Review: Garmin Rino 650
- — 28 August, 2012 22:00
|Name||GPS/UHF radio: Garmin Rino|
|At a glance:||Two-way 5-watt UHF radio,Can send GPS position between Rino units,Compatible with topographic maps (sold separately)|
|Summary:||Expensive if bought as a ‘toy’, but a brilliant tool for those that need it.|
Two of the coolest products for outdoor enthusiasts and professionals alike: GPS, and the humble UHF personal radio (or ‘walkie-talkie’). Neither require a license, ongoing subscription fees, or a PhD to operate: yet both can save your time, effort and even your life. The Gamin Rino 650 is not the first product to combine these two trailblazer’s tech tools, but it’s one of the better ones we’ve seen.
The overall design is much like Garmin’s Oregon range of outdoor GPS units, cased in plastic and rated IPX7 (submersible 1m underwater for up to 30 minutes). With its thick twin antennas, it looks… well, uglier, but this is a device dedicated to function above form.
Operation is via a 2.6-inch (6.6cm) 160 x 240-pixel resistive touchscreen. That means no fancy gestures, but you can use it through thick gloves or while caked in dirt (it, you or both).
Like the Oregon, the Rino 650 supports Garmin’s topographic maps on microSD card. That’s $234 for Australia/New Zealand, putting the total cost of a map-enabled Rino at $983. Not cheap and not ideal for the casual once-a-year tramper.
At its maximum 5W power output, the radio has a range of roughly 13-30km. Personally, I achieved something more like 5km line-of-sight, but it’s highly dependent on terrain.
The real selling point of the Rino 650 is that multiple units can share their location, determined by GPS, via the radio. It works well, as long as you’re in radio range. Even better if you have maps installed, so you can see exactly where everyone is, not just relative to you.
This is a perfect tool for trampers travelling in groups, or hunters trying to keep track of each others’ locations for safety. Thoroughly recommended for outdoor enthusiasts with an appropriately large budget.