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Garmin Montana Announced

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Comments

  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I have now used my Montana about 6 hours on the trail and at least twice that much in the car, and I absolutely love it. :) Software is a bit rough around the edges in places, but not enough to be much of a problem for my kinds of use.

    Yesterday I took a 350 mile trip and it performed very well. The night before I downloaded City Navigator Lower 49 from Garmin (cost $54, including my 10% discount for registering a GPS on their site). Everything worked as expected with it. One thing I disliked is that Garmin forces you to update to the newest firmware before installing City Navigator. I have read so many negative comments on the current version (2.6), that I downgraded to 2.5 before even trying it.

    This messed up my settings (forces a hard reset), which was an unwelcome surprise since I was doing all this just before leaving. However, choosing my custom profile again fixed most things, although it did change which menus my shortcuts appeared in. That wasn't too hard to fix though.

    During the trip I had 3 or 4 crashes. They all happened when I was fiddling with the settings though and it seemed stable when just using it "normally". The crashes all happened in the car - no problems on a two hour hike.

    It's large, but I don't have any issues with the size for hiking - am using my home-made clip shown on the previous page. A big storm was approaching when I headed back from the hike, so I had to double-time it back down the mountain and the Montana was bouncing around a lot while clipped to my belt. This would have also happened with my Oregon and carabiner clip however. I simply put it into my jeans pocket and the problem was solved - it fits nicely. So I don't think the size should put you off with the Montana - it's the price to pay for that big, beautiful screen. :)

    Here are a series of screenshots, side by side with my Nuvi 3790 (nuvi was resized from 800x480 down to 480x288 to match the Montana). I really like the style of the map display on the Montana. I am using the "nuvi" dashboard on the Montana, which is very similar to the 3790. Of course, you can use other dashboards on the Montana - or none at all. But to get lane assist and speed limits, you need to use the nuvi dashboard.

    My old Nuvi firmware doesn't show zoom scale, but I think I got them to match in these shots. Notice how the Montana shows map POI's and the Nuvi doesn't. There's a settting on the Montana that allows you to determine the zoom level where they show. Both units are showing my own waypoints (favorites). Note that the Montana is on the LEFT in all of the comparisons below.

    image


    The Montana shows all the little roads through .8 miles, but the Nuvi (like other recent models) only shows them through .3 miles.

    image


    There were some cases where the Nuvi actually showed more street names, which surprised me. The Montana has a menu setting to control the zoom level at which streets are labeled. But as far as I could tell, it has no effect in city navigator. :evil:

    image

    image


    I will post more later, but wanted to get these online now. Like I said, I really love this gps. Is it right for you? No idea, my tastes in GPS are probably very far from the mainstream. But it's an incredibly versatile and powerful unit that's well at home in the car and on the trail. You won't get traffic reports or junction view though and it's a lot bulkier and more expensive than a Nuvi.

    Evidently it doesn't support text to speech either. I don't know personally, and don't care because I never use the voice prompts. My auto cradle is still back-ordered at Garmin also, so no speaker for me.

    Of course, I'm sure Garmin could add traffic compatibility, junction view and TTS via a firmware update if they wanted to. Who knows? They added TTS to the Nuvi 500 a year after it was released. They have added many new features to the Oregon firmware over the years.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    When I went down to the road and checked my mailbox just now, there was a package from Olathe - it was the suction cup mount - which is great since I'll have chance to put it to a test tomorrow on a short trip.

    But the odd thing is that I just checked myGarmin this morning and it said my order was still being processed. Checked again now, and it's still the same, even though it has been shipped and received. Looks like one of Garmin's hands doesn't know what the other is doing! Anyway, I'm glad to finally have my mount, and it looks like they have them back in stock again if anyone else is looking.

    Here's something I wasn't expecting. The power cord uses the old-style locking Garmin multi-pin connector. It is the same as my Nuvi 5000 power connector, which I believe was also used on the 7x0 and 8xx active cradles (maybe also 7x5?). Wonder why they are going back to that old design after seemingly standardizing all the new Nuvi's with mini-USB?

