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Screen brightness

Looking to get a new Nuvi or equivalent. I'm not interested in a lot of special features, and don't do much "pre-programmed" routing.
I do ride motorcycle, and need the brightest screen possible. Sunlight just washes it out on my current models, even with a Sun shield! I have no problem seeing the screens on a cloudy day, or if in the shade. It's just if I'm out in the Sun that the screen goes completely washed out.
I normally just look at the screen to see if there's other roads that I'd like to explore.
Sometimes I do put in a destination, if going somewhere new.

Any recommendations on a model that will have a nice bright display in the Sun?
A good contrast between the roads, and the background color is desired.
(Light gray roads, on a medium gray background is almost impossible to see.)
I'd like to stay under $300.00 if possible.
Is there such a device?


  • Boyd 2043 Points
    edited May 2019
    It's getting to the point where Garmin is about the only game in town. I had several TomTom models in the past and liked them, but an not familiar with the current ones. I have used the TomTom app on my phone however, and really liked the features. But the map has a low contrast color scheme that made it very difficult to see the small roads. Don't know if that's true for their dedicated models.

    With Garmin, there will always be problems with direct sun, although the screens are pretty bright. Have not used any of their Zumo models that are specifically made for motorcycles, but assume they must be sunlight readable. But they won't come anywhere near your budget, they're very expensive.

    If you want the best readability, you need a transreflective screen. That means the screen can be viewed directly in sunlight, as opposed to the screens on automotive devices that depend on the backlight. The Montana has a 4" transreflective screen and a lot of additional features not available on Garmin automotive devices.

    Unlikely to find a new one for $300, but shop around and you might find a refurbished Montana at that price. Garmin refurbs have the same warranty as new. A quick search did not find any at the monent however. I have an older model, the Montana 600, and it's still a very nice device, maybe you can find a refurb'ed one of these? Would be careful about buying a used one however. They have a known issue with the power button, as the plastic gets old the part covering the power button can crack and break off, it happened to mine.

    As far as map colors, using night mode all the time helps a lot with contrast. Newer garmin automotive devices also have a variety of map themes you can choose from, so have a look at the options there. Or you can create your own custom themes. They are just .xml files that can be edited, if you know how. There's also a more user-friendly tool for doing this:
  • lorenpowers 30 Points
    Thanks for response.
    I have an old GPSMAP60Xc with a transreflective screen.
    It was ok, if Sun was directly on the face, but any other angle, it was hard to see.

    I'm not sure why it is so hard to see the screen if it's sunny, but on cloudy days, it shows up great. Must be something in how the eye reacts to bright light.
    At first I thought it was the auto darkening of my eye glasses, but it's the same if I look without the glasses. Sun just blots out the screen.

    Are all Garmin GPS's the same screen brightness, or there some brighter than others?
  • Boyd 2043 Points
    edited May 2019

    I'm not sure why it is so hard to see the screen if it's sunny

    Why aren't you sure of that? The backlight is the only way to see the screen and it's not as bright as the direct sun.

    Have never seen any data on screen brightness, but I have owned quite a few Garmin automotive devices going back to 2005. I think the screen on the DriveSmart 61 is quite bright. But it's shiny glass and a thin, lightweight design that's great in the car but possibly too fragile for use on a bike.

  • lorenpowers 30 Points
    I have several Nuvi GPS's. I have one on all 3 of my dual purpose bikes. They do take a shaking, but none have ever never failed me. Garmin does make a ruggard unit. The oldest is a Nuvi 550.

    I've been thinking of updating my car unit to a Drive Smart 61, just to get a larger screen.
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