The feature-rich Garmin Rino 655T mixes the best features of a two-way radio with a full-function handheld GPS. Although users report some battery issues and firmware glitches, they love being able to track their hunting partners' location and communicate clearly for up to 15 miles, depending on conditions.
Huge variability. Unlike most two-way radios, the Rino 655T can actually meet and even exceed its advertised range of 20 miles under ideal conditions. One Amazon.com reviewer reports being able to reach other radios an amazing 80 miles away when broadcasting from a mountaintop with a clear line of sight. Through hills, however, the range is much more limited. The same reviewer reports that the range dropped to about half a mile "if there was earth between us," while another Amazon.com review says, "If it is hilly at all you can't communicate." The 655T does a decent job in woods, reaching "upwards of 2 miles through pines," according to a third owner.
GPS, weather radio, and much, much more. In addition to its radio capability, the Garmin Rino 655T is also a fully functional -- and, according to users, highly accurate -- GPS unit. Users like the fact that this unit, unlike other Rinos, comes preloaded with topographical maps, although some owners say they're not very detailed. They also appreciate features like the ability to mark your route on the map and transmit your location to other users. In addition, the Rino 655T includes a weather radio and a 5-megapixel camera. Most owners find it easy to use, at least once you've read through the manual. However, we saw several complaints that the power button is inconveniently situated, so it's easy to switch the unit off by accident.
Plagued by battery problems. Although many owners describe the Garmin Rino 655T as rugged, we saw repeated complaints about its batteries. When working properly, the rechargeable battery is quite long-lasting; one owner at Cabelas.com says it gets "about 16 hours when you use the pause mode and about 8 hours in continuous use." However, many owners say that their batteries will not hold a charge properly. As a result, the radio may shut down unexpectedly or fail to turn on at all. Garmin backs the unit with a one-year warranty, but it does not cover the batteries.
At Amazon.com, reviews for the Garmin Rino 655T are lumped together with those for the lower-end 650 and 610 models. Together, the three earn a 3.9-star overall rating from about 90 reviewers. Although the radio's range and sophisticated features draw praise, we also found several complaints about reliability.
Review: Garmin Rino 655T US GPS with TOPO 100K Maps, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
About a dozen users weigh in about the Garmin Rino 655T GPS Radio at Cabelas.com, giving it an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5. Most are happy with its range and ease of use, but there are several complaints about the batteries not holding a charge.
Review: Garmin Rino 655T GPS Radio, Contributors to Cabelas.com, As of April 2014
There are only a couple of reviews for the Garmin Rino 655T at REI.com. Reviewers focus mainly on the Rino 655T's GPS function and overall usability and have little to say about its radio function.
Review: Garmin Rino 655T GPS/2-Way Radio, Contributors to REI.com, As of April 2014
Just a couple of users review the Garmin Rino 655T on BestBuy.com, but both are pleased with it. Both owners say the controls are simple and the screen is large and easy to read. One reviewer notes a couple of minor problems, including a dead pixel and occasional freeze-ups.
Review: Garmin - Rino 2.6" Handheld GPS Navigator, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of April 2014