Review - Garmin Montana 700 series

Garmin, inReach, Montana -

Review - Garmin Montana 700 series

An update of the Garmin Montana series has been a long time coming, so lets review the Garmin Montana 700 series.

We have had a Garmin Montana 700i for a number of months now and have walked extensively with it and have loved every mile with this new large screen GPS unit from Garmin.

The videos in this review are extracts from the GPS Training online resource, the free training resource you get when you purchase a GPS from GPS Training. In this we have over 50 training videos to help you get to grips with your new Montana 700 series GPS unit.

Model options available for Garmin Montana 700 series

– Garmin Montana 700, Garmin Montana 700i, Garmin Montana 750i:

All the Garmin range 700 of GPS units come with Barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass, preinstalled maps (Garmin TopoActive - view map options here), smartphone connectivity, compatible with Garmin Connect & Garmin Explore App. The Garmin Explore app enables you to transfer routes directly from your mobile phone/ tablet directly to the Garmin Montana 700 range of GPs units.

Garmin Montana 700i

The Montana 700i comes with the key features above plus inReach technology (Iridium satellite network, 2-way-messaging, exchange text messages, SOS alerts, location sharing, active weather), preinstalled CityNavigator maps.

Garmin Montana 750i

The Montana 750i comes with all the features on the Montana 700 I and it also has the addition of an 8 MP camera

Physical overview and screen size – Garmin Montana 700 series

The Montana 700 series of units has certainly kept its rugged design.

It looks very different than past touch screen units from Garmin, with the Quad Helix antenna. The Montana 7xx GPS units has upgraded to using both GPS and GALILEO (European satellites).

The Montana 700 also has the option to use the Russian GLONASS system, but this is not the case with the 700i or 750i as these units have to incorporate an IRIDIUM antenna which is used for the two way satellite communication (inReach technology). This is identical to what we find on the GPSMAP66 range.

The screen size is a stunning 5 inches diagonal (6,4 x 10,8 cm (4″, 5,0 x 8,9 cm)) and this is crystal clear gorilla glass, which has been more proven on the Oregon range of GPS units.

The video above in an extract from the GPS Training online resource - the free online training course you get when you buy a GPS from GPS Training.

Menus and interface – Garmin Montana 700 series

The Montana 700 has a fresh looking interface, looking more like the hugely popular GPSMAP66 range with the ribbon across the bottom (you can add your own shortcuts to this ‘ribbon’) but you still have the tradition ‘main menu’, with all the icons we have grown to love with a Garmin GPS unit.


The video above in an extract from the GPS Training online resource - the free online training course you get when you buy a GPS from GPS Training.

Power and batteries - Garmin Montana 700 series

The Montana 700 series comes with an interchangeable Lithium battery, a spare battery can be bought, which will give you a further 18 hours of battery life in your rucksack is a real bonus.

For the Montana 700 you can also get a AA battery cradle, so you can run the unit from AA batteries.

Garmin state an 18-hour battery life, but I was finding it nearer to 14 hours (but I was playing with the unit lots, which you do with a new GPS unit), still plenty of power for a good day in the hills.

The video above in an extract from the GPS Training online resource - the free online training course you get when you buy a GPS from GPS Training.

To improve everyday battery life the Montana 700 series also comes with battery save option (as most units do but we also now see the addition of Expedition Mode, this cuts down some of the functionality but improves the battery life to up 2 weeks (according to Garmin).

Two-way satellite communication (inReach technology) - Montana 700i/ 750i series only

Using the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network the Montana 700i and 750i lets you exchange text messages with any mobile phone number or email address anywhere – while using GPS to track and share your journey’s progress. You can also post to social media or even communicate inReach-to-inReach in the field.

The key thing with the Montana 700i/ 750 is the QWERTY keyboard, the problem on the GPSMAP66i and inReach was that it was always hard to input text (for the messages) but with the large screen and QWERTY keyboard it is very easy and quick to type messages

You will need to sign up to a contract to use the inReach feature but you can use the GPS as a navigational device without registering the inReach feature.

Summary

After spending a couple of months walking with the Montana 700 range of GPS units I really liked it, the 5-inch screen is stunning. The Garmin Montana 700 is certainly now the best large screen outdoor GPS unit on the market.

I think the unit has certainly raised the bar on outdoor GPS units, well done Garmin!

Since the launch of the Garmin Montana 700 became the third best selling GPS, to have a large screen GPS unit so high up in the league table really does tell you what a great large screen outdoor GPS unit it is.

Model options

- Garmin Montana 700 - more here

- Garmin 700i - more here

- Garmin 750i - more here

Related articles that you may find helpful

1. Garmin Montana 700 series launch page - On this page we look at the different product models (700, 700i and 750i), we unbox each of them and the differences between each of these models.

We also compare the Montana 700 series GPS unit to the older Montana 610 and 680 models and give you our first impressions.

2. Best Selling GPS Units - in this video review we discuss the best selling GPS units for the end of 2020. In this review the Garmin Montana 700 came third, which is impressive for a large screen GPS unit.

4. Best Outdoor GPS Unit - This relates less to you the trail rider, but on this page we look at the best budget, top end and large screen GPS units on the market.


1 comment

  • Phill Ritchie

    On your Bike.. Montana 700 Review

    I have updated from the Montana 600 (which I loved and will always love) straight to the 700, I did not need the extras of the i700. The first thing that hit me was the physical size increase of the 700. I have long fingers and feel the it is just out of feeling secure when I hold it along with the weight (M700 = 402g, M600 = 298g), I use a loop of para cord around my wrist.
    I purchased the 700 for my bicycle as I wanted a large screen (it is about 19% larger across the diagonal than the 600), with OS mapping. The magic happens when you turn it on – so quick to start and pick up the satellites, bang straight in.
    The icons are the same as the 600 and the way of working through menus are almost the same, no better than my old machine. I adapted to the 700’s ways in about 10 minutes, it was intuitive for me and the speed of the firmware is great.
    I am worried about the screen glass as there is no bevel around it for protection it but I’m told it’s really tough. The touch screen reacts very well (it doesn’t react at all) to getting wet from rain or sweat – there’s no jumping or locking up if drops of water get on it and remains sensitive to your fingers.
    For my cycling events I wanted a navigational device and not a bike computer – that I can use off the road on bad surfaces when going downhill on a bridal way with a few path options coming up. The screen is clear, large, fast and can be relied on. As there is no bevel around the screen I am still trying to find a corner or edge that I can use to stabilise and orientate my fingers to press the screen with and without looking at the 700. I can connect my heart rate, speed and cadence monitors to it displaying and recording these readings, I don’t know if I can connect a power meter to the 700 as I don’t have one.
    The battery life has improved with firmware updates and a couple of factory resets. I have noticed that the battery does discharge when turned off but this has slowed considerably recently – something to keep an eye on if you leave it in the draw for a while. When turning off the 700 the screen goes dark before the on/off symbol blinks on and off quickly so I have to tilt the screen around to see it.
    There is a lot more to say, contact me if you want any info. If I was a walker, I would not buy a Montana 700, it’s too big and heavy but it is what I want for my bicycle events.

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