These are the units that I’ve been using for quite a long time now, mainly used out on the hunts. I’ve got the Garmin Rino 650, the original one I’ve had for about five years now, and the new addition is the Rino 750.
I’ll go over the units themselves, and then I’ll touch on the pros and cons and also the comparison between the two units. You may still be able to get the Rino 650; if you can’t, there are many advantages of going with the new unit at the moment as well.
General Features for Garmin Rino 750 and Rino 650
So if you need to get more familiar with Garmin Rino, they’re a GPS and a UHF radio all in one unit. The new and the old version of the radio part has stayed the same. It’s a full-blown 5-watt 80-channel UHF radio, and the Continuous Tone Controlled Squelch System (CTCSS) is like your private channel.
There’s a heap of features, and I will only go into the radio features as it’s pretty standard with most radios. Out of the IPX ratings, they’re fully submersible for half an hour. So they’re rated IPX7 from Emory, and I’ve tested on both; they’ve both been dropped in the water and are totally waterproof.
The battery packs were all the same, so whether you’ve got the old one on the new one, all they did was change the color. The new ones are black, and the old ones are gray, but they’re the same. So I’ve changed and swapped them, and they all work.
The accessory rails are also the same, so if you’re using clips, mounts, brackets, or anything like that, that’s all the same so you can stay caught up. The big question we get a lot is, are they incompatible? Do the 750 and the 650 talks to each other? Yes, they do, and they sync up with each other.
They keep us all talking to each other between the two series, which is pretty handy. The main thing with the Garmin Rino is that you’re saving on having the two components because, as well as the radio, you’ve got the GPS that’s built into it.
The most significant advantage of having the GPS and the radio is battery power saving. So, instead of dealing with two battery banks, you’ve just got one when you’re backpacking. Even in cold environments, the batteries in Rino 750 or Rino 650 have been phenomenal. I used to get about four hours, and we had to clock on on the hour to try and conserve battery power in subzero.
But we are getting a genuine 14 hours out of these batteries of full-time use on all-the-time GPS tracking the whole bit. So, the batteries are excellent. They make the cradle if you luck out and go on extended trips, they also make the cradle. So in the alkaline cradle, you put four AA batteries in the cradle.
It’s a little Bulkier in profile, but with that in mind, you will sacrifice a bit of power. If you go the alkaline, you’ll drop from the five-watt down to the two-watt, and most of the time, two watts is fine. Anyway, I find it more apparent, and I operate on two watts, but if you keep that in mind, f you want to go with the alkaline battery, you’ll drop down a little bit in power.
Live Map Location Update
The most significant advantage of Garmin Rino is that you update each other’s maps when you talk to each other. So if I’m positioned here, and I’ve got my buddy on the next ridge over there, and I speak, he instantly can see where I am, and I can see where he is.
I hear a shot go off and a quick look on the radio; I’ll touch base and say, hey mate, where you are, and as soon as he talks to me, I know exactly what direction he is in. That’s a significant advantage in hunting and a much safer way to hunt with your buddy.
If you’re in a foggy environment or a terrain where you don’t know, sometimes that terrain can make each other circle around where you can keep heads up and see where you’re at if you’re doing a bit of a line hunt if that person’s creeping out in front of the other guns and whatnot.
So from a safety point of view, knowing where each other is and where your hunting buddies are is a significant advantage. And in populated areas, when other guys have got Garin Rino, we’ve also been able to see where they are. So there are many advantages to knowing where your mate is at any time.
You can use that to your advantage a lot as well on the hunt. Sometimes you’re creeping up, and you end up on each other as if you’re trying to put a bit of distance between you; you can maintain that by having a simple look at your radio.
If you want to avoid disturbing your hunting buddy by talking to him to check where he is, you can go through and hit poll location, and you’ll be able to update your map and see where your mate is in an instant. You can sync them up with many units, and we’ve had over 20 units all talking to each other, and you can see each other simultaneously. So that’s a handy little feature as well.