    Initial impression is that it's well made and heavier-duty than a Nuvi mount, evidently acknowledging the additional weight of the Montana. The mounting ball/suction cup part is the same as the Nuvi, but the socket on the cradle has a much tighter grip and it requires more force to move. This is a good thing, since the Montana was testing the limit of my cheap all-purpose clamp mount. The tighter ball mount should keep the unit from moving around when you hit a big bump.

    Using the mount, if you tap the power button a new slider for volume appears, along with the usual brightness control. Fans of the Nuvi active cradle design should be very pleased with this mount. :)
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Another little detail that might affect purchase plans. While highway navigation will announce turn left/right, it' won't be TTS. No street names.
    Well, now that I finally have the auto cradle, I can confirm that this is not true. As mentioned earlier, I don't like spoken directions but I tested them today using the "American Jill" voice (which was the default) and street names were spoken.

    Not sure where this myth about lack of TTS support on the Montana came from. Maybe somebody used a pre-production model before the firmware was finished? I am running v 2.50 FWIW.

    I only tested the default voice, so I have no idea whether it is compatible with [your favorite voice], but I don't know why it wouldn't be.
  • popej 57 Points
    Can you disable attaching to the road, when using in nuvi mode?
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Yes, and that's what I did on my trip the other day in fact while using City Navigator, so I could see how closely my track matched the roads.

    The nice thing about "Nuvi Mode" is that it's really just a dashboard - a skin, in other words. It only affects the display of the map page and does not change any of the advanced menu options.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    . . . I don't like spoken directions but I tested them today using the "American Jill" voice (which was the default) and street names were spoken.

    Not sure where this myth about lack of TTS support on the Montana came from. Maybe somebody used a pre-production model before the firmware was finished? I am running v 2.50 FWIW.
    I believe I got that from Rich, and yes it may have been a non-production models being sent around for review.

    It's great news that the Montana includes TTS. Sounding better with every post Boyd. (pun intended)
  • popej 57 Points
    I assume Montana has routes, not trips? Routes with via compatible with Mapsource?

    If you start navigation with a route, does it lead first to the first point of route, nearest point or give a choice?

    If you stop navigation with a route do you get somewhere in menus option to continue navigation from the point where you have stopped?
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Yes, the Montana has routes and uses a "route planner" instead of a "trip planner". I sent it a couple routes that I created a number of years ago using Mapsource and they work fine. I used Mapsource to send the routes, not Basecamp. They immediately appear on the Montana and don't need to be imported, like the Nuvi.

    When choosing a route, it automatically calculates how to get from your present position to the start point - no choice is given (my Nuvi 5000 would ask if I wanted to navigate to the beginning of the route).

    If you stop a route, a new item appear on the contextual map menu (3-bar menu) to resume navigation. I *think* this will pickup from the point where you stopped, but honestly I have not tested this. One bug in the current firmware lists the mileage to your destination (as displayed in the data field on the map screen) with wildly wrong numbers - like 4000 miles when it should be 50 miles). That makes it a little confusing to figure out exactly what is going on. I'm sure this will be corrected, as it's been noted by other uses as well.

    But the routing functions seem a little incomplete to me. I can't find a way to insert a via point in the active route - maybe I'm just missing it? If you have saved the route, you can use the planner to edit it. It has functions to re-order, delete and insert points. Also has a feature to reverse the route, show an elevation plot, change the name or delete it. But the currently active route does not appear in route planner, only the ones you have saved.

    If you're navigating a route and use "Where To", you get a menu with three options: Find Another, Stop Navigation and Change Route Activity. Changing the activity lets you choose a different routing mode (fastest, shortest, off-road, etc). But "find another" just stops navigation and lets you do another "where to" search. I would have expected this option to insert the new find into the active route (since you could use the "stop navigation" option if you wanted a new route). Maybe this is just a bug? Doesn't make sense to me.

