Garmin Montana 650t review

Garmin's latest handheld GPS

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Versatile Garmin GPS for the outdoor lover

The Montana series is the latest top of the line handheld to come from Garmin, and versatility is the order of the day, with this all weather device promising to be all things to all people whether your walking, cycling or on water.

Measuring in at 75 x 144 x 36 mm you certainly know when you've got one in your hands, as a rugged device 'tough and robust' would be fairer than 'large and chunky'. It certainly feels ready to brave the elements; if you imagine a military grade PSP then you wont be far off the mark.

Check out our Gamin Montana 650t pictures

Garmin Montana: Features

As is the vogue these days the Montana sports a 4inch (480x272) touchscreen interface, that appears generous with excellent visibility – even in sunlight – and quality is more than adequate for the tasks in hand.

Should those hands fail you, fear not, as the Montana has IPX7 standard waterproofing (puddles and streams shouldn't trouble it) and the bundled Lithium-ion battery keeps it chugging along all day – in fact after a full day's constant use (geocaching and driving directions) we still had plenty of charge left. Even if this isn't enough, the battery can be swapped for three standard AAs - just hope you can find a shop while your GPS is powerless.

Garmin Montana 650t: Performance

Step outdoors and the Montana springs into action, grabbing GPS signal lightning quick, its different user profiles bringing the useful tools close to hand. To better use the Montana as an in-car sat nav or on a boat, there are optional mounts (available separately).

During our testing the mapping was excellent, we took it off road and deep into the country and the accuracy was consistently great (bridal paths were followed perfectly etc). It never dropped the signal either and even indoors it manages to find satellites with some success.

One drawback of the waterproof and mounting set up is that directions are only audible either via the mount/external output or – if you are on foot – headphones. The 650 does beep to let you know about new directions on screen, but to replace your sat nav with this, then the additional mount is almost certainly essential.

Garmin Montana 650t: Features

Dedicated Geocaching tools, and the ability to share caches wirelessly between devices, mean outdoor discovery is one of the 650's strong suits. Download geo-cache information directly to the device, log finds and take pictures as you go. All of which can be uploaded upon your return.

For those who don't geo-cache the 650t will tell you a lot of information about the world around you, from near-by pharmacies to local golf courses, additional maps and information can also be purchased and added via SD card.

Garmin Montana 650t: Verdict

The 650t should appeal to people with active lifestyles, as well as those that aspire to have one. The need for additional mounts might be a sticking point for some, but its all-round versatility and solid build make it a good choice if you are looking for a multi-functional GPS.

Garmin Montana 650t launch date: Mid June, link Garmin

Garmin Montana 650t price: £599 (via Garmin)