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Old 12-30-2011
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Question Garmin GPSMAP 640-Marine&Road Navigator?

Garmin GPS MAP 640, Any experience using one or thoughts on it being used for marine and road navigation would be appreciated.

We do not have a chart plotter on our boat now, just an old Garmin GPS linked to our autopilot. I have been looking for an automobile GPS and came across the 640 and was intrigued by it? There is also a 620.

A decent dedicated marine chart plotter doesn't cost much less? Maybe it would be better as back up unit to "real" chart plotter, maybe its just what I should get? Ummmm

640: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=14898

640: Garmin GPSMAP 640 All In One Marine and Auto GPS at The GPS Store

620: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=148&pID=14893

620: Garmin GPSMAP 620 Chartplotter with Worldwide Basemap at The GPS Store

Last edited by T37Chef; 12-31-2011 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011
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Shawn,

I have not used this model but I'm considering my chartplotter options and looked into this one also. There are some mixed user reviews on the 640's page on the West Marine website with the main complaint being screen visibility in bright sunlight. That always gives me pause for a device that's to be mounted at the helm. Panbo also did a detailed review back when the 640 first came out back in 2009.

My thought was that I can get a newer 5" dedicated chartplotter like the Lowrance HDS5M (refreshed version being released next month) plus a cheap automotive GPS and still come out ahead on price and features. If sunlight visibility is not a major issue a smartphone or an iPod touch with bluetooth GPS would also accomplish the same dual use result.
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Old 12-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
Garmin GPS MAP 640, Any experience using one or thoughts on it being used for marine and road navigation would be appreciated.

We do not have a chart plotter on our boat now, just an old Garmin GPS linked to our autopilot. I have been looking for an automobile GPS and came across the 640 and was intrigued by it? There is also a 620.

A decent dedicated marine chart plotter doesn't cost much less? Maybe it would be better as back up unit to "real" chart plotter, maybe its just what I should get? Ummmm

640: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=14898

640: Garmin GPSMAP 640 All In One Marine and Auto GPS at The GPS Store

620: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=148&pID=14893

620: Garmin GPSMAP 620 Chartplotter with Worldwide Basemap at The GPS Store
Shawn:
We have the 640 as well as the optional XM (weather) antenna and the combination has worked well for us, using it pretty much as a "stand alone" unit. In other words, we never aspired to wire it in our former boat's 0183 network etc.

We've taken it of course on the road, but also is handy when you're chartering, as it's hit or miss on getting a chartplotter and handy to familiarize yourself ahead of time on your intended cruising grounds.

Lastly, the XM weather has been nice to have - we can quickly get some bad summertime afternoon weather on the Great Lakes (as seen in this year's Mac race).

Downsides:
- touch screen interface to me is not as intuitive or efficient as a unit with some dedicated buttons / knobs
- have to purchase their blue chart g2 chips - haven't found a way to use the free NOAA raster charts (RNCs)
- not sure what is currently on the market in the same category, but the GPSMap 640 was introduced some time ago and may be getting eclipsed by more recent offerings.

How much integration are you planning into your boat's existing electronics setup?
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