Testing Out the New Garmin Overlander GPS Tablet

This spring Garmin released a new gps tablet aimed at the Overlander market at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, AZ. Although the first release to the public isn’t planned until August 8th, they sent a few out for people to test. We were lucky enough to be among the few who got this chance, although we only received it on July 19th.

Having limited opportunities to test the unit, I decided to use it during a trip to the Rocky Mountain Overland Rally in Gunnison, CO. Traveling primarily on paved highway, and only camping remotely one night, I cannot say I really put it through its paces. However, I did get a good feel for the Garmin Overlander, and it was enough to share some thoughts about it.

Lane placement really helped when navigating highway interchanges

Below is a video overview made when I first arrived at the Overland Rally, and sorry if the video quality isn’t the best. Darkness and GoPro cameras don’t normally go well together.

Overall, I like the Garmin Overlander better than anything else that is on the market. There are key features that I really enjoyed, and it is a better navigator than your typical iPad with apps unit. At a price point of $700 some might find it too far out there for a dedicated navigator that doesn’t offer more options.

With that said, I did speak with the design engineer of the Overlander who showed me how you can open it up to have other “apps” installed. Garmin allows you to “sideload” .apk files into the device, and a whole bunch of .apk apps can be found here: https://apkpure.com/hd-video-player/com.elift.hdplayer.

To load these files onto the Overlander, just download the file to your computer, and with the tablet connected move the file into the file manager folder of the device. Then go to the file on the tablet and open, and run the new file. However, depending on what .apk files you choose to download, some may or may not work on the device. Garmin has a thread in their UK support center that discusses this process and how to reset your device if an app doesn’t work.

I hope this overview is helpful, and I know that Garmin is taking our feedback into consideration and will only be improving on this already very useful gps device.

Pros:

  • Best turn-by-turn navigation out there (sorry Google)
  • Auto syncs with Garmin Explorer website and app
  • Quickly jump back and forth from Explorer map to turn-by-turn screen
  • iOverlander locations built into the memory and available offline (plus it updates with more locations when synced via wifi)
  • Connects to Garmin inReach devices, making it easy to send messages and SOS
  • Keeps track of stats like altitude and barometric pressure
  • 1st version is pretty good, and device can easily be updated via wifi as more things get added
  • Bluetooth to up to 4 Garmin cameras at once
  • Quick release magnetic charger can take a lot of knocks and not come loose
  • micro SD card drive allows for expandable memory
  • Comes with an adapter to use with Ram Mounts

Cons:

  • No video, audio, or picture player built into the device, although it allows you to store these things???
  • Doesn’t allow any third party apps to be downloaded to device in anything but a .apk format… yet
  • Garmin Explorer software easier to use than BaseCamp, but still not as good as Gaia in my humble opinion
  • Pricey for a one purpose navigation tablet
  • Better detailed mapping online, but device doesn’t have enough built in memory to hold it. Must use multiple micro SD cards.
  • Still won’t solve stupid navigation decisions
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