Sunday, March 23, 2014

Garmin Monterra Review Part 2: Technical Specs

Whats In The Box?

The Garmin Monterra comes with the following things:
  • GPS unit
  • Manuals
  • USB power supply
  • USB cable
  • Lithium-ion battery pack
  • International power adaptors
  • Screen protectors
It is a list comprised of exactly what you would expect, except the screen protectors are a nice touch.   It would have been nice if they had included some sort of strap, however.  The first thing I did when I pulled the unit out of the box is attach a small lanyard for carrying purposes.

Technical Specs

The full list of technical specifications are on the Garmin website (listed here) so I won't bother repeating all of the specs here, but I will list the salient details for convenience:
Size difference compared to a standard
pack of playing cards.
  • 4" touchscreen,  272x480 pixel resolution
  • Weight: up to 13.2oz depending on batteries used.
  • Power: 3AAs, or the 2000mAh lithium-ion battery pack
  • Supports custom maps
  • 6GB memory with the base maps, 3GB with topo maps.  
  • microSD card for additional map storage. (microSD card not included)
  • Can hold an unlimited (where unlimited is the limitations of the devices memory) amount of caches.
  • 8 megapixel camera.
  • Wifi enabled.
  • GPS and GLONAS enabled.
It is important to note that this device is huge for a GPSr. It is the largest handheld GPSr I have ever seen.  I added a size comparison photo to a deck of cards to get an idea of how big it is.  I still find, however, that it would get lost in a pack or pocket, so it is definitely manageable.


The touchscreen is resistive, which means it works in the rain, and with gloves on.  For the most part the screen is quite responsive. There are some exceptions, for example the Geocache List window requires an extra hard press to get it to recognize a touch.  I have no idea why this is as other touches to the same part of the screen in other modes have no issues. 

In general if you have used any Garmin touchscreens, this one acts exactly the same.  


This seems as good a time as any to discuss the camera.  It is an 8MP camera, which is quite decent.  It does  not have any optical zoom, so its all digital, which vastly reduces quality when zoomed.  If you look at the camera as being a typical smart phone camera you have the right idea.  It is great for taking those quick in-the-field-memory shots, or photos of information for multi-caches or virtuals.  However if you don't consider your smart phone camera to be sufficient for your photography needs, you will find the same here.  Photographers will still need to being a proper camera into the field to get awesome shots. However, as I mentioned, it is more than adequate for those impromptu photos.


In comparisons with my other GPSrs (Garmin eTrex 30, Garmin Montana 600) I didn't really find any differences in GPSr accuracy.  This shouldn't be surprising since I haven't seen significant changes to this in quite some time. The GLONASS support will help in the future when the Russians fly some more satellites, so things will hopefully get better than they are now.  However now is looking pretty good as it is.

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