Montana 650 vs 276c /376c

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by jrsue, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. jrsue

    jrsue Adventurer

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    I've read many, many,many pages of the Montana thread and am beginning to believe that this may be the first GPS to come along that can replace the venerable 276c. We all the know the many reasons why we so loved our 276/376 series so I won't bother listing them all. So I would just like to hear from those who are now using and actually "liking" the Montana 650 over their 276/376.

    thanks
    #1
  2. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    Like wise, there are to many features on the Montana that I like to name them all. The Montana doesn't have every feature that the old Chartplotters had. But, there are enough features to make this unit the top Adventure Touring/Dual Sport Riding GPS in my view. You'd have to pay me LOTS of money to go back to an old chartplotter.

    Here are my top Montana features:

    Hardware:
    • 5 year newer GPS chipset
    • Since you picked the Montana 650 - try taking a picture with the chartplotter's
    • 3GB of Internal memory
    • µSD Card - even my 32GB San Disk works!!!
    • The Display - there is no equal on the market today
    • Battery configuration/life - no contest. You pick your configuration: Lithium Rechargeable, NiMH AA Rechargeable, Alkaline AA, Lithium AA
    • Excellent Externally Powered Cradle Mount - no poorly designed power cable to deal with
    • You can actually use this device as a handheld GPS
    Software:
    • Customization - comparatively, "customization" on the Chartplotters is a joke
    • No arbitrary Track count limits - only limited by storage space
    • Tracks shown on map - limited to showing 10,000 points on the map at any one time
    • Track Navigation - includes Waypoints in the navigation info (Dist Next, Time to Next, etc.)
    • No limit to Saved Tracks - you can move them to Archive when your Track Manager limit of 200 is reached
    • Paperless Geocaching - maybe not your thing but the Geocaching community is bigger than ours

    Are there still features that I would like? Sure. The good news is, I can ask for them and someone will actually read the request. I've already gotten four that I (and others) asked for since the unit was released.

    Hope that helps you out.

    Cheers,
    #2
  3. jrsue

    jrsue Adventurer

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    Thank you for that. For the last many years I have gotten very "comfortable" with my two 376c 's and the workflow with tracks routes and waypoint management.

    However sooner or later my old 376's are gonna give it up, (even though I just had one of them replaced by Garmin). The Montana appears to be what I have been waiting for, in regards to features and working with tracks and routes

    Even though I shudder to think of having to start a whole new system. The more I've read I believe much will stay the same, in regards to the Montana being able to work with my existing software, mapsource, Roads and Recreation, and City Navigator.
    #3
  4. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    And, sooner or later your old MapSource software is going to give out as well. Depending upon your age and "riding-expectancy" you may not need to worry about Windows not running MapSource. :huh :rofl

    Cheers,
    #4
  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    My old 60 deletes time stamp information when I save tracks. Do the modern ones like the Montano do this too?

    I find it very undesirable to lose that information. There are many times I need to go back and see how long it took or what speed I was able to go in a section.
    #5
  6. jrsue

    jrsue Adventurer

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    As I continue to research I am less and less convinced, that the Montana would be a step up from my 376c, for how I use it anyway. I use mine not only for Road riding but alot for ATV'ing and Snowmobiling, both of those situations wet, dirty and bumpy. It also seems like lots of bugs still to be worked out in the montana. I will continue to follow the thread and other info on the montana, and hopefully by spring garmin will have the thing sorted.
    #6
  7. marco polo

    marco polo Been here awhile

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    I've had a 276C since 2005 and just bought a Montana 600 two weeks ago. Since my bike's now in storage for winter, I haven't had an opportunity to ride with it yet. The upside, though, is that I have plenty of time to figure it out. I switched to from Mapsource to Basecamp 18 months ago, so I'm pretty comfortable with that aspect of ride planning etc. The "user interface" on the Montana is light years ahead of the 276C (as you'd expect). I had also reached the point where I was no longer interested in loading mapsets onto a 512MB proprietary Garmin data card. It's a treat to have maps for all of North America loaded. As DRTBYK said, the GPS has 3GB of internal memory and I've added a 16GB microSD card. Far more convenient. The new chipset is also instantly noticeable -- I can get a GPS signal inside my house, or with the unit sitting on the passenger seat of my car. The 276C would never do that. The 276C is a great GPS, but as George Harrison famously sang, all things must pass. Each of us will have to decide when that's happened for us.
    #7
  8. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    If the time-stamp data was removed how would you match up your time-stampped photos with your track's in BaesCamp. :deal

    This is Track data from my Montana:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    #8
  9. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I assume that is from a saved track and not an Active Log. Or does Garmin even use those terms anymore?