I won’t go too much into it; there are a lot of other features in these units. I’m not going into all of the features in this; just highlighting a few of the features that I find advantageous when hunting. For instance, if you find a point of interest, let’s say I come along and see a nice wallow, and my hunting buddy’s just in the next system.
I can mark that as a point and hit that wallow, and then I can wirelessly send that mark to my mate. So he’ll get that up on his screen, and he hits accept, and it’s saved as an away point on his mark. If I drop my backpack and then I need him to mark it on his, so he knows where it is as well.
I can mark that waypoint and send it to him. If we want to make a rendezvous point somewhere else for lunch, we’ll mark that location and send it to him. You’ll get that spot, and we’ll meet back there. So on the fly, you can mark as you go, leaving breadcrumbs on both units or in the unit, in all of your party.
Practicality for Marking with GPS for Hunting
So let’s say, for instance, I’m on a face, and I’ve got some buddies on the other face, and while I’m glancing over there, I spot a deer below them. I could jump on the radio and say, hey guys, a hundred meters below you, there’s a deer, but you can use the site and go feature on this.
So I’ll point the radio at the deer, hit the site, and hit mark bearing. It’ll mark the direction and also know where I am because it has GPS in this unit. I’ll use my range finder and range that deer, and that’s the third part of the information that this needs to calculate. Within about 30 feet, if I send that waypoint to the boys, they’ll have that spot marked.
That’s a perfect thing if you’ve shot a deer and done that beforehand, or just after you leave your spot and traverse and go over there, you know exactly where you were and where it was when you took the shot. So for finding the trail or the blood trail, we’ve often crossed the face, and we’re dead set.
All agreed that we were in the right spot, but the GPS, when we marked, it said you have to be another 50 meters across. Fair enough, so we go over there, and there’s the piece of cut fur on the ground, the running tracks, and where the deer took off. So, it’s been invaluable for getting onto that trail on the other side.
Comparison Garmin Rino 750 and 650
So there are lots of little things in there as hunters that we can use. There’s lots of other information inside these units, so I’ll do a run-through and discuss the main differences between these two units as well.
A close-up of the Rino 750 and 650 beside each other shows a slight glare on the 650. So the backlighting on the 750 is superior. But you can see in the daylight that the 750 is picking up a better screen. The 650 and the 750 designs are similar sizes. Overall, both got the dual antennas, and both use the same batteries. You can see the screen is more extensive on Rino 750, but the usable part of the screen is marginal.
It’s about the same size usable screen, and the button configuration is the same. You’ve got the push-to-talk button on the side and the send button on the other. For Rino 750, they’ve put the volume up and down externally, which is excellent, and the speakers are both down the bottom.
The notable thing that’s different is actually on the back, under the cover, you’ve got the headphone jack and the charging port on the old one. The charging point is proprietary, so you had to have the Garmin brand charger port that matched. The Rino 750 uses USB-type charging, so that’s a significant advantage. The Rino 650 was a full-blown 12 volts, so you had to give it 12 volts to charge the unit.
So charging on the USB gives you options such as battery banks, off your vehicle, and things like that without having to buy the proprietary chargers. So that’s a big difference between Rino 750 and 650. The other side was the connection for the computer on Rino 650. Please make sure to use the new charger or USB lead to charge from that; you will ruin the unit, as I found out.
On the other side, they’ve sealed it off. There’s nothing in there anymore because the multi-plug does both. So you’ve just got one port to charge and connect to a computer. You use the USB to go straight into your computer for backups.
Map View on Rino 750
So it’s pretty straightforward. Depending on whether you’ve got the light or full version, you can zoom in with the map card. The full version of the Garmin topo map will go down to five-meter increments on your isobars, whereas the light version will have 40-meter increments.
So I use the light version, and you can see I’ve walked through some quite steep areas, and they’re 40-meter increments. If that were the full version, you’d see more detail. That’s your typical kind of scenario for zooming in and zooming out.
