This week Garmin launched the all new Garmin GPSMAP 66sr, the first multi band/ Multi GNSS handheld GPS from Garmin.
So, what do we think of the unit? Here’s our review of the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr
First of all, we have to ask ourselves a few questions, so we understand the GPS unit a little better.
Is the GPSMAP 66sr a replacement for the Garmin GPSMAP66st?
In some ways it is a replacement, but honestly it is more like a GPSMAP66st on steroids.
It will, I suspect, be a direct replacement for the existing GPSMAP 66st but it’s better, far better.
So how does the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr differ from the Garmin GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st or GPSMAP 66i?
What are the key features on the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr, lets review them.
– This is Garmin’s first Outdoor GPS unit to use five satellite systems. This being the GPS (American), GLONASS (Russian), Galileo (European), QZSS (Japanese) and IRSS (Indian).The key things, compared to previous Outdoor GPS units is you can choose all 5 types of satellite systems. On some previous models you have been limited to being able to choose two i.e. GPS and Glonass OR GPS and Galileo.
This improves the speed the GPS locks onto the satellites dramatically and also improves the accuracy.
There are four signals from the satellites available, in the past Outdoor GPS units has used L1, but this new unit also uses L5, in the past this has been used by the aeronautical industry. Wikipedia gives you a great understanding about how it all works.
With this unit being able to use both bands it improves both the accuracy as it can double check and confirm your current location. This removes any errors that have been thrown up in the past from things like the signal being bounced off buildings etc.
Pre-loaded TOPO Active mapping installed
Like the Garmin GPSMAP66st and Garmin GPSMAP 66i the new Garmin GPSMAP 66sr comes pre-loaded with Garmin TOPO Active mapping. This is mapping for not only the UK but for all of Europe.
As this map set originates from Open Sourced mapping it is super accurate, but, and this is the big but, it shows everything as a path. It does not decipher between a footpath, bridleway, BOAT, permissive path or frankly a private drive or far track.
Therefore if you are walking in England or Wales (where we have trespass laws) you really need to add Ordnance Survey maps to this GPS device.
Don’t get me wrong, TOPO Active mapping is great to compliment the Ordnance Survey mapping or as your only map if you are overseas. But in this country, UK, we are all so used to OS maps, we really need it on our GPS units.
Built in battery – 36 hours battery life or 450 hours in Expedition Mode
OK now, let’s take this with a pinch of salt. I always halve what Garmin tell you when it comes to battery life.
But saying that, the case and battery on the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr is the same as we find on the Garmin GPSMAP 66i and I have been very impressed with this.
I have never been a fan if built in batteries on a GPS unit. But I am a massive fan if the built in battery on the Garmin GPSMAP 66i. Over lots of long walking, in winter months, it has performed exceptionally.
So therefore it stands I am an even bigger fan of the internal battery on the GPSMAP 66sr. Bigger fan you ask? Well the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr battery is not having to power the inReach technology that is built into the Garmin GPAMAP 66i so it performs even better.
And the rest …
With the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr you still get all the rest –
– Large Colour screen (3 inch)
– ABC sensors – Altimeter, barometer to monitor weather and 3 axis electronic compass
– Birdseye Satellite Imagery – The ability to download satellite imagery directly onto the unit
– Garmin’s Active weather – when tethered to a smartphone you get real time weather forecasts
– LED flashlight – this can also be used as a flashing beacon if need be
– Live Geocaching – when tethered to smartphone or on a wifi
– Garmin Explore App – The Garmin GPSMAP 66sr works alongside the Garmin Explore app. With the app you can download .gpx files onto your mobile phone or tablet and transfer directly onto the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr.
Personally, I think the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr it a great piece of kit.
As a former Garmin Oregon GPS user I first started using the Garmin GPSMAP 66s when it was launched and then I moved onto a Garmin GPSMAP 66i.
The Garmin GPSMAP 66sr is really just a Garmin GPSMAP 66i without the inReach two way satellite communication.
BUT it also has this very impressive Multi-Band/ Multi-GNSS technology built in. So on paper it is a better spec GPS.
I will have my haters for saying this. But I am now totally taken by having a built in battery in an Outdoor GPS device and the Garmin GPSMAP 66sr has just that.
With the battery performing as it is, I would never go back to AA batteries. If you are going off grid, buy yourself a power pack or even better a solar panel to charge your power pack and you will never run out of battery life again.
So, what’s holding you back, it’s a must for the outdoor enthusiast. The Garmin GPSMAP 66sr is the best Outdoor GPS unit in its category.
Please take a look at the product on our website with all the different map options available – more here