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Bigger is better with Garmin’s newest portable, the GPSMAP® 696. It has a bright, sunlight readable 7-inch diagonal display that is as crisp and color rich as any available in aviation portables.
#1. I’m in the market for a new handheld GPS. There
seem to be so many good ones available by various wellknown manufacturers. Do you have any tips that will help me decide which one is best for me? I’m an instrumentrated private pilot. The past year has seen an amazing number of new GPS products announced, and there’s probably never been a better time to go shopping for a portable. Some of the features now available were unimaginable just a few years ago, even for panel avionics systems. Perhaps best of all, the range of features and prices from companies like Garmin and Bendix/King means there’s something for every type of pilot. Finding the right one for you is a matter of asking yourself some basic questions. For example, how will you use your new GPS--as a backup, or as an everyday navigator? For backup use, a basic unit with moving map features may be all you need. The new Garmin aera 500 and the Bendix/King AV8OR Handheld are both available for under $800, and offer loads of situational awareness. Stepping up the ladder a little, do you need XM Datalink Weather capability in your GPS? XM Weather can be a real life-saver in the cockpit, displaying NEXRAD radar, METARs, TFRs and much more. Multiple models are available with this function, like the Garmin aera 510, 560 and GPSMap 696. XM Weather can also be added to both AV8OR models. If weather is not an important feature, you can usually save around $500 by opting for the Garmin aera 500 or 550, or the AV8OR without weather.
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Since you’re an instrument pilot, do you want to use digital instrument charts? If so, the Bendix/ King AV8OR Ace and the Garmin GPSMap 696 are great choices, as they are FAA-legal replacements for paper charts. The Ace even shows en route charts. Do you plan to use the GPS in a car as well as the airplane? The AV8ORs and the Garmin aera line are excellent on the road, with complete points of interest databases and turn-by-turn directions. Finally, choosing a GPS often comes down to personal preference. For example, is a touch-screen interface a must-have for you, or do you prefer the sturdy, panel-style controls of the Garmin 696? Do you like the readability of a large screen, or prefer the compact size of a smaller one? Just like buying a new pair of shoes, a new GPS has to be the right fit for you.
The AV8OR ACE incorporates an exceptional sunlight-readable touch screen user interface and dedicated hard buttons for Zooming, Going Direct-To, Changing Chart Views and Accessing the Menu. Panning, scrolling, zooming and even looking up waypoints are all simple and intuitive, meaning you will be spending less time accessing information and more time flying your aircraft.