Garmin has launched the Montana, the latest in its GPS devices range and is touted as the most advanced Garmin handheld, with a tough and versatile design.
It’s not specifically designed for mountain bikers, but instead is a multipurpose design that offers the versatility to be used on the bike, out walking in the hills or in the car driving to the trail centre.
A 4in colour glove-friendly responsive touchscreen gives ample space to see where you are on the range of Garmin maps, and the rugged design of the case should ensure it survives a battering. It’ll take two AA batteries as well, and is waterproof to IPX7 standards. A first for Garmin is that, like the latest smartphones, it can be tilted onto its side and the screen will rotate its orientation.
Inside the Montana boasts a barometric altimeter for elevation profiling, built-in 3-axis compass, giving the Montana a heading even when standing still or held at an angle and 5-megapixel autofocus camera (on the 650 and 650t models).
Montana offers two battery choices, a thin, lightweight lithium ion battery pack, lasting up to 16 hours. Or for longer trips the Montana also works on three AA batteries, giving explorers an additional 22 hours of use without being weighed down.
Montana supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to the unit. Montana stores and displays key information, including location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions.
Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales said: “Montana was designed with the ‘get dirty, go hard then go home crowd’ in mind, who are always after adventure."
The Montana comes in three models, the 600 with worldwide basemap, 650 with worldwide basemap and 5MPcamera and 650t with worldwide basemap, 100k Euro Topo mapping and 5MP camera. The RRP price starts from £429.99 for the Montana 600, £499.99 for the Montana 650 and £549.99 for the Montana 650t.
What do we think?
It’s not intended to be a replacement for the Edge 800, but will appeal to mountain bikers who are more interested in a superior navigation device that eschews much of the training emphasis that has made the 800 so popular. It’s large colour touchscreen and the option to use AA batteries makes it ideally suited to multiday epics where you want a reliable route guide.