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Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review – All You Need To Know

Garmin GPSMAP 66sr – the brand new GPS handheld with Garmin’s latest satellite technology reviewed!

Garmin extends the popular GPSMAP 66 series – for 2021/2022 there are four models to choose from:

  • GPSMAP 66s – the basic model without pre-installed maps
  • GPSMAP 66st – like the 66s, but with additional topographic maps (depending on your country, not routable)
  • GPSMAP 66i – with inReach communication and routable TopoActive maps
  • GPSMAP 66sr – similar to the 66st, but with routable TopoActive maps, multi-GNSS & multi-band, internal battery and a few minor improvements
Garmin GPSMAP 66sr review
Garmin GPSMAP 66sr review

I have already talked about the GPSMAP 66s/66st in a detailed review – a GPS handheld device for a variety of outdoor activities, which features a large & excellent readable display, excellent GPS reception even without multi-GNSS & multi-band, button operation, extensive features and extensive connectivity – including wireless import of data (courses, tracks, routes, waypoints, …) from a smartphone.

Now Garmin takes it one step further and adds a state-of-the-art GPS receiver with multi-GNSS and multi-band technology to the GPSMAP 66sr to further improve accuracy in difficult conditions!

Garmin has changed a few other things with the GPSMAP 66sr (compared to the GPSMAP 66s/66st), both in terms of technology and in the menu and functions.

Garmin GPSMAP 66sr
Garmin GPSMAP 66sr (Garmin alpine map)
Garmin GPSMAP 66s vs. GPSMAP 66sr
Garmin GPSMAP 66s vs. GPSMAP 66sr

Display – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review

I don’t want to go into detail about the display, as it is simply excellent.

But what is noticeable: The display is brighter than the GPSMAP 66s/66st display! If the backlight of the 66s/66st is set to 100%, the 66sr only needs 60% (*) to achieve the same brightness. At 50%, the 66sr needs only 10% (actually even less, but there is no 5% setting). At 100% the 66sr shines much more.

(*) subjective estimation

Battery – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review

The power is provided by an internal, not changeable lithium-ion battery, similar to the GPSMAP 66i. The change from AA batteries to a lithium battery is probably due to the energy-consuming combination of a 3 inch display and a powerful GPS receiver.

Not changeable – this might be annoying for some outdoor enthusiasts. Opposite to the 66s/66st, inserting new AA batteries is no longer possible. When empty, the only thing that helps is recharging via power bank or power outlet.

In my opinion the decision AA or fixed battery depends primarily on the use cases. If the main focus is on day or weekend tours or vacations with access to a power outlet, there is nothing wrong with the internal battery. Because Garmin specifies up to 36 hours as battery life – in expedition mode even up to 450 hours should be possible. With the 66s/66st it is 16 hours or 170 hours with one set of batteries.

Which factors have a particularly large impact on battery life?

I have tested the GPSMAP 66sr in two different settings.

When all consumers are on, the battery life is about 13 to 14 hours. Multi-GNSS & multi-band on or off does not make a big difference.

It gets interesting when the "battery save" mode is activated. The automatic shutdown of the display leads to a significant increase in runtime, the "GPS only" mode contributes additionally.

These are rather theoretical values, but they reflect the approximate range. In practice, the runtimes to be achieved are somewhere in between – depending on how you use the GPSMAP.

Summing up: The 66sr can easily be used for several days.

Power mode, 100% backlight
Multi-GNSS & Multi-Band active
  • 13:21 hh:mm (11%)
  • 13:02 hh:mm (13%)
GPS only
  • 13:33 hh:mm (13%)
  • 14:18 hh:mm (13%)
Power mode, 50% backlight
Multi-GNSS & Multi-Band active
  • 13:37 hh:mm (7%)
GPS only
  • 13:27 hh:mm (10%)
battery save mode
Multi-GNSS & Multi-Band active
  • 42:37 hh:mm (7%)
  • 46:58 hh:mm (8%)
GPS only
  • 56:13 hh:mm (10%)

power mode: all consumers on (e.g. backlight, map orientation north up); battery save mode: all consumers off); in brackets: remaining capacity

Memory – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review

With the permanently installed Li-battery, there is also a change in the slot for the microSD slot. Instead in the battery compartment, it is now located on the right side; well protected under a rubber cover.

The microSD size may not exceed 32 GB – in combination with the 16 GB* internal memory, of which about 5.5 GB are still free, there is enough space for data and maps (see overview).

