pack will  charge faster, hold the power curve longer,  better shelf life, very light weight, give longer hours of use.  

 

I tried the aa pack.  1. it protudes way out of the back of the 700 making a brick a concrete block. 2. it didn't perform nearly as good on hours,etc. 

I sent it back and few dollars more got another Lithium pack for backup out.  3. The aa pack with charged 2450's  make the brick as heavy as a concrete block.

 

I thought the size would be a huge issue but it doesn't at all after getting settled in with it. It fits nicely in all my hiking shirt pockets as well as a case for my large daypack Arcteryx Kea 37.  It carry's well and can't feel the difference between the 680T I use to carry on the pack or this 700. Probably cause the AA's add weight to the 680.

20210401_110259.jpg-640x480.jpg

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20 hours ago, whoopaa said:

@Atlas Cached is it easy to log caches on the 66sr? And I mean log directly on the spot. I was

thinking about it because the extra accuracy was really nice. Seeing as you guys have good results with it you might be able to answer. 

 

Yes and no.

 

(Yes) You can log caches directly on the spot,  just like with a smartphone, but,

 

(No) Text entry is tedious with the non-touchscreen devices.

 

So, yes, you can, but it is not efficient for detailed logging.

 

 

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20 hours ago, whoopaa said:

And how long have you guys had the 66sr, I know the micro USB on some devices tends to have a bad connection after a lot of loading the battery’s. Resulting in not being able to charge the device.

 

I've been using the 66sr as my primary device since they were made available (longer actually) without any problems to report. My 66s/st are more than two years old now, and their micro-USB connections are still holding up OK. (same connection as the 66sr)

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17 hours ago, whoopaa said:

And maybe one last question, when I go out with my iPhone now I can look at the map and select the cache nearest to me on the map, I can see the list as well but find the map to be nicer to find the nearest caches when I am out geocaching. With the Montana I presume you can look at the map and just touchy the icon of the cache you want to see but how does it work with the 66sr? How do you select a geocache on the map page? I’ve been looking for a filmfragment where someone shows the live geocaching function on a 66 series gps but can’t find one. Not where the show it from start to finish. Not having any handheld experience makes that I don’t know how it works and would like some insight before I buy.

 

Yes, on touchscreen devices, you can simply touch the geocache icon on the map page to select it, as demonstrated at GPSrChive > Montana 7x0 > Main Menu > Geocaching > Geocache Map.

 

The process is similar on non-touchscreen devices, and you can see one example at GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66sr > Pages > Geocaching > Geocache Map.

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23 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

 

Yes, on touchscreen devices, you can simply touch the geocache icon on the map page to select it, as demonstrated at GPSrChive > Montana 7x0 > Main Menu > Geocaching > Geocache Map.

 

The process is similar on non-touchscreen devices, and you can see one example at GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66sr > Pages > Geocaching > Geocache Map.

What a helpful site for those of us that have never gotten a unit before. 
thanks for all the help! 

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So whoopaa, have you made a purchase yet and what have you decided? I've been following this thread with interest as I am trying to decide what to upgrade to myself. Currently I have an eTrex30 and it no longer suits my needs.

 

I don't need a camera as I have the iphone 12 pro max, and I don't need In Reach capability as I already have the Mini. It's down to accuracy, battery life, and a decent sized screen ie at least twice the size of the eTrex.

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My concern and question is maps.  If I am in one state and go across country, will the GPS load detailed maps of streets without buying additional maps like it updates nearby caches?  What if I go to another country, will the street maps update then too - like a phone?  Thank you.

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4 hours ago, LDove said:

My concern and question is maps.  If I am in one state and go across country, will the GPS load detailed maps of streets without buying additional maps like it updates nearby caches?  What if I go to another country, will the street maps update then too - like a phone?  Thank you.

 

No.

 

That's not how any GPS works.

 

You have to preload maps for the areas you want to use them before hand.

 

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Maps are not loaded dynamically on a GPS. You have to preload them yourself.

There are a lot of openstreetmaps (OSM) available for free for the entire planet. And with an SD card in your GPS you have enough space to load the whole of the US (about 10Gb) in your GPS.

