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Garmin 620/640

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by sagharborskip, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

    Joined:
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    I do A LOT of captaining on A LOT of different boats and I LOVE my Garmin 376C.

    The brightness of the display is a huge improvement over the previous generation and I can always count on getting more than 10 hours out of the rechargeable battery (the previous generation's LCD was hard to read in daylight if you didn't have the brightness cranked way up. Using AA batteries, you had to carry one of those sleeves of 36 batteries!!)

    Having my portable always handy means I don't have to worry when I jump on someone's boat if there built in unit a) is working, b) has the map chip installed, c) has some fluky way of working.

    Being able to do all my routing on my laptop and download them to my Garmin, means I don't have pull my hair out creating routes on the built-ins by moving the cursor and hitting enter over and over and over.

    When I get to a boat that has a fully functional GPS unit (as is normal!), I then have 2 units that I can shift back and forth views and work as I go.

    Another great feature of the 376C is I can monitor our progress if an owner is driving without having to stand over his/her shoulder. This came in VERY handy a few years ago when some guy with a cigarette boat asked me to come along for the day b/t Sag Harbor, NY and Montauk. He didn't know the local water well and wanted to pick up some friends in Montauk and take them for a spin...

    "A spin" to him was roaring around at 50kts! As I always bring my own GPS (and VHF, and paper charts, and flashlight, etc.), that day proved itself indispensable. After a leaving the dock, I looked over to the built in GPS and noticed the owner had the entire screen view set on the compass rose!

    I began to reach over to change the view to the chart view when he shouted over the wind, "Don't touch that! That's my compass!"

    Perfect, I thought to myself! When we hit the bottom at 50kts we'll be able to verify we were steering 087 or whatever!

    Having my unit in hand, I was able to keep pointing PORT or STBD in front of his face (with those goggles that made him look like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future) to keep us on track...

    My question is this, is there anyone out there that has any experience with the Garmin 620 or 640 units? I've been thinking for quite a while on how to improve on the 376C/476C now 378/478 series and it's easy to see a much bigger screen is the biggest upgrade I can imagine. The 620/640 has approx. the same dimensions, but loses the buttons in exchange for the touch screens that are used in all the automotive applications.

    I'm bummed the 620/640 isn't even BIGGER and still be designed as a portable.

    Any input
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    A friend in Sag was showing it off to me a couple of weeks back. Don't really like it. I found that bright sunlight washed out the screen from certain angles. It also does too much, as is the case with most electronics today. You spend too much times scrolling menus. I'm also not a big lover of touch screens on small boats; especially small touch screens. It's much easier to use a cursor.
    This comes with the caveat that I'm still in love with my 176C, extra AA's and all. :D
  3. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    Hey, Ed - who is it in Sag that has it as I'm hard pressed to find a dealer that actually has one in store.

    I'm taking a boat from Sag to Pt. Washington today and heading into the city this afternoon and will probably try B&H just to take a look at it.

    The touchscreen probably wouldn't bother me so much as I do most of my routing on my laptop. Quick pick waypoints might be an issue, though, depending on the touchscreen. I've found the touchscreen on our car Garmin Nuvi to be workable, but the car doesn't bounce around so much!

    Yeah, I LOVED my 176C, but the battery thing and the hard to see display are really worth upgrading to the next gen. Garmin has a 276C with the same newer display and rechargeable lithium-ion that you can find for under $400...

    I definitely wouldn't go back!
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    DK who sells it. A boat owner had it for his little boat and I believe he may have gotten it in Fla or through the boat dealer. Agree about the upgrade to 276, but I've got about 2K invested including charts and it does the job. Also, the rechargeables concern me. What happens if it dies mid-cruise? I just pop in (4) new AA's and go.
  5. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    Just so you know...all your investment in unlocked chart regions transfer free of charge to any new device you purchase (I went from the 176C to the 376C). You might want to buy the newer Garming Bluechart CD so you have the latest charts, but all the unlock codes are transferable.

    As for dying mid-way, you can always take along the AC adapter or the 12V adapter...

    PS, Stopped in the West Marine in Pt. Washington...no Garmin 620. Stopped in B&H in Manhattan today...no GPS of any sort which I thought kind of odd. Best Buy - Garmin dealers? No love there either...

    Any Garmin reps keeping an eye on this? I'd love to get a 620 to play with and compare to the 376C!! I promise to post a fair evaluation!
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    That's good to know. Although a brighter screen would be nice this one has never let me down. We're like old friends. Plus, I keep promising myself that I'll retire soon (I know I'm lying to myself but what can you do). So it does its job. As for the curiosity factor, I'm fortunate that the type of work I do ensures that I'll get to play with pretty much all the latest toys sooner or later. Mine is just for backup or when I move an unequipped boat.:D

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