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      Garmin 66i super quick review (cause it's a hot topic lately)     
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distinguished member (121)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/23/2020 10:03PM  
So I bought a Garmin 66i last fall, it was spendy, +$500. Right away I bought Garmin LakeVu Maps which are lake depth maps that are better than navionics in my opinion. It was $145 for the Lake Vu Maps but I like that it's the whole country, not just a region. And it includes a lot of lakes in the BWCA that I have noticed do not usually have depth maps, for example Lac La Croix, and other border lakes. After that I downloaded (for free) all the high definition satellite maps of the route I knew we were going to. Right before the trip I went on Garmin's website and paid for a month to month "freedom" (cancel at any time) plan which included 40 texts and use of SOS, for $35/mo. Right after the trip I canceled it, took 10 seconds on the website.

Anyways, real quick. Texting anywhere on the planet is a huge deal. I only sent out a text every other day or so, but it's nice to be able to say hello to your loved ones. It doesn't have "bad service", it just que's the text up for when the next satellite passes over your head, no more than 5 minutes I noticed. It's texting anywhere on the planet...what more can you say about that.

Weather app on the garmin....this suprised the hell out of me, I didn't really think about this until I was actually playing with the garmin on the trip. You just send a text (it costs a text) to the network, and it texts you back the weather, and it's all the same info you can get on a detailed report. Humidity, chance of precip, wind speed and direction, it shows you hour by hour break down of each day for the next 3 days, all the info you want. And it was spot FREAKING on. Like I was pleasantly surprised how locked in we were to the weather.

The LakeVu Maps didn't really do anything for me, if I were recommending a garmin to someone I'd say they should pass this up.

The Satellite birds eye view of the maps were awesome. I was locating rocks and reefs, fishing points, drop offs, right in my tent at the end of the night then the next day we'd go check em out. It was great. You can find portages, campsites, really great images.

Battery life was fine, I bring a power pack to charge things here and there, I ended up charging it once on a 6 day trip. I also had the screen on higher brightness than I needed, and for a couple days I had the screen on non stop as we poked around the lakes.

On the next "What would you leave behind?" topic I think I might say Map, compass, and weather radio.
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distinguished member (168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/26/2020 10:53AM  
I used my 66i on my 9 day trip earlier this month and it functioned as expected. Weather was useful but we found that wind conditions were not always as reported, and that we had to take each forecast with a grain of salt. The most we needed to know was whether it was going to be a suitable travel/day trip/fishing day, or if we were gonna be hunkered down, and how cold it might get at night to know if we should expect to bundle up.

I didn't know you could put LakeVu maps on the GPSMAP devices. Did you really not buy the BWCA maps? I know they are expensive and they do have some outdated info like campsites that are no longer active/valid, but you get campsites and portages and depth contours for BWCA lakes. Maybe you did get the BWCA maps since you said the LakeVu maps include contours for LLC, but my Garmin BWCA maps do have contours for LLC, so I don't know. Either way, the portages and campsites are very useful and I used the 66i for navigation exclusively, though I of course had Fisher maps for the entire region and a compass (and backup compass!). Never needed to pull out the paper maps.

Overall the 66i is nice but I wish they would have put USB-C in it for a 2019 device. microUSB is pretty outdated now and I feel like they did it so they can release a tiny iterative upgrade in a year or two with USB-C just to get more money out of you. If not for that, I'd see little reason to upgrade such a device (assuming Garmin doesn't overhaul their OS which I don't expect).

Semi-shameless plug: I did do a "review" back when I got the device which you can view here, if you so choose. I didn't get a chance to use the device in the field when doing the review (considering the season) but my updated feedback is in this post right here. I may do a follow-up video at the end of the year after I get a chance to use it more. I don't mean to hijack your thread! I just wanted to offer my opinion and add on to what you said. I hope that's OK.
distinguished member (379)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/27/2020 07:45AM  
Thanks for the quick review. I bought the 66i last year and used it on one trip. I did not take advantage of the weather feature (somehow I missed that!). I will on my upcoming trip.

Did not use birdseye feature.

I purchased the Expedition plan. You have to pay an annual fee on top of the monthly fee, so the plan cost me about $100 for one month. I did not want to be throttled re text messages. Maybe this year I will do a cheaper plan...dunno.

It is a great device...very fast and I like buttons rather than touch screens. The text completion is pretty weak IMO.

I will never travel without a compass and a map.
distinguished member (379)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/27/2020 08:37AM  
I turned mine on for the first time in about six months. Did a software update.

Now when I turn it off, the screen stays on with the "off" symbol. What's up with this?

How do you turn it off? Am I forgetting something?
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