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Garmin GPS - Oregon 600 and 650 - review

Garmin GPS - Oregon 600 and 650 - review

Wed 11th March 2015

NEWER ARTICLE - Oregon 600 has since been replaced by the OREGON 700 series - full review here

The new Oregon 650 was released last year. The 600 came our 6 or 8 weeks earlier but with the added features of the 650 for not much extra money I thought it was worth waiting for before comparing and assessing the new flagship GPS units from Garmin.

First impressions

The first impressions of both the Oregon 600 and Oregon 650 is how refined and intuitive they are straight out of the box. Garmin have really learnt how to built a quality touchscreen outdoor GPS after learning much from their earlier Oregon, Dakota and Montana units.
It would be a very long article if I went in to depth about every feature on the new units, so

I am just going to highlight the new ones I think really moves the Oregon range on

Oregon 600 or Oregon 650, what’s the difference?

The Oregon 650 comes with all the same features as the 600 but you also get a built in camera (with flash, which also doubles up as a flashlight and SOS beacon) and also Garmin rechargeable batteries. These batteries are normal AA size and sit in the unit and get charged via a USB cable, either from a computer or the plug adapter so you can plug it into the mains. You can buy the Garmin batteries as an extra and put then in your Oregon 600 but as they retail for £19.99 the extra cost goes a long way to the extra cost of the 650.

Garmin do state that their own rechargeable batteries are the only ones you are able to charge in their units.

With you being able to ‘geo tag’ your photos taken on the device with these then being related to the waypoints it makes for a great addition. As someone who walks all year round the thought of having a fully waterproof camera built into a GPS unit you are already carrying is very appealing.

So for just £60.00 extra you are getting a rechargeable unit (which you can refer back to normal AA batteries if out for any long period) and a built in camera and flashlight it is certainly worth it in my eyes.

Oregon 600 and Oregon 650 screen

The first Oregon GPS unit many years ago suffered badly in bright sunshine . Thankfully Garmin have learnt much since then and my thoughts are the screen gets better the brighter the sunshine is, which is a real turn around. If you are using the GPS indoors (which really you will do very little) or in very dull conditions you will have to use the backlight and this will have a negative effect on battery life, but I would far rather have that and be able to see the screen on a sunny day.

The screen acts very much like an iPhone screen as you use many of the same finger actions. The touch screen works well. With you being able to zoom in when taking pictures (on the Oregon 650) by pinching very much like you do on a modern smart phone.

Well done Garmin, the best screen ever on a GPS.

Duel Orientation

One of the new features about both the Oregon 600 and Oregon 650 is the ability to turn the unit through 90 degrees and the screen orientates accordingly.

Many smart phone users have had this for many years, but a great addition to a handheld outdoor GPS unit and it a great solution when wanting to see what is coming up or what is ‘just off the screen’.

Current Track

On past Oregon units the track management has not been the best.
The new ‘current track’ application really does improve on anything we have had before.

You are easily able top pause and save your track with large buttons.
Suddenly one of the hidden gems of any GPS has really been made user friendly and provides complete tracklog access from one simple application.

A new track control dashboard is also provided. Garmin have also introduced two new log recording functions that are Auto Start and Auto Pause. The auto start will automatically start a new track once you power on. It will do away with the famous problem of the unit drawing a straight line from the location you last had the unit switched on.

The auto pause will stop the track being recorded when you stop for lunch etc, which will alleviate those squiggles in the tracklog older units used to create when stationary.

Again both these are welcome additions.


I believe Garmin have really hit it off with this unit and I suspect as I continue to use it I will find more new features. Many of the features are made to work alongside Garmin BaseCamp, the software you use on your PC and Mac to manage your routes etc.

Is it worth an upgrade, I certainly believe so. To be honest I have bought one myself and Oregon 650 and the user friendly interface makes it a real please to use.
Well done Garmin in producing a quality user friendly unit that works straight out of the box.

You can find out more about the

Garmin 600 here.

Garmin 650 here.

If you have any questions please do get in touch. We are open 7 days a week and pride ourselves in making sure you get not just good service in your purchase of your GPS unit, but also in the after sales service and support. We are always on the end of the phone (or in person if you live locally) to answer any questions we have. We use these GPs units everyday, so can help and guide you through what often can be a steep learning curve.

Posted By: Anthony Clark | Fri 27th March 2015

I have owned the Garmin 650T for over a year now. It was my first ever navigation unit. There were just so many functions that it was daunting. I went on a GPSTraning course which was a tremendous help. I now use my 650T at lest twice a week on serious hikes on the Costa Blanca mountains in Spain.There are a few others, with far more experience, ex-army, who know the unit inside out. This has also been a great help with the nuances of the unit. Everybody now ask me for the end of walk data. The 20km hikes of old are now found to be 16km and instead of 1,650metres it is 1,600 and so forth. I use an heart rate monitor which shows up on final data which is used when calculating calories burned. Not just time as on other devises. I also attach a Garmin temperature devise to my rucksack. This devise seems to be about 10c deg out. I keep meaning to find out if there is some way to recalibrate the unit. Which I will try to do before tomorrows 26k hike. As a keen photographer I have used the camera a a few occasions when I have forgotten my Nikon point and shoot. I can not see any difference in quality. You also get BaseCamp marking the exact location. Only have once used my 650T to re steep my route. Especially if cloud descends with the greatest of connivance. Those lonely tracks can be very dangerous when you can not see 30 metres. I am now in my 70th year and am enjoy the experiance with Garmin & the mountains.

Posted By: Andy - GPS Training | Fri 27th March 2015

Hi Anthony thank you for your comments, the Garmin external Tempe sensor cannot be re-calibrated, One thing that I would try is to change your battery in the sensor, the average battery life tends to be around 1 year. the battery type required is a CR2032.

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