Garmin’s Big News: Big Screen 696 Debuts at Expo


Since early summer we’ve heard rumblings that Garmin would soon debut a new portable navigator and the company said today it will roll out the GPSMap 695 and 696 at AOPA Expo next week in San Jose, California. These new products end Garmin’s longish product intro drought with a pair of large-screen navigators that have Electronic Flight Bag functions but aren’t really EFBs. The 695/696 are tablet-size products (5.7 by 7.7 by 2 inches) with the basic functionality of the popular GPSMap 496 navigator. The new products add one intriguing function we can’t wait to see: electronic charts and expanded weather capability.

The hardware itself is Garmin’s first aviation-specific effort in more than 10 years-previous aviation portable navigators have been adapted from Garmin’s marine or automotive hardware base. Garmin’s Jessica Myers told us that development work on the 696 lead to the G300 EFIS to be offered in Cessna’s Skycatcher LSA. The 696’s WVGA color display is capable of depicting a full size approach plate and, as with the GPSMap 496, the 696 will display XM-based datalink weather, linked in through a smart antenna similar to that used on the 496. As with other Garmin portables, the 695/696 can operate on batteries (2 estimate battery life) or ship’s power and it has an internal antenna for GPS reception. (No Bluetooth capability is planned.) The 695 is identical to the 696, but lacks weather capability. Both units will be available for sale at AOPA Expo for $2,695 and $3,295, respectively.

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