New Garmin Montana 700 Series GPS Units with 5" Touchscreen and InReach Capable

Cabrito

I come in Peace
I'm seriously considering the 700i. It seems to have all the features in one unit that my other various devices don't have.

Currently I'm still using my Nuvi 500 in my FJ and it works great in US and Baja. It came standard with Topo maps and that's handy when I'm in remote areas for locating myself using landmarks. The old Nuvi 500 does not play nicely with GPX tracks though so I have the Montana 680T for the motorcycle, but had to purchase city navigator so I could do routing when needed.

I also run a inReach, and have found it to be invaluable on some trips in Baja with injury's and group coordination. The phone application for the inreach is awesome and functional, but would be nice to have a GPS that's usable bundled with it.

Having all of these features in one unit, plus the bigger screen look sweet. I rode with a guy who has been using his Montana 700i for a while and he loves it.

I use all my GPS units with additional things like GaiaGPS and a few other aps, plus paper maps so I'm not just sticking with GPS as my only mode of navigation.

Looking forward to consolidating some of my untits with the Motana 700
 

Cabrito

I come in Peace
Given those MSRPs Garmin thinks much higher of themselves than the rest of the world does.
It's an expensive unit that's for sure, but it does pack a lot into one device. I'm thinking if I sell a few different devices it would mostly pay for the new one. Sticker shock is what's keeping me from just buying one.
 

blacklbzbeauty

Active member
I have purchased multiple Garmin handheld GPS units over the years including the top of the line Montana approx 5 years ago. Always disappointed in how far behind they have been in technology and user interface. Especially compared to smart phone apps such as Gaia.
Comparable to how far behind most onboard nav systems in vehicles were compared to Google Maps or Waze. Now you can just sync your phone with the onboard screen.
 

pluton

Adventurer
I have purchased multiple Garmin handheld GPS units over the years including the top of the line Montana approx 5 years ago. Always disappointed in how far behind they have been in technology and user interface. Especially compared to smart phone apps such as Gaia.
I bought my Montana in 2011, the year they came out. I hope the performance of the touchscreen on the 700 is approximately where the first iPhone was in 2007. That would be nice.
 

Cabrito

I come in Peace
I bought my Montana in 2011, the year they came out. I hope the performance of the touchscreen on the 700 is approximately where the first iPhone was in 2007. That would be nice.
I just looked at one yesterday and got the full rundown from a friend who's been hammering on his for the past 4-5 months. He's had it in high temps, rain, snow, low temps ect.. Not a single hiccup.

Pluses:
Multi-touch screen!! I was able to zoom using two fingers or at least I think I was.. :)
Glass like screen. I'm not sure if it's Gorilla glass or what, but it's different from other GPS like the Montana 600 series.
Readable in direct sunlight, and shade even with my Polarized Prescription Sunglasses. It does go black when you look off axis from the side.
Faster than my Montana 680 or my old ancient nuvi 500 but still does take some time to re-load when scrolling around on the map.
Fast connection even indoors. Friend told me he had it connected from inside his 3rd floor apartment away from windows.

It does need a solid touch to activate. I watched him try light fast moving touches on the screen and it didn't take on a few of them.
He says rain does not have any issues on the screen. He says his cell phone did all sorts of weird things with rain drops hitting it and making it think it was being touched.

Negatives (only one so far)
Although it does come standard with both Topo and City Navigator it uses City Navigator for turn by turn routing. My ancient nuvi 500 came standard with Topo and routes great while showing topography. It has spoiled me in this regard. If the 700 is set to just Topo maps it will not let you create a turn by turn route, like to a gas station. You have to re-activate City Navigator just like on the 680 Montana's. I can live with this. I have found in some cases that you can start your route in City Navigator on the 680 and then switch to Topo and it will still provide the turn by turn unless you navigate off of the suggested route. It doesn't always work but it does sometimes.

I can't wait to get one.
 

dms1

Explorer
Negatives (only one so far)
Although it does come standard with both Topo and City Navigator it uses City Navigator for turn by turn routing. My ancient nuvi 500 came standard with Topo and routes great while showing topography. It has spoiled me in this regard. If the 700 is set to just Topo maps it will not let you create a turn by turn route, like to a gas station. You have to re-activate City Navigator just like on the 680 Montana's. I can live with this. I have found in some cases that you can start your route in City Navigator on the 680 and then switch to Topo and it will still provide the turn by turn unless you navigate off of the suggested route. It doesn't always work but it does sometimes.

I can't wait to get one.
Do you know what Topo maps comes with the 700i? I have been researching this unit for a possible purchase and have read where it comes with Topo 100K and if you buy the Topo 24K maps at $99.99 per region then you can do turn by turn with them, but this is unconfirmed. I can't find any in stock near me to even look at one. The Garmin site does not indicate what Topo comes with the device, but since they sell the 24K Topo's for this device I am guessing it only comes with the 100K Topo.
 