*the Mac-Finder shows 15.52 GB

  • 20,000 points per track log
  • 2,000 gpx files
  • 250 saved gpx tracks
  • 2,000 archive tracks
  • 300 saved fit activities
  • 10,000 waypoints
  • 250 courses
  • 250 routes (250 points each, 50 points for on-road)
  • Geocaches without limit (depending on the memory)
  • 15,000 map segments
  • 500 custom map tiles
  • 250 BirdsEye maps
Garmin GPSMAP 66sr
Garmin GPSMAP 66sr – GPS only mode

GPS Receiver – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr In-Depth Review

Thanks to multi-GNSS and multi-band, the GPSMAP 66st is expected to provide better accuracy in challenging reception conditions such as deep valleys, surrounding rock walls, street canyons and dense forest.

Multi-GNSS means the simultaneous reception of GPS (USA), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe), OZSS (Japan) and IRNSS (India) satellite signals. Since OZSS and IRNSS are only regional systems (Asia-Pacific and India), "only" GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites are available in most parts of the world.

The GPSMAP 66s/st – besides "GPS only" – allows the combinations "GPS + GLONASS" or "GPS + Galileo".

Multi-Band allows the simultaneous evaluation of L1 & L5 (GPS) and E1 & E5a (Galileo) signal frequencies; the GPSMAP 66s/st only provides L1 and E1.

To further optimize the position determination, the file EPO.bin with current satellite data is downloaded via Garmin Express or Garmin Connect App.

The following satellite settings are possible:

  • GPS only without multi-band
  • Multi-GNSS without multi-band
  • Multi-GNSS with multi-band
  • Demo mode (GNSS disabled)

The new technology leads to

  • a really fast position determination,
  • a GPS accuracy that is almost always "1.8 m" in the ideal case ("3 m" for the GPSMAP 66s/st),
  • no position drift when stationary and
  • to track recordings that can be a bit more accurate compared to the GPSMAP 66s/st (anyway, the 66s/st receiver is already outstanding)

You can have a look at some tracks on the map below and form your own opinion. The logs are from some hikes in challenging environments: mountain valleys, deep forests and urban canyons (Munich/Germany).

The following screenshots show the satellite page in multi-GNSS & multi-band mode.

Note: An increase of accuracy from 3 m to 1.8 m is always achieved by activating multi-band!

GPSMAP 66sr - Galileo
GPSMAP 66sr – Galileo

More examples are available in my article GPS accuracy of cycling devices.

To display the color coding, move the mouse pointer to "Tracks"; you can also hide individual tracks there.
Elevation plot

The new technology provides another advantage: no position drift.

The screenshots from the trip computer tell the differences (the devices are in a stationary state).

The GPSMAP 66sr shows no drift compared to the GPSMAP 66s. Check the "trip odometer" and the "moving time".

GPSMAP 66s - position drift
GPSMAP 66sr - position drift

Operation & Menu – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review

The robust and IPX7 & MIL-STD-810 tested GPSMAP 66sr is a keypad device par excellence – and therefore absolutely glove friendly. A further advantage is: since the keys are on top, it is also very easy to use on the handlebars of a bike.

However, there is one annoying thing I would not like to conceal. To end the important "battery save mode" (the GPSMAP turns off the display after a given time) you have to press the on/off button. When hiking, you need to move your hand or you need the help of the second hand – provided it is not used for other purposes.

Also, this unfortunate combination can occasionally cause me to turn the GPSMAP on by mistake, unlike the GPSMAP 64 or 65 series, which have a battery save mode that can be turned off with any button.

The keypad on top, the large display and the protruding helix antenna have advantages in operation, (map) overview and GPS reception. On the other hand, the case is relatively large, which should be taken into account when considering a purchase.

The menu with all its functions requires a certain amount of training.

However, the extensive configuration options – in combination with the various preconfigured profiles (hike, mountain bike, …) – lead to a target-oriented and practical operation.

For example, the "hike" profile can be configured differently than the "mountain bike" profile. The figures show an example of an individually configured main menu, in which the displayed applications are reduced to the most necessary.

GPSMAP 66sr - customized main menu
GPSMAP 66sr – customized main menu
GPSMAP 66sr - page ribbon
GPSMAP 66sr – page ribbon with additional important apps

Some GPSMAP 66 users may be bothered by the fact that the map page only has the options "large data field" (= one field) and "small data fields" (= four fields) for showing data. It would make more sense – analogous to the GPSMAP 64 or 65 handheld devices – to differentiate between "1 large", "2 small" or "4 small". With two fields there is more visible map area than with four fields. There is only one thing you can do: temporarily deactivate the data fields by pressing "MENU-Button > Hide Dashboard".

Since this point of criticism of the 66 series already exists since the beginning I must state: It’s a pity that Garmin doesn’t respond to such and other long existing customer requests, especially since an implementation should only require a minimal effort.

Apart from that, compared to the 66st or 66st almost everything remains the same – in the menu there are only a few cosmetic changes in a few places.

