A flagship model from the folks at Garmin, a company known to produce the very best GPS devices on the planet, the Garmin Montana 680t GPS system is far and away one of the most feature-rich and impressive units on the market right now – but it does have a couple of handicapping features you want to be aware of as well.
Big, bold, and very straightforward to use – not to mention ridiculously accurate – there’s a lot to fall in love with when it comes to the Montana 680t.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this review to figure out whether or not it’s right for you!
If you are on the hunt for a ridiculously powerful handheld GPS unit that has just about every bell and whistle you could imagine, as well as a reputation for the highest level of precision GPS accuracy, you need look no further than the Garmin Montana 680t.
Blazing fast and capable of picking up a GPS signal in just about any conditions imaginable (aside from submerged in the ocean inside of a submarine, course) you are going to be blown away by just how accurate this GPS setup is.
On top of the amazing GPS technology built right in (something we will get a little bit deeper into just a moment) this unit also includes an eight megapixel camera for snapping GPS tag photos on all of your adventures as well as internal 4 GB memory so that you can store plenty of those images with no headache or hassle whatsoever.
You’ll have the opportunity to expand that internal memory considerably (at least all the way up to 128 GB with microSD memory cards) and the NiMH battery system – or three standard AA batteries – will provide plenty of juice or just about every excursion you could tackle.
Of course, as we highlighted above, trying to shoehorn all of that amazing technology into a handheld device has left the Montana 680t as one of the heaviest and one of the bulky test units you will come across today.
While it does fit comfortably in one hand for most people it’s going to be a lot bigger than a standard cell phone as well as quite a bit heavier.
The most impressive feature of the Garmin Montana 680t is 100% the high-sensitivity receiver built into this unit, a receiver that is capable of picking up both GLONASS and GPS networks that have WAAS compatibility.
This means you’re going to be able to pick up incredibly precise location data whether you’re atop the highest mountains or in the deepest canyons – and you’ll also be able to pick up incredibly precise location data when you are in covered and obstructed areas as well.
Those that like to plot and plan their trips ahead of time with GPS technology will find the waypoint system on this receiver to be incredibly accurate as well. Out in the field, this device can bring you to within 40 inches of initial waypoints – a level of precision and accuracy you just aren’t going to find with too terribly many other handheld GPS units on the market today.
The display itself is 3.5 inches diagonal which makes it a beautiful system to use not only in your hand but also if you’re looking to use it with your motorcycle, your ATV, or even inside of your car. The screen is pretty bright and is a high resolution screen, though it will produce quite a bit of glare compared to some of the other options out there in bright sunlight and direct lighting conditions.
The interface that Garmin as introduced with the new Montana 680t is a complete and total game changer, dramatically upgrading the overall experience of using this technology compared to even just a few years ago.
The interface is dependent entirely upon the touchscreen aside from a single push button on the side for power. Most people are going to find this very intuitive to use, and anyone that has a smart phone is going to find this interface immediately recognizable and easy to navigate with nothing more than their fingers.
The speed of the Garmin Montana 680t should not be understated, either.
Compared to a lot of other high-end handheld GPS monitors and receivers nothing is quite as quick as this platform is. You will be able to get accurate measurements and location data inside of just a few seconds, and if you are “active mapping” with the Montana 680t out in the field you’ll experience next to no lag whatsoever – even as you plot your course on-the-fly.
We made mention of just how big and just how heavy the Garmin Montana 680t is a little bit earlier, but it’s important that we really hammer home just how big and just how heavy this device is.
This is not some slimline or slick device you’re going to be able to tuck into your back pocket. It weighs in at just over 10.3 ounces which isn’t the same as carrying around a brick – but it’s pretty close. The device is definitely oversized to accommodate all of the extra technology that has been shoehorned into it and some may find one-handed operation to be a little bit clumsy if they have smaller hand.
Secondly, the prices definitely going to make some people think twice about investing in the Garmin Montana 680t.
It goes for $550 (list price), though you can sometimes find it available at other retailers at a considerable discount. You’ll rarely find it for any less than $450, however – so that may or may not price this unit out of your budget.
At the end of the day, you know exactly what you are getting your hands on when you invest in Garmin GPS technology.
Sure, the Montana is big and it is bulky. But it also happens to be laser accurate, incredibly precise, almost unbelievably fast, and one of the most rugged and durable GPS units in the handheld space.
Loaded with all kinds of other features that make adventuring off the beaten path not only safe but also enjoyable, you might find this to be the best navigational aid on the planet today – even if it is a little bit on the more expensive side of things.