Cabrito

I come in Peace
Do you know what Topo maps comes with the 700i? I have been researching this unit for a possible purchase and have read where it comes with Topo 100K and if you buy the Topo 24K maps at $99.99 per region then you can do turn by turn with them, but this is unconfirmed. I can't find any in stock near me to even look at one. The Garmin site does not indicate what Topo comes with the device, but since they sell the 24K Topo's for this device I am guessing it only comes with the 100K Topo.
Good questions dms1, but sadly I do not know the answer.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Do you know what Topo maps comes with the 700i? I have been researching this unit for a possible purchase and have read where it comes with Topo 100K and if you buy the Topo 24K maps at $99.99 per region then you can do turn by turn with them, but this is unconfirmed. I can't find any in stock near me to even look at one. The Garmin site does not indicate what Topo comes with the device, but since they sell the 24K Topo's for this device I am guessing it only comes with the 100K Topo.
The Montana 700 series comes with what Garmin calls "Topo Active" maps. They are new, and seem to be a combination of the old 100,000 map with data from Open Street Maps. The 700 display, OS and these new TopoActive maps combined are, IMO, much nicer than the old 100,000 OR the old 24,000 as seen and used on my old Montana 600 series.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Spent a few days with a Montana 700 unit. Everything about it is a major improvement on my old Montana 650t,
EXCEPT: The brightness of the display, when used in a car interior, such as mounted at the dashboard, is very, very low.
Using a Minolta Spotmeter F, I measured the brightness of the Montana 700 display (with backlight set at 100%) at about 95 nits (candelas per square meter); The 10-year-old Montana 650t measures at about 300 nits. (For reference, a bright iPhone will do 500 nits max.)
The Montana 700 display is one-third the brightness of the old Montana 650t from 10 years ago. Disappointing.
It's barely readable on a car dashboard while driving in a bright, sunny place...If you're wearing sunglasses, it's basically unreadable in that application. In direct sunlight, it is very readable because of its transflective nature. Moto folks seem to love the display.
Edit: I forgot to add that all my old maps from GPS File Depot loaded up (via the Garmin Basecamp app) fine and display fine.
 
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dms1

Explorer
The Montana 700 series comes with what Garmin calls "Topo Active" maps. They are new, and seem to be a combination of the old 100,000 map with data from Open Street Maps. The 700 display, OS and these new TopoActive maps combined are, IMO, much nicer than the old 100,000 OR the old 24,000 as seen and used on my old Montana 600 series.
Turns out the old 24K Topo maps are more accurate than the Topo Active as they are missing a ton of trails in CA. I sent some comparison pics to Garmin but I doubt anything will come of it. I have not had any issues with bright light on my unit. I took it one one hike so far and could read the maps just fine.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Turns out the old 24K Topo maps are more accurate than the Topo Active as they are missing a ton of trails in CA. I sent some comparison pics to Garmin but I doubt anything will come of it. I have not had any issues with bright light on my unit. I took it one one hike so far and could read the maps just fine.
Outdoors, in the daytime, the backlight is not needed due to the transflective screen. Many customer reviews on Amazon, etc complain about battery life. I suspect that those people are probably using the backlight---unnecessarily---while hiking in the daytime.
Interesting about the old 24K Topos vs. the new Topo Active maps. I had been annoyed at missing back roads, particularly in Arizona, on the old 24K maps! Just goes to show: No map is perfect, and they all have errors. At least the much larger memory capacity of the 700 series will allow the owner to keep multiple maps for the same area.
 
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deserteagle56

Adventurer
Interesting about the old 24K Topos vs. the new Topo Active maps. I had been annoyed at missing back roads, particularly in Arizona, on the old 24K maps! Just goes to show: No map is perfect, and they all have errors. At least the much larger memory capacity of the 700 series will allow the owner to keep multiple maps for the same area.
I've found that the 100k maps show significantly more primitive roads/trails than the 24k maps do. The only thing I've found the 24k maps good for is creating routes/tracks - if the road exists on the map it takes only a minute to create a track to follow versus having to trace a track using the 100k or gpsfiledepot maps. The latter, by the way, are much more up to date than any of the Garmin maps.
 

dms1

Explorer
Outdoors, in the daytime, the backlight is not needed due to the transflective screen. Many customer reviews on Amazon, etc complain about battery life. I suspect that those people are probably using the backlight---unnecessarily---while hiking in the daytime.
Interesting about the old 24K Topos vs. the new Topo Active maps. I had been annoyed at missing back roads, particularly in Arizona, on the old 24K maps! Just goes to show: No map is perfect, and they all have errors. At least the much larger memory capacity of the 700 series will allow the owner to keep multiple maps for the same area.
The only issue I have had so far is moving the street maps that came with the unit to my SD card. I use Garmin Express to do this and it takes about an hour, but when I disconnect the GPS and then re connect it, the maps are still located on the Internal memory. I am also trying to figure out how to delete or move the south american topo maps since I will never use them.
 
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