Garmin Montana 650t 2011

The Garmin Montana 650t is designed to be rugged, portable and versatile so it can be used in the hand, on a bike and in a car as a conventional satnav system. But for hillwalkers the main appeal is the huge 4-inch colour screen as it allows the user to clearly see around 6 square kilometres of OS 1:50k mapping without the need to scroll.
It’s a touch-screen device, which does work well on a decent day; but with gloves, even just to zoom in closer to the map is a hit-and-miss process that I soon became annoyed with. The operating system and functionality are good and intuitive, although the in-car performance is not as impressive as a dedicated vehicle satnav such as those in the Garmin Nuvi range.
At £550, the price is pretty steep, especially when you add on OS mapping at around £200 for the whole of Britain at 1:50k.
There’s an option to save some cash by choosing the Montana 600 instead at £430, which has no camera and lacks a world base map, but it’s still very expensive.
Overall, the Garmin Montana 650t puts in a top performance with bare hands, but this is compromised when you need your gloves on.

Software OS 1:50k GB mapping £200
Weight 310g
Size 14.5x7.5x3.5cm
Display 9x4cm colour touch-screen
Power 3 x AA batteries / lithium rechargeable
Battery life 16 hours (lithium); 22 hours (AA)
Electronic compass yes
Camera 5Mp

The Garmin Montana 650t offers great performance generally, although the touch-screen isn’t ideal with gloves and the price is definitely chilling.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2011