With the Montana series of GPS units, Garmin have managed to close the loop between outdoor GPS units, car sat navs and marine navigation devices. The idea is that (with the correct attachments) you can use one unit to drive to the hills or the water as well as navigate through them when you get there. Other Garmin units do have road navigation settings as an extra, but the Montana manages to incorporate it seamlessly. The intuitive menu easily switches between various customisable profiles, switching view modes and information displays for different uses. It actually more resembles an in-car sat nav than an outdoor GPS with a huge four-inch touchscreen. Taking cues from the smartphone world, not only is the unit controlled via touchscreen, but the screen automatically orientates itself depending on which way round it is held. The process is incredibly fast, and with the unit being totally symmetrical, it really doesn’t matter which way around you hold it – unless you hope to use the in-built five megapixel camera, in which case you need to keep your fingers away from the lens. The quality of the images taken on the unit were decent enough for a holiday snap – with the added benefit of you being able to geotag them to a map. It isn’t a substitute for a dedicated camera, but does work well for documenting a particular route or walk. The unit comes with rechargeable batteries inside, so that if using the unit as an in-car sat nav, it should be charged as you drive to the start of your walk. Also the rechargeable batteries can cleverly be replaced with regular AA batteries. In the hand, the device does feel quite large and it’s also fairly heavy. It is a great unit that really merges in-car and handheld units, but at £50 short of £600 it’s very expensive. But add up the price of a new ‘pure’ sat-nav and a similar GPS without it, and it might make great sense.
Dimensions (cm): 7.5x14.4x3.7
Weight: 289g with included li-ion battery; (333g with 3xAA batteries)
Waterproof: Yes – IPX7
PC/Mac-compatible: PC and Mac
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion or 3xAA
Battery life (claimed): Up to 16 hours (lithium-ion); up to 22 hours (AA batteries)
Contact: 0808 238 0000; www.garmin.com/uk