    None of this stuff bothers me much - I am not someone who uses routes a whole lot. But the routing functions seem a little rough to me. Maybe the software just isn't finished? The manual offers no insights, of course. Maybe I'm missing something obvious?
  • Received my new Montana 650 with auto mount on Friday, and so far it's taken me on one short route. The new British English voice "James" is very refined! - but it's a bit quiet. I'm also pleased with the automotive profile display, which has a section at the top of the screen (in portrait mode) with the vehicle's speed in a semi-circle above either the current speed limit if the map knows it, or current heading if not. Planning routes is indeed odd - I'm not getting crazy distances, but with an imported-from-MapSource route it starts off with the crow-flight distance using the via points before it calculates the actual route and reports the real distance by road. There's a fairly steep learning curve ahead, even though it's all pleasingly reminiscent of the StreetPilots of old in terms of program-ability (and significantly cheaper than were my 2720 and then my 2820). Having discovered that my UK-model GTM 35 traffic receiver works with my US-model 2450, I'm going to test my UK-model nuvi 7xx series traffic receiver with the auto mount as they have the same plug/socket.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I have been waiting to see who is brave enough to try a traffic receiver on the Montana. :D

    I agree, the unit is somehow reminiscent of my old StreetPilot 2620, which was also intended for advanced users and arguably the state of the art around 8 years ago.
  • I can confirm that the Montana appears to have no traffic capability hidden away - plugging in the Nuvi receiver had no effect. Not just no traffic on screen, but no relevant copyright notice in the nerdy About section - and I read through all 3 million other copyright notices just to be sure.

    I've been using it hand-held in northern France this week, and the large screen made walking through the cities (using the France Topo map) a real pleasure, except that the map knows only about 'religious building' and cannot get you to any named church or cathedral. So I had to check out my destinations using CN Europe on the 2450 in the car and put them on the Montana as rough waypoints before setting off on foot.

    And then after getting back to base I could geotag all my photos with BaseCamp from the day's track. However if you forget to disable the 'make each geotagged photo a waypoint' option you get an awful lot of full-res photos copied - quite slowly - to the Montana...
  • Yay! Yet ANOTHER highly probably buggy GPS unit from Garmin when they still can't FIX their current high end offerings. :roll:

    Looked at the link. Same old clunky Nuvi graphics, too. Nothing exciting there...
    LOL
  • R-dubb 0 Points
    Had my Montana for a couple of months now. Mostly used on moto trail rides, but hiking, cycling and auto as well. Here are my lists:

    STRENGTHS

    1. screen in all conditions
      Rugged, flexible mount/power interface

    2. shortcuts / screen icons

    3. with BaseCamp

    WEAKNESSES

    1. line and road detail not independently controllable (topo screen clutter).

    2. to turn off recalc for stored routes.

    3. log interface non-sortable ("Adventures" function not active).

    4. software and numerous hardware failures reported

  • Montana update posted yesterday:

    Changes made from version 3.40 to 3.50:
    Improvements to the geocaching experience. See TrailTech(http://garmin.blogs.com/softwareupdates/2011/09/improved-geocaching.html) for more information.
    Increased maximum number of characters allowed in Address and POI searches
    Fixed possible shutdown with some shortcuts executed from the drawer
    Fixed possible shutdown on powerup with mount related profile changes
    Fixed inability to change data fields on status page dashboards
    Fixed display of photos on review pages
    Fixed possible shutdown when viewing a custom poi with a photo
    Fixed potential paging issues with long geocaches logs

    http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=5335
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I'm gonna continue to pass on these updates. Still running the old firmware that came with mine and the old bugs don't bother me enough to trade them for a set of new bugs. :twisted:
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Garmin has posted a blog entry with a good introduction to some of the Montana's advanced customization features. The newest firmware (3.60) expands the ability to use the power button to execute commands.

    http://garmin.blogs.com/softwareupdates/2011/09/the-need-for-speed.html

    I'm almost tempted to install this update. :)
  • Garmin has posted a blog entry with a good introduction to some of the Montana's advanced customization features. The newest firmware (3.60) expands the ability to use the power button to execute commands.

    http://garmin.blogs.com/softwareupdates/2011/09/the-need-for-speed.html

    I'm almost tempted to install this update. :)
    Almost?

    Almost?

    Come on Boyd, Just do It!

    You know you want to!
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Haha, yes I did it (after backing everything up). :)

    So far, it looks good. This update has something that a lot of people have wanted... a setting that allows you to disable automatic recalculation. This should allow Mapsource routes to be used exactly as saved.

    image
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    This beta firmware adds a LOT of new features, although I have not tried it yet.

    http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=5680
    Changes made from version 3.60 to 3.63:

    Added new data fields: Alarm Timer (from alarm clock page), Automotive Turn (lane assist), Avg. Lap, Compass Heading, Current Lap, Date, Elevation Above Ground, GPS Elevation, GPS Heading, Grade (must be moving), Lap Distance, Laps, Last Lap, Location of Destination, None (blank field), Stopwatch Timer, Total Lap, Track Distance (reset when current track is cleared), Vertical Dist. to Dest, Vertical Dist. to Next.