Other Features for Garmin Rino 750
I’ll go through a few of the other little features. If you go back to the main menu, you can tap the radio option; you can select my channel up and down to whatever channel you want. The mapping cards on both units are the same and interchangeable.
So to look at a mapping card, make sure your unit is off and they are under the battery pack. Firstly, remove the battery like any phone or older phone. You’ve just got a tiny little micro SD card that’s loose in behind. It’s a matter of putting it in, locking it down, and it’s as simple as that.
Very easy to install and uninstall or swap a variety of maps. I’ve got the Australian and New Zealand ones installed on mine, but they’re worldwide. You can get these for just about anywhere worldwide for your trip. So, are you going to Alaska for a hunt over there? You can buy the appropriate map and insert it; this unit will work fine for all of you navigating.
So yeah, very versatile like that. Back to the main menu, you can select the map, and you can know on the map exactly where we are now. You can scroll in or out for more detail and have a few contacts. That’s all the contacts that people that you’ve spoken to or saved on your radio.
You can also show your recent finds, waypoints, and things like that. So if I want to go somewhere, I’ll hit the location, and it’ll pull it up on the map. Let’s move to Mark Waypoint. So with Mark Waypoint, that’s going to give you the location of exactly where you are right now in point of time.
So if you are taking your shot and want to mark that, just hit the Mark Waypoint. It’ll give you the most accurate reading of your current location. There are tons of features and different things that you can utilize on the Garmin Rino 750. It can be as simple as just using the radio and the GPS, or you can learn and employ many other features there.
I still carry a backup map as you never know if you’re going to run out of battery or forget to charge it, or you might leave it on overnight. I recommend always bringing a paper map with this kind of thing anyway. But the Rino 750 or 650 is a very robust unit. They can enhance your time in the bush as you’ll get much battery life out of them.
So the feature we were talking about before was where if you see a point of interest or a deer on an opposite face and you want to send it to your buddies. You’ll use your radio to lock the direction and hit lock direction. When you’ve got your bearing, you want to project a waypoint, and it’s going to ask you the distance projection. So, using my rangefinder, I can know the distance, put it in the unit, and hit save. Then if you want to share that with somebody, you go into the menu and select to share wirelessly.
Suppose you want to send using UHF a recent find or send whatever you want and hit send; all radios on your channel will get that information.
Difference Between Garmin Rino 750 and 650
Apart from the charging port difference, the other difference is the screen resolution, so the screen for Rino 750, although only marginally larger, is a lot crisper and sharper.
The definition in the map is a lot better. The vibrancy of the colors is much more excellent as well. 750 and 650 is a touchscreen, and when you’re panning around, you pull up coordinates, or if you’re zooming in and out, you’ll find that it’s instant for 750; with the 650, there’s a slight lag on it.
So the processor in the 750 is better, and you’ll notice that it’ll process the information quicker in retrieving and moving around on your maps. So, overall, Rino 750 is an excellent upgrade to Rino 650. You’ve got five-volt USB charging, a faster processor, and a nicer screen that’s more vivid if you use the bird’s eye feature.
So bird’s eye is like GPS or Google Earth. So it’s satellite imagery that gets placed in line over your map. If you are using bird’s eye and you’re using bird’s eye, that is usable on Rino 750 because of the better screen. It doesn’t cut it; it’s not worth having it on the Rino 650.
So, if that’s something you’re looking for, it’s a significant advantage to having the higher resolution screen on this Rino 750. But all in all, those three features set 750 above 650. If you want to save a few bucks and still get a hold of a 650, and if you’re not too worried about the five-volt charging things and having a lower resolution screen, you can go for the Rino 650.
Rino 650 is tested and proven that be a robust little unit. I like the old 650; it still comes everywhere as a backup radio. I recommend Garmin Rino 750 and Rino 650 for hunting radio, especially.