New Products: Garmin Introduces GPSMAP495


Two weeks before Sun 'n Fun, Garmin has introduced a new model to its portable GPS lineup, the GPSMAP495. While rumors have been circulating for some time that a successor to the popular 496 was about to be released—with the most common belief that it would have a different form factor than the -96 series and a touch screen—the 495 is more of an addition to the middle of the line rather than an expansion upward.

Think of the 495 as a 496 without the XM WX on-board weather and music, or a souped-up GPSMAP296. As with the 496, the new model has a faster processor than the 196/296/396 models, SafeTaxi maps and AOPA airports and facilities directories. Extensive land-side mapping, including points of interest, is optional; this is a standard feature of the 496. The new 495 also shares the brighter screen of the 496 and the high-resolution terrain database.

Why a 495 now? We have heard that many pilots purchased the 496 but never activated the XM-fed weather features. The 495 gives them the major GPS and mapping features at a substantial savings. The 495 is listed at $1595—plus there will be a $100 rebate for purchases at the Sun N Fun airshow—while current street price for the 496 is $2395, not including the monthly XM subscription of $29.99 or $49.99. Moreover, the 495 is not a stepping-stone GPS. It cannot be updated to work with the GXM-30A XM antenna.

The 495 comes with the same accessory kit as the 496, including power cables, computer USB cord, yoke mount, AC adaptor and corded, low-profile GPS antenna in addition to a unit-mounted "stick" antenna.

Garmin expects the 495 to be available at the airshow, which begins on April 8.

KITPLANES Editor at Large Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for 23 years and in magazine work for more than 25. He is a 4500-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glastar Sportsman 2+2.

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