TopoActive Map – GPSMAP 66sr In-Depth Review

The pre-installed TopoActive maps of Europe and other parts of the world – based on OSM data – are in my opinion a very good introduction to the world of cartography and are a solid basis for navigation, especially with tracks.

In addition, they are routable (= automatic calculation of routes along the road network) and offer an extensive POI collection.

However, searching for addresses is limited to only a few countries (Europe: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland).

Contour lines are missing – elevation data for the whole of Europe would just be some gigabyte more. But with some know-how you can install them for individual countries (read How to install contour lines).

GPSMAP 66sr review - FIND menu
GPSMAP 66sr – FIND menu
GPSMAP 66sr review - countries providing addresses
GPSMAP 66sr – countries providing addresses

One argument for buying Garmin GPS devices is the huge range of additional maps – from commercial Garmin maps to free OSM. Of course, this also applies to the GPSMAP 66sr, there is sufficient memory available.

In addition to the pre-installed TopoActive, the 66sr includes a free subscription of BirdsEye satellite images; the download is via Wi-Fi. Whether the satellite images provide additional value depends on the region – in my experience they are less useful in the mountains.

Features – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr

A comparison chart (66s vs. 66st vs. 66sr vs. 66i) is provided in my Garmin GPSMAP buyers guide!

In this discipline, the GPSMAP 66sr offers all the outdoor features you would expect from Garmin – whether for a bike ride, a hike, a geocaching hunt or a kayaking trip:

Navigation with tracks / routes / waypoints / POI / geocaches / …, ActiveRouting (activity-specific routing along the route network of the map), Roundtrip-Routing (calculation of round trips), Back to Start, TracBack and specialties such as direct routing in combination with course (CDI) – the latter is a function that certainly only few users need, but which can be immensely important, for example when kayaking.

There are also altimeter & barometer functions, an integrated flashlight with SOS function, proximity alarms, wireless transmission from device to device, various calendars, extensions via Connect IQ … to name just a few.

Extensive smartphone connectivity is also available, but the question is whether functions such as weather reports are really necessary – a smartphone is on tour anyway.

In outdoor practice, there are only two frequently used online functions: live tracking via Garmin Connect App and data exchange with the smartphone, either via Connect IQ apps (e.g. with komoot) or via the Garmin Explore App.

There is an almost sensational innovation in the functions: The volume for the tones emitted by the beeper can now be regulated!

Levels 1 to 5 are available for key tones, system messages, turn warnings and proximity alarms – for all together and not separately for each type.

Note – Garmin has published an important update in November 2022 for all GPSMAP 66 devices. Now you can use courses in addition to tracks and routes, you can copy courses from the Connect App to the device and you get on and off course alerts – even for tracks!

GPSMAP 66sr - tones volume
GPSMAP 66sr – tones volume
GPSMAP 66sr - off course alerts (track)
GPSMAP 66sr – off course alerts (track)
  • Large 3” sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing
  • Expanded global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and multi-band technology allow you to get optimal accuracy in challenging locations, including steep country, urban canyons and forests with dense trees
  • Powered by internal Li-ion rechargeable battery, with up to 36 hours battery life in Standard Mode and up to 450 hours in Expedition Mode.
  • Access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with direct downloads and no annual subscription plus routable TopoActive mapping and federal public land map (U.S. only)
  • Go-anywhere navigation with 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter
(* = affiliate link / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases / image source: Amazon partner program)
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Summary – Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review

With the GPSMAP 66sr (and the GPSMAP 65s) Garmin has launched an exciting new development. Multi-GNSS and multi-band do not lead to the absolute wow effect when hiking or cycling, but they still make the GPSMAP the ultimate outdoor handheld device in terms of accuracy.

Otherwise, the GPSMAP 66sr plays all the strengths of the GPSMAP 66 series: display, features, buttons, connectivity, …!

These features make the 66sr ideal for many outdoor activities – unless "small & light" is the key. Another sticking point is the built-in rechargeable battery, which is certainly a no-go for some users.

Pros – GPSMAP 66sr

  • Fast & very accurate GNSS receiver
  • Excellent & bright display
  • Battery life
  • Keyboard, glove friendly
  • Feature set
  • Preloaded maps
  • Connectivity (ANT+, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi)
  • Smartphone connectivity

Cons – GPSMAP 66sr

  • Relatively large & heavy
  • Disabling the battery save mode
  • No USB-C

Rating – GPSMAP 66sr

  • GPS: 100%
  • Speed: 80%
  • Battery: 100%
  • Display: 100%
  • Operation: 80%
  • Navigation: 100%
  • Features: 100%
  • Maps: 100%
  • Score: 100%
  • Large 3” sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing
  • Expanded global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and multi-band technology allow you to get optimal accuracy in challenging locations, including steep country, urban canyons and forests with dense trees
  • Powered by internal Li-ion rechargeable battery, with up to 36 hours battery life in Standard Mode and up to 450 hours in Expedition Mode.
  • Access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with direct downloads and no annual subscription plus routable TopoActive mapping and federal public land map (U.S. only)
  • Go-anywhere navigation with 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter
(* = affiliate link / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases / image source: Amazon partner program)
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Note: The articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links I will receive a commission; thus you support the continuation of this website. There are no additional costs for you. It is up to you where and when you buy a product. I do not receive any information about the buyer.

