Latest in 500

Image credit:

Garmin's new aera series gets you there by air or by land

Chris Ziegler

Pilots looking for the hardest-core portable nav unit available tend to flock to Garmin's GPSMAP 696 these days, but there's a problem: the big, bulky tablet doesn't do much good once you're wheels-down and you've got to find your way to the hotel. Enter the new aera series, which you can sorta think of as "nuvi for pilots" with 4.3-inch touchscreens, user-friendly prompts, and dedicated car modes across the board that'll keep casual observers from realizing that your little buddy doubles as a $2,000 beast capable of safely guiding you cross-country at flight level 250. The 696 is still being regarded as Garmin's premier aviation portable, while the four aera models -- the 500, 510, 550, and 560 -- are called "entry or mid-level" with prices ranging from $799 to $1,999 and should finally sunset the aging lower-end GPSMAP models that look like they're straight out of Garmin's GPS III days. The 510 and 560 throw in XM WX weather support while the 550 and 560 feature Garmin's SafeTaxi interactive airport diagrams, integrated AOPA Airport Directory, and high-end car features pulled from the nuvi line like lane assist and speed limit data. All four models are technically launching on the 5th, but appear to be in stock with online retailers now if you're in a rush.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr