The Bottom Line
- Big, high-resolution screen permits simultaneous map and instrument viewing.
- XM satellite weather radio and integrated weather display layer.
- High-resolution terrain alert features.
- May have difficulty finding room for it in the cockpit.
- Study up and practice to master all of its features and controls.
- Unit dimensions: 5.7"W x 7.7"H x 2.0"D (14.5 x 19.5 x 5.1 cm).
- Display size: 3.6"W x 6.0"H (9.1 x 15.2 cm); 7.0" diag (17.78 cm).
- Display type: color WVGA TFT with adjustable backlighting.
- Weight: 35.7 ounces (1,012 g) with battery pack.
- Battery: rechargeable, replaceable nickel-metal hydride. Life: up to 2.5 hours with full backlight and GXM 40 connected.
- Jeppesen databases: full and ARTCC, FSS frequencies and final approach waypoints.
- Preloaded AOPA Airport Directory.
- Waypoints/favorites/locations: 3,000; Routes: 50.
- Automatic logbook.
Guide Review - Garmin GPSMAP 696 Aviation GPS Offers Split-screen Versatility
One of the highlights of visiting my brother, Bob, in Durango, Colorado is flying in his small plane. What better excuse to take Garmin's state-of-the-art GPSMAP 696 aviation GPS out for a test flight? We plotted a route between Durango and Moab, Utah, and set out with the 696. Bob is a regular user of the smaller Garmin 396 model, so we were able to compare the two directly.
The 696's big screen provides more real estate than ever in an aviation portable, and we were impressed with its ability to show instruments and a generous-sized map simultaneously. What's more, you can mix and match and control display elements in many ways with a joystick/option knob and a set of softkeys. The 696's processing power helped it render graphics and switch views very quickly.
With the addition of Garmin FliteCharts and IFR map mode, the 696 has "electronic flight bag" capability, reducing reliance on paper charts.
Our test unit included a GXM satellite antenna and an XM subscription, giving us access to hi-res weather, including NEXRAD radar, routine weather reports, TAFs, TARs, lightning, winds aloft, turbulence, and icing. Weather data can be laid over navigation and topo maps. Fortunately, we were flying on a clear and beautiful day.
With mountains to our west and north, we had plenty of opportunity to see how the 696's hi-res terrain mapping worked. It shows hazards relative to altitude, has adjustable alerts, and contour terrain mapping. The 696 comes with a built-in Jeppesen database and obstacles database.
The 696 includes Garmin SafeTaxi, with detailed taxiway diagrams for 850 US airports. An included Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association database includes detailed info for 5,300 U.S. airports.
Overall, the 696 is a terrific tool for the serious pilot with room in the cockpit, and $3,595 to spend on a portable MFD.