Leave a Comment

24 thoughts on “Garmin GPSMAP 66sr Review – All You Need To Know”

  1. Hello,
    With the new version 4.90, as soon as I switch on the 66sr, I immediately have the fixed satellites without waiting and at home in the house, now are they taken into account to start a hike or should they be- he wait a few minutes?
    I have to test in the field but since it has been raining for a few days I was unable to do a test même dans le sud de la France…..

  2. Hello,
    The new firmware version 4.90 corrects this blinking that I had on my 66sr, now the Galileo satellites are like other GNSS systems and no longer blink, they will be fixed as soon as the 66sr is switched on.

  3. Hello,
    I now have the 66sr which replaces the 65s that I sold.
    The 66sr has the same problem as the 65s, i.e. the acquisition of Galileo satellites is sometimes very long, after two hours of operation, several Galileo satellites are still flashing and are therefore not taken into account, this is an operation. unnatural

  4. Hello. I have a problem with the altimeter. The recording is very jagged. In the result I have twice more meters climbed than in reality – either by map or Fenix 6X PRO. There was a small improvement when I stopped taking the device out of my pants pocket and hung it around my neck on my camera strap. Every time I grab the device and do some activity with it, it causes a jump in the graph. I had a similar problem with the Instinct when I rolled up my jacket sleeve in the winter and solved it with a software adjustment to the recording. With a device this expensive, I’d want the result straight away. You just can’t rely on the altimeter. Can someone please advise me? I have the updates installed. The watch measures with an accuracy of +- 10 m. Thank you.

  5. Could you please tell me what changes occur when you switch the unit from power mode to battery saver mode other than the display turning off automatically when not in use? For example, will the unit continue to record my track in battery saver mode?

    • Hi,

      If battery save mode is active, the display will be completely switched off according to the duration selected in "Backlight Timeout". Other functions such as the track recording are not affected. The display can be reactivated by pressing any key; alternatively, it switches on automatically when system messages are displayed (e.g. turn instructions).

  6. No calcula bien el ascenso total. He hablado con el servicio tecnico de Garmin y me ha propuesto procedimientos que no resuelven el problema. Si alguien tiene el mismo problema, que lo comente. Saludos

    • Hola, José,

      utilizo el garmin muy intensamente – pero este problema nunca lo he tenido. ¿Qué ajustes utiliza? ¿Está desactivada la calibración automática? ¿Se calibra el altímetro manualmente antes del recorrido?

  7. Hi, I’m interested whether the comparison of positional drift between 66s and 66sr what the 66s satellite was set on. Was it just set on GPS only or GPS + GLONASS" or "GPS + Galileo? It seems an excessive the drift suggesting GPS only.


  8. Thanks for the review, how fat we’ve come from the Magellan 315 or the eTrex Legend (still have mine somewhere I’m sure !) very interesting to see a consumer device with a "real" GPS antenna (not a smartphone) and multi-band. I realize that this is mostly a "hiking" device but is there any chance you could run your track comparisons downtown in urban canyons ? That’s where the multi-band should really help, particularly by mitigating the effect of multipath if the implementation is well done.

  9. Sir,
    I have become a huge fan of your reviews. Your in Europe, so I ask if you test with eGNOS on as an augmentation resource or even WAAS that has now a Geo sat far to the East of CONUS US> Have you found or tested with the EGNOS for stability or "settling of position? This might not be found in the accuracy display, but when the 66sr is set on a survey control, curious if, once datum transformation is done if you get closer to a mark.

    Again, a real great resource. nice job.

    • Hi,
      the GPSMAP 66sr (and the GPSMAP 65s) has no setting for SBAS (as other Garmin devices); it is not known if it uses SBAS satellites and it does not show these satellites on the satellite page (and no "D" indicator).


      • The GPSMAP 66sr and GPSMAP 65/s do not use SBAS. THis is not necessary with Multi-Band GPSr as they can perform live correction with L1/L5 and E1/E5a signals in real time!

        • Yeah, SBAS was really designed for safety, not accuracy. The goal was to warn in real time of degraded satellite signals and prevent them from being used in the fix. Unlike dual band it didn’t help at all for multipath for instance.