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Garmin release Monterra GPS unit powered by Android OS and with WiFi

Hot on the heels of the leaked Edge 810 Touring last week, Garmin have launched a new Monterra GPS unit that is powered by Android OS and is WiFi-enabled, combining the company’s mapping capabilities with the ability to download maps, routes, and apps through Google’s Play Store.

While Garmin’s Edge series (like the recently reviewed 810 and 510) are specifically aimed at cyclists who want performance data like speed, heart rate and cadence, the Monterra is aimed at outdoors people, walkers and hikers, who want the best navigational and mapping tool for finding their way from A to B,. Not how fast it takes them to get there.

Blurring the lines between GPS unit and smartphone (the biggest challenge to Garmin’s dominance in the outdoors GPS sector) the Monterra packs 4in colour touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera with flash and geotag ability, 1080p HD video camera with LED flash and 6GB internal storage with a microSD slot.

As well as those features, it has a built-in 3-axis compass with accelerometer and gyro, barometric altimeter for precise altitude information, and even a UV sensor to monitor the intensity of the sun. The Monterra also has an IPX7 waterproof rating and a rugged case built to withstand the harshest weather. It runs off a rechargeable battery pack (included) or AA batteries.

If it uses the same mount as the Oregon series, then that means you’ll be able to mount it to the handlebars, making it ideal for cyclists who want a dedicated mapping GPS device. The ability to download apps gives the Monterra extended capabilities. You could for example download a host of popular apps such as Strava, Endomondo, BBC Weather and have them all at the touch of a button.

The expected price of £600 might be a stumbling block however, which puts it in within sight of smartphones. But then you are getting all the benefits of Garmin’s hardware - weatherproofing, GPS accuracy, tough touchscreen, longer battery life - with the added ability to easily download and upload routes, data and apps. If you don’t want to attach your delicate and expensive smartphone to the handlebars, then the Monterra might be worth a closer look.

The Monterra will be available in the autumn and is likely to cost £599.99, that prices includes preloaded Rec Map Europe with Navteq roads, and they’ll likely be doing bundles with other maps. More at http://www.garmin.com/outdoors

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

11 comments

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dodgy [201 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a feeling that the Monterra isn't meant for bicycles at all. It's a handheld, possibly for motorbike use.

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joemmo [1164 posts] 3 years ago
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canny idea on paper but I think they've way overspecced and overpriced it. Consider that you could get a lower end Android phone and an Edge 500 (for example) combined for about half the cost of this it seems crazy.

If you're going to go to the trouble of adding all that protection then why not stick a phone radio in there as well and just make it a fully featured tough smartphone?

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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Doesn't say what it's screen resolution is, which I take to mean that it won't be as good as current smartphones. A high resolution screen makes maps much easier to use.

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giobox [356 posts] 3 years ago
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cat1commuter wrote:

Doesn't say what it's screen resolution is, which I take to mean that it won't be as good as current smartphones. A high resolution screen makes maps much easier to use.

Realistically it can't be any worse than the joke that passes for the Garmin 800 and 810's display. Was a shame Garmin didn't fix this on the 810.

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j1mmy76 [67 posts] 3 years ago
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I was with you all the way, right up to the point you said £600.

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STATO [509 posts] 3 years ago
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dodgy wrote:

I have a feeling that the Monterra isn't meant for bicycles at all. It's a handheld, possibly for motorbike use.

Garmin already make some great motorbike GPS, which bluetooth to your phone and in helmet headsets. they have full stnav ability, are waterproof and connect to the bikes power so battery is recharged in use (like car sat-navs).

This new one really looks bike/adveturer specific, way more useful than the touring one posted earlier this week.

Id get one, if i had £600 spare, which i never do!

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dodgy [201 posts] 3 years ago
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STATO wrote:
dodgy wrote:

I have a feeling that the Monterra isn't meant for bicycles at all. It's a handheld, possibly for motorbike use.

Garmin already make some great motorbike GPS, which bluetooth to your phone and in helmet headsets. they have full stnav ability, are waterproof and connect to the bikes power so battery is recharged in use (like car sat-navs).

This new one really looks bike/adveturer specific, way more useful than the touring one posted earlier this week.

Id get one, if i had £600 spare, which i never do!

From https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/prod113522.html

Quote:

With an array of compatible mounts, Monterra is designed for use on ATVs, in boats, as a handheld or in your car. Use the auto mount for spoken, turn-by-turn driving directions, or the rugged mount for your motorcycle or ATV.

Seems like Garmin might see it as being a more general outdoor GPS, no mention of bicyles. Then again, who knows what Garmin are thinking!

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STATO [509 posts] 3 years ago
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ah ok, suppose off-roading might be well covered by this. Good spot.

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cryocon [10 posts] 3 years ago
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j1mmy76 wrote:

I was with you all the way, right up to the point you said £600.

Me too.

I already have a Sony Xperia Active, which is IP67 and has ANT+, got a couple of bike mounts too. Only downside is battery life, but for £200.  20

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daborrelli [5 posts] 2 years ago
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IP67's price is good  16

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bikebot [2013 posts] 2 years ago
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Completely bonkers pricing.

I hope (and expect) that some of the many manufacturers of android phones will turn their eye to this market. I've used various Garmin devices over the years, going back to the original etrex, but at the moment they look like the blackberry just before the iphone launched.

They're overpriced, the hardware feels last gen and the online platform is outclassed by the competition.