    I don't take enough photos that I can't remember where they were closely enough. And I have no idea what the clock in my camera is set to.

    So I take it that Basecamp can do things with pictures?

    I downloaded some tracks to DualSportMaps from our Death Valley trip last year along with some SmugMug links to photos that several of us had set up. CraftyCoder who built DualSport Maps tried to attach some of our photos to the map using time stamping and found that every camera's time stamping was different and by quite a bit.
    #9
  10. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    If you're not going to set your clock in your camera and your camera doesn't have a GPS, then you're out of luck - as craftycoder so indicated. It's for that very reason that I make a point of syncing my Nikon clock with my iPhone BEFORE I go riding. Most of my snapshots are done with my iPhone or the Montana 650 - and they both geotag. :evil

    BaseCamp is just getting started with photo's. Currently they will place you photos on the map based on the EXIF data (either timestamp or coordinates). If you only have Timestamp photos and a Track, BaseCamp will attempt to place the photos as close to a corresponding Track point as possible. Sounds like that might work better for you guys since your time stamps are not synced - at least your photos would be in the same general area. Unless of course none of you ever set your camera clocks:norton Might be something to consider for the future. :evil

    Cheers,
    #10
  11. af300e

    af300e Been here awhile

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    Couple of things I noticed.
    1. The screen is bigger but lower resolution. Gay.

    2. The screen is less square so whilst initially the measurements make it appear quite a bit larger, it's actually less than half a square inch difference.

    3. Touch screen without any buttons. Having to drag a muddy mx gloved finger across the screen makes short work of fucking the screen up.
    Also, does the screen work at all with a gloved hand?

    4. Sd card memory. Thank god it has 3gb internal because all the Sd card based ones I've had have quickly had connection issues.

    I use my 276c both on and off road, it's mounted on aircraft instrument rubber isolators (as all my sd based ones were too) and I'm 30 years old, not 70 so I'm not clinging to it for old time's sake ;)
    #11
  12. af300e

    af300e Been here awhile

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    And fwiw I would love to upgrade for a newer chipset but all the other shit just breaks the deal every time:(
    #12
  13. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    If by "all of the other shit" you mean:

    Screen "resolution" - is not pixel density. Yes, the 276c has more pixels/inch but that isn't how "resolution" is measured in the display world. If you actually look at the displays side by side, there is no contest that the Montana has a much better (viewable) display in any conditions.

    Screen size - it isn't about "one's bigger than the other" (see above).

    Buttons vs. touch screen: I have never had the issues with touch-screen's. Finding/feeling buttons with gloves on was not always successful with my 276C - and I even bought a 376.

    I've had six GPS's that used SD or µSD cards - I've never had a GPS failure due to them and I've never had a card fail. I buy good cards.

    Stay with your chartplotter - you'll be happy.

    Cheers,
    #13
  14. af300e

    af300e Been here awhile

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    You're probably right about staying with the chart plotter.

    By other shit I mean touch screen, mud/dust wrecks them. Sd cards, vibration/dust fucks up their terminal connections.

    I tried a Magellan explorist Xl which wasnt bad until the sd card started disconnecting at will. The warranty replacement unit did it even quicker.
    Then I tried a Magellan crossover. The touch screen just couldn't cope with the environment that adv/enduro riding takes place in.

    I wanted to try a zumo 550 but a mate had no end of problems with his (was replaced a few times) and I really don't want the touch screen.

    If this new one had buttons I'd be ready to try another sd card unit.

    Guess I'll just wait.
    #14
  15. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    That's why the Garmin rugged mount comes with 3 screen protectors. I'm on the first and it'll be a long time before I need to change for the second, the way it's holding up.

