The Oregon series has always been the outdoor navigator’s best friend. Designed to be short and sweet, the Oregon has been the choice of many when looking for something easy to use, easy to hold, and quite easy to read in the great outdoors.

Over time, Garmin’s upgrades of the Oregon series have been incremental at best. Starting with the Oregon 400 to the Oregon 550t, these devices are mostly identical in function, with only a few minor adjustments that keep it up to date with modern technology. Regardless if it is a set of new wires, antennas and navigating protocols, the Oregon series has been consistent in a bad way by not being fresh and new, but in a good way by being as dependable as ever.

Garmin continues the tradition of upgrades for the Oregon series with the new line of Oregon 6xx products. There are technically 2 new units, the Oregon 600, and the Oregon 650, with their preloaded Topographic map variants which are indicated with a letter “t” at the end of the model number. Just how much of an upgrade do they have over the Oregon 400, 450, 500 and 550?

A Brighter Screen

One thing you could always seem to rely to in an Oregon upgrade is a display upgrade. These devices are meant to be used outdoors, as such, visibility is very important. The new display is definitely brighter and easier to read outdoors, even in direct sunlight. It seems a lot more colorful than the older versions, which is easily visible from the start. The display could have used a size update, but I guess in cases like this, smaller is indeed handier. At the very least, it can now be operated using gloves thanks to a more sensitive multi-touch display technology.

More Power Options

When I talk about power, I mean battery power. The power of the Garmin Oregon series comes from its high portability thanks to the fact that it is powered by 2 AA batteries. All you need to do is swap batteries when you’re done. That isn’t economical though, so most people use rechargeable AA batteries and charge them with an AA charger. Garmin realized that there is some value in having a rechargeable pack that doesn’t rely on an external battery charger. The optional rechargeable NiMH pack for the new Oregon 600 and 650 series allows you charge straight from the device and lighten your load by no longer carrying an extra charger on hand.

Sharper Shots

Introduced in the Oregon 500 series is the ability to take photos straight from your handy GPS. The camera quality left a lot to be desired at the time. In response to positive feedback regarding the need of a better camera, Garmin now offers a sharper and larger 8 megapixel camera on their Oregon 650 and 650t units.

More Memory

Garmin finally decided to increase the internal memory of the new generation. Going from a paltry 850 MB of memory, the new Oregon 600 features a 1.5 GB internal memory. Even better, the Oregon 650 and features a much larger 3.5 GB storage probably to accommodate the built in camera. The Oregon 650t has even more at 4 GB inside.

A Want, not a Need

The upgrade is not very substantial when moving up from an older device to the new Oregon series. It may have a few new features and improvements, but a whole lot of it is generally the same as it has always been – durable, dependable, accurate, portable, fun, and customizable. The new updates do not warrant a very compelling reason to upgrade to the new Oregon 600 or 650. Unless you really need the latest, or if your current Oregon has broken or if it is you first time to use an Oregon series device, you won’t really need to get one right now.

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