Garmin GTN 650 and GTN 750 product reviews

John Ewing has posted a very thorough review of the Garmin GTN 650 (MSRP $11,495) and GTN 750 (MSRP $16,995) products (as gleaned from videos and announcements of their release) on has Aviation Mentor website that is well worth reading – especially if you (like many pilots) are unhappy with the shortcomings in Garmin’s 430/530/G1000 user interfaces. In fact, John began his post by noting that:

Not unlike Microsoft Word, many of us got used to the dance of cursor-mode-big-knob-little-knob-enter and tended to forget how bad the user interface (UI) really was. To their credit, Garmin has done the sensible thing: Confronted with a bad UI that suffers from the Tyranny of the Installed Base, they started over from scratch with a touch-screen interface. While I’ve yet to actually handle one of these units, a lot can be gleaned from the videos that have been released and the information at Garmin’s website.

John then pointed out that the GTN 750 and 650 are targeting the aging GNS 530W and 430W in terms of both size and features and he went into considerable detail about how manufacturers will attempt to use as few buttons or knobs as possible to save on manufacturing costs but then overload the buttons and knobs they do provide with too many functions.

However, the new GTN units are equipped with a touch-sensitive screen plus only two physical buttons, two knobs and an SD card slot. In addition, there are grip points on the sides and on the bottom of each unit so that pilots can steady their hands in turbulence. Furthermore, there are also suggestions that there might be voice control features at some point in the future but for now, the touch-screen will provide most of the user interface flexibility.

John also noted that one of the best things that Garmin did with the 430/530 was to make a PC-based simulator available to download at no extra charge as he contends that this was one of the driving forces  driving forces behind the widespread acceptance by pilots and aircraft owners alike of the 430/530 series. However, John pointed out that there is (so far) no simulator available for the GTN series but he hopes that Garmin will see that its in their best interest and in the interest of pilots and aircraft owners to provide one.

At the end of his post, John wrote that he will leave it up to aircraft owners and aviation pundits to decide whether or not the GTN 650 and GTN 750 products are attractively priced at US$11,495 and US$16,995 respectively. Nevertheless, John also added that he would definitely like to try out any aircraft equipped with either GTN product.

GTN Series


7 Responses to Garmin GTN 650 and GTN 750 product reviews

  1. Todd April 13, 2011 at 16:11 #

    I am also impressed by the GTN 650 and 750 and after getting my hands on one at Sun N Fun I'm excited to fly behind one. I did want to mention that there is a simulator for the GTN units as Garmin was handing them out at the booth. I did ask if it was going to be available for download and the answer was no. Something about the size of the file being to big.

  2. Eric April 14, 2011 at 03:13 #

    I ordered a 750 the day it was announced. I pick up my Bonanza with the new panel tomorrow! I sure hope the new system lives up to the great things I've read. I do trust Garmin though so I'm certain I'll love the product.

  3. Pacific Coast Avioni May 17, 2011 at 01:49 #

    It's a great unit. The touchscreen offers many advantages and options the older models don't have but time will tell if pilots will adapt them or not. In turbulent conditions it'll be interesting to see how people like'em.

    Thanks for the post and link!

  4. Don Branning January 25, 2013 at 18:16 #

    I recently installed a GTN750 and GTN 650 in my 58 Baron replacing a GNS 480. Both have been a big disappointment.

    Now I’ve gone from having an electronic check list to a paper one since neither have the checklist function of the 480. Next I find that the 750/650 do not show individual fuel flows in my Baron like the 480 so I can’t use it to set the mixtures while leaning. Today I was looking for the procedure to set up a non-published hold and find that that non exists.

    Additionally, the 650 is far too small to be an effective touch screen box. It requires a lot of scrolling, screen tapping and the abbreviated displays are limited compared to the 750. Buying the 650 was a waste of money. I wish I would have just kept the 480.

  5. Andrew May 28, 2013 at 00:03 #

    I have been an avid user of the Garmin Pilot app. So when I actually got to fly with the built in 750 I was excited. Really, really cool, to say the least. The only downside is that it gets hard to control even in light chop. After 2 flights with the 750 I still like the 530 better but maybe my hand eye coordination in a bumpy aircraft will improve after a some more flights. Or when the weather gets better.

  6. Austin February 6, 2015 at 00:07 #

    Have had my 750 for a month now. I decided to make a custom checklist, installed it on the SD card but a checklist icon does not come up when pushing the utilities icon. What am I doing wrong? I have all the latest updates, I think

  7. Elka February 19, 2017 at 04:39 #

    Would love to read the review mentioned at the top of the page but the blog is available to invited readers only:

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