    There's your problem. Shoulda gotta Garmin in the first place. I've never had a problem with any of my Garmin units which use sd cards. I had the 60CSx, 76CSx, Oregon and now Montana. The real problem with many units is their power connection coming from the mini USB socket.

    After hearing of people whose buttons are wearing out then falling off, I'm glad I don't have any on my Montana.
    #15
  16. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    I've used a couple of 276c's really hard the last few years.... above 30k of dual sport riding, mostly on XR650L and DR650SE.

    Love them, but the memory limitation is kinda bad - yeah, I can get coast to coast maps loaded at once, but if I'm wander too far from my planned route I might have to load some different maps... but I carry a netbook anyways because I do such long rides.

    Got a couple of 76Cx's to run strictly to record tracks, ride from 276c, record tracks at higher frequency on the 76's saved to the uSD card. Screen is too small on 76's for my tastes to ride by.

    I've picked up several different Garmin GPS's this winter... think I might have found some interesting ones. Newer chipset, SD memory, buttons, good sized screens, more routes, more tracks, waterproof. Downside? No batteries, powered by bike only. But since the bikes I ride for this kind of riding all have batteries, I'm not seeing that as a problem. Some of the vendors say you can't use Mapsource with them, but Garmin's manual for these units specifically talk about using Mapsource to load waypoints, routes and tracks... even maps. When I get home (I'm in Afghanistan working) in mid-February I'll do some testing and let you know. Don't want to say what models until I know for sure they'll do what I want them to do.

    But there are other options out there.....
    #16
  17. jrsue

    jrsue Adventurer

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    After much reading , I believe I will hold off once again and continue on, with my two 376's. I replaced my older unit with a brand new one from garmin using their replacement program, it cost me $175.00, but as far as I can tell its a brand new unit:clap

    The Montana does have lots of "Neat" features however when it comes to a GPS mounted on a motorcycle, ATV or Snowmobile I'm not sure MORE is necessarily better. Its happened to often that voice prompts and a demanding GPS has led me to make wrong turns. Its not allways the GPS fault but for example in a city with off ramps spaced close together, I found that when I was relying to heavily on the GPS I was not paying close enough attention to actual road signs.

    For me I like to have a nice large screen, easy to control zoom and pan, a few data fields, and a route or track highlighted for me to follow. As far as the talking, beeping, pop up "TURN NOW" windows, I keep all that turned off.

    I've done 4 "Iron Butt" Rides the first using a 176, and 3 using my 376c. The last ride was a BunBurner 1500. Knowing I had to pay close attention and ride as efficiently as possible, I rode it with highlighted tracks only, the ride was simple and easy...well maybe not "easy" but the navigating part was easy.
    #17
  18. Steve W

    Steve W Old Grouch

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    I've come to the same conclusion with my current pair of 478. Like you I'll probably do a replacement when needed with a refurb from Garmin and use them until I can't. :D

    I've encountered this and it frightens me a bit. People paying too much attention to a device and not enough to the road signs and traffic conditions.

    One of my main dislikes of the newer units is the degraded screen resolution. The displays are just not nearly as sharp.

    The one slightly alarming fact in all this is that Garmin is not really addressing legacy units such as ours when they develop new software. MapSource is at a dead end. BaseCamp (both flavors) has some very useful features and is still being actively developed. Not all of the new stuff is rearward compatible though, and some of it involves workarounds so here's my point. Join the Garmin Forum and get involved. The development teams are open to input and the only way we're going to insure support for legacy units is to convince the people writing code that the numbers of users justify it. It also gives you a bit of insight into whats coming, what isn't working etc, and some voice in what users would like to see the desktop apps actually do. You might even see a few familiar handles. :wink:
    #18
  19. zedx9

    zedx9 Been here awhile

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    I'm liking what I see with the 650t except a lack of xm weather. I have weather on my 478 and love it. I'm not sure I'm ready to part with my 478 for something without that option. Add xm weather with nexrad and I'm all over it:deal.
    #19
  20. jrsue

    jrsue Adventurer

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    Thanks SW, I will give it look. Regarding Mapsource and Basecamp, I still use Mapsourse and Roads and Recreation along with City Nav. For ATV and Snowmobile use I haven't found anything I like better than Roads and Rec. Ya I know its old but it gets the job done for me better than anything else. I have a backup CD just in case.
    #20