After waiting a few months for it to be released, I have finally been able to buy a Garmin Monterra. I was unable to find them in the Miami stores when I was visiting but they are now available for purchase online. I ordered mine from REI at the standard retail price of $650 but I’ll get $65 back at the end of the year under the REI member rebate programme. www.REI.com
I already have a couple of Garmin Nuvi GPS (sat-nav) units that have maps for 46 European countries. They will be fine for the western Europe segments of our trip but they will be of little use in Russia and Central Asia due to the lack of suitable mapping options. The Garmin Monterra, like its predecessor the Montana, can be loaded with non-Garmin maps as well as routes, tracks and waypoints from a variety of sources. I plan to install Open Source Mapping (OSM) of Russia and Central Asia. I’ll also be loading the Russia and Central Asia waypoints that have been gathered by ‘Colebatch’ on the Horizons Unlimited Bulletin Board.
The Monterra is the first Garmin unit to be built on an Android operating system, like those found on Android smart phones. That means that any of the Android apps can be downloaded onto the unit. The Monterra utilises both the GPS and GLONASS satellite systems, potentially offering greater accuracy and a better chance of finding satellites in mountainous areas or places with limited views of the sky. It has an 8 megapixel digital camera and can record 1080p video. It also features a three-axis compass, a barometric altimeter, a radio tuner (FM and NOAA weather), and a UV sensor. It comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack but can also run on AA batteries. I’ve also bought the auto-mount, so it can be plugged into the vehicle 12-volt socket.
I am still finding my way around the device and working my way through the user manual. Bertrand on the HUBB is putting together a very useful review of the Monterra that explains more of the features and options that are available (see following link).
There is another well-written review of the Monterra here – http://globeriders.com/article_pages/article06_gps/article06_monterra.shtml