Garmin Debuts Large-Screen 696 Portable

Just in time for this week's AOPA Expo in San Jose, Garmin has announced it will introduce its first all-new portable GPS product since the GPSMap 496. The new GPSMap 696's most prominent feature is its size. With a 7-inch screen (measured diagonally) it can display a full-size approach plate. The unit is qualified as a Class 1/Class 2 electronic flight bag-meaning pilots need not carry paper charts to fulfill the requirements for IFR flight. The GPSMap 696 also includes features found on the smaller-screen 496, including terrain-awareness, airport taxi diagrams, AOPA's electronic airport directory and XM satellite weather. The purchase price includes a preloaded complement of FliteCharts and a certificate for six-month's worth of updates. The software automatically renders the charts unusable once they expire (six months); after that the operator is responsible for obtaining a chart subscription. Suggested selling price for the GPSMap 696 is $3,295. A companion product, the GPSMap 695 is available without the XM Weather receiver for $2,695.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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