While I’m sure there are still a few people who drive around with an atlas or a collection of street maps in their vehicles, I think it is safe to assume that most people and particularly those living in more developed countries, now rely on GPS navigation instead. After all, if you own a smartphone, the chances are it has a GPS feature built in, and even if it does not, well, you can just fire up Google Maps instead. Of course, if you are driving a relatively new vehicle, it is quite possible that it also came with a built-in GPS system. In fact, many newer vehicles have really impressive GPS navigation systems, so where does this leave companies such as Garmin?

Garmin has been a leading GPS supplier for years and years already, and it is certainly a name which millions of people have grown to love and trust. However, if you genuinely have no need for a dedicated GPS device, then it is highly unlikely that you are going to be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on one. For Garmin, the battle for survival has been ongoing. So far, Garmin has not only managed to survive the winds of change but instead, the company has thrived, thanks to good old ingenuity. Rather than facing off with phone manufacturers, Garmin shifted focus towards creating GPS devices that actually work alongside today’s smartphones. However, the Garmin Montana 680 handheld GPS featured in this review has been designed primarily with outdoor adventurers in mind, rather than motorists.

Garmin Montana 680 Handheld GPS

Garmin Montana 680

Garmin Montana 680 Handheld GPS

First up, if you are looking for the cheapest GPS device money can buy, then the Garmin Montana 680 is definitely not the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a robust unit with plenty of fully functional and also very useful bells and whistles, then this model is definitely worthy of your attention.

Admittedly, it is not the lightest or most compact GPS device in its class, but it more than makes up for this in other important areas. For starters, it is waterproof, and its high-quality touch screen is glove-friendly too, a big plus if your outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing for example.

When the Garmin Montana 680 was recently put through a series of tests alongside other comparable GPS devices, it came out a clear winner in terms of reception and speed. Additionally, it proved to be the most accurate device when it was tested against a number of other GPS devices as well, including the Garmin MAP 64s. In fact, the Garmin Montana 680 led researchers to within 40 inches of their initial waypoints, while Garmin MAPS only managed to get them within 70 inches.

The Garmin Montana 680 also shone when it came to calculating the area covered on foot. It calculated that the area covered was 7,080 square foot, where in fact it was dead on 7,000 square foot. Let’s just say, with this device on hand, there REALLY is not much chance of you getting lost.

Other awesome features include an impressive 8MP camera, and no, it is not just for taking selfies either. Instead, you can simply take a photo and then set that photo as your waypoint, which means there’s no need for you to type in descriptions and etc. Let’s take a quick look at some of the main pros and cons associated with this model:


  • Lightning Fast – The Garmin Montana 680 is so fast it basically locks on before you even realize it, and the speed and quality of reception and coverage don’t seem to be at all affected by overhead cover and etc.
  • Waterproof – If you enjoy adventurous outdoor activities which often result in you getting wet, being waterproof can give you all the peace of mind you need.
  • Unbelievably Accurate – During tests that involved trekking through canyons, caves, and areas with dense overhead cover, the Garmin Montana 680 was still able to find its way back to within 40 inches of the initial waypoint.


  • Pricey – Generally speaking, this unit typically cost around $550 although you can sometimes find for less if you shop around for special promotions. Nonetheless, a lot of people will no doubt be put off by the price.
  • Weight – This is by no means a heavy or bulky device, but some critics have stated that they feel its weight counts against it when it comes to activities such as trekking and lightweight backpacking.