    Added data field categories.

    Added trip computer setup for additional configurability. This includes adding multiple trip computer pages.

    Improved elevation data stored in track logs.

    Fixed 3D View to rotate based on compass heading.
  • This beta firmware adds a LOT of new features, although I have not tried it yet.

    http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=5680
    Changes made from version 3.60 to 3.63:

    Added new data fields: Alarm Timer (from alarm clock page), Automotive Turn (lane assist), Avg. Lap, Compass Heading, Current Lap, Date, Elevation Above Ground, GPS Elevation, GPS Heading, Grade (must be moving), Lap Distance, Laps, Last Lap, Location of Destination, None (blank field), Stopwatch Timer, Total Lap, Track Distance (reset when current track is cleared), Vertical Dist. to Dest, Vertical Dist. to Next.

    Added data field categories.

    Added trip computer setup for additional configurability. This includes adding multiple trip computer pages.

    Improved elevation data stored in track logs.

    Fixed 3D View to rotate based on compass heading.
    Boyd, are you getting notifications of Montana updates, or did you find this one just by looking? I check almost daily with the WebUpdater and still says no updates even though apparently the 3.63 beta is available.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I don't think webupdater informs you of beta releases, does it? Don't know, because I rarely use it. I read about this update in another forum actually. :)
  • I don't think webupdater informs you of beta releases, does it? Don't know, because I rarely use it. I read about this update in another forum actually. :)
    What forum are you reading that I missed?

    :-)
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I'm sure you will find it if you look. :wink:

    BTW, I think you sent me a PM on another site and mentioned you had issues with screen backgrounds. Garmin has revised the bugfix list for this update, and that is one of the issues that is addressed.
  • I got the link to the Montana 3.63 Beta software on

    http://www8.garmin.com/support/mappingsw.jsp

    Towards the bottom left of the screen is a section "Software Feed". it is listed there
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    There is also a "software" link under "quick links" on the right hand side of Montana product page here:

    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/store/downloadsUpdates.jsp?product=010-00924-00&cID=145&pID=75226

    A new beta is already available now too:

    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/store/downloadsDetails.jsp?id=5679&product=010-00924-00&cID=145&pID=75226
    Changes made from version 3.63 to 3.64:

    Added full profile support for Trip Computer Setup.

    Improved display of configurable data field categories.
    Fixed issues with supported configurable data fields in the nuvi dashboard.

    Fixed issues with NMEA output using the AMPS Rugged Mount.
  • sussamb 634 Points
    Another beta out:

    Changes made from version 3.64 to 3.66:

    Fixed issue with mount profile setup
    Fixed issue where the compass would not work unless the unit had a satellite fix
    Fixed issue with Mac version of WebUpdater
    Fixed intermittent issue with map drawing

    Link is here:

    http://www.garmin.com/software/Montana_366Beta.exe
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    A question for Montana owners, and probably Boyd in particular :D :

    Any recommendation for a really secure mount to use on an ATV? I'm likely going with a Montana for my son to use on his, and the last thing I want is a $500 gps unit in the bottom of a mudhole in the Green Swamp. Well, actually that would be the third to last thing I'd want at the bottom of the mudhole. . .

    I don't want to mount the Montana permanently, tho of course I don't mind the mount itself screwed into the ATV.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Sorry, Gator, my only experience is with the auto mount, which uses the standard Garmin ball system. Garmin also has this one although I've never seen it.

    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=89575


    image

    And RAM has one. Rich did a review of the RAM mount over at GPSTracklog I think. I can say that the auto mount I have clamps the unit very securely, but probably not what you want on an ATV.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    I saw the one you linked a few days ago. I'd prefer not to hard-wire it. I may give Rich a ring later and see if he has any suggestion if none of our other members have any experience with one. I'd like to find someone that's used the RAM mount or something similar on an ATV. I'm sure there's a few people that have the same use.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I see that Rich already responded to you over at GPSTracklog. Good suggestion to use the lanyard as a safety. I posted this picture of my home-made carabiner attached to the lanyard earlier in the thread. If you make something like this, then you could just clip it something on the ATV as a safety and it would double as a way to hang it from a belt loop when hiking around.

    image
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    That looks like a really good as well as simple fail-safe.

