Garmin Montana Vs Oregon: Handheld GPS Comparison & Review

Garmin is one of the leading manufacturers of GPS systems. Over the years, they’ve released GPS positioning systems with increasing technological capabilities and integration.

Right now, in addition to offering driving GPS help, there are 8 handheld GPS lines designed for hiking. Each line has several unique models.

Since there are so many GPS options available, it can be somewhat intimidating to figure out what GPS you should buy. This is especially true if it’s your first time purchasing a handheld GPS.

The Garmin Montana and Oregon lines are fairly easy to compare and contrast. Each line has several models, though some individual models are no longer being manufactured.

Both lines are excellent options for handheld GPS systems. We’ve broken down the differences between models to help you better pick based on your needs.

Quick Comparison: Garmin Oregon Vs Montana

ProductTouchscreen Display SizeTechnologyTracking
#1.Montana
4 inchesTOPO US 100K mapsBuilt-in topography mapping
#2.Oregon
3 inches3-axis compass, barometric sensors, accelerometerGeocaching and live tracking

The Garmin Oregon GPS Line: Garmin Oregon 600 Vs 650 Vs 650t Vs 700 Vs 750 Vs 750t


Oregon 700

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The Oregon 700 is the first of the three models in the Oregon line. It’s a high-performance GPS that’s a great option for people who are new to the Oregon series or handheld GPS tracking in general.

The device is sensitive enough that it can pinpoint your location with greater accuracy than a standard GPS model.

Since the Oregon 700 uses both GPS and GLONASS technology, it’s excellent for outdoor adventurers who want to explore places more “off the beaten path.”

It’s especially good for those who explore off the trails in more mountainous or unusually elevated regions.

The 700 has been improved and redesigned slightly over time. In comparison to previous models, it has better reception due to its remodeled antenna.

Not only does the GPS feature mapping and location data, but it gives you access to barometric sensors, an accelerometer, and a 3-axis compass to orient yourself.

The touchscreen display is 3 inches long and can be used in portrait or landscape mode. There are geocaching and live tracking abilities when the device has access to wireless connectivity, which allows even more accurate location data.

The device can be used with ANT+, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The Active Weather feature gives you live on-screen weather reports, and geocachers can integrate their Geocaching Live app with the model.

Oregon 750

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The Oregon 750 is the second model in the Oregon line. It comes with all the same features and basic design as the original 700.

However, this model has an added camera, which the 700 lacks. The built-in camera can capture images in 8 megapixels.

Since this model has a camera, it’s a little more expensive. Other than that, though, all the features and connectivity capabilities remain the same.

Oregon 750t

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The Oregon 750t is the top tier in the Oregon line. It has all the base 700 functions and the camera of the 750, but it adds built-in topography mapping to the data.

The model is already loaded with TOPO US 100K maps when you receive it.

For those who live in Canada, don’t worry! You can also download TOPO Canada Maps to receive equally detailed maps of your surroundings.

Topographic maps won’t be useful for everyone. But for those who often explore or climb mountainous, hilly, rocky, or otherwise difficult and varied terrain, they can offer much-needed insight into your surroundings.

A topographic map allows you to plan your direction by visualizing the terrain surrounding you and choosing the best path.

The Garmin Montana GPS Line: Garmin Montana 600 Vs 610 Vs 610t Vs 650 Vs 650t Vs 680 Vs 680t


 

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While the Oregon series appears to have been created with mountaineering, hiking, and exploring in mind, the Montana series was created to accommodate multiple outdoor sports. In addition to hiking, it also has features for hunters and even certain types of water sports.

The Montana line is considered a “higher-end” line, and therefore tends to have more default features and technology. As such, it’s also pricier than the Oregon option.

The Montana 610 is designed with a 4-inch touchscreen that can rotate to display in landscape or portrait mode.

If you’re wearing touchscreen-friendly gloves, it will continue to respond, making it a great option for people who like to hike in colder weather.

Like the Oregon series, the Montana 610 has GLONASS and GPS navigation systems for increased accuracy. The system can also support multiple downloaded mapping apps.

There’s a 3-axis compass programmed into the device that compensates for tilt.