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@contesta

i haven’t made a purchase yet. We decided that it could wait a couple of months seeing as its a pretty big buy. I have been thinking long and hard About what to buy and decided on the Montana 700. Purely because Of the touchscreen. I think it will be great on the road/trail. If they would combine the multi gps of the sr and the touchscreen of the Montana I would know what I would choose without a

doubt! 😊 

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On 6/6/2021 at 7:10 PM, whoopaa said:

@contesta

i haven’t made a purchase yet. We decided that it could wait a couple of months seeing as its a pretty big buy. I have been thinking long and hard About what to buy and decided on the Montana 700. Purely because Of the touchscreen. I think it will be great on the road/trail. If they would combine the multi gps of the sr and the touchscreen of the Montana I would know what I would choose without a

doubt! 😊 

You will be pleased with a Montana 700.

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And we finally bought the Montana 700! I hope it will bring us loads of geocaching fun! The last few times we went on a trip the maps on the official geocaching iphone app kept lagging an loading verry slowly so we decided to take on the extra cost and just go for it! 

If anyone is still interested in my findings as a newbie to hiking gps, keep me posted here and i will share my findings in a few weeks/months. 

 

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A bit of follow up on several months with a Montana 700.

 

1. Get the AA back.  You will need it.  Eventually you will come to depend upon it.  The power switch on the 700 is too easily bumped, powering it up.  I'm sitting at my desk and hear a Beep, the 700 was evidently on all night and is down to 9%.  This is not the first time I have found the battery running down, usually it's just before I grab it to take on a hike.  The ability to swap in commodity batteries found at any store is A GOOD THING.  The Lithium battery had impressive life early on, but it's already showing some age.  I can go through 60% of it in a day, no problem.  Having a backup Lithium Ion is about $50, nuts to that, I run a lot of consumer electronics on NiMH AA cells and keep a dozen in a Storacell (Glow in the dark) battery carrier in backpack at all times, that's 4 rotations, which is about enough for any weekend camping trip and you can get a dozen, with charger for less than $50.  I use all power saving options, including the double-tap of the power button to darken the screen when not reading (or using the face as a writing surface for signing logs.)

 

2. This GPSr has the feel of the guts of the smaller Oregon (think 600) in a larger package and driving a larger display.  It can be excruciatingly slow, particularly when using TOPO maps.  The touch interface appears less responsive and somewhat indecisive compared to the Oregon 600.

 

3.  So far I have not hit a cap on pocket queries (my preferred means of loading caches.)  I keep various lists (Renowned caches, virtuals, earthcaches, solved puzzles, all caches, etc.) to minimize clutter or maximize my surroundings for attempting cache placement.  I've had over 15,000 caches loaded, no compression.

 

4. The lack of a carabiner to clip easily onto belt, vest or pack strap is a real nuisance. This thing is heavy and bulky.  When just hiking along it is very preferable to have it hung up somewhere, freeing hands.   I bought the bicycle handlebar mount and just use the four screws to clamp in a bit of woven strap through a carabiner and it works well.  It's holds firmly and frees me up to scramble rocks, structures, slippery slopes, etc.  Still more bulky than the Oregon 600, but I need the larger screen so that's the trade off.

 

5.  As batteries run lower, even a drop of 0.1 v, on lithium or NiMH the display still goes nuts and won't show logs, descriptions, flickers a lot.  That's been a problem since the Oregon 600, clearly not addressed in the Montana 700.  Cycle power and you're good to go again.  Beats me why it cares about voltage drop, other than dropping below minimum, which can still be a long way off.

 

6. Accuracy appears to be very good, the external antenna nub seems to provide considerable improvement over the Oregon 600.  It catches on everything, much of the back of the case is that sticky rubber, so just deal with it.

 

7. Most functions are consistent from the Oregon 450 on up.  Short learning curve to get out and caching.

 

8. I still keep all my maps and caches in the micro SD.  These are easily enough swapped if going from state to state.  When I'd attend a Mega or GeoWoodstock I'd usually have a micro SD already prepped for where I was going to, specific maps, pocket queries, solved puzzles, etc.  I have not encountered a common issue with the Oregon 450 and 600, that of caches all disappearing, leaving only Waypoints.  I'm wary that it may yet happen, at the worst possible time (like middle of the night, driving county to county, state to state, where I want to pick up caches in specific locations,) but easily remedied by powering down, removing the micro SD, powering up, powering down, replacing the micro SD and powering up again.  It takes a while to reload all maps and caches, but there they are.  If this malfunction happens with things in the internal memory you need a computer to help you out (copy all maps, queries, waypoints to a disc folder, erase them from the internal memory, cycle power, then write them all back where they came from, cycle power again.)

 

In summary, the Montana 700 works and has a bigger, easier to read screen (especially if you download the larger icon set,) but it still has some of the quirks of its predecessors and you really will need that AA-back, get it.

 

 

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