Garmin Introduces a Big-Screen Portable GPS

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Garmin International has announced the GPSMAP 695 and 696, a new series of portable aviation navigation units. The GPSMAP 696 includes the features of the popular GPSMAP 496 plus new capability including airways, electronic charts and expanded weather on a screen that is three times the size of the 496’s.

The GPSMAP 696 is a tablet-type device with a 7-inch portrait screen that allows the pilot to view an entire approach plate. The high-resolution screen is readable in sunlight or at night, the company says. The bezel surrounding the screen has multiple buttons; soft keys at the bottom of the screen control the most common features such as current page and weather on/off. Along the right side, dedicated keys control specific functions such as nearest, direct to, flight plan, zoom in/out and menu. A rotary knob/joystick similar to the G1000’s, allows pilots to enter airport identifiers, pan the map, or scroll to another page or page subgroup.

In IFR map mode, the GPSMAP 696 displays a map similar to the standard en-route chart with important features such as victor airways, jet routes and leg distance. The company says it offers more situational awareness than traditional charts because it subtly displays major visual reference points such as rivers, highways and railroad tracks from Garmin’s basemap. It also includes Garmin FliteCharts; if the current approach is known, the device will automatically select the right chart based on the flight plan.

The 696 has a receiver for XM radio and XM WX satellite weather (for U.S. customers) that includes NEXRAD, METARS, TAFS and TFRS, lightning, winds aloft, turbulence forecasts and other weather products. This information can be laid over the nav/topographic map databases, and may be updated at http://www.fly.garmin.com/.

The GPSMAP 695 Americas is unit identical to the 696, except that it does not offer XM radio and XM WX Satellite Weather. It does not include the GXM 40 smart antenna and may not be upgraded to add XM datalink capability in the future. The Atlantic version is preloaded with VFR reporting points (VPRs), private airports and obstacles, but the Atlantic and Pacific versions do not include XM capability, AOPA Airport Directory, FliteCharts or SafeTaxi diagrams.

The “expected street price,” the company says, will be $2695 for the GPSMAP 695, and $3295 for the 696. The 696 package includes yoke mount, GXM 40 smart antenna, AC adapter cable, USB-to-PC interface, low-profile remote GPS antenna and more.

For more information, check with your local aviation supplier or visit Garmin.

Our sister publication, Avweb has a new video preview of the Garmin 696 available HERE.

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