Firstly what was important about the aids we'd been using and what did we really want to improve on? In the desert our requirements were easy to identify with the first being our main reason for upgrading:
- A bigger screen, whilst remaining handholdable (if my camera is anything to go by sand and laptops won't mix).
- A compass screen clearly showing direction and distance to the next waypoint.
- Support for Geocaching.
- Interchangable route finding between offroad/marine mode (ie straightline navigation between two points) and on the road navigation with turn by turn directions, sharing waypoints between modes.
|Garmin Montana 600 (credit: Garmin)|
I took the Montana driving without a auto-cradle as there were none in stock (so no lovely-Emma voices to guide me) and it got me safely to my brother's home in rural Gloucester from Southsea and back via non-motorways, the Montana's beeps alerting me to an upcoimg turn. Back in Dubai we've been for an on-road drive around and about. Within the accuracy of the maps we failed to get lost even on the rapidly being reclaimed by the sand remains of the uncompleted Tiger Woods golf development (roads here tend to appear or disappear faster than the map-makers can keep up). Changing mode even within a route seems fairly easy and there are lots of gizmo features still to investigate like the barometric plotting.
On Saturday we took our new best friend shopping to buy it a suitable carry case. An military-styled kharki camera case from National Geographical fitted the bill with the added bonus that the beltloop is sturdy enough to fit round the passenger hand hold on Jeanie Jeep's dashboard...who needs an auto-cradle? One small niggle still to iron out - on plugging in the USB 12v charger also purchased on saturday (the power input is different to our other Garmins) the Montana insists on saving all the waypoints and tracks then going into "PC connect mode". Guess I need to read the manual downloaded (there is only a quickstart guide in the box).
A couple of trials left now - a drive in the desert and a sail off the coast of Dubai both of which need offroad or marine mode. Plus I need to download to it all our Geocache and desert driving waypoints from my laptop.
In Part II I'll share the results of my review of chartplotting software and how we made the decision not to rock the boat!