The internal memory also contains a barometric altimeter. Like several other Garmin GPS models, the Montana 610 includes a 1-year subscription to maps from BirdsEYE Satellite Imagery.

Though it’s primarily meant to be a handheld model, the Montana 610 design is versatile enough to fit into ATV or car mounts for Garmin devices. If you’re driving in the wilderness or on the roads, you can use it as a vehicle GPS.

One neat feature is that it can use both traditional and rechargeable batteries. This design significantly extends the overall battery life.

The traditional batteries are AAs, and the rechargeable option is a lithium-ion pack.

Montana 610t (Camo)

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Though the Montana 610t used to have more model lineups and aesthetic designs, the only model that’s still being manufactured is the camo pattern. It’s the next step up from the baseline 610.

The device has the exact same features and overall design as the 610, but the 610t ships with TOPO US 100K maps already pre-loaded.

If you’re a person who likes to explore and map your path by charting topography, this option is a great one.

Montana 680

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The Montana 680 is the same model as the 610 in features, design, and technological compatibility. The one difference is that the Montana 680 has an 8 megapixel camera added.

You can snap pictures during your adventures to document your journey.

Some people appreciate the convenience of having a built-in camera on their handheld GPS. You’re already looking at the GPS screen for important hiking information.

 

As long as it’s out, why not use it to snap photos? That’s a lot easier than fumbling to get your phone out of your pocket, especially if you want to photograph wildlife that’s liable to bolt at any moment.

Montana 680t

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Continuing the feature pattern, the Montana 680t is almost completely identical to the 680. It comes with all the basic features of the 610, plus an 8 megapixel camera.

But it’s also preloaded with the topographic maps that are found in the 610t.

This is the highest tier in the Montana lineup. It combines all the features and add-ons of the previous models while keeping the same compact, versatile design and responsive touchscreen.

If your hiking and exploring habits are involved enough that you’d benefit from topography maps, a camera, and everything else the base 610 model has to offer, this is the device for you.

Oregon Versus Montana: A Breakdown

There are a lot of similarities between the Oregon and Montana GPS lines. Additionally, some models have extra features that overlap.

With both lines, the base design and core features of the GPS remain the same. The subsequent models have the same features and simply add more capabilities or data.

This is different from some other technological lines, which “upgrade” base features and change them drastically through different tiers. The base of the Oregon and Montana is the same through all models.

Similarities in the Lines

Both the Montana and Oregon lines use detailed touchscreen displays that can be shifted to landscape or portrait mode.

They’re both handheld devices optimized for hikers and explorers who need to navigate in the wilderness.

Both lines can provide accurate location data for people in mountainous terrain and other terrains with complicated or fluctuation elevation levels.

Both lines utilize GLONASS and GPS tracking simultaneously, which allows more accurate data gathering than using GPS alone.

Both are equipped with a 3-axis compass for navigation and have barometric sensors. Both are compatible with multiple wireless connectivity methods like Bluetooth and WiFi; similarly, both can offer real-time data and integrate with geographical apps.

Both may have geocaching abilities, though the Oregon series seems more actively geared toward geocachers than the Montana.

In the models with cameras, the camera quality is the same: 8 megapixels of still images. Similarly, in the models with topographic map downloads, the devices come programmed with the same mapping technology and data.

Significant Differences Between the Lines

The main differences between the Oregon and Montana lines are in the construction and depth of the features.

The Montana GPS line has some more detailed and advanced features. It also has a larger touchscreen display at 4 inches to Oregon’s 3 inches.

The 3-axis compass in the Montana also has tilt compensation for greater accuracy. There’s also a barometric altimeter in addition to general barometric readings.

The Montana also includes the 1-year satellite map subscription, and it’s somewhat more versatile than the Oregon, so you can use it as a car GPS as well.

The Montana is able to run on lithium-ion pack or AA batteries to extend the battery life, while the Oregon isn’t designed with this dual-battery setup.

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Final Thoughts

Both of these handheld GPS lines are excellent pieces of technology that give you everything you need for outdoor adventuring, and then some.

Knowing the difference between the models, your main choice is whether the Montana or Oregon base appeals to you more.

The Oregon is an affordable option with all the basics you need, while the Montana has somewhat more advanced navigational technology and more convenience features.

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