    I figured I couldn't be the only one with that question so better to post it on the site rather than a call or pm.
  • sussamb 634 Points
    And another beta :wink:

    Change History

    Changes made from version 3.67 to 3.68:
    •Fixed issue with power off barometric pressure trending
    •Fixed issue with barometric pressure plot when stationary
    •Fixed issue with display when entering USB mass storage
    •Fixed issue with current lap data field in dashboards
    •Improved Arabic keyboard
    •Problems with this beta software may be reported to MontanaBeta@garmin.com

    Link is here:

    http://www.garmin.com/software/Montana_368Beta.exe
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Thanks - but this should probably be posted here instead :D Garmin handheld firmware updates
  • sussamb 634 Points
    Yes, true :lol:

    That'll teach me to follow Gator, maybe you can move if ...
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    That's OK. Boyd and I have both posted firmware update details in this thread at some point. We're all still getting used to the reorganization (Quite nicely done too Boyd).
  • sussamb 634 Points
    That's true too ... :D
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    It's OK to post whatever you like... This isn't the kind of site where you get a nasty e-mail for posting things in the wrong place. ;) :twisted: And we already have another thread now on the topic http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/24635/x/p1/

    I am going to continue to pass on these updates, since as usual each of them seems to break something at the same time as it fixes something else....
  • The Garmin Montana is a super handheld GPS but only really attracts a certain type of person...ie one with money to burn. It's pretty cool tho in terms of being capable of use in the car with the driving software then you can use the Garmin Birdseye series or whichever handheld software and then take it out hiking, very useful. :wink:
  • jdgwinnell 41 Points
    I was using mine in the car in France last week, in parallel with the 3790 because of its ability to have automatic route re-calculation switched off - handy when following a complicated route up the western side of the Rhone to stay off the Autoroute. 2.5 GB of CN Europe fits nicely in the internal memory of the 650. However it got sick and died in the heat (on the dashboard in the sun), just like my old StreetPilot 2820 used to... first it lost its voice, then lost satellite reception, until I put it out of its misery. It was/is fine after it cooled down. The screen size when in nuvi mode is very reminiscent of the StreetPilot too! But it cost much less - people buying Garmin these days don't know they're alive, when a few years ago a StreetPilot cost over £600 (~$900 then) and a single map update was nearly £100.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I paid about $1,000 for my StreetPilot 2620 which was Garmin's first device that contained pre-loaded maps. The maps were on a 2GB IBM microdrive which required warmup time on cold days and would crash if you hit a big bump in the road. 8)
  • babj615 41 Points
    I paid about $1,000 for my StreetPilot 2620 which was Garmin's first device that contained pre-loaded maps. The maps were on a 2GB IBM microdrive which required warmup time on cold days and would crash if you hit a big bump in the road. 8)
    I still have one of my IBM MicroDrive's! Quite the novelty item now... Cost me $600 for the 1GB version though... Used it with a Compaq iPaq Pocket PC and Mapopolis for navigation, etc!

    Good Times!
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Sold my 2620 long ago, but I still have the microdrive. As compact flash card prices dropped, I copied everything off the microdrive to a 2GB solid state card. That really made the 2620 much faster, and I no longer had to wait for warmup on cold mornings. :)
  • jdgwinnell 41 Points
    I still have 2GB CF cards with obsolete maps on, just in case...
  • The Garmin Montana is a super handheld GPS but only really attracts a certain type of person...ie one with money to burn.
    It attracted me, and trust me, I do not have money to burn. :lol: The screen size was a huge factor for me. I am a geocacher and hiker. So this was a perfect fit for me. I still use my GPSmap 60csx. I use it for plotting out parks for new geocache placements.

    I have had the Montana for less than a week, and so far so good. I have played with it intensively as far as setting up the profiles and menus in each just how I like it. So far I am very impressed.

    Thanks for all the information on this forum, the info here helped me make my decision.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Nice - enjoy your new Montana! I still use mine every day and love it.
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