Summary: I wanted to replace my stolen Garmin 495 with a more affordable unit. The 196 is the only unit still available that would fit my 495/496 accessories. I fly helicopters in Alaska and the Lower 48. The 196, according to the Garmin Support Person, has only enough memory to have EITHER the Northern Americas or the Southern Americas database, but NOT BOTH!
Summary: This unit was what I expected: simple to use, plenty of information, etc. The only things that were less than 5 stars were the connecter for updating the data base, ie I will need to purchase something to enable a connection to my computer, and the price was a bit high considering that it is as old as it is. But those are all things that I knew before purchasing. The main reason for buying this unit as opposed to the newer Garmin GPS, was the long battery life.
Summary: Strictly speaking this review is based on another similar Garmin product, the GPSmap 296, but because much of it regards Garmin as a company and so is relevant. It is difficult to know where to start in criticizing Garmin. First, the human interface is totally unfathomable. I am a computer expert with experience in interface design. In this case, it is almost impossible to follow the logic of the menus and functions. There is no consistency or pattern.
Summary: The technology has been around for years but works fine. To upgrade with Garmin, it was difficult. I finally got it done. Since I fly a plane with a glass panel, I use this as backup in case of electrical failure with the on-board equipment. I chose the Garmin because of reputation and the fact that the AA batteries last quite a while. The "Anywhere" GPS, that was in the running, the batteries don't last that long.